Monday, January 27, 2014

Samurai Summit

This week had a lot of interesting things happen. But it was a way good week! We actually just got back from going to see a samurai castle in Hiroshima. It was way cool! I have always loved castles so it was way cool that there was one nearby. (pictures attached)

I may or may not have forgotten to put rice in the rice cooker....we had a nice delicious pot of curry vegetables and meat ready and then finally the rice cooker finished. "Yes!" We all exclaimed, only to open it and find a pot of strange reallllly dry rice because some shinmai (rookie) forgot to put the water in...oops.

We went over to the Tonga family's house and said goodbye to them, that was pretty dang said, we're all going to miss them so much. Sister Tonga and their the kids were so close to getting baptized when they found out they had to move. But she said she is still determined to get baptized and right when she gets back she's going to call her husbands uncle who is a bishop so they can get baptized and get to the temple. We went over, gave a card and testimony letters, and sung "God be with you till we meet again" Sister Tonga was crying pretty bad. 

Unfortunately Tohma Kyodai has gotten pretty sick and is in the hospital. We are all praying for him to get better. We went and visited and gave him a blessing, but he was pretty sick, and when his wife came she didn't seem to happy with us. But Tohma means the world to us. He really is one of the most beloved people you could ever meet. And without him none of these miracles in Saijo could have happened. 

Despite Tohma being sick this sunday was a pretty cool sunday! It was the fewest people we had, but with only 14 people there, we had 6 different countries represented, including Mongolia, America, China, Phillipines, Japan, and Iran. The Elders Quorum was way cool because it was just all these people, who to some people there countries might be enemies, but in the gospel we were all brothers, some americans, some chinese and an iranian, just sitting together talking about how service brings us joy. It was truly an amazing thing. 

Oh other good news with that, our recent convert Sho is doing way good! He is getting the priesthood next week! And he is already inviting several of his friends to learn about the gospel! He is so cool! 

Last P-day there was another pretty amazing miracle too. Elder Lamb (of the senior couple) was returning to  his apartment and he saw a couple moving in to their apartment. He passed by, but then had a really strong feeling he needed to offer his help, so he went down and said "I have 4 friends who will be here in a minute to come help" so he called the us and we came and helped them move in. They were an awesome family from China that spoke really good english, and they invited us to come back sometime. So we came back a few days later and it turned out way better than we ever could have expected!

We brought over some Tofu Cake, (Me and Elder Bloomfields specialty, we've made it probably at least 15 times, it's way good and super easy to make, investigators and members have loved it) and we brought a welcome note. They invited us inside and they were way way cool! Their name is the Lee family and they are studying engineering at the University. And they invited us to come make chinese dumplings with them for chinese new years on thursday we are way excited! And we also invited them to come to a family home evening activity we're doing tonight and the wife Bing Bing said she is going to come! They just had a baby 4 months ago so they are so perfect for accepting the gospel. 

I was praying the other night before I went to bed, and was just pondering what it will feel like to go home. Of course I will love to see all my family and friends again. But it is going to be so so hard. I have come to love this people and this place like nothing I ever have before. I feel like Ammon saying "I desire to dwell with this people for a time, yea perhaps until the day I die" I love these people here so much. They have a special place in the depth of my heart and I am going to cry so hard when I have to leave them. 

Good thing I still have over a year left! Yay!

But it's going by far to fast. =(

I love being a missionary, there is no place I'd rather be, I love you all!

Newly called samurai missionary,
Walton 長老

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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The Rugby Comeback and The Middle School Miracle + 1 Bonus Week!

Well in some ways this week was a trial of faith. Two weeks ago in a single day we found 7 new investigators (more than some areas in a single transfer) Then in the next two weeks we found no one. And then half the new investigators didn't show up to their appointments, and the other half dropped us after only 1 or 2 visits. But despite that trial there were miracles that far overcame all that!

There were far more than this, but I will share two of the most amazing from this week

The Rugby Comeback:

Remember the Tongan family? Whose last name was also Tonga? They have been here in Saijo for a long time. Brother Tonga is a member, but he has been less active since high school. And Sister Tonga is a strong christian in another faith. Recently She has made amazing progress and wanted to be baptized. But as they always do some obstacles appeared. She started to question her decision to be baptized. To make matters even worse. Brother Tonga's rugby contract has expired they will actually be returning to New Zealand in a few weeks making her emotions wild and further making the decision to be baptized difficult. She has really been struggling.

