Eric Stevens, Japan Tokyo Mission, July 2013-July 2015, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,
"Remember that it is on the rock of your Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God , that ye must build your foundation." Helaman 5:12
What, We Saw Elder Ballard?
You'll never guess what happened. We had a mini general conference in our mission yesterday! That's why pday was moved to today instead of yesterday. We had Elder Melvin J. Ballard, from the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, Elder Ronald L. Rasband from the Presidency of the Seventies, and Bishop Gary L. Stevenson Presiding Bishop of the Church come to Japan to visit with us. It was so amazing and spiritual and I was even privileged to sing in a 10 person choir that performed during the meetings. We sang "Hope of Israel" and I'm pretty sure some tears were shed, not because of the singing, but because of the spiritual presence that having an Apostle in your midst brings. He talked a lot about the "Preach My Gospel" book and how we need to focus more on sharing the message of the restoration to our investigators. He wants us to have our investigators pray to God after every lesson to ask Him if we, as missionaries, are "true messengers" from the Lord Jesus Christ to teach them the way to salvation and eternal life. But that wasn't all. He read a scripture from Doctrine and Covenants about the missionaries who are teaching in the Spirit World. He told us that those valiant spirits who are teaching the people after they die, are the missionaries from before and today. He joked and said that we need to become good missionaries now because we will need to be amazing missionaries when we die as well. That part really struck me, so now I am trying even harder to be the missionary that I need to be. All in all it was a great spiritual experience.
Also this week I was able to meet with my friend W... in Togane. I worked with him a lot when I was here a while ago but he never was too interested, so I almost decided not to try to meet with him again when I returned. But luckily I did! We talked to him about the Church and he said that he has real interest now. He has been praying every day for the past few months and we were even able to set a baptismal date with him for the 14th of March. The only downside is that he will be moving to Tokyo soon so we will have to prepare him to be transferred to the missionaries there. It's so awesome to see all of my old investigators progressing so well now. I guess we never know the Lord's timing in missionary work. But I feel so lucky now to see just how patiently God works with His children to prepare them to come unto Him.
Besides that we didn't do too much, just met with tons of people... oh, and we had stake conference in Chiba. President Budge spoke at both of the sessions. I can't remember but dad, did you have the Mission President speak at every stake conference? Maybe it's just something that they do in Japan. But it went really well and I got the chance to play the violin for the special musical number in the Saturday session. We played an arrangement of "I Know That My Redeemer Lives" and it was so beautiful. Lots of music this past week! :)
I think that's everything for this week, well except, Happy B-day Alexa! I am so proud of you for turning 16! Just don't ruin it by crashing my car! Lol. It's only on loan you know. Lol. I have a present for you that I got, it's like something very traditional here that they always give to girls. You may have to wait for it until I come back home because I don't know if I can send it right now, but I hope that you are excited! It looks pretty sweet, but a little too girly for me. Well, that's enough hints, you'll just have to wait to see what it is!
Well I hope that you all have a great week! I love you all and wish you the best!
I just had my interview with President Budge and my release date will be on the 24th of July. So you can probably come and pick me up then. Then if we stay and tour for a week or so we can go home in late July or early August. Did they send you the email about returning missionaries?
Well the final die has been cast. I just got my very last transfer call in Japan. Elder Faganello will be
transferring to Tsukuba and I will be staying in Senzokuike for my last transfer and my new companion will be Elder Hardy. It's really funny because I was his district leader 3 transfers ago when I was in Togane with Elder Lee. He is a really hard worker, so we will be
flying like rockets this transfer!
Oh, and one more thing, do you remember Elder Free my MTC companion? Well, he will be staying in the same apartment as me for our last transfer together!! I was so excited to find out about that! We are starting our mission together and ending it together! I guess we'll get to see how much we have changed these past 2 years.
Well enough about transfers, let's talk about last week. It started out amazing! We were able to find 2 new investigators right off the bat. It will be interesting to see how they will progress. I will keep you posted.
How is Everyone?
So the big news for the day is that we got transfer calls today and guess what, I am officially leaving my home in Niigata and moving way down south to the rice paddies and strawberry fields of Togane. Apparently Togane is the 2nd most rural area in the mission so I'm going to have tons of fun conversing with Japanese farmers. I was talking with my companion Elder Pronk who used to work there and he says that it's a 30 min bike ride to the nearest town and to the church so I'll get in really good shape! Which is good because I'm gaining more weight. It's all because of the rice we always eat. And guess what, they called me as the Senior companion! How crazy is that?! I feel like I definitely don't know enough Japanese to be the best one at Japanese in my companionship. And on top of that I am opening up a new area which is crazy! There is already a Togane A team and we are going to be Togane B team. We are going to have no investigator…
Hello everyone, and welcome to my last email from my mission in Japan. The time
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.