We had an incredible week this week! I`ll start with a really funny experience from last Tuesday or so while we were out on the streets. I was contacting this guy just trying to build some trust and a good relationship and he asked me if I`m originally from Japan. I told him I was from the US and I came to Japan about ten months or so ago and he was shocked! He was like, `how do you speak Japanese so well??` It was awesome! I`m sure he was just trying to be nice. I`m still pretty bad, but I`m definitely improving every day! This language is a mountain and a half! That gave me a lot more motivation to study harder and develop my language ability even quicker. It`s crazy to think I`m over my year mark and still in the beginning stages of learning Japanese. Usually when you think of a missionaries second year in the field you would think they`ve got everything down pat and its just smooth sailing until they go home. Yeah. That is not the case. I`m still working my tail off every day!
We have had an awesome week as far as proselyting goes as well. I`ll start out with the miracle we were able to see just a few days ago. So we have a guy that comes to our weekly basketball night with his family. He was an investigator years ago, but has since fallin away a little bit, he still keeps in touch with the missionaries, but no one was really stepping up and teaching him anything or inviting him to church. We were up in the city and my bike got a flat tire. We were walking with our bikes up the street when a car pulled over with a couple kids yelling out the window. It was our investigator and his kids on their way to the park for the day! He asked us if we needed any help and we said no, but we would come see him at the park after I got my tire fixed. We went and met him and his kids a little while later and had a great talk with him at the park about his life story. His dad is Chinese, his mom in Korean/Hawaiian, he was born in Canada, grew up in England, married a Japanese lady after college, divorced her after his daughters birth, married another Japanese lady, and now lives here in Takatsuki as an English teacher at a college up in Kyoto. Crazy life, right? He talked about the profound influence he had from one of his college teachers that was a Mormon. He has always wanted to join the church he`s just always been a little hesitant to join because of his family situation. We asked him if we could give him and his family a full tour of the church after we played basketball on Saturday and he agreed. He doesn`t really speak a lot of Japanese and his wife doesn`t really speak that much English so its a miracle they are even married, but anyway, she`s extremely pregnant right now and he is really worried about the safety of the baby. During the tour of the church on Saturday he asked if there was a special prayer we could offer his wife and unborn child because `Missionary prayers are more powerful than anyone elses`. We told him that because we hold the Holy Priesthood of God we could offer his wife a blessing of comfort and counsel. He asked us to do so, so we were able to give his wife a priesthood blessing. While we were showing him the baptismal font in the church I was teaching him and his children a little bit about baptism and what baptism means. I asked him if he remembered the things he has been taught about baptism and he said that he did. I asked him if he wanted to be baptized and he said yes! The only problem is that because he wants his wife and his baby to be as safe as possible they are moving to Hawaii temporarily in two weeks because apparently Japan isn`t very good for newborns. I said that if we could teach him again he could get baptized in Hawaii from the missionaries over there and he said, `or I could just get baptized here.` I was like, `well ok then!` So he will hopefully be baptized before he leaves in the coming week or so! The best part is that he wants his ten year old daughter to be baptized as well! What a crazy cool miracle. I was so humbled. The Lord really does prepare the hearts of man. This was an amazing thing, but we aren`t done thats for sure! We have a lot of things to plan and get done before he`s ready to enter into the covenant! I just hope I can keep up!
I know this church is true. This is the work of God and he`s in charge. I am literally the dust of the Earth and without him, I am nothing. I`m so glad to be here. I know I was sent to Japan for a reason. I know the Lord has a plan for every single one of his children! I love this church, I know Joseph Smith was a prophet of God and Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer! I love you all!
Elder Jeffrey Maxwell Giles