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:
I Hope They Call Me on a Mission
Ai Shibata, 11, Meito Ward, Nagoya East Stake
Eleven-year-old Ai Shibata has a dream. Some day, she would like to follow in the footsteps of her two parents and serve a mission, telling people about the teachings of Jesus that she loves. The oldest of four kids, Ai is setting a great example for her younger siblings in many ways, especially missionary work.
One day, before the missionaries came over to talk about sharing the gospel, Ai led her brothers and sisters in prayer, asking Heavenly Father to help them be prepared. When the missionaries came over, Ai and her siblings made a list of their friends and talked about various ways they could introduce the gospel to their friends. Ai and her siblings decided to perform a play for the missionaries and President and Sister Baird (the local mission president) so that her friends could meet the missionaries and learn more about the church. Ai and her friends had so much fun preparing for their play, and they performed wonderfully! The play was a huge success, and because of Ai’s wonderful plan that she made with the missionaries, her friends and their parents were able to come to President and Sister Baird’s house to have Family Home Evening together and learn more about the gospel.
One day, while Ai was sleeping, she dreamed about sharing the gospel with her best friend Kaoru. Soon after, Ai gave Kaoru a Book of Mormon, sharing the wonderful joy of the restored gospel. Kaoru read all the way to 2 Nephi! Ai was so happy to share something she loved with her best friend.
Of course, Ai is not so brave with everyone. As she went to school every day, Ai wanted to share the happiness of the gospel with her teacher. At first she was scared. It would be very bold to approach her teacher about religion! But Ai had faith that God would help her. She asked her father for a priesthood blessing to have the courage to share the gospel with her teacher. Ai felt strengthened. That night, just after family prayer, the Spirit told Ai that she could be brave. She put a copy of the Book of Mormon in her backpack, ready to share the joy of this gospel with one more of Heavenly Father’s children.