Fully Engaged

Fully Engaged

Early in his life, Michael Fujimoto learned something about becoming “fully engaged.” Although fond of one of the sister missionaries who taught the restored gospel truths to him, it was only years later that his “interest” became a permanent commitment. Theirs is a charming story of love, of faith, of each other and marriage. 

While Brother Fujimoto’s commitment to his bride has been sustained, it took longer to develop a permanent vow with the Bridegroom of all the earth, Jesus Christ. But, it did come.

His journey to baptism and church membership mirrors that of many converts. But becoming converted, he would learn, took even more time and dedication than did his faith to be baptized.

Michael was born in Toronto, Ontario.  That city became his home, off and on, for half a century. 

At one point in his life, it seemed as though someone had tacked a sign on his door that read “Man seeking life change lives here.” Missionaries started knocking on his door. First it was Jehovah’s Witnesses, then a couple of weeks later, the Mormons.  “The sister missionaries told me of the plan of salvation right at the door. I said to myself, ‘Wow! These are the answers that I’ve been looking for.’”

Following baptism, Michael enjoyed Single Adult activities, but his desire to settle down and have a family of his own ultimately led him to recontact Vivian Reno, one of the missionaries who had taught him the gospel. 

In time, they fell in love, were married, and later sealed in the Seattle Washington Temple. But “living happily ever after,” he learned would take much more than keeping a job and showing up to church occasionally.
“While I always considered myself ‘active,’ my church participation was not sustained for long periods because of Sunday work,” he says. “It prevented me from progressing spiritually. There was a period when I wasn’t paying tithing, I told myself it was because of children expenses-- hockey, music, lessons, etc. I took care of them and concluded that ‘I was being a good father.’ I just realized my error during the past five years of my life.”
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First, he quit working on Sundays. That opened the door for more complete church participation. “The bishopric first counselor came over and asked me to teach the youth. I said, ‘But I’ve never taught! How am I supposed to teach? Isn’t there something easier than 13 and 14 year-olds?’”

The bishopric member replied with inspiration: “This is the Lord’s challenge to you. You will grow spiritually, and it will enhance and improve your life.”

“After praying about it, I accepted the calling. Since then,” says Brother Fujimoto, “I have never refused an assignment from the Lord.”

Even with his renewed faith, he wondered, “How long will I last with 12-13 kids in the classroom?” In time, he won their friendship with his smile, consistency in his calling to teach, and “occasionally by bringing treats.”

Brother Fujimoto’s growing conversion was demonstrated in his works. Following the Sunday school assignment came the trust of leadership responsibilities: Elders quorum president, and now, second counselor in the bishopric with responsibility for single adult programs, missionaries, primary, Sunday school, young men and young women.

“When I take on responsibilities, I decide to do my best. I used to think the Elders quorum was a big plate-full,” he reminisces. “But I learned that teaching is also important because you teach others and yourself at the same time.”

In addition to the gratitude of his leaders and from those whom he serves, affirmation also comes from his own children: “Dad, we’re so proud of what you’re doing.”