Monday, December 29, 2014

"And a Happy New Year!"

Skype on Christmas Eve
Dear Family,

This Christmas has been the best Christmas ever! We had so many "Festavis miracles"! It was amazing. :) I was so happy to talk to all of you and see your beautiful faces! You are a great family. Did you know that? :) Well if you didn't now you do!
Christmas Day we had the special opportunity to go to Yokohama with a Ward member and her daughter, her friend from work, her good friend who loves the missionaries and her daughter (we will call her R-san to make this a shorter explanation.) and R-sans mother and friend. We were able to spend some good time with them. It was amazing and such a good experience for all of us. Christmas time is magical! And it snowed a little! Not much but just a small bit!
Later that night we went caroling as a district. It was an amazing experience. We saw so many miracles. :)

Here is one that my companion wrote down and sent to me:

" We were on the way to an investigator's home to carol to their family when Ashby-shimai spotted a house covered in Christmas lights. She thought they were too beautiful to ignore, so she stopped our group and went to ring the doorbell. The lady who answered through the kekko box was a little confused at first, but then came out to greet us. We were so excited she didn't reject us and that we might get the opportunity to sing. She was surprised to see such a large group of Americans at her doorstep, but wanted to hear us sing. In fact, she and her mom thought it was such a rare opportunity, that they asked if it would be alright to call their neighbors! Of course you can call your neighbors! As they went door to door, housing and bringing their friends to meet the missionaries, our district became more and more excited. We love caroling! Never did we imagine that knocking on the door of one house would allow us to share the true Spirit of Christmas with so many people. We could already feel the Spirit, we could tell the Lord was helping us with our caroling this night. It was the best feeling in the world. Over 10 people came out of their homes that night to hear us sing.
After a moment's decision, we decided to sing "Hark the Herald Angels Sing", then "Away in a Manger", then "Angels we Have Heard on High." Though we sang just fine, I couldn't tell if any of the songs had reached their hearts. So I spoke up and asked if anyone had a favorite Christmas song. To my surprise, an older man standing in front of me asked us to sing "Silent Night". No one had ever suggested a hymn before! The miracles continued to come forth... We were so excited and flipped to it in our hymn books. It turns out this man knew the first verse in English, so he asked us to sing the first verse in English and the rest in Japanese. So we did just that. During this song you could tell the Spirit was beginning to truly touch the hearts of these wonderful Japanese people. One lady was crying by the end of it. Another lady told us that our caroling was the best gift she had received this Christmas. Everyone was so happy & grateful, and many hearts were touched. It was such an incredible experience - especially for Daiya-san, an investigator who sang with us.

The Lord works in small and simple ways, touching the hearts of many.

For us, it was a true Christmas miracle."That story kind of sums up how Christmas was! We saw more miracles but it was that same feeling. Sharing the true feeling of Christmas we those around us. :) A Ward member also brought us a Christmas cake! :)
I love you all and hope you have a wonderful new year! This week is my year mark in Japan. It is so amazing to think back to a year ago New Year's Eve when I landed in Japan. I had no idea what this past year of my life would bring, but it has been the best, hardest, happiest, most rewarding year of my life and I wouldn't trade the testimony I have received for anything in the world. I know God loves us and knows who he wants us to become. Trust him and life will be beautiful. :)

Love you all!



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