First Sunrise of the New Year!
We went up to the top of a mountain with one of our Eikaiwa students on New Years day to see the sunrise. It is a tradition here in Japan. :) This is a bonfire at the top waiting for the sun to rise
Snow outside our apartments (this is just a little bit.
On Friday morning we had to bike through 2-4 inches of snow and ice to get to the train station for district meeting. :) So much snow!)
This past week was good. H and M weren't able to get baptized because M was sick and in the hospital, but we know that it will all work out according to God's plans, so we are just continuing to work hard, and to exercise our faith.
We don't have a lot of time to email this week, so I don't have time to tell you everything, but I wanted to share with all of you a really cool lesson we learned yesterday. We were invited over to the H Kazoku (family) house for dinner. Both us and the Elders were invited. Since they shared a message last time, it was our turn. As we sat down to plan a lesson, we read through some articles in the Liahona, and one of them stuck out. It was about enduring our trials, and learning from them. We figured out what we wanted to share, and then were trying to come up with a commitment to leave them with. Well, Howden Shimai suggested something, and it didn't feel right, so I told her I wasn't so happy with it, but didn't have anything better to suggest... I think that a similar thing happened the last time we prepared a message for this family. So, we sat there, Howden Shimai a little frustrated, and me frustrated and feeling bad because I didn't really even have a reason besides I don't really like that commitment, and I didn't even have anything better to offer... So, we sat, and both prayed. After a long while of silence, I still had nothing... I just felt like what we had wasn't right. Howden Shimai then shared a talk that had come to mind, called "Lord, I Believe." It was a talk given by Elder Holland in the October 2013 General Conference. As we were talking, we both felt much better about this talk, and we were both prompted that maybe we should all share our testimonies about the things that we do know, and the things we do believe. We were grateful to have the right lesson planned.
After dinner, we sat down to share our message. We started out by talking about hope last year was really hard for their family, and for a lot of the members in our branch. And with the new year, there is a lot of hope. Hope that this year will be better. We then read a little part from Elder Holland's talk, about how we need to remember the things that we do know, and we do believe, even when things get hard. After that, we had a little testimony meeting, I shared my testimony about prayer, Chatwin Choro shared his testimony about revelation, and Bate Choro shared his testimony about Priesthood blessings, H Shimai, and Kyoudai both shared their testimonies as well. Then Howden Shimai shared her testimony. After our message, Howden Shimai asked if there was anything that we could do for them. And instead of the usual, "no, we're okay," H Kyoudai said that he actually would like a Priesthood blessing, and that he hadn't realized he wanted one until Bate Choro shared his testimony. The Elders were able to give H Kyoudai a priesthood blessing, and it was amazing just how strong the spirit was even though it was in Japanese. On the way home, H Kyoudai asked us how we decided to share that particular message with them. After we explained that we had actually planned something else, and then we were prompted to share this instead, that it really was through revelation from Heavenly Father. H Kyoudai then explained how he knew that it was meant specifically for him. He has read that talk hundreds of times, it is one of his favorites. That night though, he felt Heavenly Father's love as we were inspired to share that message with he and his family.
What an amazing thing it is to know that you are in tune with the spirit, and you are helping to bring others unto Christ. We could have decided to just stick with what we had planned, because then we would have had more time to go finding, or to do something else, but instead we listened to those feelings, and prayed for guidance, and Heavenly Father was able to work through us. Moments like these remind me of why I am here on a mission. I am here to invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the Restored Gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end. It is through these things, through teaching and inviting and helping that I feel the most joy. It is through helping to uplift and strengthen others that I know Heavenly Father loves each and every one of His children.
I am so grateful for this gospel, and for the opportunity that I have to spend this next year sharing the joy that it brings me to Heavenly Father's children here in Japan. What an amazing experience and blessing.
I love you all!