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.




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