Why This Week Rocks

The other day I got a letter from my first convert, Brother Ishihara (石原兄弟). Actually, the letter came a month ago, but I finally got it forwarded to me. It took me a few hours to decipher everything as reading hand-written Kanji is not my forte, but having finally understood it, I don’t know if any letter has touched me so deeply. He wrote of his appreciation that Elder Allred and I shared the gospel with him. He explained how he strives to show that appreciation by actions each day of every week. He wrote a detailed explanation of each day’s schedule. It was my thought to write a translation of the letter here, but it is far to dear to me. He lives his life in profound appreciation for the gospel by diligently studying the scriptures at early hours in the morning, and constantly serves others despite his very modest lifestyle. I don’t think I’ve ever known someone so converted in my whole life. I can only imagine the strength he brings to his ward as he magnifies multiple extremely difficult callings. It brings tears to my eyes to know that Elder Allred and I were the instruments by which the Lord made himself known to a man who has become one of my dearest friends.

On my way back to school I was laid over in Denver for several hours. I eventually feel asleep at a table outside one of the restaurants on the second floor of the main terminal. I awoke to the sound of a Japanese lady speaking on her cell phone. Once she hung up I approached her. We were both pleased to find out that we had an hour remaining before our flight. It was a bit of stretch, but I was able to keep up a conversation in Japanese. Well, having just finished reading the letter Brother Ishihara sent me, I couldn’t not talk about the gospel. It was a wonderful opportunity to learn how, though she has never had a faith, she had many important beliefs about her ancestors, etc. I could relate very easily because I’m also very grateful for my ancestors and family. I explained that my appreciation towards Jesus Christ lies in his making it possible to see our ancestors again and be with them forever. I would have liked to talk together for several more hours. She gave me her business card, however, and I look forward to exchanging emails.

Then tonight I went to Japanese Institute. There was a testimony meeting, so I shared some of my experiences from this week. It was a wonderful opportunity and the spirit was very strong. I talked with a Japanese sister missionary who was there, too. She explained how she had once been less active for some time when a couple missionaries approached her about attending a baptismal service. Through the spirit felt at that baptismal service she regained activity and eventually decided to serve a mission. It was the baptism of Hideaki–one of the people I taught who moved away and received baptism in his new ward. I have heard many stories about that baptism from many different people: From Hideaki himself (who called me against rules… we talked for almost an hour anyway), from the missionaries who served in that ward, and from some other acquaintances. How I wish I could have been there! I’m looking forward to teaching a joint lesson with the missionaries tomorrow–the sister missionary promised she would bring a picture she took at the baptism. Hideaki gets home from his mission in a few months, so I’ll have to write him quickly and tell him about this.

They say we can never know the importance of each action. I never could have imagined what a powerful ripple my serving a mission in Japan would make. I doubt Hideaki has imagined the ripple his decision to be baptized and serve a mission is making either. Neither do I believe that Brother Ishihara can comprehend how deeply his letter has touched me.

If the Lord will continue to bless me I hope to save enough money to visit these friends this summer. I cannot imagine anything so happy–even as much as I love my studies, research opportunities, recognition I have received, and business success, none of it can compare to being involved in the Lord’s work.

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