Monday, June 15, 2015

One more year?

Well I don't have a lot of time left in the mission, but I'm definitely not going to slow down and let my faith cool. I'm going to end burning like a bonfire.

Literally. This next week in Okinawa along with super high humidity,
the low is 80 degrees Fahrenheit, THE LOW. Ha!

But that's okay! I wouldn't have it any other way than giving my all
despite fierce winds or hot sun and humidity and I'm going to love it!

Yesterday was a wonderful day of feeling the true joy of missionary
work and being an instrument in the Lords hands.

It started out with some rough setbacks though, this next week Mitsuru
was supposed to be baptized, so he had his interview on Saturday. He
was all ready, but then at the end of the interview he told the
interviewer that he wants to push it back and that he had some new
worries. So we were a little disappointed considering a week earlier
he said he wanted to have the blessings of baptism as soon as
possible. But we decided that an interview with the bishop would help
smooth out some of his concerns. So we set that all up for after
sacrament meeting and Mitsuru agreed.

But unfortunately right after sacrament meeting, Mitsuru again said he
had to go right after sacrament meeting and couldn't do the interview
(we had just taught him that week about coming to all 3 hours) and so
we had to let him leave right after the meeting.

The next few hours I was honestly pretty frustrated. It was like all
these things we were trying to teach and help him were just going in
one ear and out the other. I was down and disappointed, so I decided
to take a few moments after church and just pray and read some Book of
Mormon. While I did I felt Heavenly Father explaining lovingly to me
again what he had taught me before, that this work wasn't mine, that
it was his and that he would do it, so I humbled myself and decided to
put my trust in him.

Then that night we went out finding, and I felt this super fire to
talk to everyone and testify of the gospel to all I could find! And
Heavenly Father blessed us so much! We found multiple new people just
on the way to our appointment, it was the best day in weeks!

The best was the final door we knocked on. It was an almost log cabin
kind of house with a nice pine smell. We knocked and out came a 38
year old dad. He was kind and listened to us for a bit,  then out came
3 daughters from about 13 to 5 years old and they were just so cute
and so fun and happy, we stooped down to their level and showed them
pictures of our family and they were so happy. They loved them!

We explained that we wanted to do an FHE with them with a game a treat
and a message and the kids got really excited! "How about next week?"
We asked.

"I'm free!" Exclaimed one of the kids, and he father said if they had
time he would welcome us so we took down his phone number and will
hopefully go back at the end of June. Me and my companion left that
house walking on clouds. It was the nicest little family I had ever
talked to and those girls had just so much love and pure goodness. It
was such a sweet experience.

While walking a way I felt a really strong desire to stay in this
beautiful country with these wonderful people and families and to keep
sharing the gospel with them. At that moment I would have chosen to
stay a whole another year if I had the option.

It was such a sweet experience. Later my companion told me that he had
a feeling from spirit that the Lord saw our hard work despite our
disappointments earlier and that all this was a blessing from God for
our hard work.

My mission may be winding down, but up so grateful for this wonderful
two years. I will never be able to thank him for such an amazing

Love you all,

Elder Walton

Friday, June 12, 2015

By Small and Simple Means

Dear Loved Ones,

What I learned this week can be summed up in this simple sentence:

Even if we feel like dirt, God can use us to make a beautiful flower
in the life of someone else.

That's not to say that this week was especially bad or anything, I
mean it was pretty normal with normal ups and downs, but I just saw
this week multiple times God using me to do amazing things even when I
didn't feel the best. This is probably illustrated best by a new
investigator we started teaching named Iha San.

On Friday we were out proselyting and it just wasn't really my day. I
was just kind of stressed about the normal worries of missionary work,
and on top of that while finding we were facing a lot of rejection and
people just not really wanting to listen to us. It was starting to get
to me a bit.

Anyways we finished the last a house on the street and again the man
rejected us and don't really want to listen. Then we walk down to the
street and we only had 15 min left to find so I looked around trying
to decide what we could use that small amount of time for.

Then I look up and see this older man on a staircase just standing
there and I felt like maybe we should talk to him. So we go up and
introduce ourselves and start talking about God. Turns out he does
believe in God, though he doesn't know who He is. We invite him to
learn who God is and he agrees to meet with us on Sunday at the church
to learn more, but unfortunately he had no phone that we could call
and confirm with.

