(Our Little Christmas Tree to help us remember our Savior - 25 days of Christmas, 25 names of Christ)
I don't actually know where to start this week. It was a little bit of a hard week, with lots of trusting in the Lord. Over my life I have learned that when Heavenly Father gives you this tremendously enormous amount of blessings, there is usually a trial that is on it's way as well. I have also learned to really be grateful for the hard times, because I know that it is an opportunity for me to learn and to grow, and to stretch myself farther, and to trust my Heavenly Father even more. However, despite those things, hard times are still really hard. Sometimes I think about how frustrating it is when someone cancels an appointment, or when someone doesn't keep their commitments, or doesn't come to church, or even when they are to busy to meet with you. This week I got really upset with the agency that we are all given. I learned just a little bit about how Heavenly Father must feel when we don't do the things that we should, and that He wants us to do. And then to remember just how much He still loves us. I am so grateful for His love, and for His patience. I am trying my best to become more and more like Him everyday.
(Christmas Card Ribbon Garland Decorated with Nativity Ornaments)
(THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! SO much! I am SOOOOOOOO grateful! And thank you so much for getting together with Anna and sweet baby Aashi! It made me SO happy to see her sweet little hand prints! And the tree, and the nativities, and the cards! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!! We used the finger puppet one with the daughter of a less active, and she loved it! )
It is so amazing to see just how much Tsuyama has changed in the 4 months that I have been in Japan. The work really is hastening, and I am grateful for the little part that I get to play. This week we were able to teach one of our Less Active members who really wants to come back. She is just afraid of her daughter being to crazy and rambunctious, and is afraid to take that first step, but we know that with time and with a lot of love, she will come back. We also had an investigator tell us about how she was talking to her friends about Heavenly Father and about prayer. She was saying that even though they don't believe in God, they all said that if they were in the midst of a crisis they would probably pray. It is amazing to see just how strong her testimony of the gospel is, even though she only knows very little. Heavenly Father really is preparing people here to receive the gospel. It may take more effort than I have ever used in my life. But, I know that as we continue to put our trust in Heavenly Father, he will help us to find those who are ready. Through Him, we will be able to help invite people to come unto Christ. So, despite the hard things, I couldn't be happier. Nothing is better than helping others to come unto Christ, and teaching them about their true potential, and their purpose here on Earth.
We are excited for the day when that happens again. We know it will, just in the Lord's timing. Mostly though, it was wonderful to see so many of the members smiling, and fellow-shipping those who came. We had members talk to H and her friend (H is our investigator that shares the gospel with her friends), and teach them a little bit about the scriptures (there was a scripture written on a little paper with the little candy bags from Santa). We also had one of our Potential Investigators make friends with one of the sisters in our branch as well. We were so excited that they were able to make friends. :) And to see them really apply the things we taught them a few weeks ago at our dendo fireside. I am so proud of them! It just made me so happy and I couldn't stop smiling.
Despite all of the hard things that happened this week, there was also so much good. I know that as we seek to look for the good in the midst of our trials, we will find it. I know that Heavenly Father loves each and every one of you!
I love you, and I am praying for you all! I hope you all have a wonderful week, and that you are enjoying this wonderful holiday season! Thank you for all of the love, and support, and for all of the sweet letters, Merry Christmas!