Friday, December 27, 2013

Christmas in Saijo!

Merry Christmas Everyone! 

I don't have a lot of time so this one will be short. But this week was super amazing! 

We have a lot of investigators with miracles happening and some real progress being seen. Hopefully at least one of them will be able to be baptized by the end of the transfer.

This past week we went to a school as the 8 elders in the Hikari ward. There were 150 kids we played games with and did a presentation on christmas. It was such a great opportunity and the kids loved us and were so happy! We made a tunnel at the end and were giving all of them high hives. It was super fun! I know that when those kids are grown up and missionaries knock on their door they are for sure going to listen to them. 

Also yesterday we had a christmas fireside in our new Saijo church room! It looks beautiful and it was such a successful fireside! We weren't sure how many would come, but we ended up getting like 12 non members there, including investigators english students and others it was super great!

Everyday there are miracles I love it!

Love you all! Elder Walton

Monday, December 9, 2013

It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas!

We had so many awesome miracles this week! 

Remember the guy we visited who went from "no im buddhist" to being full of interest? We were able to go back and teach Morita san and his wife this week and it was so good! We were worried about his wife having interest (we've been having tough time with interested husbands with uninterested wives) but she was sooo dang nice, and she seemed just as interested as he was, and guess what!? They now have a baptismal date! It's is a pretty dang awesome miracle! Finding and teaching families is not super easy here. But God can work so many miracles if we have faith and believe.

And actually on Thursday while we were weekly planning we got a call,
"huh who could this be" we thought.
"Shoots its president Gustafson! What did we do wrong!?" Was our first thought. 
But he told us he had been reading our letters, and while he was reading mine, about how we had fasted and prayed for a family and found Morita san and what a miracle it was, he said he was just so caught up in my letter that he felt like he should call us. And we were able to tell him we taught them again and they have baptismal dates. "Thank you for your hard work elders, this helps me really believe that we can baptize in Japan" 

Now I know this really wasn't anything due to me and Elder Bloomfield, we really were just instruments in Gods hands as he performed a miracle, but it is so cool to be a part of that! I think that is my favorite feeling of being a missionary. That feeling of whether or not people are listening, as you give up your whole soul to God, he uses you to do his work, though me may not be able to do some things, he can do all things and perform so many miracles for his children.

Also it's official that we will have the first Saijo church on the 22nd. Which we will be so cool! We have a whole bunch of people we're planning on bringing including the Morita family. Honestly we'll probably end up with more investigators than members the first week. 

And of course there is our main man Sho. He has had his problems with the commandments. But he is progressing bit by bit, he is following the word of wisdom, and has committed to follow the law of chastity. And though his family and upbringing is pretty athiestic he has slowly transformed the way he thinks and speaks, from that there is no God to that there is. It's kind of funny actually, he'll say he doesn't entirely believe in God, but then he gives some of the most sincere prayers I've heard. More sincere than prayers I've heard by many a member of the church. If all goes well, he will be baptized by Christmas! 

The change to become a member is a huge change for him, but he is such a trooper, and he has tasted how the holy ghost feels and influences his life. I love him so much.

Don't give up when things are hard, I've come to believe that some of the greatest blessings that God gives us, are the ones that come through trials, at least that is what I have learned on my mission so far. And though I know they will hurt, and not be fun, and I'll probably wish that they are over when I get to them haha, at the same time, I look forward to them, because I know how they can bring me to the lord, and refine me to be a better, more loving, more compassionate person than perhaps anything else can. So bring them on. 

Love you all so much! I pray for you everyday!

Elder Walton


We got to go to Miyajima again this week It was so dang gorgeous!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The Best Week of Miracles Yet!

Wow was probably the most miracle filled week yet, so I'm going to have to speed through to share them all! 

First off. It's official! We have the keys to the room we will have church in Saijo!!! We probably won't have church there till maybe the 15, but from now on we can use it for lessons and for all sorts of stuff! It's so great! I'm so dang excited!!!!!!!! =D =D

Sho has had his struggles, but he is getting closer and closer to baptism every day. He will probably be baptized in the next two weeks! I'm so excited for him! He's already given up tea, which was pretty hard for him. He doesn't think he has that much faith, but he really truly does!

Also we had three thanksgiving dinners this week. Man am I stuffed! Two of them were with american families in Hiroshima and the third is actually a bit of a thanksgiving miracle. 

So a senior couple here in Hiroshima Zone was thinking a while back, Hey lets get the missionaries at our place for a zone thanksgiving dinner. But then as the zone grew and grew from 18 to now like 40 they realized we needed it at the church. So they went to costco and asked them if they could cook the turkeys in the ovens at costco since the church didn't have room for turkeys. But they said they wouldn't. Undeterred Elder Schroeder wrote a letter to the CEO of Costco essentially saying, There are 38 young men and women serving as volunteers for two years far away from their family, and we just want to give them a thanksgiving dinner, we will still love costco if you can't help, but we would love to just give them a good thanksgiving dinner. So the CEO got that letter and then called the head of the costco here and said, "Give these people everything they need to have a thanksgiving dinner" So we had a thanksgiving dinner entirely paid for by Costco. It was so delicious and it really helped me feel God's love despite being so far away from home.

Another miracle is haven't been able to meet Gary lately, but we ran into him and his wife at the 100 yen store the other day. It was such a random chance, but it allowed us to talk to his wife, (who we havent seen in 3 months and is what is holding him back) and helped us to be able to hopefully get her and them to something where they can feel the members love, so that she will be okay with Gary being baptized. He is so close!

Then on Tuesday night we were housing and we met a man named Morita san. At first he said, " Oh I'm buddhist" "Cool you're buddhist? What do you believe as a buddhist?" we replied. "I actually don't believe anything" (Which is pretty typical of the "buddhists" here. So we both laughed with him. (He's a super cheery guy) Then shared some of our message and he said "Oh Im not really interested) But for some reason I felt impressed to share how before I came to Japan I didn't like curry and wasn't interested in eating it, but now after I tried it I love it. And he was like "Ahhhh now I see haha" "So can we can come back and visit and share our message?" "sure" he said, so we set an appointment to come back thursday night.

Thursday night we went back, and I wasn't sure if he would let us or not, but we came and he let us come into his house, (actually pretty dang rare) and we sat down. He brought out his 1 year old child (so so cute) and we talked and shared the message of the restoration with him. He went from "Oh im not interested" on tuesday, to at the end where he said he was "kyomi bukai" or "full of interest/really interested" That is the one word every Japanese missionary wants to hear! We have been praying and fasting to find a family this month for Saijo. And since that we went from having all single investigators to now, more than half of our investigators or potential ones are now families including two other families we've found in the last two and a half week that might listen. "Ask and ye shall receive knock and it shall be opened unto you"

This gospel is so true and changes the lives of so many! Thank you for all your support! I love you all so much!

Elder Walton