こんにちは！ How is everybody doing in their various locations? I am doing quite well here in 清水、日本 (Shimizu, Japan)!
This is transfer week. Will I stay or will I go? Only God knows (and the mission President, and the Assistants; probably the Zone Leaders as well; maybe a few other people now).
This week has been quite wonderful! The other ward had a mochi tsuki (making pounded rice balls; they are very good, and a lot of fun to make) and New Year’s Party talent show on Saturday that we went to with Yukimatsu san, our Chinese investigator. It was a lot of fun! Unfortunately he was not able to come to church on Sunday, but we had a lesson with him (we taught the Restoration) and were able to set a baptismal date! Yay!!! We had previously given him a Book of Mormon , and as we talked about it during the lesson he said, "When you first gave me this book I thought it was just a story, but now that I know it is a guidebook for life I want to read it." He also voluntarily (without any prompting from us) said that from now on he wants to pray every day!
I’ve mentioned him a bit over the past few months, but here’s an overview about the miracle of our meeting Yukimatsu san:
It begins with Brother Shu, from Taiwan. About three months ago the two youngest missionaries in our area (Sisters Ketch and Clements, who were in their first and second transfers, respectively) were on splits together since their respective companions as Sister Training Leaders were on splits elsewhere. Sisters Ketch and Clements were "randomly" (nothing is really random, is it?) contacted by a man who asked them where he could go to watch the Priesthood session of General Conference. He was a member who had recently come to Japan from Taiwan. (As a side note: they did not know where it was, so they called Elder Gonzalez and I, but we missed the call, tried calling them back, they didn’t answer, and we were a bit worried that something may have happened to them since it was their first time going on splits and they were both very young missionaries.) They did not know exactly where it was and couldn’t contact us to find out (we actually didn’t know anyway), but guessed (correctly) that it was at the Stake Center. We later met him at General Conference, and then at church the following Sunday, and have since become quite good friends. Brother Shu so great!
Well, one evening I was on splits with another Elder (Elder Braswell), and we were housing apartments in an area relatively close to where we live. We knocked on the door of a Chinese guy who did not speak much English or Japanese, so he went next door to get help from his friend (who did speak very well), and as he did that many more people came out of that apartment, then all the other doors on that floor opened and we were soon surrounded by Chinese people. Then we heard a voice from the back of the crowd call, "Hey!" and Brother Shu made his way through the crowd to greet us (we previously did not know where he lived). We talked with the guys around us for a little bit, then Brother Shu invited us into his apartment and one of the Chinese guys also came in. To make the story short(er): that guy was Yukimatsu san, who also came to Kumamoto around the same time as Brother Shu, and Elder Gonzalez and I have been able to have a few lessons with him – along with Brother Shu, who has been indispensable in helping Yukimatsu san understand our message – and Yukimatsu san now has a baptismal date!
I definitely do not believe that it was mere coincidence that both Brother Shu and Yukimatsu san came to Kumamoto around the same time, nor that they live on the same floor in the same apartment building, nor that they are both studying Japanese at the same place, nor that Elder Braswell and I "randomly" found them on that night. Truly, the Lord’s hand is in our lives, guiding us to where we need to go – both we as missionaries and members, and those we meet who He is preparing to receive our message.
I am so grateful for the opportunity to be part of this work, and know that (especially as we receive transfer calls today) as long as I am willing and able to go where the Lord wants me to go, He will lead me where I need to be. I love this work so much! I also have loved hearing about missionary work not only from my younger brother (who is currently serving in Brazil), but also from my siblings and parents as well. It is great to hear that the Lord’s work is moving forward throughout the world – in Japan, Brazil, America, everywhere!
I love you all, and hope that you have a wonderful day, a superb week, and a great year!
p.s. Mom, thanks for sending the pictures! Like Kyle, I love seeing pictures of our family. Sorry that I haven’t been able to send any for a while; hopefully I will be able to send some soon. I love you!