This week, we had our first zone conference of the year! The missionaries assigned in Shikoku slept with us last Monday and I had so much fun being with them! Also, during that day, I asked one of our progressing investigators to be baptized. He politely declined it saying that he’ll give us an answer if he’s already sure to completely commit to following Jesus Christ. He also told us that he never expects that he’ll be interested to learn the gospel. He’s now looking forward to our lessons more than improving his English which was his primary reason at first for meeting with us.
The next day, I learned a lot from President Smoot [Mission President] and my zone leaders. I was reminded of the importance of always opening my mouth that I need to constantly talk to people despite our language barrier. It reminded me a video I’ve seen at the MTC from one of the Quorum of the Seventy who said that in order for him to learn English he needs to make 35,000 mistakes, now it is up to him for how long he’ll make it. Mistakes help us learn and grow and it should not be our hindrance to further improve ourselves. Sadly, we had to leave the zone conference early because we have an appointment from a referral.
We went to the provincial part of Okayama up in the mountains. When we got there, we’re met with a warm smile and a firm handshake from her. I in return greeted her and bowed to show respect. We started to talk and I understood everything that they were talking in the beginning and I actively participated in the conversation until she started using Osaka ben in the middle of our conversation. She started opening up her story and since she’s using Osaka ben I couldn’t understand her. I then felt the spirit strongly and for some reason, I almost cried. She continued talking and then my companion shared a scripture verse from the Book of Mormon and she started crying. She then bowed her head touching the ground which is a sign of respect or gratitude. She told us that she strongly felt the love of our Heavenly Father and was deeply comforted. She then offered to cook us Hiroshima Okonomiyaki which was the best Okonomiyaki that I’ve tasted so far on my mission. Our meeting with her definitely changed how I view life and know how powerful the message we carry. Just as what a catholic scholar said in a convention of religion “You Mormons are stupid…. because you don’t know how strong your message is. It’s either your church is right or we’re right. If you’re right then all other Christian religion fell with us because they came from Catholicism.”
The following days, a lot of members from our ward have their birthdays so we decided to drop simple gifts from their doorstep. We also went to Okayama Castle to 伝導 (proselyte) but to our great surprise, no one was there. We still walked around the castle grounds hoping to find people to teach but we didn’t find anyone. When we were about to go back, I said Konnichiwa to one of the workers wearing a ninja suit — not expecting a reply from him, he called us back again asking if we’re missionaries. With great enthusiasm, I said yes when my companion was hesitating to do so. We then found out that he’s a less active member, so we invited him to church again. Shortly after we ended our conversation, another Japanese called our attention asking where we’re from and when we told him we’re from the Philippines he told me great things about my country and how beautiful it was back in the days. Along our way to our appointment, I still kept on greeting everyone I meet in the streets and then one of them called our attention again asking モルモン教? Which translates to “are you from the Mormon Church?” again I said Yes enthusiastically. He told us that he has a friend who’s a member and he knows Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. We shortly bore our testimony to him and left.