But yesterday the sisters were teaching her and asked her how she feels about baptism, she said "I still just don't know" And over comes brother Tonga. Who normally has been really passive about the gospel. Not really doing much or being especially involved. But we've been noticing a change in him the past few weeks. And now it is clear he has changed. At that moment he walks over to them and says boldly to Sister Tonga, "What do you mean you don't know? Don't you know that if you get baptized we can get sealed together in the temple? Our kids can grow up in the church! Think about what this means for our family." Even now I'm getting a little emotional because I know what a change must have come upon brother Tonga for him to have done this.

Also this week some people gave them champagne as a going away gift. And sister Tonga was going to drink it, but Brother Tonga comes up and says, "Hey if you're going to be learning with the missionaries and maybe getting baptized we can't do that." So they didn't.

Brother Tonga, though sitting quietly in inactivity most of his life, is rising up. Rising up to be a man of God, and from this his families lives and so many more will be changed forever.

The Middle School Miracle:

We've been trying to get a member to the Morita Families lessons for a while and finally we were able to get Brother Tohma to come. We thought he was going to meet at the church and drive over. But apparently he was walking, so we met at church and walked 30min to the Morita's. Brother Tohma has one leg longer than the other so we really struggled, but he gave it his all it was so amazing. Then we get there, and it turns out that the wife Sister Morita (Also one of the happiest kindest people I've ever met) was one of Brother Tohma's students in middle school. In fact she was his first student in the club he did when he moved to a new school. And she was the only one in that club, so they knew each other very well. But at that time she was really struggling. Because of family and other difficulties her life was really struggling and everyone was worried about her. Tohma kyodai especially. He prayed so often for her. And then finally 10 years later his prayer was answered when they let the missionaries into their home and began investigating the church, finally in his words, her chance at true happiness.

Needless to say that was a way good lesson. The morita family finally began to understand what this message really means. Whenever Tohma kyodai talked they listened intently to every word he said. And he is becoming the means to answer that prayer he prayed so long ago, that a poor struggling middle school girl might have help and find happiness in her life.

There were miracles so above and beyond this, but unfortunately my time wears thin.

I love you all and pray for you!

Elder Walton

January 13

Well transfers came and gone and.....

Nothing happened, in our whole district. Actually we were pretty surprised we thought for sure someone would transfer, it is pretty rare for a entire district to not change, but Saijo is experiencing so many miracles, and all 8 of us (plus God makes 9) are working so well together and so many miracles are happening I think that is why we all needed to stay at least for another 6 weeks to work together. I'm excited for that!

It was also new years which was pretty exciting! We got called by Tohma Kyodai (brother Tohma) who invited us to dinner at his house that night at 6. But before we left we got a call from the sisters who said they were bringing over a box from Tohmas for us, but wouldn't tell us what it was. We all met at our apartment building, and then Sister Ito begins to explain (even Sister Williams didnt know) That because on New years, people give their children gifts, and since we, the missionaries, are all like Brother Tohmas children he got us all G-shock watches (not cheap) with colors specifically chosen for us. We were pretty surprised, but so grateful. He is such an amazing man!

Then we went out to his house to have new years dinner. We come in and there is just this box on the table. We were a little confused. Then he opens it and inside is layer upon layer of all the most interesting crazy different unique Japanese food you can find. Fish eggs, strange sushi plants you name it it was there. Apparently it is a new years tradition. And us being all 4 American Elders he wanted us to experience/ see how well we could actually eat the really strange stuff that was there.

Elder Henderson struggled quite a bit, he saw the box and put his head in his hands saying, "oh no oh no oh no" But he made it through. I did much better than I thought, eating everything and telling him it was delicious, (though it was...different) Apparently I did the best on eating weird new food and he told me because of that he prophesied my Japanese would become really good. So I’m excited for that to come true!

At the end though we laughed about it and he brought out the classic super delicious american food he actually usually makes, this time a delicious turkey with cranberry sauce and crescants. It was a super fun night!

And then finally on Sunday Sho got confirmed! I actually got to do it, and I was a little nervous because I've actually never done anything like it before. But it was in english so it wasn't nearly as worrisome. It was a really amazing experience though. The spirit was so warmly and strongly there. Everyone in the circle could feel it. It's amazing when you give those blessings how the spirit really does guide you to know what God would have you say.

So you could say this was an awesome week!

I love you all and thank you for all your support! Deepen your conversion by continuing to read, pray, and participate in Sacrament and temple ordiances and you will find the source of greatest joy!

愛しています!(love you)
Walton 長老