has gone by fast and my 2 year mission has finally come to a close.
Crazy stuff right? I can't believe that in just 4 short days, I will
be able to see mom and dad and the rest of you will have to wait for a
few more weeks. But it's coming fast! By the way, I'm sorry that my
last email is late this week. I will explain later in the email.
So my last week was pretty intense. Like I said, I was
able to go on splits with my district leader and we got to
eat Taco Bell. So good! I'll have to go again soon!
Next was temple day. We were able to meet with a lot of our old missionary
friends and to say good bye to all of them before I leave. We went to
eat at a place called burger mania where they are famous for their
cherry burgers, maybe we will have to go after the temple session mom
and dad! They are pretty good! The following day not much happened except plenty of lessons.
It's so much easier to set
up appointments when you have the, "I'm going back to America in a
week so you'd better meet with me while I can," card. lol We were able to
teach 16 lessons this week which is the best that I have had in a
while. Maybe I should leave to America more often!
So now for the good stuff. You know how I set a goal to get 10 people
to church my last Sunday. Well I was close. I didn't hit 10, but we
got 8 of our friends to church! This area is a little bit weird
because we go to 2 sessions of church, the English church in
the morning and the Japanese session in the afternoon. So we had one
of our friends come with us to the English church in the morning and 8
in the Japanese session. (One of our friends liked me so much he came
to both sessions of church). Elder Free and I sang in the Japanese
Ward and it was amazing! He is such a wonderful singer. We had so
many members come up to us afterwards and say it was good. But
besides that, we had so many miracles. The night before church I got a call
from one of my friends named S.... I don't know if I told you about
him, but we met S... at a park a few weeks back. He was playing
guitar and since I love guitar, I asked him if I could play too. We
played for a while and talked about what we do as missionaries. He
has been baptized before in another church but he loves Christians so
he said he would come to church with us sometime. Last week, I sent
him a message telling him I was going back to America soon so he
should come to church this week. Well, he called and said he was
coming and that he was bringing a friend. (The word for friend is
tomodachi in Japanese but that also means friends too. They don't use
a real plural way of saying friend so you have to pick it up in
context.). Well needless to say, I thought he only meant one, but boy
was I wrong. Elder Free and I had finished singing and sacrament
meeting was almost over. I was sitting next to a foreign lady
translating the meeting for her because she couldn't speak Japanese
and my companion was sitting in the back with 4 of our other
investigators when I got a message. I looked at it and it was S...
saying he was here. I open the door to the chapel and wave him in.
We sit in the front row and after I got situated, I turn to look at
S... to find that he has 3 women following him into the chapel. He
didn't just bring one friend, he brought 3 women friends! Elder Free told me
afterwards that when I sat down with all of those women, the speaker
stopped to stare at us and pretty much everyone in the congregation
was staring at us too. They were probably wondering why I knew so
many 25 year old Japanese women. I was surprised too! Well, the
meeting ended and I started to talk to all of them and they all loved
church and how nice everyone was. All the members started talking to
them too so they made lots of friends! But to make things even
better, S... pulled me aside and asked me if our church did baptisms
for people. I was sorta taken aback because maybe in Brazil and
Africa people may ask missionaries that, but this was the first time I
had ever been asked that before. I was speechless for awhile but I
finally said yes. He had me explain what our form of baptism was and
then about the gift of the Holy Ghost. He said that he had already
been baptized and one of his friends had been too, but his other 2
friends hadn't been yet and they wanted to get baptized as soon as
they could. Well, there were too many members trying to say good bye
to me to teach them then, but I got all of their contact information
and set up an appointment for the next day to talk about baptism.
That day was probably the biggest miracle that I have ever seen on
my mission, besides the big day where we had 50 people at church in
Togane one week. God really does bless the leaving missionaries as
long as they try hard and keep working to the end. 8 people at church
and 2 people who really wanted to get baptized.
Well, that's not even the end of the story! The reason it was hard for
me to email today is because we met with all four of them and had a 4
hour lunch dinner lesson where we talked about baptism, why it's
important, how we need to get the gift of the Holy Ghost after
baptism, and we were able to set 2 baptismal dates with 2 of his
friends, A..., and K.... They are all super nice and
I was able to exchange some information with them so I'm going to keep
teaching them even when I get back to America. I can't believe that
I'm leaving right after such a big miracle!
Well, I hope that you liked the miracle of the week. It was the last
big miracle that I will be able to write about so I hope that you did.
It was seriously so cool to see such a big miracle right before I
left! I will definitely have to keep in touch to help them reach
their baptismal dates on the 22nd.
Anyways, I think that's all I have time for tonight it's almost our
bedtime. I would just like to say thanks to everyone who has taken
part in supporting me though my mission these two years. I always had some
sort of email or letter to look forward to. So thank you so much.
Even though I am ending my full time mission this week, I will still
always strive to be a good example to those around me and be the light
set upon the hill for all to see. I love you all so much! I will see
Elder Stevens, signing out! Love yah!
English Class, Tokyo, Japan