Hello, everybody! How are you doing in your various locations? I am doing quite well here in Shimonoseki, Japan!
This week has been rather wonderful and very interesting!
We had two great lessons with our 84-year-old investigator Miyamura. When we taught about repentance and invited her to repent each day, at first she seemed a little confused and then said that she already does that in her prayers each night. She’s amazing! We also taught about
keeping the Sabbath Day holy. Previously she had done grocery shopping after church on Sunday, so we asked if she could shop on a different day instead, and she committed to do so. Then, on Sunday after Sacrament Meeting (when she usually leaves to go shopping), she said that since she doesn’t have to shop on Sunday anymore she might as well stay for Sunday School. Miyamura also told us that she is beginning to understand and remember more of what she is learning in our lessons and church, and also from reading the Book of Mormon, which is great! She is progressing quite rapidly, and we have great hopes that she will be prepared to be baptized on August 1st.
On Thursday evening we were supposed to attend Priesthood Executive Committee meeting to coordinate a concert that the branch asked us to perform next Saturday. Well, the meeting ended up being cancelled (which we discovered after about half-an-hour of waiting and chatting with one member that was there), by which time we only had about 30 minutes left before curfew. So, we prayed and as we left the church we decided to contact a guy that was walking down the road. His name is Takase, and as it turns out he is a former investigator! We weren’t able to set up an appointment with him at the time, but we will definitely follow up. After him we decided to walk a certain direction, contacted two more people who said they weren’t interested, stopped in front of Mister Donuts considering whether we should start housing a nearby apartment building (which had already been housed previously), when we saw a college student walking out of a nearby parking lot and decided to contact him. His name is Hasegawa, and we set up an appointment to meet again at the church on Saturday. Then we
bought some donuts, ran home, and made it in exactly at 9:00pm.
The next day the other Elders were at the church working on the Area Book – Planer App (which we recently had activated on our iPads; just as an aside: this first half week using the app has been a bit of a pain trying to figure out all of its little quirks, but hopefully things will smooth out a bit more as we go along), when suddenly who shows up at the church but Hasegawa, the college student we had just contacted the night before! Apparently he was in the area and had some free time, so he decided to come to the church and see if he could meet with us (not knowing that we do not live there; when we mentioned during Missionary Coordination Meeting on Sunday morning that Hasegawa had randomly showed up at the church because he had free time, the members asked us if he is alright in the head; we laughed and assured them that he’s not crazy, just golden). We were able to get to the church, gave him a tour in which we pointed out a picture on the wall (Christ visiting the Americas), which led into a conversation about the Book of Mormon, after which he asked us in very humble Japanese, "If one were to want to receive such a book, how would one go about doing so?" Of course we gave it to him then and there, which he was very surprised and humble to receive. He also said that he wants to read the Bible, so we will see if we have one in the apartment that we might be able to give to him.
The following day we had a great lesson with Hasegawa in which we taught the Restoration, invited him to be baptized, and he accepted! He has a date for September 12th, and we will be meeting with him
again tomorrow evening.
Currently the interior walls of our church building are being repainted. On Friday as we were riding our bikes to an area where we were planning on housing, we stopped and contacted a man that was walking along the street. His name is Ochiai. We introduced ourselves as volunteers for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and he asked if that was the church in Yamanota (the name of the area where the church is located), to which we responded in the affirmative. He then told us that he is working there right now. Ochiai is one of the workers painting our church! We set up an appointment for the following day during his lunch break; however, when we arrived all of the plastic that had been laying on the floor (to catch drips) had been removed, so we were wondering if they had finished. To our great delight, this morning when we arrived at the church Ochiai and his co-workers were here again setting up for the day’s work (in fact, they are currently painting just outside the door as I sit in the clerk’s office writing this email)! God certainly works in mysterious ways.
After we had met Ochiai the other day, we continued riding to our intended housing area. As we had been looking at the map during planning the previous night, Elder Whisenant had felt very particularly that on the south side of the second floor of a particular apartment in that area there was somebody that we needed to talk to. So, when we arrived at that apartment we went to the south side of the second floor, and the very first door we knocked on we had a nice conversation with a 50- or 60-something-year-old man to whom we gave a Book of Mormon. The only other person that responded in that apartment said she wasn’t interested. Both Elder Whisenant and I definitely felt that he was the person we were supposed to contact there.
I know that this is the Lord’s work! It is wonderful to be able to witness such great miracles! I love being a missionary.
There is too much to write about this week, and not enough time! Arrghh!!! Oh, well. That’s how life goes!
I love you all, and hope that you have a wonderful day, a super week, and a fantastic year!