* Happy New Year
Hello hello 2017!
What a great opportunity it was to Skype [internet video-phone call] my family for Christmas and be in Japan during the New Year's. These past two weeks we've been able to do lots of services for the members in the Ward! Like dressing up as Santa for little children, cleaning windows, and making 30 kilograms of mochi (cooked, mashed rice). That's about ten times the weight of a newborn baby, or to be interpreted, 66 pounds! [Mochi is a New Year's traditional treat.]
Although, my companion is not feeling well lately, we were still able to see amazing things! Starting last P-day, we were talking to many people on the street. Sometimes, we feel hesitant to talk to people, we are always trying to put that fear aside and find people who need to hear and are prepared to hear the gospel. It still amazes me, how both my companion and I feel like we really need to talk to certain people, and they are the same people. We stop this one lady and she is from the Philippians! We tried speaking English with her and inviting her to Eikaiwa [English conversation class] and as we were talking to her, this old lady walks up to me pointing at and touching my name tag, "The Church or Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. That's what it says, right?!" She says. My companion continues to talk to the Philippians woman. I was so ecstatic. "Yes!" She says, "No, no. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I knew it!" I don't know why she didn't believe it at first. We confirmed to her we are missionaries and she was so happy to see us! She use to investigate the church and was going to get baptized, but she lost the desire to. She said she loved coming to church and wants to come back. I know God led us to meet, and for her to meet missionaries again.
I've been thinking a lot lately about now God influences us through many things. Through people, the Internet, our thoughts. We are influenced by many things in this world and God influences us through the good things. We went to a jinja (Shinto temple, or shrine) today to experience the culture of Japan. New Years is a very big holiday in Japan and many people offer prayers to different Gods at a jinja, whether they are religious or not. There are many beliefs, like the first dream of the new year can represent the rest of your year. There is the dream of Mt. Fuji, the eagle, or the eggplant. I still don't understand what that means, but I assume if I had an eggplant dream, it was a disappointing dream, so it will be kind of not the best year. I actually dreamt about doing missionary work with my companion and one our appointments fell through. ざんねん。
Anyways, as I was at the jinja I felt peace. As I see it, when I look at nature, or anything beautiful that has been created, I feel peace and awe and God's love. Being at the jinja, it felt sacred. However, I feel the most peace and happy feelings of the Spirit the strongest living the way Jessu [Iesu in Japanese; Jesus in English] taught. Visiting his church, and worshiping with others who need the strength that the teachings of the gospel bring. It makes me feel complete. And I hope to continue to find those people who do not feel complete and need the confirmation of God's love for them and guidance in a world full of turbulence and sadness. By living like Jesus Christ taught, by helping people and giving myself to God, I've discovered what joy is. I have come to know who I am and who God is to me, and that is a loving Heavenly Father.
I gotta go now, but until next week!
Sent from the white fields of Japan 🍲🌅
K-Mom here: Did any of you see the #LighttheWorld Christmas Mormon.org banner at NYC Times Square New Year's Eve countdown broadcast? I did!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nD9aUY2PDZY It's a 14+ minute video and I didn't watch most of it. The LighttheWorld banner is seen between 2:06 minutes and 2:15 minutes marker; the sign is seen on the far left side of the screen. I apologize to anybody around the world if any of the video is offensive to anybody. I can't vouch for the content.
* Happy New Year 2017! May this year you set good realistic goals and achieve them! May you live more righteously, happily, and peacefully than you did in 2016. May you be closer to the Lord and be written in God's Book of Life this year.
* Pictures are from the internet.