On Friday we met with our new investigator Morioka-San. We knocked on his door last week and ended up talking to him for like 20 minutes. He shared his sad story of how he's divorced and separated from his 2 year old son. They've been separated ever since he was born and so his son probably doesn't even know who he is. He said that his only purpose in living is to sustain is son through child support, spending his days working long hours and the rest of the time drunk. He related all his problems and recounted that that is why God doesn't exist. He's had too many trials and hard times to believe in God. We taught him a lot of things, about God, his love, Christ, prayer and even faith. We made another appointment and he said he'd listen.This week we showed up at his house, knocked and no answer. Ah come on! Not today. We missed out on a baby shower for one of the military members just to me meet this appointment. We were bummed but decided to write his a small note to stick on his door. Minutes later, who pulls up I his drive way but Morioka-San! He said that he actually remembered and rushed home from work.
Morioka is a good man. We've already become good friends with him. He's easy to talk to and joke around with. He listens and gives his honest opinion on things, in a very non-threatening way. It's actually funny because we had our lesson in the middle of a small neighborhood road, because he was showing us the power lines on the mountain that he helped build, and I guess we just stayed there. We asked him if he prayed like we challenged him to do last week and he said he didn't. "I don't think anyone is there." He reasoned. He just went on how God doesn't exist and how He doesn't believe. We taught him the restoration, laying out all the proof of God's love for us like calling prophets, the Book of Mormon, the restoration, this church. God even sent his own son, Jesus Christ, to painfully pay the price for our sins and die for us so that we did not have to face a doom of eternal death in the utmost pits of misery. God does love us. We are his children. He wants us to know the truth. If he didn't love us, he wouldn't bother to go through the trouble. Morioka-San would politely listen, but then come back to his original case....
"God probably doesn't exist. I've never seen him. He's never made himself evident in my life. Even if I believed in God or Jesus Christ, that doesn't change the fact that I'm still separated from my son. That my ex-wife still has him. He will grow up and not even know me. He will not know that I'm his father."
In that moment, an idea forced itself into my mind and I felt a surge in my heart, like a fire, the way I do when I speak boldly to people. There was a moment of silence and then I said...
"Okay Morioka-San. Do you remember what we said about God and who he is?"
"Ah...hmm." He said trying to think.
"We said that God is our Heavenly Father. He's your father. He's your spiritual father. Remember how we said that you are his son? You are his kid and he loves you. He loves you so much you cannot even comprehend. Now God is in Heaven and you are on earth. Right now you are separated from him. Now how do you think God must feel being separated from you? He misses you probably a lot more than you miss your little boy. Now image even more if your own son grew up. He grew up and was supported by you and loved by you all without him knowing or recognizing. Now imagine your son, now old enough to be on his own, imagine if he had the opportunity to meet you. He finally has a chance to meet you, but he says,"Psh, No! I don't want to meet him. I've never even seen him before. I don't have a dad. I've never had a dad. He's never made himself evident in my life. He doesn't exist........ How would you feel?"
The expression on Morioka-san's face changed. He looked like something just connected in his brain that he's never considered before. This was a real fear he had in his life, to have his son never know him, and for the first time in probably his whole life, he made a personal connection with God. He paused and said tenderly,"Oh, I see. I understand." He looked at us and said "あなたの言葉は私の心を響きました." Which is to be interpreted as "Your words ーーーーーーmy heart." We didn't know what the last word "hibiku" meant, so we looked it up. 'Hibiku' can have a lot of meanings. It means, 'To resound. To be heard from far away. To reverberate. To shake. To vibrate. To have an effect. To make an impression." Me and Malone Shimai testified of the truth that we knew, that God is there, that Christ's atonement is real and that the Book of Mormon is true. From that point on in the lesson, he didn't resist with his comments. He just nodded and listened intently. When we gave him the Book of Mormon, he bowed and he gladly took it. When we challenged him to pray, he said,"Yes. I will try it." And he even committed to come to church next see which is a 30 minute drive away in another town. Me and Sister Malone said goodbye, walked down the street to our bikes and looked at each other with a ,'Holy cow what just happened' look. We said a prayer of thanks for the amazing miracle lesson we just had.
An RM told me once,"You're going to say some pretty bold things on your mission." As a young missionary, I would often say things nicely and politely. But as my mission has gone on and The Spirit has trained me to know how to speak, the more firm, the more proud and unwavering my words have become. The Spirit is soft and quiet. But that is the way he speaks, not nessisarily what he speaks. What the spirit says is not weak at all. It's often powerful, firm and bold. For the past few months, I've been trying to make up a perfect definition to exactly what boldness is. My simple answer is that boldness is the courage to speak the truth out of love, regardless of the outcome that might follow. But I think no one gave a better definition for it than Moroni when he said.
"Behold, I speak with boldness, having authority from God; and I fear not what man can do; for perfect love casteth out all fear." -(Moroni 8:16)
I love being a missionary and I love being bold. I love being bold not just for the sake of feeling good, but because that is how God shows his love for his children and the urgency of his desire for them to return to him. The Spirit seams to teach me the same lesson all the time, 'Have courage. Be strong. Be even more loving. Be bold; you'll see more miracles that way anyway.'
- Stevenson 姉妹