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!

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