Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Excuse me this is sudden, but will you be baptized?

On the street we have a phrase that sometimes missionaries say, "sumimasen totsuzen desu keddo..." It means literally excuse me this is sudden but...

Our main man Zaima Kouichi got baptized! 

Let's start from the beginning.

Over a month ago we got training from the AP's in Hiroshima specifically about talking to everyone. We rode the train home, and got back to Saijo and pumped to talk to everyone so we split the road, 2 elders on the left, 2 on the right. And talked to everyone back to the apartment. Just before me and Elder Rees got back we met a 24 year old Japanese man and set up an appointment for the next day. 

Next day, we come to the church for the appointment. He is already there, he told us he had come half an hour early! We sat down and testified of Christ's atonement and the restoration of his church.

Turns out he already believes in Christ because of his mother, loves english and has no job so we can meet everyday. 

We begin meeting with him everyday. 

One day after a great game of ping pong we sit down for a lesson. I felt the spirit prompt me to ask, "When you prayed last night about the Book of Mormon how was it?" He thought for a moment and then told us that when he prayed, he didn't know why, but a tear came to his eye. And he believed it is true. The spirit filled the room. We talked about the gospel of Christ, he told us how much it meant to him because he wanted to become clean from sin and to see the loved ones in his life who had passed away again. It was one of the most spirit filled lessons on my mission.  

Since the first Sunday after we met with him he came to church, felt the love of members and love of the Lord, and always felt better at the end. He loved singing the hymns with us. One day he specifically said that before church he felt really sick, but after the sacrament he felt much better. 

We taught him the commandments, some were easy, some were harder for him. He loved his milk tea, but his faith was great and he over came it. Tithing was hard to accept till the end. But through the spirit he came to understand why it was important. He was just about to be baptized then....

He got a job..

that works on sunday a lot. Shoots!

So the date got moved back, but after a few weeks his faith grew and he was able to figure out a way to move his schedule back so he could come to church every week. 

One day we go to sit down for a lesson. We get 10 minutes in and then suddenly he gets up. He goes over to the whiteboard and begins writing and saying stuff we can't quite understand. He draws a path, and a light, and a figure robed in white. "I saw this in my head last night, right before I went to sleep." he tells us "I think this robed figure is him" he says, and points to the picture of christ on his Book of Mormon case. 
Not sure what to do, we listen to the spirit. It prompts us to pray and read in the Book of Mormon to know what his dream means, as we read little by little our minds are enlightened and we begin to understand, that this is the path God needs for him, and he will have trials and obstacles, but that through Christ he will overcome them all. 
We ask him, "Zaima, are you ready to be baptized?" 
"Yes I am." he replies. 

And so this Friday at 7:30 pm he was baptized. And by the Japanese version of "eenie meenie minie mo" he chose me to baptize him.

I was honored to help my best friend make this covenant with God and progress toward eternal life.

A main man Sho Kyodai, recent convert of 6 months gave the introduction, and we had almost all the members of our little saijo group there. The sister missionaries sang a beautiful arrangement of the Lord is my shepherd. Then I was able to baptize my friend.

We went and talked with him the day after and he was the happiest I had ever seen him, even after having just worked 10 hours he was happier than I have ever seen anyone! He was filled with laughs and smiles and joy. Yea even exceedingly great joy! I was reading this morning in Mosiah 3 and 4 about how the remission of sins brought such exceedingly great joy, and I realized that that really was what Zaima was feeling, he was feeling the exceedingly great joy from a remission of sins. From having all his sins, his mistakes washed away and making the first step on the path back to his Heavenly Father. I know baptism and the gospel of Jesus Christ really does change and bring joy to people like nothing in the world. And I am so grateful to be a part of seeing it in everyone. 

Elder Walton
Saijo, Japan

Me and my best bud,
Me and Elder Rees and the special Zaima
Me and Elder Rees saved a turtle! We found it on the road and brought it back to the safety of the river.
Grandpa Walton on his mission.




Miracles Like Crazy

Well it's another week here in Saijo and there have been miracles like crazy!

