Wow, I can`t even tell you what a rollercoaster of a week it was over here! But everything seemed to just work out and our beloved thriteen year old investigator, Sazaki Misa, was safely baptized this past Sunday. It really is amazing to see the Lord outstretch His hand and preform miracles right in front of us.
So, Sister Misa`s baptismal interview was on Wednesday night and her baptism was planned for Saturday. We were sure that her faith and testimony was solid so we had no worries about it. But, a bunch of problems seemed to pop right out when her interview started. We had already gotten the permission of the parents before the interview, but Sister Misa`s mother suddenly was overcome with concerns when we had asked for their names and birthdays for the baptismal record. During the interview, we received a call from the parents and they told us that they wanted to talk with us. So, the member that referred her and I left during the interview and went to talk to the mother. After a good hour of negotiating, she finally expressed her concerns and told us that she doesn`t want her daughter being baptized. It was quite the shock to both the member and I. I honestly felt my heart drop but we kept trying to help her realize that she was making a mistake. We explained how her daughter had a desire to change herself and become a better person and that by stopping her now, it would just confuse and frustrate her. It seemed to have an effect on the mother, but she told us that she would need time to think about it.
The next two days where honestly pretty nerve recking for me and Elder Shinohara. We honestly didn`t know what would happen and we weren`t quite sure what we were supposed to do. So we decided to fast about it and think about what we were supposed to do before acting recklessly and making the situation worse. We had a great impression to first write Sister Misa a letter telling her not give up on her baptism and to do her best to testify to her mother about how she wanted to change. After writing that letter, we decided to write Sister Misa`s mother as well. We just poured our hearts out onto a piece of paper and told her that she was a wonderful mother for caring about her daughter but we also testfied about how her daughter would become a better person by following Jesus Chirst. We begged for her to just listen to what her daugther was saying and what she desired. We left that letter in their post box and prayed as hard as we could that the Lord would soften her heart.
Friday night came crawling up and we still hadn`t heard anything from the mother. Elder Shinohara and I were right at the point where we were about to lose hope...we even began planning to cancel the baptismal service because we really didn`t know what would happen. But thats when we received an email from the member that referred her telling us not to give up and keep moving towards the baptism the next day. For some reason we felt really strongly at that moment that things would be okay, so we decided not cancel it.
The next day was full of miracles. Saturday afternoon, we received a call from the member telling us that the mother had changed her mind. She gave us permission to baptize Sister Misa! When we asked why, he told us that Sister Misa had done her best to testify to her mother about how she wanted to be baptized and her mother really started to think about the welfare of her daughter. Her mother was surprised at how much her daugther had changed in the few months since she started going to church. And right when she was thinking about it, she received our letter and it really helped her see that all we wanted to do is help her daughter out. So, about four hours before the service, the mother came to the church and signed the baptismal record herself and gave us the green light to baptise her.
The baptismal service went on as planned and it was the most spiritual one I`ve ever participated in before. It was so amazing to see Sister Misa take her first steps towards Jesus Christ and see her face just change after the baptism. It was such a blessing and a testimony to me that the Lord really loves all of his children and that He gives us trials so we can strengthen our faith. I don`t think I`ll ever be able to forget this experience again and I am so excited to see Sister Misa continue following Jesus Christ and change her life for the better. I love this little girl so much!
Those past few days were really just a test for us more than anything. I don`t think I`ve ever prayed as hard as I did during those two days. I couldn`t concentrate, I lost sleep, I even started crying after praying with Elder Shinohara because I was frustrated and just didn`t know why all these problems would come out at the last second. It was pretty embarrassing, I don`t think I`ve ever cried over a thriteen year old girl before.haha But in the end it all worked out! The Lord lives and he knows exactly what He`s doing. He gives us challenges and trials in our life so we can grow and as long as we hold fast to our faith and hope, things will work out in the end.
Well, thats my experience of my mission. I finally know why I stayed in Toyooka. It was all for this little thriteen year old to get her back onto track and following Jesus Christ. She`s like a little sister to me!
Anyways, I gotta go now. Running out of time! I have one thing to ask though. Mom, when you come to Japan will you buy some small things that I can give to members when I leave? It would be much appreciated! Thanks for always being amazing!
I love ya guys,