Japanese elder meets apostle who influenced his gospel conversion

When Elder Teruyuki Asada arrived on the Bullet Train from Tokyo in June, on the first day of his service in the Japan Nagoya Mission, he was able to renew a special experience that culminated in his becoming a missionary.

Unexpectedly, he met Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Council of the Twelve, who happened to be at the train platform."I got baptized in 1989," Elder Asada told his mission president, W. Emery Smith. "My parents believed in Shintoism, and I had the same beliefs. One day when I was working in my barber shop, I asked the American missionaries to come in."

The elders invited Teruyuki to a family home evening and to hear the lessons about the gospel.

"When I first heard the plan of salvation, I was very impressed and felt something great inside of my heart," he said. "I had never felt such a feeling before."

Still, it took a while for him to make the decision to be baptized, he said. As an investigator, he heard of a fireside in Hiroshima in January 1989, at which Elder Ballard was the speaker.

"I did not attend the fireside, but I heard that he had blessed our ward so that more people would start coming to Church and more converts would be made," Elder Asada recalled. "He also blessed that from those converts, many would go out on missions."

The experience influenced his decision to be baptized.

"My ward has grown gradually because of this blessing, and in June of 1990, I as a missionary met Elder Ballard who had given this blessing to my home ward. I am the first missionary leaving since his special blessing upon our ward.

"I am so thankful to our Heavenly Father for giving me an opportunity to meet Elder Ballard. I am so grateful to be an instrument to be used in His hands. I pray with all my heart and mind that the missionaries and members can be as one."

Pres. Smith said it was a special experience to be with Elder Asada and Elder Ballard as they met at the train station in Nagoya on the first day of Elder Asada's missionary work.

"He remembered the Spirit and the emotion and the blessing that had been given to his ward by Elder Ballard a year and a half ago, he being the first fruits of that special blessing."