Toshio Kawada’s Testimony

“Toshio Kawada’s Testimony,” Ensign, Jan. 2006, 10–11

Toshio Kawada’s Testimony

When we got married, my wife and I made a decision to keep the Sabbath day holy even though we were farmers. I remember a 1978 First Presidency Message by President Spencer W. Kimball. He talked of how he rejoiced when he saw machinery sitting idle in the fields on Sunday. He spoke of how keeping the Sabbath day holy was an expression of Latter-day Saints’ faith. (See “The Sabbath—a Delight,” Tambuli, July 1978, 1; Ensign, Jan. 1978, 2.)

At the time, we shared machinery with other farmers. When you are working with others, it’s difficult to say you won’t work on the Sabbath. So we got out of combined farming and stopped raising potatoes.

On Callings

I was also the branch president. If I didn’t go to church on Sunday, I couldn’t fulfill my responsibilities. There were times I’d get up at 3:00 in the morning, milk the cows, feed the animals, and then go to church, do interviews, and get home at 5:00 in the evening. Then I would milk the cows again. By the time I finished everything it would be 10:00. I still remember those days when I’d sigh, “Finished at last.”

On Sacrifices to Keep the Sabbath

Sometimes we worked until midnight on Saturday to keep from breaking the Sabbath. We went to church the next day, often without much sleep. Once we came home from church, and a cow had gotten caught in the pasture fence and died. There were times when we had millions of yen worth of damage to our cut hay because it had lain in the rain on the Sabbath. We knew accidents didn’t happen because it was Sunday. If you worry about that kind of thing, you would never be able to keep the Sabbath. Accidents can happen anytime.

On Faith and Endurance

When the barn burned and we lost our cattle, some said, “I can’t believe you were able to get through it.” We said we couldn’t do it any other way than how we did. We just worried about keeping the Sabbath and getting over the pain. We believed that God was watching over us and blessing us.

On Growing Carrots

We planted carrots with great success. Finally we were getting some kind of order in our lives. With carrots, it didn’t matter if it rained or we took every Sunday off. We could make our own decisions. We could serve more easily in any calling we were called to.

In our business, we use a lot of part-time help. When we are really busy, our employees suggest that we work Sundays. I tell them that we just don’t work on Sundays. When our workers know that, they work hard and rarely take days off. On Sundays the younger workers spend the day with their children, and the older workers visit with their grandchildren.

On Gratitude to the Lord

Obeying God’s commandments has been important to us. We stood firmly by our decision to keep the Sabbath day holy and wouldn’t bend. As we did all that we could do, our children learned that there is a God and He blesses us. Our children really do hear and remember.

When our oldest son was serving in the Japan Fukuoka Mission, the mission president often introduced him by saying, “Elder Kawada’s father stopped growing potatoes so he could keep the Sabbath day holy. Elder Kawada was raised in a family like that.”

We feel happy when we see our children. They come to church. They have served missions and married in the temple. We are grateful to our Heavenly Father, who knows us and has blessed us.

Photography by Tokio Onogi