First thing in the morning, we travelled to Kyoto and attended the baptism of Brother Soga of the Fushimi Ward. He was taught by Elders Shattack and Jones and was referred to them by Sister Matsui. Several members joined in the lessons and helped the missionaries teach him over the past few months. The Matsui family had many of the lessons in their home. This is the way it should be done. The members in the Kyoto Stake have really been catching the vision of missionary work and we are beginning to see the fruits of those efforts.(Sister McIntyre poses in front of the Fushimi Kyoto Ward Building)
Brother Soga was very prepared and shared a humble testimony after being baptized. We are grateful to the Matsui family and all those others that helped Brother Soga prepare for this day.
(Fushimi Ward Baptism for Brother Soga. Pictured here with Sister Matsui and the Fushimi Elders Shattuck and Jones)
After the baptism in Fushimi we quickly made our way to Joyo which is about 30-40 minutes away by car. We made it just in time for Sacrament meeting.
(The Joyo Ward Building, Kyoto Stake)
After Sacrament meeting Elders Budge and Iwasa asked us to join in their lesson with Kamitsuji-san, a 53 year old woman that has been to church 4 or 5 times and is seriously studying the gospel. Today the elders taught her about prophets and the word of wisdom and we committed her to obey the word of wisdom and prepare for baptism. The lesson went very well and we were all able to testify often. Tears were shed by many. She certainly felt the Spirit and expressed a desire to follow Christ. After the formal lesson, Sister McIntyre continued visiting with her for some time, after which we drove her and the elders to Fushimi for the baptism of Brother Yamashiki. She expressed a desire to see a baptism before she commits to a firm date.(The Joyo Elders Budge and Iwasa with President and Sister McIntyre)
It was a special experience to teach with Elder Budge as he was one of our youth back in Tokyo when I served as a bishop and in the stake presidency. He is now a trainer in the mission. Elder Iwasa has only been out for a few weeks. Both Elders did a great job. Sister McIntyre and I felt great about the lesson and felt that Kamitsuji-san is one of the elect prepared to accept the gospel. She told us that she had been pondering about many questions of the soul when Elder Budge and Elder Stennett, his last companion, knocked on her door. We were able to testify to her that we know the Spirit led them to her and it was not a coincidence that they found her at this time. She shed tears as we testified and agreed that she believed it was true. (Katsura Ward (Kyoto) Baptism for Brother Yamashiki at the Fushimi Ward house. Pictured here with Elders Williamson and Drake and Sister Inoue)
After the lesson we drove back to Fushimi where the Katsura Ward was holding their baptism for Brother Yamashiki. This was a great service. Brother Yamashiki was introduced to the gospel by his neighbor, Sister Inoue. The Inoue's have known him for about ten years. Last October, Sister Inoue felt inspired to ask him to attend a church activity. This was first time they had ever done so. To her surprise, he said yes, and admitted that he was curious about the church they attend. Soon after attending the activity, he started taking the lessons from Elders Williamson and Drake of the Katsura Ward. Sister McIntyre and I both had the chance to share our testimonies at the baptism. We expressed our gratitude to Sister Inoue and the other members for introducing and fellowshipping Brother Yamashiki. I shared several scriptures from D&C 18 about the worth of souls and how great your joy will be if you bring save one soul unto Christ. I had just read that section in the morning during my scripture study and I felt it applied perfectly to these baptisms. Both were member referrals. How great will be their joy together in the kingdom of God! And the small and simple act of just inviting a friend to a church activity has had an impact on their lives for eternity. The Lord can work great miracles by small and simple means.
Elders Williamson and Drake had a couple other investigators at the baptism. The Joyo Elders also had Kamitsuji-san there. There is no greater way to teach about baptism than to have your investigator attend a baptismal service. Koga-san, who is being taught by Williamson and Drake, was there and confirmed his baptismal date for next Saturday. We have met him several times over the past few months and he asked us to attend his baptism. So it looks like we will be back in Kyoto next Saturday night for more of this wonderful stuff!
So today was a good day. We saw people repent and come unto Christ and others commit to do so. We were able to testify often and teach with our missionaries. I cannot think of a better way to commemorate our first year here. We did not get back to Kobe until after 8pm. We forgot to eat lunch and dinner as we were busy all day. After meeting with the assistants back in Kobe and getting all the weekly reports in, we were very prepared for a good nights rest. The gospel is true and it changes lives. We see it everyday.