In 1998, Elder Henry B. Eyring came to Japan. He spoke at the Japan Missionary Training Center. Here is a part of what he said:
“I testify that in Japan, the Lord will dramatically establish the church and provide guidance for its expansion. For many months and years, it appears that things are stalled in the same situation. But in reality, the Lord is laying the foundation. And upon this foundation, miracles will occur. These miracles will happen in the form of great changes occurring in the hearts of members of the Church in Japan. This has just now started to happen although it may not be easy to see. The day will come when members of the Church will consider it a privilege to speak to colleagues at work and people in their neighborhoods about the Church.
”Your children will live in a Japan which is very different from the Japan you see now. This is because the Church will begin to achieve a marvelous expansion. It will obtain a prominent place and people will want to know about it. They will be interested and come. Your children will grow up not feeling embarrassed to testify of Jesus Christ in their schools and in their regional societies. They will tell their friends they go to school with and even their teachers that they are Latter-day Saints. They will have no fear. Not everyone will join the Church, but many will become members.
“You are only seeing the beginning. You wonderful missionaries here will only see a portion of the miracles. Those in the next generation will be the ones who will really see them. But it will begin now. This will be realized because the Lord will change the message of the Church from what it has been in Japan. The day will come when members of the Church in Japan will rejoice in their Church membership and will gladly urge people to learn the gospel from the missionaries.
“But even if the Lord changes the hearts of those outside the Church so they hold feelings of respect for the Church, unless (Church members) decide they want to introduce their friends to the missionaries and their actions show the gospel is true so the people around them will turn their ears to the teachings of the Lord, the work of the Lord will be retarded in its progress.”
In this blog, we would like to focus on the second paragraph of this great prophecy. "Your children will grow up not feeling embarrassed to testify of Jesus Christ in their schools and in their regional societies. They will tell their friends they go to school with and even their teachers that they are latter-day Saints. They will have no fear."
If we give the missionaries who were listening to Elder Eyring time to serve their missions, come home and get married, and start having children, those children would now be about 10 years old and younger. We would like to introduce you to one of the children in the Japan Nagoya Mission who is fulfilling that prophecy:
Kanazawa Stake, Komatsu Ward, Mitsuko Nishita
“And please bless Baba that she can quit drinking coffee so she can be baptized with me. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.” Just like every other day, seven-year-old Amane Nishita finished a prayer for her grandmother, “Baba,” to be baptized together with Amane on her eighth birthday.
The conversion of Mitsuko “Baba” Nishita, however, began many years before Amane even knew how to pray. When Amane was first born, Mitsuko marveled at the beauty of her first granddaughter. She held baby Amane in her arms and, overcome with the Spirit, committed that if this perfect little baby grew up and got baptized, she would get baptized too. That love the Amane grew and grew over eight years. But with six months left before Amane’s baptism, Grandma Nishita was no closer to the gospel.
As a part of their missionary work, the Elder serving in Komatsu went to the Nishita’s home to help them make a list of name as directed on page 172 of Preach My Gospel. It was through that activity that Amane’s mother, Sister Nishita, shared with the missionaries the story of Grandma Nishita. It was there that the missionaries learned of Grandma Nishita’s hidden commitment to be baptized. So they got to work. They decided to do a Family Home Evening with the Nishita family and their grandmother.
At the Family Home Evening, Amane said the opening prayer, asking Heavenly Father to provide a way for her grandmother to be baptized. When she raised her head, Grandma Nishita’s eyes were filled with tears. Her deep love for her granddaughter motivated her to make a goal. She would be baptized with her granddaughter.
She started meeting with the missionaries regularly. She read The Book of Mormon and prayed every day. She asked her family any questions she had. And every day, she was reminded of her commitment by her granddaughter. She was progressing really well, ready to be baptized with her granddaughter. But three weeks before her schedule baptism date, Grandma Nishita lost her commitment. Things that she used to have no problems with suddenly became huge doubts. Her desire to be baptized seemed to have completely faded away.
The missionaries lost all contact with her and were devastated. But even more than that, the Nishita family who had supported her seemed to have lost their faith. The members who had rallied around her and looked forward to her baptism seemed discouraged.
Amane got baptized just following her eighth birthday. Her grandmother attended, but she seemed to distance herself from the missionaries. The following week, Sister Nishita invited the missionaries to come to their house for a lesson with Grandma Nishita. The missionaries went, afraid to expect much. But when they arrived and asked her about her experience at the baptism, Grandma Nishita opened up. She explained that she felt like she needed to be baptized. She felt guilty for not being baptized and wished she could’ve been baptized with her granddaughter. She expressed her strong desire to be cleansed from her sins and her need for baptism. She had a complete change of heart, and that day the missionaries set a new goal for baptism. Grandma Nishita would be baptized on her birthday, the following month. The Spirit was strong and she committed wholeheartedly.
From there, Grandma Nishita had no problems. She was completely committed to this change. If the missionaries couldn’t meet because of her health or schedule, the members stepped in and strengthened her. And through it all, she was strengthened by the love and support of her family. Grama Nishita was baptized September 19, 2012.