What of the
Elder Shinsei Takara
Editor's Note: Elder and Sister Takara are currently serving at full-time missionaries at the Family History Department of the Church in Salt Lake City. They are scheduled to be released at the end of July, 2009. This picture was taken on 17 June 2009.
I was born in Naha, Okinawa, May 5, 1938. The Second World War ended when I was seven years old. Okinawa was surrounded by warships and the island was attacked by bombers launched from ships. As a result, 200,000 people were killed. One third of Okinawa's population was killed. I wondered why I was alive? The question continued on when I became a young man.
When 21 years old I met two young missionaries in downtown Naha. I believed their testimony of the Gospel and of Joseph Smith who saw God and His Son Jesus Christ. I was baptized in 1959 in Okinawa. A month later, I went to the city of Kyoto in Japan to study at the University. Two years later, I graduated from the University and became a high school teacher. I served a mission in the Northern Far East Mission. The prophet at that time was David O. McKay, his first counselor was Hugh B. Brown, and the second counselor was N. Eldon Tanner. My mission president was Dwayne N. Andersen. After my mission, I returned to Myanmar. After a number of years there, I returned to Japan. The people of Myanmar have pure minds, are kind, and have a high level of morality. Ammon, the son of King Mosiah, went on a mission to serve the Lamanite King Lamoni. The honesty of Ammon moved the mind of King Lamoni, who converted and believed in Jesus Christ. Many Lamanites believed in Jesus Christ. Follwing Ammon's example, I wanted to go to Myanmar to serve the people as an Educational Missionary.
After retiring as a high school teacher and principal, I applied to serve as an Educational Missionary in Myanmar, but the answer to my application was a call to go to Salt Lake City, Utah, to serve in the Family & Church History Department. I obeyed the Lord as Nephi obeyed. "And it came to pass that I, Nephi, said unto my father: I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them."
I had a heart attack in 1987 and stayed in the hospital for a half year. I asked the doctor, "How long can I live?" "Well," the doctor said to me, "You may live for 5 years at the most". During the following 20 years, I have had four angioplasty procedures and 4 stints placed in my heart and am still here.
Even though I did not like coming to a cold place, I came to Salt Lake City on January 30, 2008 to bring the genealogical records that had been kept by my brother-in-law. The official records and genealogies in Naha City were burned in World War II . But during the war my brother in law's parents had held the records to their chest and ran away to a cave. Okinawans think that genealogical records are more important than any other.
My brother in law's ancestors came to Okinawa from China by the invitation of Okinawa's King in 1403. They were the educators of Okinawa's King. As I researched my genealogy, I found the names of many Chinese ancestors in Salt Lake City. Why are there records of Chinese ancestors in Salt Lake City which could not be found in Japan? The answer is that the old records and the genealogy of Mainland China existed in Taiwan, so the Genealogy Society of the Church went to Taiwan to microfilm them. I have found over five thousand Chinese ancestors by using 6 microfilms.
I couldn't understand why I came to Salt Lake City. I now realize that God called me to come to Salt Lake City to save many ancestors. God has blessed me in many ways since I came here. I go back to Japan this coming August 1st.
I want to share with you my testimony of D&C 110 which records the visions manifested to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery in the temple at Kirtland, Ohio, April 3, 1836. The Lord Jehovah appeared in glory and accepted the Kirtland Temple as his house. After this vision closed, Moses appeared before them, and committed unto them the keys of the gathering of Israel from the four parts of the earth and the leading of the ten tribes from the lands of the north. After this, Elias appeared, and committed the keys to the dispensation of the gospel of Abraham. (As touching Abraham and his seed, out of the world they should continue; both in the world and out of the world should they continue as innumerable as the stars.) After this vision had closed, Elijah appeared to as Malachi had testified ....To turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the children to the fathers, lest the whole earth be smitten with a curse. If we are idle to search for the genealogy of our ancestors, we will be smitten with a curse. I testify that all of the keys of all dispensations that we need were committed to Joseph. I say this in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.