Wednesday, June 1, 2016

May 30, 2016 Elder Stevenson, two 70s and the best mission in the world.

Ok first of all, I'll just start with what most people want to know.  I'm loving my mission and there are earthquakes all the time.

On Wednesday the entire mission had the opportunity to go to Sendai and hear from an apostle of the Lord.  Elder Stevenson of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles came to Japan to visit all the Japan missions.  A little back ground on him.  He served as a missionary at the same time as President Smith in Fukuoka Japan many years ago.  They actually lived in the same apartment for a good majority of that time.  He was the Mission President in Nagoya after President Smith's brother was the president there.  Up until he was called as an apostle, he was the area president over all Japan, China and Korea.  Elder Stevenson came to Japan quite often to see over the tsunami aftermath here in Sendai so he is well acquainted with Japan.  All the missionaries gathered together in Kamisugi to listen to him.  We had to wait some time and during that time I had no idea what to expect.  It was all quiet waiting while we were waiting.  Amazing considering we are normally loud.  Although Elder Stevenson's talk was inspired, it was the special musical number that we sang before he spoke that really got to me.  It's called the "EFY melody" or "as sisters in Zion".  It is a song about missionary work and being chosen of the Lord.   Elder Stevenson finally arrives and we all stand.  He is accompanied by his wife, Elder Gong and Elder Yamashita and their wives.  First we hear from Pres and Sister Smith.  They are both still amazing.  After the Yamashitas and the Gongs spoke, we all stand and sing the song.  As we are singing I am feeling all tingly and I'm thinking that it is special but I have had that feeling before both here and back home when listening to the choir music.  But I climb out of myself because the spirit is whispering to me, I look around and I see President Smith, the music director, and just about everyone with tears streaming down their faces.  My heart is touched and I realize just how sacred this is and how awesome it is that I am a missionary.  How cool it is to listen to an apostle, and that this music is a gateway to heaven.  Being the teddy bear that I am I start tearing a little and when it pours!  But, let's not focus on that!  Elder Stevenson talked about how he has the opportunity to assign mission calls.  He said that they look at our picture individually and decide where we are going.   The thing that he said that stuck out most was. "You are a child of God, God sent you here to the Japan Sendai mission, and you are called for a reason."  Now I have known this ever since I got my call, but sometimes you forget the vastness of the call.   I keep having to remind myself of the simple but true fact that, I am called, called by a Prophet of God, I was called here for a reason!  When I submitted by papers, I thought I was going to Europe.  But when I open that call, I was called to the other side of the earth.  I'm humbled to know that God needs and wants me here.  To be honest sometimes (the family probably won't like to hear this but) I never want to come home.  Japan is a special place, a sacred place and I'm blessed to be here.

Lastly, I love this gospel and I testify that this gospel is the way to true happiness. 

Love you all and have a good week!

Elder Halverson





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