Thursday, January 30, 2014
19 January 2014 - Trial of Faith
Well life in Saijo was swell this week. This week seemed to be Saijos trial of faith as far as investigators go but still cool miracles to share.
Miracle number 1 is - we have been praying for a member to be baptized or move in to Saijo to help us to build the branch and solidify the Lords kingdom here, and guess who moved in and came to church this Sunday? Well you can probably guess, considering more than half of our investigators are Chinese right now, yes a Chinese college student moved in and came to church this week. He had lost contact with the church for a time during his studies here in Japan, not knowing where to find it, but when he came to Saijo, his records randomly popped up a couple of weeks ago and we were able to contact him. At church, he said, "he hadn't been able to feel the spirit in awhile and he was so thankful and happy to be able to have the opportunity at church." He seems excited to help build this area into a branch. That's not an answer to prayers, just a coincidence you may say?
Well how about this miracle then...
Miracle number 2 has to do with the Morita family. This week Tohma Kyodai jointed (went out looking for investigators with the missionaries) with us. Before the lesson we thought he would have a car but then showed up without one, (he walks with a cane because one leg is longer than the other one), so we actually ended up walking a total of 60 minutes with his cane and limping for this lesson with the Morita's. But with hard work God gives success. Our plan was to teach the Morita's about prayer because that was something they had been lacking lately, and boy did that work out well. Upon entering their apartment Tohma Kyodai recognized Mrs. Morita as one of his students he had taught in Osaka about 10 years ago. He taught an art club class and at the time she was his only student so they got to know each other well, and from this Tohma Kyodai learned about her difficult family situation she was having and told us how both he and other teachers worried about her very much. Tohma told us that at the time he prayed very hard for her, that her situation would be able to change someday and she could be happy with a happy family. Now here 10 years later, and in a city that is over 5 hours away, we find ourselves in the same apartment as the girl he prayed for, teaching her about Christ's message and how she can have such a happy family for all time and eternity. Tohma Kyodai said he was so happy to see she now had a kind husband and the miracles that God places in our lives. God has a plan for all of his children and answers prayers. It may not always be in ways that you expect or how you want it but in his time and his way, he will help you in the way that will be of most benefit to you.
We met with Sho a couple of times this week and even went to a Japanese drum show he performed in! It was pretty fun. It is amazing how much he has grown and changed in just the past month. He is going to receive the Aaronic Priesthood next week and will be able to start blessing the sacrament every week! We are excited for him.
So things with the Tonga family got a little bit complicated. Tonga Kyodai is at the ripe old age of 37, and therefore unfortunately wasn't offered a new contract to play this year. So sadly the family is moving back to New Zealand by F I think. Things looked a little gloomy at first, with a lot of the time going to be taken away from moving stuff and saying goodbye to friends and such. Trying to put all of that on top of teaching all of the lessons in just 2 weeks. It seemed rough and Lilly (the mom) still wasn't 100% sure about it and she was kinda backing away a bit because she has had other siblings go less active and she is nervous about going less active herself, but she was challenged to continue taking all of the lessons as if she were getting baptized on the 2nd and see how she feels by then. The Shimai (Sister missionaries) are mostly teaching her now because that is just more convenient because we can't always enter the apartment if Manako isn't home, but the lesson last night the Shimai said Lilly was like "yeah I'm just still nervous about it, I just want to be sure that I am doing this baptism for me and not for anyone else," and then at that point Manako walked in the room and said "Lilly! don't you understand that if you get baptized we can be sealed in the temple for all eternity, and our kids as well can be raised in the church?" haha We were like yeahhh! Manako is pulling through! He is the man! Pretty funny too. The very first time they came to church was because they had been invited to come to a meal thing for my birthday, which was after church, When she had been thinking about baptism she said she asked Manako, "what do you think about baptism?" He was just like I have already been baptized! I don't wanna be baptized again!" and she was like no not for you, for me! and Manako just said, "oh yeah, yeah I guess that would be good. Many ups and downs with the Tongas lately but Manako has been helping us out quite a bit it seems! Keep them in the prayers.
We met with Gary last week for the first time in 2 months. He has a lot of pressure on him, 2 jobs, school, finding a profession, and his wife being pregnant and always asking for his help, and we told him how through faith and putting Gods things first all of things can become easier, and we are meeting with him again on Wednesday. Hopefully he continues to progress. He told us again he wants to be baptized, but feels he should be able to come to church regularly first which is muri (difficult) right now because of work and life. So there is something to work on.
Well those are the miracles I wish to share this week. I hope you can all realize how strong the power of prayer really is. You can strengthen your own relationship with God by just simply having the desire to talk to him. You can be guided by him, feel his love, help others, and best of all know of his plan for you. I encourage all of you to truly thank Heavenly Father for all of the many blessings you have in your life, you may find that he has been in your life more than you had expected. I hope you are all doing well and healthy. I pray for you everyday.