One of our cute Kasukabe ward families: The Takagi family. Children have such a light about them. What a wonderful service for our ward and for our investigators!
"Wherefore, my beloved bretheren, have miracles ceased because Christ hath ascended into heaven, and hath sat down on the right hand of God, to claim of the Father his rights of mercy which he hath upon the children of men? For he hath answered the ends of the law, and he claimeth all those who have faith in him; and they who have faith iin him will cleave unto every good thing; wherefore he advocateth the cause of the children of men; and he dwelleth eternally in the heavens. And because he hath done this, my beloved bretheren, have miracles ceased? Behold I say unto you, Nay; neither have angels ceased to minister unto the children of men." -Moroni 7:27-29
I want to start off this email with a big thanks for all who prayed for Sister Muranaka from my letter last week. Muranaka is her married name, so we call her Sister Urrichikie from now on. I cannot even begin to tell you the many miracles that came about because of your faith and prayers. Some of the miracles are so sacred that I only tell my journal. Ever since we set the baptismal date with Urrichikie Shimai, I have prayed so hard that she would be ready by that date. We have put her on the prayer list for the missionaries in the Saitama East Zone to pray for her every night to be baptized on that date. I asked anyone who read my letter to pray specifically for her to be baptized on that date. My testimony of prayer exploded this week. It works...I know prayer works!" I can't get it out in words or in this email...but I wish I could tell you what's inside my heart right now. I know that God loves all his children so much, but He has a particularly tender part of his heart saved just for Sister Urrichikie. She is so excited for baptism and we are more than excited for her!
Also, William-kun came to church with his Mom (thank you for praying for that too)!! He met so many new friends and had such a wonderful time. He told me he wants to get baptized. His mother's example has been a huge blessing in his life. He has been praying and reading the Book of Mormon. He is one of the brightest/cutest/sweetest 10 year olds ever!
Here's another huge miracle story this week. Last Sunday, Sister Miyaki and I were in the church working on the computer and someone rang the church doorbell. We went down to see who it was and a man was standing there. At first I thought he was a business man that needed to get in the church to check electricity or something. However, come to find out, he said that he has interest in church. We had our first lesson with him last Wednesday. When he came for his first lesson, he was all dressed up in his suit (which, I guess thinking about it now, isn't rare in Japan. Almost everyone is always in nice dress-up clothes). We talked about the small and simple things that will help him know that there is a God (prayer, scripture study, and church). The Lord has prepared Suzuki-san sooo much!! I felt the Spirit so strong! We extended the baptismal commitment to him and he accepted. He had some good/jaw-dropping questions. They were questions that showed just how much the Lord had prepared him. He told us he was worried because he doesn't drink sake (alcohol), so he was worried that we use wine instead of water at our church. He was also worried because what about people who can't swim-how do they get baptized? Then, to surprise us even more, he brought up money. We taught him the law of tithing and he agreed and understood everything that we told him. He is now looking forward to baptism.
The Lord has blessed the Kasukabe area so much. Again, thanks to your prayers. I hope and pray for God's choicest blessings to be with you as well. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is true!! It changes lives.
This week, could you please pray that:
- Urrichikie Shimai (a.k.a. last weeks Muranaka Shimai) that she will get baptized on January 19.
- William-kun (Urrichikie's son), that he will be able to come to church next week and able to get baptized soon.
- That Suzuki-san will continue to progress towards his baptismal date on February 9.
I don't know why, but the last couple of days, I have really been thinking about the word "start." What are we going to start with? The end in mind. Why are we going to start with the end in mind? Because we want to see baptisms. Why do we want to see baptisms? Because we want to see these people in heaven! I love the quote in PMG that says, "We do not preach and teach in order to 'bring people into the Church' or to increase the membership of the Church. We do not preach and teach just to persuade people to live better lives....We invite all to come unto Christ by repentance and baptism and confirmation in order to open the doors of the celestial kingdom to the sons and daughters of God." How great is our calling and how privileged we are to take part in this work-how lucky we are that God gives us the chance! I know that He loves us so much, and I love Him! God can do anything...absolutely anything. And...without him, we can do nothing (John 15:5). He is all-powerful, all-knowing, almighty. I love Him with all my heart, might, mind, strength...and whatever else I have to give.
Have a wonderful week everyone!!
They've been talking about it ever since I came to this mission, but finally...the big moment has almost arrived!! We are officially getting iPad's around the start of February. It is going to be such an incredible tool in hastening the work of the Lord. We will be able to show people mormon.org and other things while finding those who God has prepared. The work will continue to move forward! What an incredible time of our lives it is!