Hello, everybody! How are you doing in your various locations? I am doing quite well here in Hofu, Japan!
This week has been miraculous! Well, Elder Rowley caught a cold, so that’s unfortunate, but other than that it has been quite joyful!
The other day we met a man who had met with sister missionaries in Hofu about 20 years ago. We talked with him a bit – a lot in English (he is a retired Japan Air Force pilot he lived in Texas for a year during his career). We weren’t able to set up a specific appointment, but he mentioned that he lives with his daughter and said that we could come over sometime. So, we gave him a flier and intended to visit again soon.
On Saturday night we met a 78-year-old man named Tamura who said he isn’t interested in religion, but is interested in seeing what church is like and promised to come the following day.
The next day, since Elder Rowley was sounding quite miserably sick I was wondering whether we shouldn’t stay home and get him some rest. However, we decided to go to church, and while we were waiting who should show up…? Not Tamura! However, somebody else came! Ishioka, the daughter of the retired Air Force pilot, showed up around 9:50 along with her two daughters 4- and 7-year-old daughters. As everybody was introducing themselves they soon discovered that Ishioka’s older daughter is the same age as our branch president’s seven-year-old daughter, and what’s more they also attend the same elementary school! They sat together throughout Sacrament Meeting and became fast friends.
After sacrament meeting Ishioka’s two daughters went to primary – where they discovered that Ishioka’s younger daughter is the same age as our branch president’s four-year-old daughter (they also became instant friends). We would have brought Ishioka with us into gospel principles class, but instead President Asato (our mission president’s first counselor, who was visiting our branch), in his very exuberant manner (I love him!), insisted that we have a lesson. Well, to be short(er) in writing, we had a lesson with Ishioka, President Asato, and two other members of the branch, and set up another appointment for Thursday. The Lord works in mysterious, miraculous ways!
My sister Kimball recently sent me a little message that reminded me of something I have realized more and more throughout my mission, which is that God really does want us to be happy right now. I believe that somebody said at some point in time (sorry, not very specific, but I imagine it has been said by more than one person, anyway) that eternity is now; it doesn’t start after we die. Therefore, we can find true eternal joy right now! That is really the core of the message that we share with people. Not only can you have incredible joy in heaven, but God can help you make heaven out of your current circumstances, no matter what they may be. And that truly is miraculous.
I love the Lord’s work!
I love you all, and hope you have a wonderful day, a superb week, and a happy year!