Merry Christmas minasan! Ok not quite yet. I`m just excited okay?
So this last week has been very busy. Jeffery Shimai and I had Elina`s baptism to get ready and luckily we did most of it before hand because on Friday all the missionaries` phones got turned off. The only problem is in Okinawa we haven`t received our new phones so we have been going without phones for 4 days now. Pretty fun stuff. Also really inconvenient when you can`t set up appointments or ask people things. But it`s made us all really grateful for our phones. Missionary work is a lot better off with them. Also Jeffery shimai has been sick for quite some time. She is doing better but still has a nasty cough so keep her in your prayers!
So Elina`s baptism went amazingly well. I think that is the strongest I have ever felt the Spirit at a baptism. Her family came too which is really cool! Her dad is a less active and her mom and brother aren`t members. When Elina bore her testimony I know her family felt the Spirit. She talked about how lost she had been before she started praying and reading the scriptures. And now she`s so much happier and she knows what to teach her son and how to bring him up so he will become a good person. She`s a crier and it totally made everyone else cry, including me. She wants to be the one to bring her family into the church and I know she can do it.
Sister Jeffery also gave a talk on the Spirit at the baptism. One thing she shared that her mom told her was really cool. She said some people think that a mission changes us into a different person. But I think a mission changes us into the person we were before when we lived with Heavenly Father. The person we are meant to be. It`s a cool thought.
One other cool thing we did this week is the 12 days of Christmas. We are supposed to pick someone and then do something for them every day until Christmas whether it`s a treat or message or text, etc. We really wanted to do it for Karla but we were nervous about overwhelming her by visiting her everyday, plus she lives on base so it`s difficult to get on. But we came up with the idea to make 12 cranes (I`ve been making cranes a lot lately) and then we divided up the talk Lord I Will Follow Thee by Elder Gavarret from General Conference into 12 parts and we included a scripture to look up each day with it. Then we put it in 12 little containers and put that in a Christmas box. (Daiso seriously is so amazing - it's a store here). Then we wrote that it is said that if you make a 1,000 cranes it is said you will never die (or something close to that), but we hope with these 12 cranes of Christmas that you will come unto Christ who is the true giver of everlasting life. So we gave her all 12 days in one box and dropped it off. I hope she does it because it`s really cool and hopefully will bring the Spirit each day until Christmas. We also told her to watch Because of Him and He Is the Gift, two really great Mormon messages. It`s a really awesome opportunity and we put a lot of work into it. I wish we could give one of those to everyone though and switch up what talk we include. How cool would that be?
We also had the Okinawa ward Christmas party. I don`t think there`s anything much cuter than a Japanese nativity or a line of little Japanese kids waiting to see Santa (a.k.a. Elder Clinger in a santa suit). I`ll send some pictures. Also I`m still always amazed at how much food there is at these things. They made homemade pizza, taco rice, chicken, and a whole bunch of salads and desserts and a huge cake. The Japanese know how to do it, let me tell you.
That being said I just want everyone to remember the true meaning of Christmas during this time. Go watch He Is the Gift on lds.org if you need a reminder. Even as a missionary I sometimes find myself forgetting why I am out here and focusing on the planning and scheduling and all the little details instead of remembering my Savior and how grateful I am to celebrate his birth this time of year and to share that with others. So please remember to share that joyful message with others you meet!
Have a merry Christmas everyone!
The Nativity at the Japanese Ward - So Cute!!
Elder Clinger as Santa at the Ward Party
Elder Henrie had to sit on Santa's lap too!
Minami, Jueri and Jeffery Shimai
Elina's baptism - Nov 13, 2014
Elina's little boy Cameron