“Elder Takashi Wada,” Ensign, May 2018
On a cold November day, a question from an American missionary asking for directions to the local postal office caught Takashi Wada off guard.
The 15-year-old had been warned by his father to avoid Mormons, who had been visiting with people on the streets of Nagano, Japan, just three minutes from their home. But Takashi was impressed with the American elder’s Japanese.
A few days later, another missionary stopped Takashi. He had not been in Japan long. In broken Japanese, he tried to share the story of Joseph Smith.
Takashi did not understand everything, “but I felt that I should listen,” he recalled.
The missionaries taught him the steps to prayer and the lessons. He attended Church meetings and was touched by the testimonies of local members. Feeling constrained by the expectations of his Buddhist family, Takashi kept telling the missionaries, “I can’t join the Church, but I would like to learn more.”
Two years later, before Takashi left to study in the United States at age 17, his parents consented, and he joined the Church.
Elder Wada, who was born on February 5, 1965, to Kenzo and Kazuko Wada, received a bachelor of arts degree in linguistics in 1990 and a master’s degree in business administration in 1996, both from Brigham Young University.
He served a mission in the Utah Salt Lake City North Mission and married Naomi Ueno on June 18, 1994, in the Tokyo Japan Temple. The couple has two sons.
Elder Wada’s career included several positions with multinational corporations in the United States and Japan, as well as the position of director for temporal affairs for the Church in the North America West, North America Northwest, and Asia North Areas.
Elder Wada is a former bishop, high councilor, and seminary teacher. He served as president of the Japan Tokyo South Mission from 2013 to 2016. He was sustained as a General Authority Seventy on March 31, 2018.