Hello Wonderful World!
This last P-day we (The 4 Nagasaki Elders and 2 Sisters) went to a monument near central Nagasaki called the Martyrdom of 26 Saints.
in the 1600s the Japanese emporer decided to outlaw christianity. They took 26 christian believers and priests including a few 12 and 14 year old youth and force marched them 1000 miles south to Nagasaki, a city full of Christians.
There on a hill in the center of the city, they crucified them.
They died still faithful and true to Christ.
We went to the museum there to learn more about the rich history and sacrifice of Christians in Japan.
It was so amazing to see the faith of these early christian missionaries who gave up their whole lives to come to Japan hundreds of years ago to teach these people about Christ. Really in a way I consider those early christian missionaries our predecessors. They had so much faith and really set up a foundation for the preaching of the restored gospel.
Sometimes there is a temptation to see other religions as mistaken enemies, who hurt the work. Especially as a missionary other religions and churches is used as an excuse not to embrace the restored gospel, and it is sad. I sometimes find myself with that same temptation to see them as enemies.
But as I walked through that catholic museum about humble christian missionaries and saints. I felt a great deep amount of awe and respect for those people with such strong faith and love.
When we finished the museum we went to a nearby interesting looking catholic church to see if we could see the inside. We got to the doors and they seemed locked, no one was there. But then a man came from inside and opened them (they were actually sliding doors, ha!)
He was an 87 year old priest from Mexico. But you could have just called him Grandpa. He had a classic warm love and humor. Treated us almost as if we were his grandchildren telling us stories and sharing about the church there. He took us top to see the beautiful architecture and windows.
All the missionaries in Nagasaki love singing, so we asked him if we could sing in the church. He said "Please!" And so we did. No practice, or coordination, but we sung one of the most beautiful harmonizations of "Nearer my god to thee" and "be still my soul" I have ever been apart of. The spirit was so strong.
Afterwards the old loving priest said to us, "In our church we have the same song, but just with different words, and as you sung it I couldn't help but feel that even though we may be different, I felt this great hope that someday up in heaven we will all be just one family in Christ." And I felt so much love and so much brotherhood from him as we said it.
I left that church amazed at the lesson that aged catholic priest taught me. We aren't enemies here. We truly are friends, brothers and sisters in God's family. We must see them that way. One day we will all be united in love, and that won't come from fighting till one side is forced to the other, but from loving so much that we all come together.
I thank the Lord so much for these wonderful experiences and the things He teaches me with his servants and his angels like that wonderful old man.
I know He lives and He loves us, and one day we will all be united in Christ.
-The church and the Old Priest