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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 9 (Final)

DAWNING OF NEW GOALS 

In December 1955 I first began to feel doubts about my desire to study medicine. These thoughts became more profound as the months went by. Finally, in a letter to my parents dated 7 July 1957, I stated, gI have decided to study economics, with the object in mind of getting into law school. I donft know about practicing law, but I want that education.h

Some of my change in mind was spawned by my brother Tedfs choice to go to law school. I believe more of it, however, was due to my spirit being in closer touch with the powers of heaven. It finally dawned on me that I had received an inspired patriarchal blessing and should consider following its counsel. Moreover, I discovered that my own interests were aroused more and more toward matters of law, systems of government and economic subjects. Whereas I earlier had no curiosity about such things, I was somewhat surprised to realize that I was increasingly drawn by news and events in these subject areas. I even subscribed to TIME magazine while living in the mission home. I wanted to know more about the lifestyles and persona of the American people. Communications of the Spirit were striking home in my heart. (Picture: Michiko and Akiko Miyagi of Sendai at the baptism site.)

TESTIMONY

The greatest personal blessing of my mission was the development of a deep-rooted testimony which has never left me during my life. I know that such convictions come to mortals as a gift of God, and I shall always be grateful that I was immersed in opportunities and challenges that enabled me to develop a love for Jesus Christ and a strong belief in His teachings. Midway in my mission I wrote the following in a letter to my parents: 

My testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel has grown tremendously since I came to Japan. I believe that I had a testimony when I left home, but it was not based upon actual experience and seeing the application of the gospel. In the mission field here, I have seen many things that prove to me that God does exist, and that His Son is Jesus Christ, and that this Church is the only true church of Jesus Christ upon the earth. I can say these things without a doubt; I know them to be as true as anything I have learned thus far in my life. (Picture of Tokyo Temple standing today on the site where the mission home stood at the time Elder Shumway was there.) 

Such thoughts have only become more profound during the years that followed. In fact, as I look at the directions my life has taken, I can see even more clearly the hand of the Lord in guiding me to achieve my destiny.  Such edification will become markedly clear when we consider the choices I made following my mission and through the successive years.

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