Wednesday, December 31, 2014

E-mail 12/29/2014

My dear family,

It was so fun to talk to you on skype! Loved it!! You all seem to be doing so well! This week was awesome!

I had a great week! 

Monday we wrote Christmas letters to investigators!

Tuesday we went as a district to the neighborhood Christmas party of a less active sister and helped out. We did games and activities together. 5 little 6th graders ran the activity. So cute! Then the sister drove us back to the church where we set up for the ward Christmas party and then had a lesson with a recent convert (Kato shimai [Sister Kato]) on faith. She really misses institute and can't wait for it to start back up again. Then we had the Branch Christmas party! LOTS of Eikaiwa [English class] students and their families came!! Lots of games and a few musical numbers so it wasn't really as spiritual as I had hoped but it was good for the Eikaiwa students to build friendships with ward members. Really fun. I know [want] to know them and their families better. They are really good people and seem to connect well with the Branch members here. 

One thing I learned as I was studying the gospel of Jesus Christ [lesson in Preach My Gospel] this week (faith in Jesus Christ, repentance, baptism, gift of the Holy Ghost, endure to the end) was that these aren't just arbitrary hoopes to jump through to get back to God; they are how we change to become like Him. So we need to not be missing that as we do these steps! We need to be changing to become better through following this process. 

Wednesday was Christmas Eve! We had a mogi [roleplay] with wonderful Sister Saito. She fed us lunch, printed pictures of our Eikaiwa students who came to the Branch Christmas party for us to give to them, did a mogi with us, and drew a map for us to get to our next location. So kind!! Then we biked to the hospital to visit Kie-chan (19-year-old investigator) but they wouldn't allow us to visit or contact her and wouldn't say why. So we went across the street to where Shion-chan (RC [recent convert]) was working at Moss Burger and bought ice-cream from her and made her smile (she said after that it was the first time anyone has ever visited her when she was working). Then we had the Eikaiwa Christmas Eve Party! No class, just activities; White Elephant, Charades, Nativity videos, and Santa giving out CDs of church music. Then 2 students did talents. Really effective dendo [missionary work]! It was exciting how intently the students watched the Nativity videos. Great potential there! The students we asked to do talents were so thrilled and happy. They asked if they could do talents again and all the students said they wanted to do an Eikaiwa like that again. I think it was really effective! After Eikaiwa we got a call from Kie-chan (the one we were unable to visit at the hospital) and she said her doctor banned us from visiting her because we're missionaries. :( So we can't teach her until she's out of the hospital. I hope she gets better soon!

Also on Christmas Eve I opened the rest of my Christmas presents!! WOW!!! Thank you thank you thank you!! I've already studied part of the Japanese book, am listening to the music, using the hairbands and clothes, eating the food, and loving the paper cutter and makeup remover wipes and tiny scripture set!! Thank you! Thank you!! I hope you get to see the before and after pictures. :) Lauren, thank you for the necklace you made! It is so pretty! Very happy Christmas!

Thursday was Christmas! We got up early, went to the church, and SKYPED!!!! It was SO FUN to talk to all of you!! It was just so fun and happy! Highlight of my Christmas! 

After that, we (as a District) rode a train to Misawa for Christmas lunch with the Larsen family.  Very fun! Chips and dip, potatoes, pretzel jello salad, bean salad, pork, rolls, and then cheesecake and ice-cream. So fun! We actually had to wait a while before lunch because their pressure cooker wasn't working so we played games with the kids. Sister Lauren [Larsen] is a grade school teacher on the Misawa military base. They gave all of us Christmas stockings with peanut butter, etc. So kind!! Then we came back to Hachinohe and taught a Free Family English Program Student at the church (Yamashita-san and her daughter). 

Friday morning we did service at a members home and then came back and did study. Then we had Fun Friday; the students all really enjoyed the spiritual message Elder Moo and Elder Hansen gave--a blind maze.

Saturday we went as a district to an early morning fish market with an Eikaiwa student and ate fresh raw fish for breakfast. Yum. Came back to the church and studied and then had District Meeting and then Ward Coordination, and then visited a less active family that Iwahashi shimai's [Sister Iwahashi’s] Mom knows. Total miracle; the house looked like no one was home. Then a woman answers the door and says 'I know who you are and I don't want you.' BUT SOMEHOW she stopped, listened, didn't close the door, and ended up giving us apples as we left. Total miracle. AMAZING. Iwahashi shimai was so brave talking to her! Amazing! Came back and had Eikaiwa.

Sunday we taught Gospel Principles at church and had dinner with the Kimura family. We did the spiritual message on how everyone has worth and everyone had fun and loved it. Then we went to the church for Iwahashi shimai's skype. So cute! Very genki [energetic] and fun. 

Yes, I am default thinking in Japanese, haha. You all speak very good Japanese inside my head. 

You wanted to know more about Hachinohe. Hachinohe is a big branch with about 60 members who come to Sacrament meeting. The apartment is a 15 minute bike ride from the church across a big river. There are 3 bridges by our apartment and they are very pretty with all the stars at night. We can see the ocean when we go shopping so the members feed us lots of seafood. Iwahashi shimai said there are some pretty places to see it here. It feels a lot smaller than Sendai--my first week I kept saying to Iwahashi shimai 'There are NO people here!' haha. Its a very nice town. Probably bigger than Greensboro. Our apartment is very nice and very big for two people. We could each basically have our own room with 2 desks each as our closets but that would be too lonely so we just each have our own closet and study in the same room. There are 3 other companionships of sisters in our Zone (in Aomori, Hirosaki, Odate) but we only do splits with Aomori and Hirosaki. We will do those splits the 2nd and 3rd week of January. Brother Ono is a very nice ward mission leader. He is 50 and single and the missionaries are his best friends.

Christmas was so fun! Now it's the time for goal setting. Goals goals goals. Thinking thinking thinking! Exited to hear about how goal setting family home evening goes!

I loved 12 days of Christmas! Thank you so much!

You asked what I want when you come to Japan in February. The only thing I've thought of so far is toothpaste. :D

I am so excited to make New Years goals! I have learned so much this year about how to use the enabling power of the Atonement and how through it we can change and become better and I am so excited to apply it! I want so much to become more Christ-like and to become the person he wants me to be. I love my Savior and hope to more perfectly testify and teach of him in his way and to be a window to his heavenly love.

Have a wonderful week and New Years!!!

I love you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Bellows shimai :)

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