A few miracles from this week:

Sunday. Church this week was so great! There were so many people! The building was so full! We barely had enough sacrament cups! We will have to get a new building soon! And the bishop and stake counselor came and interviewed recent convert sho and Haishan to get the melchizedek priesthood! Saijo is becoming a branch! 

On the street we found a new investigator who is actually the cousin of a missionary in our mission! He was so excited when we called him to tell him! 

And the greatest miracle of all, the atonement of Jesus Christ. I have really been coming to understand more and more and more of what the atonement is and how it really does apply to everything we teach. No book of mormon prophet teaches anything, except it is connected to the atonement. And it has been amazing seeing those connections and being able to teach the atonement in everything we do to our investigators. It really is the center of our message and most important thing in the world!

Here are just some of the people we are working with!

Zaima: He is all ready, but we just need to figure out church with his job and when he could get baptized and confirmed. He worked yesterday and the day before in the evening, but he still came to church, completely tired. But he came! He has awesome faith!

Wu Long: A 40 year old chinese man. When we met him on the street he said, "so how do I get involved do I need to make an appointment or come to something" We taught him on friday and he is awesome!

Fikri/Gilig: Two Muslim people we meet every week. They usually make us delicious food and then both try to understand our message and try to convert us too a little bit. But there is some potential with them. 

Andrew: A taiwanese who has a baptisimal date for July 7 he is awesome! He is progressing way good and is just our bud. 

And there are actually several more that we are teaching too. We have gotten way busy teaching lately! To be honest 6 weeks ago we had two weeks where we didn't teach any lesson. But since then God has been pouring out crazy miracles! I'm so grateful for that! Now we are teaching way more than I ever have, or most areas in our mission. 

And those other missionaries who do read this I don't want you to think, Oh its just because of the area, (Saijo didn't have a baptism for almost 3 years!) or (Oh those missionaries are so great, we can't do that) No! We are not that great. We're just normal guys. With a vision of what the Lord can do you can do it too! I firmly believe that any area can be like this! Don't ask why or how or when. But why not? Just seek for God's vision. Have a vision of what your area, or your job, or life can become. And trust God and strive for it! You can do it too! =D

Love you all and I love the Lord and his work!

Elder Walton

Monday, May 12, 2014


I stayed! 

Pretty rare, but I will be in Saijo a total of 9 months! I'm so grateful to get to be here another 6 weeks! That means I will probably get to be here for Zaima's baptism and see Saijo become a branch! 

But besides me, I am just grateful to get to serve these wonderful people and help these investigators for another little while, I have come to love them so much. 

Not a whole lot of time today, I got to skype my beloved family who are all so wonderful. And shout out to my Mom Happy Mothers Day!

Crazy miracles this week (just a few of many) 
We were riding to an appointment and were in a hurry but decided to talk to one person on the way to give God a chance to work miracles, and the one person, just a normal japanese college student, turned out to be the cousin of a missionary in our mission! And we got an appointment with him this week! We'll probably call the other missionary and ask him about his cousin, a way cool miracle though!

And then the most amazing this week was after church I sat back just watching everything going on. The stake president came and was teaching recent converts sho and haishan about the higher priesthood, sho was setting up an appointment to hometeach formerly less active brother Yorioka, an investigator me and Elder Rees found and passed to the sisters was so touched by the love she felt from the sisters in the ward. I stood there and saw, this place really is strengthening into a branch and seeing so many miracles. 

I'm just thankful to be a part of it.

Elder Walton

Me and brother yorioka, 

Me and Elder Rees went out finding way out where no missionaries have been, taking a skylift into skyline city. A basically japanese utopia with way nice houses, and the first person who answered had been to a stake barbeque that I also was at 3 days after I got to Saijo. We have her number and will hopefully meet again. 

And...some other things I attached, but forgot what i attached.

Love you all!

Will I Stay or Will I Go?

Well this is the day of all days. I'm sitting here emailing, with the phone right beside me. Waiting for the call to know the next several months of my life. I feel like Frodo, with the ring throbbing, calling to me. My companion offers to hold the phone for me, but I reject him, 
"No. It's my burden to bear, I can't let you suffer it." 

