Friday, March 4, 2011

We Were Pre-existance Friends

Written by Elder Zachary Brown

I think I’ll start off by saying that to say my whole mission wasn’t a miracle would be to cheat the value and importance of my mission.

It’s hard to nail down just one experience, since it seems like I’m favoring it above the rest.  However, I suppose writing about Naniwa’s baptism in Fukui would be the real miracle.
Elder Brown
When I arrived in Fukui, I was met by Soliai Choro, but everything else seemed dreary, like someone put a lid on the wards’ cannon or pot of “Genki.”  Now, this isn’t to say that everyone was mopey, or that there weren’t members bursting with light, but the air was generally stagnant.  One investigator that the missionaries had just started working with was an older man named Naniwa.  He had been a “tea sinsei” and was prodded and coaxed by his cousin for around five years to take the missionary lessons.

 To this day we’re thankful he obliged.

The lessons went as planned.  To say he wasn’t “golden” (meaning he accepted everything that was taught and even added some of his own correct “doctrine”) would be an understatement.  As we went through the baptismal interview questions we ran into a problem.  He hadn’t received permission from his wife to take the lessons or even meet with the missionaries.  

Elder Soliai
The secondary “problem” (which, actually, wasn’t a problem) was that we missed his original baptismal date.  Time passed and the Lord strengthened Naniwa and gave him the power to not only ask his wife once, but three or more times!  He pressed forward harder than I had ever seen any other investigator do before.  He fasted, prayed, and attended church, kept asking, and eventually got permission.

Several times Naniwa’s cousin came to me, saying, “I wondered why they had transferred the last missionary out before you.  Now I know.  You and Naniwa were pre-existence friends.  You promised him you’d come for him, and here you are.”
I had never heard that kind of language from anyone before, but I knew that he was right somehow.  I met an eternal friend.  I never felt so attached to someone in my whole life.
I baptized him and will never forget him.  He even plans to dendou his family!
Hoiza, Hoiza, Hoiza!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

March 2011 New Missionaries

This week, we went to the airport and welcomed 3 new missionaries into our mission. Elder Berrett, Elder Amussen, and Sister Goodale. It was so fun to see them! We know they will be great missionaries for our Heavenly Father!

Elder Amussen (right) and Elder Da Silva- Komatsu

From Salem, Utah, Elder Cameron Amussen is the baby of the family and has lots of nieces and nephews.  His dream, after he serves his mission, is to become a pharmacist.  Serving in Japan was a dream come true for him, since the Japanese language is his favorite language to study.

One elder who knows Elder DaSilva said of him,
"He is a very happy, warm-hearted elder who can have
good relations with just about anyone!"

Elder Berrett (left) and Elder Transtrum - Takayama

Elder Shane Berrett is from Concord, California and comes from a family of 9.  Elder Berrett plans to be a chiropractor after his mission. He loves to play baseball and several other sports and is very competitive.  He is a good story teller and has great organizational skills.  He is good at understanding the hearts of others and does well with goals.

Elder Michael Transtrum lives in Colorado Springs, Colorado.  He enjoys snowboarding, mountain biking and working out, and he wrestled in high school.  He sees being a doctor in his future.  He is a hard worker and a perfectionist, and has a sense of humor.  He wants to share the truth, happiness and peace that he has found in the Gospel with others.

Sister Goodale (right) and Sister Griffin- Takabata

Sister Amanda Goodale hales from Cordova, Tennessee, but you can tell from her middle name that she has some Hawaiin connections.  It is Kaualulehuaopanaewa.  Beautiful!  Sister Goodale's interests are mainly art and music.  She loves anything from pottery to sewing to painting.  She hopes to have a studio and sell her art.  She is spontaneous and outgoing and doesn't mind stepping outside the box.  She believes that nothing is impossible with the help of the Lord.  

Sister Sunny Griffin is from sunny Mission Viejo, California and her smile matches her name.  She loves to sing, has played the flute, and enjoys cooking and sewing.  She hopes to study psychology, but mostly she wants to be married in the temple and be a mom.  She is a good listener and finds joy in other people's happiness.  She looks forward to sharing her strong testimony with others.