What of the
From Returned Missionaries
Michael R.E. Sanders (Northern Far East Mission 1965-68)
I was transferred from Nagoya Branch to Sapporo Branch; upon my arrival in Sapporo my junior companion, Elder Kent McKell, told me that he had a “golden investigator”, who was a high school student with a black belt in Judo, named Kikuchi Bin, who needed to be taught the missionary discussions. After teaching the missionary lessons, Kikuchi Bin agreed to be baptized. Elder McKell baptized Brother Kikuchi, and I confirmed him. We had enjoyed a wonderful time teaching Brother Kikuchi, and watching him change as he gained a testimony of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, and there is much I could write about those experiences, but this is about the efficacy of priesthood blessings. After I had laid my hands on the head of Brother Kikuchi who (as I mentioned above) was still in high school and confirmed him a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and said to him to receive the Holy Ghost, I then proceeded to pronounce a blessing under the influence of the Holy Ghost. While pronouncing this blessing, in pertinent part, I was told by the Holy Ghost to say among other things the following: that he would hold offices in the Church and among other things would become a Bishop and a Stake President, and hold other offices in the Church. The significance of this was that at the time there were no wards and stakes in Japan. I could not believe I was saying what I was saying. Needless to say, after returning home I always wondered about that blessing; in a way it troubled me because it was prophetic in part and I wondered if I was actually prompted to utter what I had.
Approximately 30 years later, I happened to be in Tokyo on business. On Sunday, I took the subway and found the Ward where English speaking services were conducted (the Ward in the Tokyo Temple complex), and while there I thought I might find out who the mission presidents were in the Tokyo area to see if any of my friends were serving there. As I talked to a good brother, he told me that the young man I had blessed so many years ago was the mission president of one of the missions in Tokyo. I was so excited to hear this -- primarily because I wanted to see him again just to renew the friendship we had had for each other so many years ago when we both were so young. I thought Bro. Kikuchi was still living in Sapporo which was too far for me to visit on my business trips to Tokyo, and it really was exciting to find out that he was actually in Tokyo.
I hurried back to my hotel and called the mission home; he was not there, but I left a message. Unfortunately, I had to leave Tokyo that evening. I missed his telephone call, but I did get the message that he had called. I was so disappointed not to be able to see him. I knew in my heart that the adversary did not want this visit to happen without great difficulty.
However, I knew I would be back in Tokyo several weeks later . When I returned to Tokyo (to make a long story short), I was able to attend Church on a Sunday at the mission home where Bro. Kikuchi was now the Mission President, with services in Japanese and meet my investigator and priesthood brother after so many years. It was a joyous occasion for both of us. As we talked and visited for several hours, he told me that he had been a Bishop and later a Stake President in Sapporo. I realized then that the priesthood blessing given by me as a young Elder serving the Lord with all his heart to a young convert who also had a desire to serve the Lord equally had been fulfilled.
I share this story with you so that you will understand that priesthood blessings are real when we listen to the Spirit and heed the whispering of the Spirit in our blessings: the blessings the Spirit prompts us to give are quite specific, and cannot be classified as psychological generalities. Of all the other investigators taught by me and my companions, only with Bro. Kikuchi did the Holy Ghost prompt me to give him that kind of blessing.
I am thankful that Heavenly Father blessed my life by allowing me the opportunity to teach Bro. Kikuchi, and provide me with a deeper testimony of the power and efficacy of priesthood blessings at such a young age based upon this experience and others.