Monday, February 24, 2014

Gate to Narnia

This was a pretty exciting week! Lately me and Elder Rees have been
working with so many different people. A lot of them are still at
beginning stages, and not all are really solid. But it is so nice to
have people to work with instead of just out on the streets every hour
of the day.

There were so many awesome miracles that happened this week. For one
this weekend Takaki san got baptized!! =D

If you will remember, (probably not but that's okay) Me and Elder Wynn
found her on splits one night. And that night we felt impressed to
teach her about baptism and invite her to be baptized, which right at
the doorstep she said yes! Then we asked her if she could come again,
and in her words she said she didn't even say it, but something inside
of her just said, "hai." Yes you can! After that the sisters taught
her, but now after several months that woman I met at an apartment and
invited to be baptized several months ago finally did. It was a really
joyful day.

And another amazing miracle! Me and Elder Rees went to go visit a less
active and then were housing around that area. It was about 815 and we
had finished all the houses near bye and thought, "well should we
start finding on the way back home now?" But then we see this house
way out there in the middle of a rice field. "Should we go out to
Narnia?" Elder Rees asks. "Lets do it!" So we left our bikes and ran
out there. We get to it and it has this huuuuge gate. And its a pretty
big nice Japanese house. We ring the intercom, "Hey we share a message
that has brought happiness to our families" "Wait a second" a female
voice said. (in Japanese of course) Then out the side door grandpa
comes out. We start talking to him about how cool the house is, how it
has this awesome gate, and how we felt unworthy to even be there it
was so cool. Then a kid comes out the side door, and then a mom come
too. Then finally the main doors slide open and grandma says, "Hey its
cold! Everyone come inside! You dozo come on in!" So they invited us
in, fed us snacks. Talked with us, showed us around and we met all
their family, learned all their names and even their dog Kotaro! It
turns out the grandmother is Christian and she said we can come back
and share our message of Christ with their family! We left after an
hour just stunned at what had just happened. We entered a gate and
hadn't even realized we really had entered a Narnia miracle.

I'm so grateful to be out here doing the work of the Lord. It really
is so so amazing! Sometimes there are disappointments, especially when
those you love don't realize what this message can do for them, but I
feel like Ammon in Alma 26, loving and joying to simply be an
instrument in the hands of God.

Love you all!

Elder Walton

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 A burial mount of an ancient Japanese king,

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Me with hawke vision searching diligently for people prepared by God.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Two More Join The Ranks

Dear Loved Ones,

So transfers did come and go and it turns out my new companion is none other than Elder Rees! The missionary I came to Japan and rode the bus down to Sasebo and served alongside in Sasebo my first transfer! When our president told me I was so surprised, "Wait....really Elder Rees? What!? Yeaahhh!!" I was so so excited! There are few other missionaries I would have picked to be companions with if I had a choice. I can already tell this is going to be the best transfer yet! We work so well together, and we're really trying to focus on helping the people we have, always thinking of them planning for them and trying to figure out what would be best for them, and we've already seen tons of miracles!

But it was sad saying goodbye to Elder Bloomfield who I served 4.5 months with here in Saijo. We had to wake up way early and take him down to the Hiroshima station where he took a bullet train to his new area. And had our final goodbye and hug, I knew he'll do great down in Kagoshima!

There were a lot of interesting, good, amazing, bad and miraculous things that happened this week, but it was so great!

The other day we were teaching a young father on the street, when a white european rode by on a bike, looked at us and said, "Elders" and nodded his head. "What did he just say?" And then later he rode by and while we were still teaching he said, "Oh Sumimasen" (excuse me) and handed both of us Reeses chocolate cups, then just rode off exclaiming, "Keep doing God's work!" We were stunned and didn't know what to do, and then we realized, "Dang, he could be a member or just way prepared and doesnt even know we have a church in Saijo, we have to find him!" So we raced in the direction he went, but he was gone. We have no idea who he was, but it seemed like he must live in Saijo as he had a bike. We are praying everyday that if it is God's will we can find him again, and he can join us in this work here in Saijo.

Earlier this week we went to a member in Hikari named the Tanaka family, and also there was Brother Nakamura and his wife, a hikari member. His wife actually has an Im a mormon video where she talks about how much she loves music. And actually one of their daughters is serving in the same apartment as my friend Sister Tosha Kohler! Small world huh? I took a picture with them and sent it to her. Those two families are some of my favorite families though. They are so full of love for us and for everyone around them and always have a huge smile!

But the coolest miracles this week have been in the lives of the families we have begun and been helping, it is crazy the work God is doing here.

