OKAY... story. So Tsuji shimai (my companion) and I were heading home on our bikes and had some time left, so we just decided if we had a feeling to go somewhere, or if some place looked good to house, we would just go with our gut. We were biking home and nothing really necessarily looked good and I didn't have a strong feeling, but for some reason we turned into a neighborhood and found some apartments and started there. There were 3 towers, A, B, and C, and we decided to start at A. We found a cute older lady, and made an appointment with her, we went to B, and found a 59 yr old man, and made an appointment with him too... we were going to go home after tower B, but we decided to head to tower C before going home. In tower C, we found another lady and got an appointment with her. I was seriously overwhelmed with gratitude for Heavenly Father's guidance. OK... but that's not the story... so here's the story, Tower B, the 59 year old man. We went to visit him again Monday. Our team up (member) couldn't come, and being a man, another woman is necessary, but being Monday night, most members have FHE and we couldn't find anyone. The man was telling me how beautiful he thought my eyes were and all that, so I was also a little hesitant and thought we would pass him off to the elders anyways.... SO we asked the elders to come. All 4 of us went to his (Saito is his name) apartment and this is what went down (quote my journal cuz its faster): "anyway we went in and well, he is very strong in what he believes. He says that he can learn from other people, and that he doesn't know everything, but when we try to tell him something he tried to contradict us... but it was an amazing experience and the spirit was there. As we asked about God, he said he can't see God with his own eyes, so he can't believe. We used many examples of not seeing, but believing, but he still said unless he can see Him he doesn't believe. He continued to say all these things that he believed and ended it by turning to me and saying, "see there is no God right?" I didn't really want to argue, but decided to testify... I began speaking, "No, I KNOW there is a God. I have my own personal experiences and witness that God is there. I've felt his love and know without a doubt that He is there. We each can have a personal relationship with Him and I've truly felt Him many times in my life, and have had experiences too personal to share through which I KNOW that He lives." Up until this point he would attack us mid-sentence, or as soon as we finished he would say something, but as soon as I finished talking, for once in the 40 minutes we had been there, he was DEAD SILENT. That's when I realized how powerful personal testimony is. No one can deny what another person knows or believes or experienced. You can't tell someone their testimony is wrong. He just sat there and stared at me, not sure what to say. Then Elder Jones came in and also began to testify, "I too know that God lives, we all have had similar experiences and that is why we are here (on our missions)." Then he asked Saito-san, "Haven't you at some point in your life felt God's love?" Now before, Saito-san was saying how God doesn't exist, but this is how he answered, "Well, yea, I MAY have felt His love...." then he said, "but whether it's God or Kami, or Hotokesama (Buddha), I don't know. But yea, I've felt that there may be some greater being..." When he said that, the story of Alma and Korihor came into my mind. And this morning during personal study I thought I would open up and compare the experiences. Alma 30:37- Alma asks, Believest thou that there is a God? :38 Korihor says, "Nay" :39 Alma: I say unto you I know that there is a God and also Christ shall come. :40 Alma asks, "what proof do you have that there isn't a God, besides only your word? :41 Alma: ...but I have all things as a TESTIMONY that these things are true. (testimony is greater proof than just words) :43 Korihor: Show me a sign :44 Alma: All things denote there's a God :48 Korihor changes from completely denying to.. well.. maybe... "I don't DENY the existence of A GOD, but I do not believe that there is a God." Saito-san to sokkuri to omotta (Just what Saito said!). Anyway, through this experience with Saito-san, I realized the importance of TESTIMONY. We can say, we believe, we feel, we think, but WE KNOW is the strongest witness you can give. And THAT is when the HOLY GHOST carries it UNTO the hearts of those we teach. Also, I realized how true the scriptures are and how they STILL APPLY for us today. Just as ELDER BALLARD's talk on those who have gone before, we can truly learn lessons from the missionaries in the Book of Mormon. Missionary work is still done the "Old fashioned way" (when it comes to testimony and conversion.)
After we talked with him some more, he said he had read the Bible before. So I offered him the Book of Mormon. He had heard of it, but had no idea what it was about. He read the introduction with us there, and seemed way into it. We pointed out Moroni 10:3-5 and marked it for him, then gave him a hand out entitled 20 questions that the Book of Mormon answers. He read those and said he had interest to learn more. The Elders took the next appointment and my companion closed with a prayer. He also knelt as we prayed, and as soon as words were spoken I felt a rush of the spirit. It was a great learning experience for me to feel the power of testimony and the Book of Mormon. It is SO IMPORTANT for us as missionaries (and as MEMBERS) to TESTIFY of the things we believe (know). The Holy Ghost will help us if we do, and will be with us to support what we say. WE don't JUST think, believe, or hope, but WE KNOW this church is true. We have received the confirmation, and we have the responsibility to spread the Word with all those we meet."There are stories like this happening everyday in this country and the Kobe Mission. The work is moving forward. We are very proud of Erika, our sister missionary, and the work she is doing.