It's only been a few weeks and I've already forgotten the taste of strawberries. (actually that's probably because so many things here are flavored with really artificial strawberry flavor)

It's kind of interesting, in some ways I expect to go, so I kind of want to go. But on the other hand, If I could get transferred anywhere, I want to get transfered back to Saijo.

...If that makes any sense. 

You'd think after so long, 7 and a half months I might get tired of here. 

Nope. I could never get tired of this place. I would serve here my whole mission with I could. 

But It is kind of stressful sitting having no idea, just waiting for a telephone call that could come any time in the next several hours. Oh man I just want to know!

It's okay though because I know wherever I am, it's where the Lord needs me to be. He's got a plan for what he wants me to do and where he wants me to be, so as long as I trust him I know I will be okay. 

Anyways this past week has been pretty awesome! We realized that somehow basically every companionship in Saijo has a specialty of who they have been finding and teaching. 

Elder Wynn and his companion always find Moms somehow. (one week they found like 5 different Moms)
Sister Willes and Flake have like 6 grandma investigators.
Sister Tseng and Williams are of course the chinese.

And I think me and Elder Rees have become the muslims teachers, seeing as we now have kind of 4 muslim investigators, though some we might not meet in a while/ again. 
1 of which hates religion, another referred us to all of his neighbors and said, "Its no problem go and challenge them." and the other two flat out said they are trying to convert us to Islam. But they are nice and make good curry. And we know the spirit will work on them so we're down to learn a little about the Koran in the meantime. 

We're working with several different people including hopefully a family! The one we found by miracle last week. We were able to teach the father and hopefully thursday will be the father and kids, but most of all we are helping our awesome main man Zaima!

His baptismal date is for this Mothers day! And so far it looks like he is going to make it! I never imagined that could find someone who knew so little about the church and have them be ready to be baptized only 3 or 4 weeks later, but Zaima really was so prepared by God!

There really have been so many miracles going on here. It's crazy everyday there are miracles. I wish I could share them all, but I promise you they are there! As we trust God, have faith and do His will he always performs miracles in or our behalf and I am just so incredibly grateful for all of it! 

Sometimes despite all the success we are seeing I still look at myself critically and judge myself, saying I am not enough, but I know that is not how God looks at me. He sees who I am, a son of light. A defender of truth. A disciple of Jesus Christ. He doesn't care how I compare to that guy or this one. But he loves me fully and completely and is simply rooting for my success. And is doesn't matter if we are having lots of success or being rejected a lot (which we still are even when we have success) because real success is the peace and joy that comes from knowing we are giving our all for Christ. 

Let's keep giving it our all for Jesus. 
You know I will be =)

Elder Walton
Saijo, Hiroshima Japan

Me and Elder Rees
Me and Brother Yorioka, a less active who came to FHE and will be coming back to church,
Russian bom and pamphlets for a russian investigator
So many doorbells....
and another picture I forgot which one it was but I hope its good!

Muslims and Marvelous Miracles

Dear Everyone,

Wow I'm not even sure what to say about this week it has just been amazing! We had everything from crazy spiritual experiences, nice fun moments, miracles and everything in between! I feel so lucky to be here. Hopefully I'll have time to share just some of the stuff that has been happening. 

First off, "The kids"
Last P-day we were all chilling in the apartment, ( I was watching some 17 miracles) when some kids (2nd and 3rd graders) walk by our window, they see it open and then start talking to us. Before we know it they have a dodge ball and said to us, "asobimasen ka?" Meaning "won't you play with us?" So of course we got ready and went out to go play with them! (picture of Fukka holding the door waiting for us) so we went out and became instant best friends with all of them, Their names are Makki, Fukka, Masato, Ruuto, and Mizuke. And they are just the local gang of kids! We went out and they taught us this intense form of dodgeball. Then we played tag, freeze tag and cops and robbers for a total of like 2 hours. They are absolutely adorable! It was so much fun! One of the best moments of my mission! Then even later in the week they came while we were weekly planning again calling our intercom, "Hey it's masato!" We go and answer the door, "asobimasenka?" We had to tell them sorry not today, but that we could on monday, so we're playing with them again today! They are awesome!

