Richard, from Nigeria

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)!

Yes, I am here in Shimizu for at least one more transfer, but Elder Gonzalez has transferred to Hiroshima. I am sad to see him go, but my new companion – Elder Stump – is great! I can tell that we are going to see a lot of miracles this transfer – we already have!

One of the very interesting miracles we have already seen is relating to a man named Richard, who we ran into as he was leaving his apartment. He is a graduate student from Nigeria, currently studying Engineering at Kumamoto University. He came to Kumamoto University last October, before which he was studying at Kyushu University. While he was there, apparently he was taking the lessons from the Elders there. Unfortunately he is busy with school at the moment, but we were able to get his phone number and will definitely try to meet with him again. He said he it was a lot of fun meeting with the missionaries and talking about the Book of Mormon. It was definitely a miracle that we were able to meet him. If we had not been walking toward his apartment building at that exact moment, we would not have been able to meet him right as he was coming out the front door. In fact, we were actually intending to house the apartment building next to Richard’s, but the stairs heading up the hill to that apartment were near the entrance to his building. One of the things I have learned as a missionary so far is that Heavenly Father is very wise. 🙂 Somehow he knows how to align everything perfectly so that both we and those whom we meet can be exactly where we need to be at the exact moment we need to be there. Literally, if there were at most a 30-second-difference in the timing, we most likely would have missed that opportunity to meet Richard!

It makes me wonder how many similar opportunities we miss every time we choose to ignore a silent prompting. Like the prophets have said, God does not often get our attention by shaking us; there is usually no "pow!" to throw us into action. Most often God provides us with very small, very quiet promptings from the Holy Ghost, that urge us to follow a certain course of action at that moment. Also, Heavenly Father expects us to act in faith first, and then He will provide the miracles. In that instance with Richard, I do not remember feeling any particular impression of "we should go there." It was simply a choice that Elder Stump and I made based on the situation; we made a choice, moved our feet in the direction we decided to go, and God provided the miracle. As Moroni says, "that which is of God inviteth and enticeth to do good continually; wherefore, every thing which inviteth and enticeth to do good, and to love God, and to serve him, is inspired of God." If we know it is a good thing to do, then just do it!

I love this work! I love being an instrument in the Lord’s hands. Even though I am imperfect, He is perfect, and as long as I am humble enough to turn my will over to Him, He will be able to utilize me the way that He knows is best.

We also were able to set another baptismal date this week. This one was with a new investigator that Elder Oshima and I contacted while on splits last Monday. Elder Gonzalez and I taught him the Restoration on Wednesday, then Elder Stump and I taught him part of the Plan of Salvation yesterday, invited him to be baptized, and he accepted! That was definitely another small miracle.

Life is full of little miracles from Heavenly Father. There are so many that it can be quite difficult to express gratitude to the Lord for all of them!

I know that this is the Lord’s work, and I love it!

Thank you for emailing me every week! I love reading about what is going on in your lives, especially the little insights that each of you share. Whether short or long, I love reading the messages from each of you.

I love all of you, and hope that you have a superb day, a wonderful week, and a spectacular year!

Love,

マドセン 長老
Elder Madsen

p.s.

In response to Mom’s question: yes, "Coming of Age Day" is a real holiday in Japan. On that day, everybody that turned 20 last year (20 is the age you become an adult in Japan) celebrate on "Coming of Age Day" – unfortunately usually by drinking, smoking, and doing other things that they are now legal to do.

Also, Mom wrote about a true story that was shared during Stake Conference, about a dog who met his master at the train station every week before he went to work. After the man died, the dog still showed up there every week until it passed away. He became a homeless dog because whenever someone tried to keep him, he ran away to the train station. The dog’s name is Hachiko; I remember Elder Jensen mentioning that story once, and that it is from Japan. Yay, Japan!

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