“Kosei’s Joy,” For the Strength of Youth, July 2021, 12–15.
He plays the piano. He sprints. He even long jumps! But those aren’t the only impressive things about Kosei H., a 17-year-old young man from Nagasaki, Japan.
“He’s one of the greatest youth missionaries I have ever known,” says Sister Mckenna Frasure, a recently returned missionary who served in Japan where Kosei lives. “Kosei never passed up an opportunity to be with the missionaries or testify of Christ through Church activities and social media,” she says.
Kosei considers the missionaries to be some of his closest friends. And it’s no surprise he feels that way once you realize how much he enjoys sharing the gospel.
“Missionary work is my joy,” Kosei says. “Nephi taught us that the fruit of the tree of life ‘is the most desirable above all things’ (1 Nephi 11:22). Some people may deny this fruit. However, as someone who knows the sweetness of the fruit, I want to share the gospel with those around me.”
Sharing the blessings of the gospel might just be Kosei’s biggest talent of all.
After taking a missionary preparation class, Kosei felt an even greater desire to bring the joys of the gospel to his friends. He started by going online. One of the main tools he uses to share gospel-related messages and content is social media.
Several of his friends have responded to these social media posts. One friend in particular came up to Kosei and said, “I have an interest in your church.”
This friend was just an acquaintance at first, but their friendship quickly deepened. “He started by asking me the differences between his faith and mine,” Kosei explains. “Although I had not spoken with him very often, we became good friends after my sharing the gospel on social media.”
Social media isn’t the only way Kosei shares his faith. Remember, he has a busy life that’s full of activities. He has plenty of chances to meet people and make friends. And he uses those opportunities to spread the joy of the gospel.
“One time I invited a sports club friend to the English class that the missionaries were teaching at the church,” Kosei explains. “He and the missionaries became good friends with each other while he was learning English.”
However, the conversations didn’t stop at English lessons.
“My friend started to think about why these missionaries, who were almost his same age, were doing volunteer work and serving as missionaries in Japan. His next question was to ask what drives missionaries to serve. He’s now heard the missionary lessons and still has a correspondence with missionaries through video chat.”
Whenever he brings up the gospel with his friends, Kosei tries to match what he shares with their level of interest. “For example, I first talk about what happens after death, what the purpose of life is, or whether God exists,” he says. “Then I can adjust, based on their interest.”
Of course, he knows that not everyone will be interested. He’s had setbacks, the same as anyone. One day, after several of his friends were asking him questions about the Church, Kosei tried to share a Church handout with one of them. “However, that friend ran out of the classroom and gave a loud laugh at me from the hallway.
“That caused me deep sorrow,” Kosei says.
But he doesn’t let discouragement stop him. He knows that what he’s sharing will bless their lives forever if they listen.
“I feel joy in the teachings of Christ,” Kosei says. “If I didn’t know those teachings, I would have had a life without real joy.”
As he juggles his many activities and interests, Kosei knows how to prioritize. “The gospel of Jesus Christ brings hope to our lives and reveals all things we should do,” he says. “Even when we feel depressed or are having a hard time, sincere prayer will bring peace and help us have a positive attitude.”
That’s why he’s so determined to share the gospel every chance he finds. He wants others to experience what he enjoys on a daily basis! “I hope from the bottom of my heart that many people may have the opportunity to experience this real joy,” he says.
Naturally, sharing the gospel doesn’t occupy all his time. Kosei works incredibly hard at his other goals in life. Each day he trains hard with running and strength training. When he needs to unwind a bit, he plays the piano. He also enjoys visiting nature and spending time with his family. “Out in nature with my siblings—I’ll never forget the day we caught fish and ate them!” he says.
All along, though, Kosei continues to make time for what matters most.
And he has a little advice for anybody else who wants to do the same: “We receive guidance when we keep the commandments. As we do so, we can be strengthened by the Lord. Fears and anxieties are replaced with hope and confidence. If we open our mouths without being ashamed of the gospel, people will come to know Christlike love and will be filled with joy.”