Friday, June 26, 2009

Miracles in Asahikawa - Sapporo

As we strive to become Preach My Gospel missionaries, we have really emphasized our purpose as missionaries (to find, teach, baptize, confirm and establish the church). On page 40 in PMG it states that we should not hesitate to challenge people to be baptized in the first or any other lesson we teach. Our Area Presidency has challenged us to also be bold in this effort. When the people we teach understand that we are simply helping them find out for themselves the gospel is true, and we are teaching them the process and how to do it, and that baptism is the way to repentance and the gate they must enter, it is easier to set up return appointments and get commitments from investigators. We have been focusing on this in Kobe for sometime now and the missionaries are starting to really get it. Currently we have an historic high number of people with baptismal dates in the mission. Certainly some of them will postpone and a few may drop off, but more people will come unto Christ and all of those we teach know clearly the purpose of our meeting them. The teaching process does not change. We do not baptize anyone until they are ready and meet the requirements. But the quality (in terms of interest in the message) of the people we teach increases greatly. We know that the other missions in Japan are doing the same. We were delighted to get the following email from Erika in Sapporo where she shares a wonderful example of the power of doing this and following the council of our leaders and PMG. See her story below!Sister Erika McIntyre with her new companion Sister Saito in Asahikawa, Sapporo Mission. Preparation day activity. And a zone photo below with President and Sister Daniels.
This may be short, because we are about to have a Zone BBQ!! BUT I have to tell you about Mio. We met her last week Tuesday, as I wrote last week.. and we made the appointment for Thursday. We recently were taught to state our purpose boldly and at the first of the lessons (to prepare those to receive the fullness of blessings through faith, repentance, BAPTISM, Holy Ghost and enduring to the end).
So of course following that, we planned our lesson for Mio. We also decided to set a baptismal date goal immediately after we pick someone up, so we as missionaries can plan according to some sort of goal. We decided she could be baptized July 11. So on Thursday, we met her, and began with a prayer. But before going into lesson one, we talked about missionaries and how we come here for a year and a half. And then stated, "through this Gospel we have received so many blessing as well as our families. We have felt God's love and guidance and want others to feel the same. We want all people to receive the blessings God has in store for them. In order receive them in a fullness, baptism is required. Through baptism, we and our families can receive all the blessings God has in store for us. Our purpose is to help those we meet prepare for Baptism."
Okay, so most Japanese people do not understand the word "baptism".. so this works very nicely. After we finished that, Mio asked, "so what is this.. baptism?"
So then we pulled out pictures of baptism. (Saito shimai has one from her own, and I have one of Chrispy with his investigator when he served in Samoa--thanks Chris!!) we showed her the pictures and told her that we too, received baptism 15 years ago. We testified of the blessings, then asked, Mio, would you like to receive baptism? She answered, "yes! I'd like to see what sort of blessings are in store!" We then told her, "we have a lot to teach you, but we think that you could be baptized 7/11. " And she agreed.
We then started teaching lesson 1. This is the first time ever I have set a baptismal date before even teaching any lessons. The Lord TRULY blessed us. Also, Mio, is absolutely amazing. She wanted to come to church, but only could come for the first hour (which was relief society), because she had work. We didn't know what to do, because we really wanted her to be able to attend sacrament meeting. When she called we expressed to her that all the classes are wonderful, but the most important is sacrament meeting, and if she could maybe go to work 2 hrs later. She answered, "well, that might be hard... hmm... " We kind of worried...
then she said, "I'll ask my boss!" Well turns out when we called her on Saturday, her boss said okay, and she was able to attend all 3 hours of church!
This week truly was a blessing, and I am so grateful for the Lord's help. When we do missionary work, we really are nothing, nothing but TOOLS in the Lord's hands. I know that none of it could be done on my own.. but with God nothing is impossible! =) I will keep you posted on her, and on our other investigators. as for now I better head out!
Love you all so much!
Sister Erika McIntyre
In a note I just got from President Daniels, he said Erika and Sister Saito just got another person with a baptismal date as well. The program works when it is followed!

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