This week has been jam-packed full of miracles! It's been a wonderful reminder that while our effort, dedication, and obedience are very important, it's truly the Lord who accomplishes His work. There is one very notable miracle that has occurred in the Uwajima area this last week, and I will begin with the recounting of that miracle.
We have an Eikaiwa student who was invited to attend class by the second counselor in our branch presidency a while ago. She's been an Eikaiwa student for as long as I have been in Uwajima and probably even a bit longer than that. When I first got here, she had very little interest in listening to the Gospel. In fact, at one point in time she argued with me over the principle of forgiveness that I taught for the five minute spiritual message at the end of class one day. We invited her to various church activities. She came to the game nights and the luncheons held at the church, but she always ran away when messages related to the Gospel began to be shared. That is, up until a few weeks ago.
I'm not sure what happened, but one day she came to Eikaiwa very upset. We taught the lesson, had the spiritual message, and ended the class in prayer as usual. At the end of class she came up to us, explained that she had recently been having a rough time, and asked if we could pray with her. We brought out the Book of Mormon, shared some scriptures related to prayer, explained to her the steps of prayer, and invited her to say her first prayer in the name of Jesus Christ as we all knelt on the church floor. After a very heartfelt prayer, we gave her a copy of the Book of Mormon and invited her to re-read some of the verses we highlighted about prayer. She thanked us and went home.
We talked with her again a few days later, and she said that she'd been praying, but also explained that she's Buddhist and is also praying to hotokesama. She essentially that she was very grateful for our prayer and the Book of Mormon but that she does not have interest in changing. Then, we had a Halloween party and invited her to come. It was a Halloween party/talent show and everyone was invited to perform. Lots of people came. I played the piano, my companion did some flips and crazy taekwondo kicks, and she ended up singing. It was a great time all around. It was on Saturday, so we end the party, everyone went home, and we set up for church the following day.
Church rolls around and during sacrament meeting she sneaks in the doors. Someone let's me know that she just came in, and I walked out to talk with her. Turns out that she forgot her phone charger at the party the previous night and came to pick it up. She grabbed her phone charger and was about to leave, but I said since you're already here why not stay for sacrament meeting. She agreed and sat down next to one of the relief society sisters. After sacrament I talked to one of the members and asked them to invite her to attend relief society. She stayed for both hours of church and had a great time. Then she came again the next week!
Even though she was now coming to church, we hadn't been able to schedule any lessons with her. Elder Foster and I sat down on Wednesday for weekly planning and made some goals for her to be up on the 30/30 program (half English half gospel discussions), so that we could finally teach her the lessons. We new that she would come to game night later that night. We got to the church to prepare for the game night and also have our missionary coordination meeting with the ward. We get there, and then she walks in an hour and a half before the game night is supposed to start. She asks to talk with our branch president, and then has a 30 minute interview with him. She comes out and says that she wants to receive the missionary lessons, but that she can't be baptized because she likes coffee, tea, and sake too much. We were very surprised, but taught a lesson right there, and set up another lesson for the following day.
The following day was a companion exchange with the district leader, and it was a pretty busy day. We went to a far area for another appointment and then came back by train to make it in time for our lesson with her. We taught the restoration, and Elder Sene shared a story about his father's conversion. We ended the lesson with an invitation for her to prepare to be baptized on the 2nd of December, and she joyfully accepted the challenge. Since Wednesday of last week we have had a lesson almost every day with her. After our lesson tonight, we will have taught all of the necessary principles for her to receive baptism. There are still things that pose a bit of a challenge, but we are all sure that through prayer and trust in the Lord she will be able to make date for the 2nd.
Other notable miracles:
-two of our other investigators accepted our invitation to prepare to be baptized. One has a date for December 15th and another for January 5th.
-We had a lesson where we ended up dropping one of our newer investigators. However, after that we went finding for the little time we had between our schedueled lessons, and we ended up finding a new investigator. She's one of the most prepared people I've ever had the privilege of housing into. We'll meet with her again next Saturday to teach the Restoration.
-One of our other investigators accepted a challenge to read the Book of Mormon and pray about it. We couldn't set a specific baptismal date, but she did say that if she receives an answer from the Lord that the Book of Mormon is true then she will be baptized.
That's it for this week. Last email was the book of Omni, but I might have overdone it a little and ended up with the Book of Alma this week. It was a little long-winded, but thanks for sticking through to the end. Until next week!