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.)

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