Morita Family: Brother Shutto also a young father, was able to come and joint with us and he was so good! We really sought to find out what they think about this message what it can mean for their family, and what it means to us. By the end of the lesson I really think they saw how they wanted this in their life, and they told us they don't know yet it God is real but they said "kamisama ga itte hoshii" (We want him to be real) . They want God to be real and they want to know, and when they do they said they want to be baptized! So we set up a date, and then they even told us they would come to church that Sunday. Unfortunately though their baby got sick so the couldn't come, but they really were planning on it, and are coming next time, they are progressing so much!

Gary and his family: Our chinese college student who has been ready to be baptized for so long named Gary had an amazing miracle in his life. We have never known his address or been able to meet him there or get his wife to meet any members really, but this week they are moving apartments. And here is the miracle. There new apartment is actually in the same building that the senior couple the lambs live, but not only the same building but the exact same floor. Tell me that is not an amazing miracle from God, because I know it is and I know that he really is working to help his precious Gary be able to come unto him.
Lee Family: We were able to meet the chinese family we helped move in, the Lees. And it was really good! It is hard for them because they have been told their whole life that God is not real, but especially the wife, bing bing really wants to know if God is real. The husband doesn't have a huge desire yet, but he is okay with us coming over on Sunday to share the message with his family and he said, "Maybe when she finds the God I will want to too." As he feels the spirit and sees the change in her life he will begin to have that desire too I know.

So if all goes well in this upcoming week or two, we may very well be teaching 3 families! What a miracle! That is not common, I think, almost anywhere and especially not in Japan. God truly does have people and families everywhere in the world, and definitely here in Saijo prepared to hear the gospel. It is truly amazing! I'm so grateful to be a part of it.
I have been seeing myself get closer and closer to what Christ teaches about "he who loses his life shall save it" in losing myself in the work. My last thought before I fall asleep is about how I can help the people I teach, and my first thought in the morning is how I can touch their hearts. At night I am so full of gratitude and love for this people that I am overwhelmed with emotion. I'm getting closer and closer to the edge, letting go entirely of me, and giving it all to him, and I've never been happier in my life.

I love you all. Keep searching to come closer to God, and you will find how much he is there and loves you.

Your Son, Brother, Family, Friend,

Elder Walton
Saijo, Hiroshima Japan

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Me and The Nakamura's who have an im a mormon video about music.

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Elder Bloomfield and our beloved new members Haishan and Shunka

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Sho our recent convert teaching Haishan an even newer convert how to tie a tie after church. This was a precious moment all the missionares loved it.

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Snowy Saijo.

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A slightly crazy member in Takasu who came to Stake conference with a fake gun whip, hat and all telling everyone he was Indiana Jones.

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Haishan and Shunka's Baptism!

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Me and Elder Bloomfield right before he boarded his bullet train out

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Me and Elder Rees!

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Our eikaiwa class.

Two More Join The Ranks

Dear all,

Well today is transfer call day. I still don't know who my new companion is. We haven't gotten calls, but my companion has heard from multiple people that he is transferring to be a zone leader in Kagoshima. So now everyone in Saijo knows, but me....that's cool I guess.
But anyways this week was so amazing because....
Haishan and Shunka got baptized!! (I will send pictures next week as I don't have a lot of time now.)

They are so amazing and they are so strong. Especially Haishan. He has so much faith and will be a way strong priesthood leader someday. Saijo has gone from 2 members when I got here to like 7 now! Some having moved in and 3 being baptized. God is really performing miracles here!

The most amazing thing I've just really felt is how much God has really answered the prayers of his servants here. First transfer they prayed for just a solid investigator they could meet and then Sho came, second transfer we prayed for a family that could help Saijo to be found. Then Haishan and Shunka and the Moritas came. Then we prayed for a family progressing towards baptism, and the Morita's and they were progressing. Then finally this transfer we prayed for a couple to get baptized. And Haishan and Shunka did! It is so amazing how God has been answering our prayers.

Then also a few months ago the sisters were working so so hard, all day everyday finding and having no success and no investigators to teach. So we prayed that we could find investigators for them to teach. And then this transfer we found investigator after investigator and like 4 moms for them to teach. It was a way cool miracle!

I'm so grateful to be out here. I love being able to just keep an eye single to the glory of God doing his work here in Hiroshima Japan.

Love you all and keep up the good work!

Elder Walton

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The Rise of Sho

Dear Loved Ones,

This was an amazing week here in Saijo!

