People who were there at the time commented that the meeting was a small zone conference. It included a very small group of missionaries and did not include the majority of missionaries from the coastal areas. The vast majority of the missionaries serving in the mission were not there. The majority of missionaries' safety was not verified for many days. Many were in horrible circumstances.He wrote:
"I learned again of the important warning role of the Holy Ghost while I served in the Area Presidency in Japan.
During this time, I worked closely with President Reid Tateoka of the Japan Sendai Mission. As part of his usual mission routine, President Tateoka planned a meeting for missionary leaders in the southern portion of his mission. A few days prior to the meeting, President Tateoka had an impression, a feeling in his heart, to invite all missionaries of that zone to the leadership meeting, instead of the prescribed small number of elder and sister leaders.
When he announced his intention, he was reminded that this meeting was not designed for all missionaries but only for mission leaders. However, setting convention aside in order to follow the prompting he had received, he invited all missionaries serving in several coastal cities, including the city of Fukushima, to the meeting. On the appointed day, March 11, 2011, the missionaries gathered together for the expanded mission meeting in the inland city of Koriyama.
During this meeting a 9.0-magnitude earthquake and tsunami struck the region of Japan where the Japan Sendai Mission is located. Tragically, many coastal cities—including those from which the missionaries had been gathered—were devastated and suffered great loss of life. And the city of Fukushima suffered a subsequent nuclear event.
Although the meetinghouse where the missionaries were meeting that day was damaged by the earthquake, through following the promptings of the Holy Ghost, President and Sister Tateoka and all missionaries were safely assembled. They were out of harm’s way and miles from the devastation of the tsunami and the nuclear fallout."
Is this story a lie? Is it just a stretch of the truth? Because it is published and being used in teaching lessons, the stories will enter the culture and be taught as facts.
He also shared this story:
These peaceful, reassuring words from Jesus Christ describe this sacred role: “I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever.”7
To illustrate this further, I share the true account of a family with five sons who moved from Los Angeles, California, USA, to a small community some years ago. The two oldest sons began playing high school sports and associating with friends, leaders, and coaches—many of whom were faithful members of the Church. These relationships helped lead to the baptism of Fernando, the oldest, and his next younger brother.
Fernando later moved away from home, where he continued his education and played college football. He married his high school sweetheart, Bayley, in the temple. As Fernando and Bayley finished their schooling, they eagerly anticipated the birth of their first child—a baby girl. But during the process of their families helping to move Fernando and Bayley back home, Bayley and her sister were driving on the freeway and were in a tragic accident involving many vehicles. Bayley and her unborn daughter lost their lives.
Fernando and Bayley
Yet as deep as was Fernando’s pain, as well as that of Bayley’s parents and siblings, so too was the depth of contrasting peace and comfort that distilled upon them almost immediately. The Holy Ghost in His role as Comforter truly sustained Fernando through this incomprehensible affliction. The Spirit communicated an abiding peace that led Fernando to an attitude of forgiveness and love toward everyone involved in the tragic crash.
Bayley’s parents called her brother who was serving as a missionary at the time of the accident. He described in a letter his feelings upon hearing the difficult news of his beloved sister: “It was amazing to hear your voices so calm in the midst of a tempest. I did not know what to say. … All I could think of is my sister may not be there when I come home. … I was comforted by your infallible testimonies of the Savior and His plan. The same sweet spirit that brings me to the verge of tears as I study and teach filled my heart. I was then comforted and reminded of the things that I know.”8
The Holy Ghost will help you by comforting you, as He did Fernando and Bayley’s family.
The Holy Ghost Testifies
The Holy Ghost also testifies and bears witness of the Father and the Son and of all truth.9 The Lord, speaking to His disciples, said, “But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, … he shall testify of me.”10
In order to describe the valuable role of the Holy Ghost as witness, I will continue the story of Fernando and Bayley. If you remember, I shared that Fernando and his brother had been baptized, but his parents and three younger brothers had not. And, despite receiving numerous invitations to meet with the missionaries over the years, each time the family declined.
Upon the painful passing of Bayley and her baby daughter, Fernando’s family was inconsolable. Unlike Fernando and unlike Bayley’s family, they found no comfort or peace. They could not understand how their own son, along with Bayley’s family, could bear their heavy burden.
Eventually, they concluded that what their son possessed and they did not was the restored gospel of Jesus Christ and this must be his source of peace and comfort. Following this realization, they invited the missionaries to teach their family the gospel. As a result, they received their own witness and testimony of the great plan of happiness, which brought them the sweet peace and calming comfort they were desperately seeking.
During the online discussion, a woman commented that her husband was the truck driver whose rig slid on ice and caused the initial crash that led to the pile up event. She wrote about the on-going lawsuit, anger, and heinous communications from the family, her husband's inability to find work since this horrible wreck, and his own injuries related to the crash. From her perspective, nothing had been resolved and it was a horrific ongoing situation. She wrote about how incredulous she felt hearing this story. From her perspective, there was nothing kind nor good coming from the situation.
This written talk makes it look so simple ... I can imagine being curled up with my young child and getting to the last page, "And they all got baptized and lived happily ever after. The End."