Helping people come unto Christ

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Some life lessons you learn while being a missionary:  1) Just when things are going well, life throws you a curve ball. 2) As soon as you get used to something, it changes. 3) It’s not all about you. And 4) It’s not about the numbers or seeing baptisms, it’s about helping people come unto Christ. Charlie has just about mastered these lessons–and all in the past week. Read on:

As soon as I thought things were going to settle down, it turns out that I’m being transferred away from Kawachinagano!  My mind was blown when I found out this morning. I’m really sad to leave this area. It’s my home ward. You moved*, and so my home ward became the Kawachinagano ward. But I’ll go wherever the Lord wants me to go.

*re: our family’s recent move from Arizona to Utah. While Charlie was away. (At least we told him about it.)

Out to lunch with the Kawachinagano District missionaries.

Out to lunch with the Kawachinagano District missionaries.

Charlie’s first thoughts when he learned that he would be transferred were of the man they’d been teaching and what would happen with his scheduled baptism. He’d been struggling lately with a lot of difficult issues, and he really wanted to help this man resolve them.

 We taught him briefly about the healing and enabling power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. We asked him when he wanted to be baptized. He said that week on Sunday. The next day we sat down in their house for two hours. We taught him about every single commandment you have to commit to before being baptized. He committed to live them all. I pulled out a trash bag that I had brought and asked him to throw out all of his alcohol, cigarettes, porn magazines, and anything else not in line with the commandments. He did. All the cigarettes, the skimpy ladies, all went in the trash. It was awesome. We threw it all away. I was amazed with how much the Lord was changing this man.

The next day we taught from Preach My Gospel about the temple and family history work and callings. He set a goal to be sealed to his wife* a year from now. I was so happy for them. All was looking great. He was ready to be baptized Sunday morning. Steers Choro came and interviewed him. After the interview he said we had better wait a week. He said we needed to use the week to make sure he was completely ready to go.

*sealed to his wife–a special ceremony performed in Mormon temples which binds a married couple not just “till death do you part”, but for eternity.

Charlie practices calligraphy with the character for 'love'.

Charlie practices calligraphy with the character for ‘love’.

 That made me nervous. I knew transfers were coming up. If I were to get transferred, I wouldn’t be here for his baptism! The thought wrecked my inside for the next two days. Then this morning, as I was studying from Preach My Gospel, I calmed myself down and figured it all out. My purpose is not to see baptisms. It’s to help people come unto Christ. I did everything I could to help this man receive baptism. I did my job. Seeing him be baptized is not a necessary part of it. I readied myself to find out what would become of transfers, and this morning I found out I’m getting transferred to an area in Northern Osaka called Hanayashiki.  And I will go wherever the Lord wants me to go.

water lanterns

Kawachinagano, my little hometown of Japan, will be in good hands. These last few weeks I worked really hard, despite challenges, and the Lord blessed us. I’ve put my heart and soul into this area. And now I have to leave; I’m being called to another part of the Lord’s vineyard. Believe me, I don’t know how do deal with half the stuff I’ve been dealt with this past month, but I’ve really been helped by the Lord. I’ve been guided every day. I just do it because that’s what the Lord requires of me. And it always works out.

Playing a game at the senior citizen center.

Playing a game at the old folks’ home.

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That little old lady looks like she’s having the time of her life.

Charlie's information plaque at the church. (They misspelled Bahr. We get that a lot.)

Charlie’s information plaque at the church. (They misspelled Bahr. Oh, well. We’re used to it.)

What it says: he is from Arizona. His birthday is August 10. There are five people in his family, and his mother’s side of the family is from the town of Shimanto, Japan. His favorite food is curry rice. His hobby is volleyball. His favorite scripture is Mosiah 14: 3-5, and his quote in the blue bubble says: “Let’s work together!”

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