No need to fear! My bike wasn't stolen. They were impounded. Which makes sense because as soon as we knew the bikes were gone I started calculating in my head the chances of both of our bikes being stolen while locked. I also wondered why someone would take our helmets a long with them. We complained about having to buy new bikes and helmets. Twenty dollars later (Not including the bus ride to the lot) our bikes are back!
Let me tell you of the miracle of this week. The miracle of this transfer. We got a call from the elders Monday night about a girl they'd met that day. They begged us to meet at the train station at 5:00PM so we could meet her, walk together to the church, and give her a tour. So we did. We woke up early to make it to the Temple on time, ate curry with some friends, shopped around a little in Shibuya (Where Sister G. used to live as a college student. Did I tell you that? A year before coming here Sister G was already living in Tokyo. She went to school here. She says it was way hard and really weird to open up that call to Tokyo. She was like AGAIN? She really wanted to go to Nagoya. But now she knows for herself that God knew where He was going to send her before she was born. She loves it. If you ask me, as a Japanese missionary, the Tokyo mission is the only mission in Japan where missionaries come back absolutely fluent in English, and that's what she wants so there.) ANYWAYS from Shibuya we returned home to meet N.
N. is my age, currently a college student studying nutrition. She's from the Philippines. When she was sixteen, her parents have her a three month notice that they were moving to Japan for her dad's work. At the end of those three months, she was in Japan, in a Japanese high school, surrounded by Japanese people, speaking Japanese. She's amazing. As we showed her the church, she was pretty lukewarm. She talked about her own church a lot. But we brought her to the chapel anyways and I played some hymns on the piano. Around that time a member came in to join in a lesson. I think from there on the Spirit opened N's heart and as she spoke to this member in Tagalog, she revealed that she actually had wanted to be baptized in this church for a long time. You see, back in the Philippines she had a single Mormon friend. But this friend was so awesome, her family was so nice, that N. wanted to join their church. At the time, she was underage and her mother would not give her permission to even talk to the missionaries. Fast forward to a chapel in Japan and she's telling us that she still wants to be baptized. UMMM HOW. God. That's how. She has been so carefully prepared by God. We met with her the very next day with this same member and her boyfriend. We taught her the Restoration. (Joseph Smith's story) We had just given her a Book of Mormon the day before and she had already read up to chapter two in first Nephi. ALL OF IT. The intro, the testimonies, EVERYTHING. She had even marked it up and shared with me the bits she liked. We started from the beginning: God. We got to Christ's Earthly Ministry and I asked her: "Why is it important to you to know that Christ came to earth?" You know what she said? "Without Christ I am nothing. I have no hope, nothing." THE FAITH. I was about ready to turn the table and say: No, N, stop right there. Will you teach ME? Wow. Well we asked her again if she would be baptized and she said yes. Then came the baptism on Saturday.
A Japanese brother was baptized in this ward last Saturday. He was baptized just like Jesus Christ was, by the same authority that John the Baptist held. He was so happy at the end, he sang for everyone. All N. had to say was "I am amazed! The same way Jesus was baptized!" We talked to her about her own baptismal date. We told her we'd prayed about June 20th (We know she can make it) but she didn't accept it. Even though she doesn't need her mom's permission, she wants it. The end goal in our minds (N., Sister G., and I) is that her family of six all get baptized. She wants to wait. Well we role played what telling her mom would be like. I asked a ton of questions.
"Why would you want to go the Mormon way when the [other denomination] way is the way of your own mother, your grandmother?!"
"Mom, the Mormon way is the closest way I can get back to Jesus."
"What's this Book of Mormon? Why are you reading it?"
"This book is true, Mom."
We met THAT WEEK PEOPLE. She's amazing. I love her.
Chiba's been rough. Up till now we've done A LOT of finding. I really hate housing and I would say that was the majority of what we've been doing lately. Housing and calling. Calling and housing. The fact that N. fell into the Elders' hands was a miracle prepared by God. I'm so glad we were working so hard before. We were meant to meet her, and she was meant to meet us. I'M SO HAPPY. The Elders are so happy too! Heck, the members are so happy! A family volunteered to have us over for dinner after hearing N's story. Wow. I'll keep you updated.
That was the biggest thing. But a lot of small, intentional things have happened lately. Sister G. and I have come to know the power of the Restoration. We've been able to teach that whole lesson to completely different friends with different needs but for all three of them the Restoration seemed to fit. We saw a baptism! We're alive and well! We have an opportunity to be representatives of Jesus Christ here in Japan!
This is funny: every week, at the start of every meeting, the members like to remind us where we are. For example, in Utah, someone conducting a meeting might start out by saying: "Welcome to Sacrament Meeting." But here in Japan, they say: "Welcome to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' Chiba Ward, Chiba Stake, Japan. Let's start Sacrament Meeting." It's not as great in English, but in Japanese, it's quite the long introduction. And it doesn't matter the what meeting it is, they'll still make this long introduction. I love Japan.
See you soon!
Tokyo missionaries playing Frisbee at the park. A mom who lives in Japan explained to us that the tall tower behind them is a Parking lot. Car goes in, takes lift up to assigned spot, when needed it comes down just like ordering a bag of chips from a vending machine (without the dropping, a lift carries it down)
Matching green contact lenses