Well it came to Sunday and we were out finding before the appointment
with him, and again I just wasn't feeling so great. Though this time
it may have been my own fault. On fast Sunday's we always get a fruit
basket full of deliciousness from our loving members so at dinner time
when we broke our fast we feasted on those. Unfortunately I think I
was a little too hasty and I ended up feeling not so good at what I
ate leaving me again feeling kind of crummy while housing.

I wasn't sure whether or not he would actually show up, since we
didn't have a number to confirm with but then at 7pm when we had made
the appointment we show up at the church and there he is just sitting
outside waiting for us.

So we invite him inside and start teaching him. Turns out he is 72
years old man who had been in the hospital a year and half and only
got released last year. We asked what kind of person he thought God
was and he answered, "I don't really know, will you please teach me?"
with a genuine humble desire to learn more. His humility and desire to
be taught surprised me coming from an older Japanese man, as most of
them I've met on my mission just love to talk, but not really be

We taught him about gods love and the amazing gift of Gods son, and we
could tell he was really feeling the spirit. We testified and taught
of Christ and his love and perfect example and invited him to follow
Christ and be baptized. At first  he simply said, "Really? Would I be
able to?" But after assurance from us that we would help him prepare
he gladly accepted and said he would pray, read, come to church and
meet with us twice a week to prepare to be baptized on the 18 of July.
After the lesson he kept repeating in his head when we were going to
meet again so he wouldn't forget, " Tuesday and Thursday 6pm, Tuesday
and Thursday 6p." He was just so excited to come to know and grow
closer to God it amazed me!

We left that lesson and me and my companion just looked at each other
so surprised at how prepared and ready he seemed and how much he
really wanted it. And It really amazed and humbled me that though I
had been feeling crummy both when we found him and when we taught him,
despite all that, God had still used the weak and simple me to do a
great work and help this child of his that God loves so much.

That perhaps is one of the biggest miracles of my whole mission, that
God could take something like me, and something like Iha San, and make
us so much more than we ever would have been without him.

This life has challenges and trials, ups and downs, and to be honest
sometimes you just plain feel crummy and feel like dirt. But through
these I am coming to see gods beautiful amazing plan and how He uses
us as his instruments even when we ourselves feel down.

Even if we feel like dirt, God can use us to make a beautiful flower
in the life of someone else.

I'm so grateful for the atonement of Jesus Christ that makes that
possible. And I love Him so much!

Elder Walton
Okinawa, Japan

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

The Family

Wow already June?! Crazy!

Also it's crazy hot. Especially here in room where we are emailing,
but I guess that's what happens when you're a missionary and "The
Spirit of God like a fire is burning." Ha!

This week there was night in particular that was such a wonderful one
to me, this is the journal entry of that day (with just a few more
details added later)

"Today we went to a Barbeque at the church in Naha with all the
priesthood holders. It was so delicious! I loved simply looking around
for the people who looked lonely and showing them love and kindness.
Like this old grandpa member sitting there all by himself, I went over
there and listened to his stories and laughed and enjoyed time with
him. I love that simple loving and ministering to people, it really is
the fruit of life.

Then later we went with brother Yoshimura to teach a family named
Komesu we found recently. We got there earlier so we had about 10 min
just sitting there on the 7th floor of their apartment building
overlooking the city and I asked him about his mission. He told me of
an elder in his mission who until the last minute went out handing out
book of Mormons and testifying to people, and how he wanted also to be
that kind of missionary so at the very end of his mission, instead of
having all sorts of dinners where people would praise him, he just
wanted to go out housing and find and help people.

It filled me with a desire to do the same. I want to end my mission
not worrying about what others around me think of me, but I want to
end thinking what Heavenly Father would think and serving as he would
have me serve. It was a precious moment with such a great member.

Then we taught the Komesu family and it was just such a sweet
experience. The mom had already had an experience with the Book of
Mormon that helped her with problems at work. Then when we taught
about Christ and his love we showed her a bunch of pictures of Christ
loving and ministering to others around him, while we did that she
started to tear up because she felt such a strong desire to be a
better person and love others more.

