Hugs for Mayumi Athay


IHACD 3 stories

I’m Japanese, and my conversion took a place in Japan. Also I’m obviously not a native English speaker, so please pardon me with my imperfect English writing.

I’d been going to “Christian” church since I was in preschool age, and I was educated repeatedly by the church that Mormons, Jehovah Witnesses, and the Moonies were the evil religions and we should stay away.

When I was working for Handicaps, I was told that 4 Mormon missionaries were coming to volunteer and they would do so weekly. My first reaction was “no way”. But it was not my decision to accept them or not, so I told myself “I don’t need to talk to them. Just keep a distance, and protect my students from them”.

They came the first time in early September in 1991. That first day, two Elders were assigned to my class. I explained to them what they could do to help me and the class. After maybe 10mins in, I reached a box contained some materials on the floor, but one of elders reached to it too at the same time. Our hands on the same box, our foreheads almost touching, and I found myself saying “I believe in God” in English(!). He said “me, too”, and that was the beginning.

I couldn’t believe myself that I gave them a chance to talk about it (dah!!) and, of course, they offer me to come to the English class.[In Japan, missionaries hold English conversation classes once a week for free, as a part of their mission tool.] I loved English, so I did. And what’s happened? Of course they asked me to take lessons. My thought was “OK, I have nothing to worry about. I will find holes and faults in their teachings”. Got a copy of the Book of Mormon and gladly started reading. It must be fun to find faults in it, right? So I can teach them to be “a Christian”.

But as I read, I didn’t like the fact that what I read wasn’t really against our ONLY holy book. Not only that, it actually was supporting my Holy Bible. So I told missionaries that if the Book of Mormon was the true book, then it should have been mentioned in the Bible. So I started to search in the Bible. The missionaries pointed out a few places in the Bible that kind of mentioning the another book, but I wasn’t quite satisfied.

One day I was reading Jeremiah, and then, 30:2 hit me – Thus speaketh the LORD God of Israel, saying, Write thee all the words that I have spoken unto thee in a book.

I firmly believed God was, is, and will be with us. Then, why  He only spoke to people in ancient time? He is living. Doesn’t He speak to us? Writing all the words He has spoken in more recent time makes sense, doesn’t it?

That was the moment I realized the truthfulness of the teaching that THE church was offering.

I got baptized on December 23rd 1991, a little over 3 months after my first meeting with the missionaries, and was endowed in January in 1993 in Tokyo Temple.  I got married in May, 1993 at the Salt Lake Temple to the missionary who baptized me. And one of our wedding witnesses was the elder who gave me the confirmation blessing.

I think my conversion was supposed to happen that way, with negative feeling towards the church and missionaries to begin with (sad to say, though). Without it, I don’t think I would have aggressively studied and searched. At first I was always praying “please help me to find their faults”, but then it quickly changed to “please help me to know the truth”.  God always works in a mysterious way.

Mayumi Athay

Mayumi Athay

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  1. Beautiful. I had a dear friend, MisakoSakamaki from Japan. We were both Baptist and used to meet in Texas for mission conference. She became ill back in 1995 and never heard from her again. A very special, sweet lady.

  2. Mayumi,
    Wonderful to hear your conversion story. We miss your family and pray the Lord’s blessings on you. Love from Bro. And Sis. Fenn in Utah.

    • Believe or not, our oldest daughter is serving as a missionary in Japan Tokyo mission right now! I hope you are doing good with smiles of your face! Hugs to you!

    • Yes, I got to keep my missionary 🙂 At that time Elder Walker (he is in the Seventy now) was the mission president in Tokyo. He joked and said “the worst thing you can do is to marry your own missionary!” and laughed. When we had a mission reunion I approached him saying “4 children later, you still say it was the worst thing?” He said “No! Did I said THAT?” We all had a good laugh 🙂

  3. Love your name Mayumi! It is amazing, your story…I have a number of friends in Japan and they took many English lessons from the missionaries, but sadly never wanted anything else to do with the church. You are a special woman! Thank you for sharing.

    • I know many of these people too. Maybe, just maybe, the Lord has been working on their soil to be ready so that the seed can be planted; good soil so that the roots won’t be ruined.

    • Thank you. and yes, indeed, in mysterious ways! Looking back of my life, I finally realized that everything was chained together to lead me to this true gospel; where I grew up, who I was friend with, which school I attended, even a sad experience that forced me to move. Every single event was contributing to lead me to where I am now. God had a plan for me. And I know He is still guiding me to the grand finale.

  4. Thank you. I’m savoring the happiness this gospel brought to me daily. Have a great day, hours, minutes, and seconds of your life! HUGS!!

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