I hope you are all doing well, enjoying the Christmas spirit, and eating lots of desserts and treats for me! We may not have egg nog and cookies and cakes like we do back home, but this time of year is absolutely the best time to be a missionary and share the light of Christ. Lately we have been bringing caroling to the people of Japan, and it has led to some memorable experiences. Japanese people still haven't adopted caroling as a Christmas tradition, and some don't even know that is a thing at all, but we got a few members together and went knocking door to door asking people if they would like to listen to us sing a Christmas song. We tried everything we could think of, from introducing ourselves in different ways, to asking them what they like about Christmas or if they have a favorite Christmas song, and even tried singing immediately as someone opened the door to us. One lady opened the door and became so surprised as we immediately burst into song that she quickly backed away, pulling the door shut behind her. We had a good laugh about that, and as we continued to try to find someone that would listen to us, we met an old man that came out of his front door to talk to us. He told us at first that he was too old to listen to our song (a response that seems to work for getting out of everything here), but at the insistence of a member, we started singing to him. As we finished our simple song, his demeanor was completely changed, and he told us how good we were (he really must have been too old, and his ears weren't the best). It was a small testimony to me that the light of Christ changes people even in small and simple ways.
That definitely wasn't the only change in people we have been seeing this week, and we are continuing to be blessed by God. We met with Marcos Kyodai and his wife Sachie again this week, and it has been astonishing how different our lessons have become. At first, Sachie had no interest in hearing what we had to say, but through the Spirit her interest level has completely changed and she is now willingly participating in our visits each time we go over. We planned to talk about the restoration of the gospel this past lesson, but we were surprised to find out that it was Marcos kyodai's birthday, and that a few friends were over. We ended up having a lesson with Marcos kyodai, Sachie, and a friend, and we talked about feeling the Holy Ghost through reading the Book of Mormon. They all had great questions and input, and all agreed to continue reading the Book of Mormon.
We also have another investigator, Wada san, that took us out today to visit a real ninja house! There were tons of trapdoors, tricks, and secret entrances. It was just like something out of my imagination, and it was way cool. The best part, though, was definitely on the ride home as we were able to talk about all the things he is learning from his study of the Book of Mormon. We ended up talking about the Plan of Salvation, and he felt so much comfort as we told him that we can see our family again in heaven, and that death is not the end of God's plan for us. Wada san still has some doubts about one religion being true, but I know that he is feeling the Spirit and enjoying the change it is making in his life.
These and other experiences of seeing everyone's faith grow, helps to remind me of my testimony of the Book of Mormon. I know that we can draw closer to God through this book than through any other book written on this Earth today. It has helped me to learn of my Savior Jesus Christ, and my Father in Heaven. I am so thankful for the peace that comes from knowing that my family can be together forever, and I know that it is all because of the grace and love of Jesus Christ. He atoned for all our sins and made it possible for us to overcome the obstacles keeping us from returning to live with our Father in Heaven. I am becoming closer to my Savior with each passing day this Christmas season, and it gives me strength beyond my own, to face the challenges and work ahead of me each day. I know that He extends His help to each of us, and He looks for us to do the same for the people around us. I invite you all to follow the example of Christ in lifting the burden of someone around you in a small way, whether it is a family member, friend, or a stranger, doing something as simple as giving a smile, or something requiring more time like shoveling a driveway for someone who can't, and see how your happiness and light will begin to increase. The small and simple changes will astound you. Once again, merry Christmas, and to all a good night! (Or good morning, depending on what part of the world you are in and when you read this)
|Elder Jones and Elder Wood from my MTC district!|