Week #18

8:23 PM

January 6, 2013
First of all, Margaret Pearl Hoopes, welcome to the fam! My dear sister Brooke gave birth to a beautiful and apparently big baby on January 2. Greta-chan, be prepared to be best friends in 14 months. I may be getting older, but I`m STILL a pretty cool, hip aunt. Right? Right.

So Christmas in Japan is like unto St. Patrick`s Day in the states: no one cares and everyone works. However, New Year`s is CRAY. New Years Day happened to be P-Day and some zone members went to the touristy Miyajima Island - also in Hatsukaichi area. It was pretty boss, though there were TONS of people. We took a ferry over there and explored through shops, ate fun snacks, and admired the Buddhist temples. It was a super fun day - Miyajima is super beautiful. We`re already planning to go again this transfer.

Okay everybody listen up. I`ve actually got a good story this week. Let me explain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up.

Last Thursday, we had a lunch appointment with some members. After a fun time eating cake and Pizza Hut pizza (<-happiness right thurr), we got a random phone call. Hinode Shimai stepped out of the room to take it while I tried my best to keep a conversation going with this young family (``So.... how long have you lived in this house?``)

Afterwards, I asked Sister Hinode to explain what the call was about. She said (in her cute, broken English), ``Sister Smith! This transf is ... very, very busy! Maybe... baptism!`` I kinda go, ``whuuuuuuu??`` and then she explained that she had gotten a call from an investigator`s member son-in-law. We had not yet met this investigator because he had back surgery, or something. The son-in-law and his wife live in Tokyo, but were visiting Hiroshima over the holiday. He basically said that this man wanted to see the missionaries and was ready for the gospel and asked if we could meet with him that day. We set an appointment for about an hour and a half later.

We hurried home and found his teaching record. His first contact with the missionaries was in 2006 and had not been baptized mostly because he could never attend church. We felt a lot of pressure. We hadn`t met this man before. His daughter and son-in-law really wanted him to get baptized and they were visiting just during that short time. We had no idea what to teach. He`d been taught every lesson three or four times.

(As an aside, Elders SUCK at Teaching Records. Their handwriting is illegible and their sentences hardly say anything more than ``we taught this.`` It`s okay, I`m over it).

(Another side note: Preach My Gospel seriously needs a section on Eternal Investigators).

Anyway, we stewed over what to teach. Three or four times, the thought came to my mind to teach Lesson 3 - the Gospel of Jesus Christ - aka faith, repentance, baptism, receiving the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end stuffs. We were running out of time, so I was all, ``whatever, let`s teach lesson 3`` and we prepared a brief lesson.

We were both super nervous. I was especially nervous, though. Recently, my Japanese self-esteem had taken a few blows and I was losing confidence in my communication abilities. On the 20-minute bike ride over there, I prayed pretty hard for the gift of tongues.

We got there and taught. He was a very nice, polite Japanese man with a sincere face. I wanted to understand so badly. I kid you not, though, my Japanese was perfect. I would take pride except it`s definitely not me. I spoke fluidly and smoothly and eased in the conversation naturally. We got to know him and found out that he recently got Sundays off work so he could come to church. He was praying and he was reading a well-marked copy of the Book of Mormon. 

As we taught, I realized I was focusing on baptism more than usual. We went in there with the intent of inviting him to come to church. When Hinode Shimai turned to me for my testimony, I suddenly felt super nervous. I KNEW that I needed to invite this man to be baptized. My mind told me, ``He can`t be baptized unless he comes to church``. But somehow I knew that I needed to ask him. I fumbled over my words, and suddenly I found myself asking him to be baptized. He heartily said ``Hai!``

After that, I was in such a shock that I didn`t actually know what to say. But we were both really happy and we set a date for early February. 

Yeah, that happened. 

I did NOT eat my weight in ice cream as a result of that miracle. By the way.

Anyway, I hope that you weren`t too bored with that story and that maybe it helped you realize that God is still a God of miracles!

Thank you all for your wonderful support. I love you all!

-Sister Smith

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