The father told us how right before we had housed into him he had been
out on his porch step pondering about the world and about life and
that his heart had been opened, and the 16 year old daughter was just
so sweet and kind as she shared her own feelings about how Christ
loves and helps us in our lives.

I'm so grateful to be able to teach this family, they are such a
blessing. They are such a precious family! I hope so much that they
can get baptized and become that amazing eternal family I know they

It was truly a precious experience to see just how much this gospel
really does bless and help people's lives and families lives as they
accept it into their lives. I don't think everything will simply go
smoothly and easily for them to conversion, just as it doesn't for
anyone. Even that man last week, despite that amazing miracle, we
haven't able to meet him yet. But just because things don't work out
in a storybook perfect ending doesn't make the miracles along the way
any less miraculous or amazing, or the experiences any less sweet.

I'm so grateful to Heavenly Father to each and every part of it. =)

Elder Walton

Picture: the sister in he middle is sister Joyce Curtis, she is my
second cousin and currently attends church in the same building here
in Okinawa as me (though a different ward)
Picture: me and one of our high school investigators, he is like my
little brother ha

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Dear Beloved Family and Friends,

This week has been full of so many different things. We got transfer
calls for my final 5 weeks. This last month I get to train a new
missionary! I feel so privilege because that is exactly what I really
wanted to do, to help and love and train like a father. My new
companion is elder Lotti from Arizona and he is a wonderful

This week was a little difficult in several ways, we had several
investigator appointments fall through due to the rain, and several
investigators who said they would come to church didn't, so the usual
missionary disappointments. For some reason I also struggled with the
change of being a trainer and having a companion so different from my

It came to the point where I started feeling frustrated at the trials
and challenges I was facing. Then I remembered one of my favorite
scriptures before the mission 1 Peter 1:7

"7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold
that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto
praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ"

A trial being more precious than gold? How can that be?

 And yet it's true! These trials we have might be difficult, but if
used correctly they can be powerful opportunities for grow and drawing
closer to savior that will truly become more precious than gold. They
might be hard, but trials are truly precious gems in the treasure box
of our life.

Within the trials of being a missionary though, there are miracles
that blow any trial out of the water and his week I had one of the
most amazing miracles of my entire mission.

A few weeks ago I was out finding on splits in another area and we
talked to normal looking older Okinawan man, we asked what he thought
the purpose of life was and he amazed us by giving an answer I had
never heard in my whole mission,

"To find spiritual truth" he said.

I was astounded! I had never heard anyone say that before in two
years! So obviously we gave him a Book of Mormon and testified of the
spiritual truth inside its pages, left it with him and exchanged
numbers. Over the next 2 weeks he texted us and told us what he was
learning. He clearly loved the book and in two weeks had finished 2/3
of it saying "now I see, the Book of Mormon has the fullness of the
gospel of Jesus Christ! Amazing!" Yet still we hadn't been able to
meet again in person or teach him anything.

Then on Friday in personal study I was reviewing my notes from when
Elder Nelson and his wife spoke to our mission. Sister Nelson told us
to "pray to find the descendants of those who are ready to receive the
ordinances on the other side of the veil. Pray to find them so their
ancestors can receive the gospel." So I took a moment right then and
offered a prayer for that.

Then two hours later I got a text from that man we met two weeks
earlier that said,

"Hello, I would like to participate in ordinances for ancestor files
at the temple, but is that possible?"

I was speechless. We had not taught him anything, we had said nothing
of anything beyond the Book of Mormon, and here only 2 hours after I
offered that prayer to find the descendants of those who are prepared,
a man texts me saying he wants to receive ordinances for his
ancestors.  I have never seen a prayer like that answered so
immediately and so dramatically. I was amazed and truly humbled at how
Heavenly Father really does do his work.

I truly know that this is not our work, it is His work and it
stretches across aeons and across generations and the veil, and that
there are truly people waiting and ready to hear he gospel, they are
eager and ready for us and for others we may help to receive the
gospel and to free them from the prison they are bound.

Isn't it truly amazing?!

-We went to an art museum that had a making of Disney exhibit, look at
my new companion! I think he might scare the Japanese though...

-My son! Isn't he cute!

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