Then another crazy experience was the Less Active Muslim,
We met him on the street his name is Hasin, he was raised muslim, but doesn't really believe or follow it. We managed to get an appointment and met him at the church. Turns out not only is he like a less active muslim, actually because of many bad experiences with religion in his country in Turkey, he actually really hates religion and missionary work in general. He was polite about it, but he made it very clear that he thought that what we were doing was a bad thing, that these people are happy and don't need us pressuring them to do anything. He said he use to do the same thing when he was young, but then he realized it was all for power and money. We listened with love, and then testified that all though other churches or people may do that, that this is God's church that was restored, and that we are here because we love God and that God loves him. In fact I have never ever had the spirit work in or speak through me so powerfully in my life before. It was not contentious or angry, I felt love for him. But I was filled with fire and boldness in testimony of the truth. I felt like Elder Holland. There was powerful testimony fire of the spirit coming out. I don't even know how to describe it. He was so anti to religion, yet that lesson I felt the spirit so strong and knew how much God loved his somewhat wayward son. It was one of my most powerful experiences in being a witness of God. 

Counting Yasin I taught 4 different muslims this week. The one who hates religion and missionary work. One who loves missionaries and is about to be baptized, and has asked multiple times if he could call our president and tell him not to transfer us. and then two others we met that I think may have been trying to convert us, but were quite nice and are open to listening about our message. So that's quite a week for Saijo Japan. 

Zaima is doing amazing though! Despite having a cold he came to church yesterday. He looked pretty not well before church, but then after sacrament meeting he looked much better! He told us that after the ordinance of the sacrament he felt much better! Also we taught him the gospel of Jesus Christ this last week. Before we prayed I had an impression to ask him how he felt when he prayed if the Book of Mormon was true. He said he prayed and when he prayed he felt something powerfully and a tear came to his eye, and he believed this was an answer from God and this message was true! Right after that for the rest of the lesson the spirit was so incredibly strong. It was so amazing! He is so prepared we really didn't do anything. He came pre converted I think. He is on track to be baptized in 2 weeks. 

We have no idea what's been happening, but we have been teaching and finding so many investigators, it's absolutely crazy. We're not really doing anything different, but just that God is using us for his purposes to bring joy to his children, it's amazing! 

And none of it is from us, it's really all God helping us and guiding us through the spirit to find the people he has already prepared. The coolest miracle was on Saturday this week: Me and my companion decided during planning for some reason to go out and house near a mazda tower some what near our apartment, with not a whole lot of time we went out and talked to people on the way and tracted several hours. With only 40 minutes left till we had to go to another appointment we went to a street corner and prayed. We asked the Lord to simply lead us to that one prepared person he had for us out here. We finished, looked up and felt, "we need to go that direction" Then we went out trusting that he was guiding us, as we were biking we saw a house on our left that we felt we should house. We pulled over and set our bikes aside. At first we weren't even sure it was a house, but we rung the bell. No answer. But then I felt a slight prompting to just put a pamphlet in the mailbox, which we almost never do, but thought, "Hey why not?" So we did, then left leaving our bikes there while we housed some other houses. We came back, and another car had come into the driveway. "Should we try again I asked?" Not really sure. My companion thought for a moment, then said, "Yes, I feel like we really need to." We housed it again. Again, no answer. A little bummed we went back to our bikes, put on our helmet and were about to go when a man walks down the street to the house. We go up to talk to him and though he didn't understand us very well, he did say that his family (wife and 3 kids) were struggling right now. We testified that this message was from God and could help his family. And he said we could come back! The spirit led us in so many ways that night to find this, the Kubo family. And since that night we have been able to meet all the family, become friends and have an appointment when all the family will be home we can teach them! God really does guide his servants to those families and people he has prepared!

Sometimes it doesn't feel like we are doing that much, and sometimes we feel like we are. But it doesn't matter how it appears on the outside. I have felt both. It's all about how feel on the inside. Like an apostle recently said, "Let us not look around to how others see us, but up to how God sees us."

Elder Walton

-Ping Pong with Zaima
-Housing out in the Mountains
-Our favorite ward mission leader Brother Tohma
-The local gang of kids that we love so much!