Week 107 - October 28, 2013
Aloha,About four weeks ago a man walked into the church after services had all ended and was met by two of the the elders serving here. They sat down with him and listened as he explained that his mother had recently passed and he was now left alone in the world. He was lost and scared and depressed. They began teaching him about our Heavenly Father's wonderful plan of salvation and soon realized that they were in need of member help, somebody that could relate and communicate better with him. They went to the bishop who suggested the Kubota couple, an elderly couple in the ward. They joined the lesson and Junichi cried and cried and cried as they taught him about how God loves him and about how he can be with his family forever. He left the church that day with a smile on his face.
He came back later that week for English class, sports night, and another gospel lesson. He progressed quickly in the gospel and was baptized this past Sunday evening. With his mother's death he was at a point where he was seriously contemplating taking his own life. He had the courage to seek help and was connected with the missionaries and the church. He says he was, "given hope, something that we cannot live without." He also says, "We can't live in the world alone." His life changed when he learned that he had many brothers and sisters who love him. His heart was changed when he learned through prayer that God was there and truly loved him. We've had a great week here in the mission.
We were blessed to experience the miracle of Junichi being baptized yesterday evening. It was a great service. The sisters serving here, Sister Brown and Sister Lopez, sang 'My Heavenly Father Loves Me' in Japanese accompanied by a member Yoza Masaaki and his own arrangement of the song. The chapel was filled with a truly angelic and beautiful chorus. It was awe-inspiring. Junichi bore testimony and it was so pure and sincere.
I've felt the spirit more lately than ever, something I've been striving for. I have felt joy in my heart often and it brings tears to my eyes. I spoke last Sunday in sacrament meeting. It was a spiritual experience in itself as I bore my testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I have a thriving testimony that the church is true. The gospel is true. I love my family. I love serving.
I had two other opportunities to bear my testimony in a large setting this week as we had two zone conferences, one on Tuesday and another on Thursday. They were both great and very spiritual meetings. They both went from 9:00 am to about 6:00 pm (although scheduled to end at 5:00 pm.) The returning missionaries bore testimony in the end and that's always a very spiritual and inspiring experience for everyone.
Last week Saturday we had an activity with about 70 YSA's from the mission and a little of the surrounding areas. We were able to coordinate for 50 missionaries from our mission to participate as well and we had a great day. We began in the morning with some training, mostly from President Wada but a little from Elder Medeiros and I. Then we were assigned companions and areas, had a quick lunch, and some time to set goals before we headed out for a few hours. Everyone came back with various experiences and things they learned. The missionaries returned to their areas and the YSA's had a nice testimony meeting to conclude. We had two overlying goals/purposes with the activity. One, to inspire the YSA's to serve missions. Two, to inspire and help them to nurture their friends with the gospel. We feel like we did very well in accomplishing both. It was a great day.
Our sacrament meeting this past Sunday was put on by the primary as they had their yearly presentation. It was great as always. Then Sunday evening before the baptismal service the YSA's of Kichijoji ward had a family home evening activity in the Wada's home. That was a lot of fun and very good for them.
The Friday and Saturday before then we were on exchange in an area called Hodogaya. I worked with an Elder McCarty from Stockton, Utah and Elder Medeiros worked with Elder Stevens from Gilbert, Arizona. They're a young companionship and working very hard. We had a wonderful time and talked to many people. We kept track, and out of the about 7.5 hours we were able to spend out talking to people we had meaningful conversations with 65 people between the two companionships. There was a typhoon that hit during the exchange, but the timing of it couldn't be better as it hit during the night and
passed just as our morning study and lunch finished up. There have been a few typhoons lately and more to come, but they aren't as strong as we normally consider typhoons/hurricanes to be in the states. They're strong rain and wind storms, but nothing really scary.
We've been doing great although I hope Elder Medeiros and I can begin teaching more. We've been doing a lot of finding lately and making a lot of new friends, but we've been a little busy and haven't been able to set teaching appointments with many of them.
I love you all so much. Thank you for all you do and are. Take care.
P.S. He was Maui right.