Sister Anna-Lisa Clark
Sister Akahane, a part-member sister from the Matsumoto Branch who serves as the visiting teaching coordinator of the Relief Society, is in my opinion, the very kind of angel spoken of by prophets who goes about doing good. She is the most active visiting teacher I have ever seen, visiting numerous less-active members, always with a gift of a food item in hand, often things she grows or makes herself. She takes us with her by car occasionally and we too never leave empty hearted or empty handed. She give us great meals at her home, jars of homemade jam, and bags of fresh huge apples.
My last week in Matsumoto, she took us to visit a non-member friend of hers whose name came up when we did fulfillment and follow-up with her. Her friend welcomed us warmly and we had a great visit. It turns out she had already read a good amount of the Book of Mormon that she had received from Sister Akahane. I was impressed with how willing she was to get to know us because of the influence of Sister Akahane’s friendship.
That same week we visited a less-active sister who has at times heard and believed negative things about the Church. Sometimes she was really hard-hearted, but as we worked with her, showed love and bore testimony, things improved. When we last visited her, we were surprised as she pulled out the Book of Mormon, listened more attentively than ever, said she had been reading and even shared with us her conversion story. We were wondering why she seemed so changed when she brought up a recent visit by her visiting teacher where they discussed recognizing the spirit and she had begun to think back on her experiences and had begun to find things that seemed like inspiration. How grateful we were for those visiting teachers, one of which was our local ministering angel, Sister Akahane.
Sister Akahane’s husband (non-member) is a woodcarver by trade. He carves all kinds of things, including statues and things for temples and shrines. Lately Sister Akahane has been learning a little herself. Knowing that transfers were coming up and that between me and Sister Mimaki I was the one most likely to go, she made and painted a little wooden pendant, carved in the shape of a flower, and gave it to me as a special gift.
What an honor! I will treasure it as a reminder of her faith and example. I pray it can help me remember her testimony that she shared so freely in word and in deed.