Hello, everybody! How are you doing in your various locations? I am doing quite well here in Hofu, Japan!
Last week I mentioned that I may end up being the Lord’s popsicle by the end of this transfer. Well, lo and behold, we had the coldest day and most snow Hofu has seen for the past 20 years (this is relatively speaking, since it doesn’t usually snow much in Hofu). This picture, the view from our balcony, is actually from last week before the “big” snowstorm (probably 3 to 6 inches, it’s pretty much all melted by now) that we had the other day.
Before I received my mission call to Japan, I knew very little about this country. For example, I did not think that it would get very cold, nor that I would see any snow. When I was in Kumamoto last winter my companion and I got excited when it snowed a few flakes while we were out tracting; and then it snowed a few more flakes when we were at the castle for the New Year’s sunrise. Ah, the memories. 🙂
Anyway, the other day I was talking to my previous companion, Elder Colton, and he mentioned that Muraishi – and investigator that we found together – is progressing toward baptism next month and has determined to follow the Word of Wisdom for at least the next two weeks! It is interesting thinking back on how we met him. We were riding our bikes toward downtown Shimonoseki, contacting people on the street along the way, and he was one of them. We found out later that he had just arrived back from work and was simply walking the short distance between his car and house when we stopped and talked to him in the street – and now he’s progressing toward baptism! God really does know what He’s doing. He works in very mysterious ways.
Thinking back on the people that I have contacted who were later baptized, I don’t think that any of them were people who would be immediately identifiable as a “金人” (“golden person”).
About one year ago in Tsuboi there was a 60-something-year-old lady that Elder Yanagida and I contacted who was baptized after I left. Our first contact with her was at night, and she asked why in the world were we knocking on her door so late? That was definitely not what I would term a “golden” contact, but she agreed to meet the following day (at a more reasonable time of day), and was later baptized.
Sister Miyamura was an 84-year-old lady that Elder Klein and I contacted while housing some run-down apartments and meeting a lot of old people – who may be in their golden years, but not exactly the “golden” youth we were searching for – and she was really just another usual contact that we invited to church…and then she came…and then kept coming…and then was baptized. When I talked with him Elder Colton mentioned that she and Sister Fukatani, another recent convert, are going to the temple next month. Yay!
Brother Tanaka was just a street contact with whom the other missionaries talked and gave a leaflet, and then because Elder Flippo was nice Brother Tanaka decided to come to church a week-and-a-half later…and then kept coming..and then was baptized.
The Lord really does work in mysterious ways. I have met and taught various people that seemed “金人” but have not yet been baptized (but they will be!), and then most of the people whose baptisms I witnessed or who I helped teach and were later baptized definitely were not initially “金人”. This really is the Lord’s work. He is in charge, and I am grateful for the opportunity to become an instrument in His hands.
I love you all and hope you have a wonderful day, a superb week, and a fantastic year!