What of the
帰還宣教師よりーFrom Returned Missionaries
Editor's Note: We are grateful that Norman Shumway who has written an autobiography has kindly agreed to share the chapter about his first mission along with pictures for a nine-part series which will run every other week. This is the second segment..
Since his first mission, Norman and wonderful wife, Luana, have served in Japan two more times. From 1996-99, Norman was president of the Okayama Mission for two years and the Hiroshima Mission for one when the Okayama Mission was closed. They have also served as the public affairs missionaries in Japan. Recently they completed another public affairs mission at the United Nations.
Memories of my First Mission-Part 7
MISSION HOME ACTIVITY
We were allowed to conduct minimal missionary activity, usually during evening and weekend hours. We occasionally held street meetings at Ebisu, Shinjuku and Roppongi. I enjoyed maintaining a teaching load of just a few investigators. One of them, a young man who was attracted to the Church by English classes held at a military base, was Yoshiharu Hayakawa. After he studied for almost five months, I baptized him in the font of the mission home on 25 February 1957.
I enjoyed some fun outings on our weekly day off. One was a trip to the Kabuki (Japanese classical drama and dance) with two of my favorite companions, Elders Lundberg and Morgan. We fortified ourselves with large bowls of soba (noodles) before entering the theater, and then sustained ourselves during the five and one-half hour performance by consuming a sashimi bento (box lunch). Over time, I came to admire the themes and artistry of the Kabuki performances. (Picture from Wikipedia)
Another memorable destination was Mt. Fuji. I managed to climb it on two occasions. (The Japanese have a saying that a person is wise to climb it once, but only a fool will climb it twice.) Climbers customarily trek through the night, striving to reach the summit in time to greet the rising sun. On my first ascent the weather was bad and we could not even see into the crater, but the second climb (one year later and with different companions) rewarded us with a beautiful sunrise and view of the Pacific Ocean as the world began a new day. (Picture of missionaries at top of Mt. Fuji)
BOOK OF MORMON
While I was in the field and teaching, I used an edition of the Book of Mormon that had been translated by Alma O. Taylor and first published in 1909. Its language was archaic and almost unintelligible to readers some fifty years later. Tatsui Sato, who was fluent in English, began a retranslation of it shortly after he joined the Church in 1948. By the time I entered the mission home, he had completed his work and a formal review of it was begun in June 1956. The reviewers were the mission presidency (President Andrus, Elders Oniki and Lundberg), Tatsui Sato and Tomigoro Takagi. These brethren met for several hours each day, going over the manuscript word by word. Finally, on 29 October1956, it was announced that the First Presidency had granted permission to print the new edition of the Book of Mormon. This created a wave of excitement through the mission. (In the above left picture Tatsui Sato is standing left. Tomigoro Takagi is sitting on the right.)
The first printer’s proofs arrived in early April 1957, and I asked for and was given a copy for my personal study. Over the next few weeks, I found two or three kanji characters that were in error, missed by the proofreaders because they passed over the words so fast, but caught by me because I had to carefully pore over every expression written in kanji. Brother Sato made corrections and said he was grateful for my review. The first published copies were brought into the mission home by Brother Sato on 31 May 1957. On the next day, 4,000 copies were to be delivered. I took a copy upstairs and began to read it. I was thrilled at its comprehensiveness and the ease of going through it. (This picture shows the 1995 new translation edition of the Book of Mormon in Japanese complete with the change of the Kanji character from 経Kei, meaning scripture, to書Sho, meaning book, which replaced the 1957 edition. Another witness of Jesus Christ was also added to the title in this edition.)