Thursday, December 20, 2012

And A Little Child Shall Lead Them, Story 2

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:

Shoko Ishikawa, Kariya Ward, Nagoya East Stake
Shoko Ishikawa loves stories in the Book of Mormon.  She loves to read the stories of great heroes like Ammon and Nephi, as well as the spiritual experiences of prophets like Enos and Lehi.  Growing up, Shoko often talked about these stories with her family.  But her friends at school were unfamiliar with the stories Shoko loved so much.  Shoko, an outgoing girl, decided to share the Book of Mormon with her friend.  Her parents were surprised at her boldness, but Shoko showed no hesitation as she shared her testimony of the Book of Mormon and prayer with her friend Runa Fujitani.  Runa felt a special feeling when Shoko talked to her about the Book of Mormon.  The next Sunday, she brought her Dad to Shoko’s church.  When church ended, they walked home with two copies of the Book of Mormon, one for Runa and another for her little sister Rimi.  Once Runa started reading the Book of Mormon, she could not stop!  She took it to school with her everyday so she could read during her free time. 
Her friends Daisuke and Kai, also nonmembers, previously attended the church Halloween party and received copies of the Book of Mormon.  When they saw Runa reading the Book of Mormon at school, they started talking about this wonderful book and what was written inside.   Soon, even their teacher joined in the discussion!  Runa, Rimi, Daisuke, and Kai started coming to English class to learn from the Book of Mormon in English.  Kai even brought his cousin, Chugo, who now joins in their discussions about the Book of Mormon.  Shoko felt so good sharing the Book of Mormon with her friends.  She decided to keep sharing the Book of Mormon and invited her friend Akatsuki to church and English class.

These days, Shoko and her friends take their copies of the Book of Mormon to school and openly talk about what they read and their belief in Jesus Christ.  Because of Shoko’s courage and example, her friends are coming to English class and meeting separately with the missionaries to discuss the Book of Mormon.  On top of that, Akatsuki’s mother and Runa’s father are also meeting with the missionaries and learning about Shoko’s favorite book, the Book of Mormon.

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