Thursday, April 08, 2010

Elder Koichi Aoyagi and the Book of Mormon

Below is an excerpt taken from Elder Koichi Aoyagi's talk from General Conference last week.

Living alone, far from my hometown and the people I knew, I became lonely and strayed from the Church. One day I received a postcard from a Church member back home. She wrote that she had heard I was not attending Church meetings. She quoted a scripture and invited me to return to church. I was overwhelmed by the words of the scripture. This helped me realize that maybe I had lost something important, and I pondered and struggled for many days. This also caused me to remember a promise the missionaries had made to me: “If you read the Book of Mormon and ask in fervent prayer if the promise found in Moroni is true, you will know the truth through the power of the Holy Ghost.” (see Moroni 10:4-5)

I realized that I was not praying with all of my heart and decided to do so. One morning I woke up early, knelt in my small apartment, and prayed sincerely. To my surprise, the confirmation of the Holy Ghost came upon me as promised. My heart burned, my body shook, and I was filled with joy. Through the power of the Holy Ghost, I learned that God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, live and that They truly appeared to Joseph Smith. I made a commitment in my heart to repent and faithfully follow Jesus Christ for the rest of my life.

This spiritual experience changed my life completely! I decided to serve a mission out of gratitude to the Lord and to the Church member who rescued me. Following my mission, I was sealed in the temple to a wonderful girl, and we have been blessed with four children. Not coincidentally, this is the same girl who saved me by sending a postcard to that lonely apartment in Yokohama many years ago. I remain ever grateful for the mercy of the Lord and the help of this Church member, who invited me to once again come unto Christ. (see Matthew 11:28)

Source: April 2010 General Conference, "Helping Hands, Saving Hands"

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