I hope you are all having a fabulous start to your new year, with family and friends, new goals that will (hopefully) be kept all throughout the year, and maybe even some American food! It was definitely different spending New Years and Christmas in Japan again, especially since New Years was a much bigger event. Christmas is basically celebrated by just by eating a Christmas cake, while on New Years almost everyone in Japan has the day off and they all go to visit a nearby shrine or temple.
It is also big to go and watch the first sunrise of the year here. We missed the real first sunrise, but we went out today with about 15 other missionaries to see the second sunrise of the year. It sure sounds less cool, but it was just as pretty. I can't believe how often I take for granted even he simple beauty around me, and today's experience gave me a little time to stop and realize how amazing it is that every day we have a new sunrise, a new opportunity to become someone new. We can put aside our past mistakes, and we can strive once more to love our family, give more attention to our friends and those we meet throughout our busy days that are in need of a friend. I am so thankful for each new opportunity to do better, especially since I have so far to go in order to become the person that I want to be!
I just want to share one experience from this week, a lesson we had with a member on Monday. His name is Soeda kyodai, and he is one of the most amazing people I have met in Japan. He is always helping us out with lessons, visiting investigators, sometimes giving us rides, and just a really friendly person. We wanted to thank him for all that he did for us, so we bought him a simple present and brought it to his house. As always, he called us in and sat us around his table since it was cold outside. As he opened his present, we just saw a huge smile come over his face and he thanked us over and over again. It was so special to see how happy he was from a small present, but it was even better as we then shared a simple scripture with him about Jesus Christ, and then got into a discussion about the true meaning of Christmas and how we can be more like the Savior. Soeda kyodai shared his feelings about his own family, and how he cared about them so much and wanted them to be more happy. It touched me to see his concern for them, and I know that this is how our Heavenly Father looks at us, with His only desire being to help us become who we have the potential to become, and to find joy. He loves us so much that He sacrificed His Only Begotten Son for us, to save us all from the evil, sin, and unclean things of the world, and to help us to find those things that will bring us the most happiness, filling our lives with light and love.
I know that each new day, and every new experience has been given to me for my growth and benefit by a loving Heavenly Father, through the gift of His Son Jesus Christ. I am so thankful for the time that I have each day to strive to be more, to lift others, and I am grateful for wonderful family and friends that forgive me even when I make mistakes. There are so many things to be thankful for, and as we show our gratitude, God only promises to rain more blessings upon us. I invite you all to take a little time to thank God in simple heartfelt prayer for the things you are grateful for, and the good things in your lives.
Once more, I wish you all a stellar start to your new year, don't forget to write!
Love from Japan,
Love from Japan,
|Second sunrise in 2017!|
|Dinner with the Hayashi family.|
|This kid is the best (Seiryuu)!|