This week we also had some interesting experiences. On Tuesday we returned home to our apartment and found all the lights off and none of them working, so we went to check the breaker box, all the switches were up it seemed, hmm that's weird I thought. So I pull out my electronic dictionary to use as light. But it didn't work either! Aliens? But after switching the batteries it did turn on so it we figured it was just the apartment. We realized later that sitting on our table was a letter from the electric company, and because it was in kanji (chinese characters) we hadn't tried to read it. But after a short language study we realized it told us exactly that that would happen....oops. But 2 hours later and a call to the mission office it was all sorted out.

Then that night we had a dinner with a businessman who owned a newspaper company. We wanted to see if we could get free english class fliers in a paper. Apparently though because it's taught by a religious group its basically impossible. :( Shimatta

But on Thursday we had an amazing miracle! Like I said in my last email, we got to make dumplings with the chinese family we helped move in, the Lee family. It was way fun and delicious! They are a super nice family, but what's more, they said we could come and teach them our message next sunday! The chinese people here are so prepared its amazing! I'm so excited! And then even better this week we found another chinese college student with the name of Lee. And we were able to set up a lesson to teach him the day before! So in two days we will be teaching 3 different chinese people named Lee in Hiroshima Japan. Who would have guessed?

(Us making dumplings with the Lees)

I've gotten better and better at really talking with the Japanese people on the street rather than just talking at them. It's sometimes hard because Japanese people are pretty reserved with strangers, even if they aren't two foreigners trying to convert them to their religion. But we discovered that if we first give them the opportunity to help us, ask them maybe for directions, or places we should go on pday, or delicious restaruants, people that would immediately shut us off and not let us share anything open up so quick, become comfortable and are willing to let us share our message. It also is making missionary work so much more fun!

This week we also taught Makoto san. At the beginning of the lesson Makoto san didn't seem like he had much desire to learn, but as we went deeper he told us he felt our message was true and he should do it, but he had no trials right now, and he didn't feel like he would have to motivation or strength to continue it. So we testified of the power of the atonement to help us do more than we can, and the power of the spirit. And by the end he said, "You know, I think I really want to come closer to God." And when we asked what he was going to do after our lesson he said, "I'm going to go home and think about what we talked about and read in the Book of Mormon" Yes! =D We are going to teach him again tonight, hopefully it goes well! Pray for him!

And now we come to the title of this week, "The Rise of Sho"
Sho our recent convert, a college student here from China is doing so amazing. On Sunday he came with us for an hour and a half drive to stake conference, where after he got the priesthood! It was a super powerful experience to be a part of giving it to him. Afterwards he told us he felt a powerful warm feeling when he got it. Then at night we went to an amazing opportunity. Elder Aoyagi of the second quorum of the seventy is doing a mission tour of our mission, and that night he did a special family home evening for new members and investigators. So Sho not only came, but was asked by the stake presidency to speak at it. And he nailed it! His testimony was so powerful and he really rose that day. It was amazing to see how much he had changed! Everyone, missionaries and members wanted to talk to him after. And at one point we looked over and saw the young adult women exchanging numbers with him ha! Sho is quite the classy guy. I'm so grateful I got to be a part of helping him have this great change in is life.

Elder Aoyagi also did a zone conference the next day and it was so powerful. He focused so strongly on the atonement. And talked about how there are many less actives in Japan, because they do not have faith in Jesus Christ before they got baptized. They got baptized for one reason or another. But if they are to be converted, and stay, they need to have faith in christ and his atonement. And if we as missionaries do better at bringing that into their hearts, it will change their lives. He is an amazing man.

(Me and my main man Sho)

And finally the greatest miracle! Though there were a few bumps along the road, it looks like Haishan and Shunka, the mongolian couple will be getting baptized this weekend! And what's more, the sisters investigator, Takaki san (who me and Elder Wynn found on splits) will be getting baptized too! That means this weekend the Saijo group will double in membership! How crazy is that? It's amazing the miracles God is performing here in Saijo. I am so incredibly grateful to be here at this time as his servant.

I know this work really is God's work. This is His church and His gospel. This gospel changes lives like nothing in the entire world can. And it will continue to change their and our lives forever if we allow it. I'm so thankful for this, and especially for Christ and his atonement. That we can, no matter what mistakes me make, what trails or face, we can, through the atonement overcome them all and return to them.

I love and thank you all!

Elder Walton

(Me and some of the missionaries from my doki (ones that came to our mission together) meeting at the zone conference, some I hadn't seen in 6 months since we came out here.)