Week 88 - June 18, 2013
It has been an eventful and miracle-filled week here in Nakano. There have been so many times when we have just been in awe of the Lord's hand in the work.
Elder Hamada went on exchange with a zone leader companionship on Tuesday so Elder Olson and I took him by train to meet them. On our way back, Elder Olson and I ended up taking a commuter train on accident when we were supposed to be on a local. So instead of stopping at every stop and taking us to our station (which was two stations from the station we left from) the train went far past where we wanted to stop and we had to get on another train to come back. The train back was super full of people so we were packed in tight. When we got back to our station we tried to get off... but there was no moving. We tried and tried but the doors closed and the train went off to the next stop. Elder Olson and I were laughing, which was pretty funny in itself because we were packed in so tight. Anyway, the train went a little further and got to the end of the line where we're able to get off. We got onto another train to get back to our station and I was able to sit down as this train was pretty open. A college-aged guy gets on the train and sits kind of near when I was, I say hi and start a conversation, and ends up, he's met missionaries before and is really interested in meeting with us! Miracle! Elder Olson and I had to go through all that so we could meet him.
Later that day it's raining and Elder Olson and I are out on the streets trying to find people to talk to and a lady rides up behind us on a bicycle and asks if we're Mormon missionaries and if we teach English. We tell her about our English Class and English Sunday School and she's excited to start coming. It's so good to know that we're recognized, even in the rain under umbrellas and from behind.
The next day Elder Olson and I were on the trains going to pick Elder Hamada up and there's an African guy sitting down listening to some loud music and playing a game on his phone. Africans are really nice and always a lot of fun to talk to so Elder Olson and I were just waiting for him to glance up so we could say hi. He looked up and even before we could say hi he was standing up and saying, "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints?" Ends up, he was baptized in Nigeria where he's from and hasn't been able to find a a church since he's been in Japan. We were able to exchange phone numbers and hopefully we can help him attend church!
Sunday evening Elder Olson was looking through his phone and calling a bunch of contacts that he didn't know. One of the people he called was willing to meet with us the next day, yesterday. So last night we met him at the nearest station and went with him to an FHE that the single adults hold each week. He's almost 18 years-old, never went to high school, and really into rock music. We've brought investigators to FHE a few times before and the SA's have never been amazing at fellowshipping them. Of course a lot of people say hi and introduce themselves, but it's hard to have them really become friends. Well, last night was completely different. We brought this young man and a bunch of members became good friends with him right away and they all had a great time together. They ended up taking him all the way back to his home after. He's someone the gospel will completely change... and the path for him accepting it is being laid very well. We'll see him this Saturday as the members who befriended him invited him to an activity being held that day.
And that brings me to one of our investigators, Yuichi. I don't think I've ever written about him, but he's in his 70's and a very learned, smart man. He's in very good health and has been to about 97 of the about 200 countries of the world. He speaks five languages fluently, and was a professor teaching French for a good while. Anyway, he's had contact with the church here in Japan for about the last 10 years and has been attending our English Class for a while. He absolutely loves people and has traveled the world seeing many different cultures and lifestyles. He has noticed a major difference in the people of the church compared to everyone else he has ever met. He is absolutely astonished with our families, and just the happiness of members. Lately he's been meeting with members of the ward as well as three companionship's of missionaries, trying to learn as much as he can about the faith. In our most recent visits this week he's brought up baptism and it seems like he's really been thinking about it. There are unseen forces working on him. It's very apparent.
Also, on our way to him a few days ago we ran into an investigator that's been a little busy and hard to meet with. We were able to set an appointment with him. And leaving Yuichi-san's home we met a man out for a walk who said he would like to hear more about our church and what we're doing here. We have an appointment set with him for next week.
Today we had the opportunity to attend the temple, and today was actually the last opportunity we had to be gathered together as a mission before it split. President Budge and we will be making transfer calls this upcoming Saturday morning and transfer day is Monday. That will be the last change before the Japan Tokyo South Mission opens, so it's a big call! Wherever missionaries are after this transfer will determine what mission they'll be in.
The Yamashita's, the office couple for the new mission, arrived a few days ago and are in the mission home being trained now. Elder Olson and I will be working with them a lot when the new mission opens.
It's an exciting time to be a missionary!! It's an exciting time to be alive!! I hope you're all having a great time back home with summer and all that's going on with that. Remember who you are. Remember you're children of God. Remember that you're missionaries just as I am. I love you so much!!! Have a great week!