Steven Bardzinski, August 28, 2012
After only being in Inuyama for a short time, I was surprised when I received a transfer call to serve in Numazu. I’d heard nothing about the area, and hadn’t even heard of my new companion, Elder Hilyard. I asked Heavenly Father many times in prayer why I had been called to this area that had practically no investigators or any relationship with the members. I didn’t really get an answer on my knees, but it came on my first Sunday. After Sacrament Meeting ended, I felt prompted to talk to a lady standing by herself looking quite sad.
As I began to speak to her, she began to cry as she said that people didn’t really take the time to talk to her. Mayumi Kouchi had been less active for about 10 years and felt that God didn’t love her. She expressed her desire to learn about her Savior Jesus Christ through the missionary lessons. We began to teach Sister Kouchi, and watch a mighty change come upon her.
As she had already been baptized, inviting her to baptism wasn’t an option, so we decided to set a date for her to prepare to take the sacrament. She accepted a date, and together we helped her repent and prepare to be worthy to take the sacrament. I have never seen anyone prepare as much as Kouchi Shimai to take the sacrament.
The day came and she was ready. As she took the bread and water, she wept as she said, “I feel like I’ve been baptized again! I feel like I’ve been washed clean. Thank you.”
I came to realize why I had been sent to Numazu. I know what it means in D&C 18 when it says, “…how great will be your joy if you should bring many souls unto me.”
|Elder Hilyard, Elder Bardzinski, and Sister Kouchi|
After Sister Kouchi’s reactivation, she has helped her friend return to church, her nephew became an investigator and has a baptismal date, and she has also recently referred another friend to the missionaries.
Numazu is now a thriving area with many investigators and a great relationship with the members-- dramatically different to the Numazu I transferred to. All thanks to the love and mercy of Jesus Christ and our loving Father in Heaven.
This gospel is true and will bless the lives of ANYONE who embraces it.