Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 in Review - December 31, 2013

 Thanks to everyone for making my christmas so special!
 Does this mean that I was a good girl because Santa came? :)
 Christmas Meal #1
 Thank you everyone for making Christmas so special from so far away!
 Christmas Meal #2

 I absolutely loved the Idaho Potato!! Everyone got a laugh out of it. Suita Shimai nearly fell over...she couldn't believe it. :)

 Skyping with my girls!
 My new christmas outfit.
Here in Kasukabe, I've personally decided that the Christmas miracle isn't over yet. Actually, the Christmas miracle will never be over. Every day, I live because of the gift of the Plan of Salvation. In return for that gift I receive 24/7, I will must certainly continue to do all I can to bring Christ as many gifts as possible.
This past week's miracles:
  • Do you remember Muranaka-san that I told you about last week...or at least I think I did. She really wants to get baptized!! She has a friend back in Peru-his name is Jeffery-who is going on a mission soon. He has been telling her about our church and even told her she needed to stop drinking coffee! What an example to all of us Jeffery is! We are really excited to continue to teach Muranaka-san. Please pray for her to be able to be baptized! Please pray for her husband to open His heart to the idea of religion. That he too may know that there is a God.
  • Since I first got to Kasukabe, I have been meeting with Sayaka-chan, who is 11 years old. Her mother is a less active, but Sayaka-chan has been coming to church on a fairly consistent basis. My first couple of transfers, we weren't able to meet with her very much. She lives about an hour away from the church by car and she is super busy with schooling and other activities. However, recently we have been meeting with her a lot thanks to her good friends in this ward. Today we extended the baptismal invitation with a date and she accepted! She is really excited. It has made a huge difference to have members of the church that are her own age doseki(member present lesson) with us. Their influence has been crucial in her conversion process.
  • Both of these incredible stories happened because of the members!! Members are sooooo soooooo daiji (important) in this work! The Kasukabe ward has been changing-I can see it. As we have built strong relationships with them and invited them to help us take part in missionary work, they have changed their very nature. Today in our fifth-Sunday lesson, everyone was so excited to talk about dendo. The Lord has truly opened the hearts of the members here.
As we close 2013, what a wonderful time we have to reflect on our year. This year has certainly been one to remember. I have learned so much! I think one of the most important things I've learned as a missionary is love/charity.This transfer, I have been studying (just a little bit every day) how the Atonement and missionary work are related. It has been such an incredible, spiritual experience for me. John 15: 13 says, "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." It was love that allowed the Savior to perform the Atonement. So, too, is it love that is the motivating force behind missionary work. No matter how inadequate we may seem, the Lord trusts us with the work. He has said that out of the weak things of the earth will He fulfill His purposes. Do we love our friends enough to tell them the most glorious news of all? There are people all around us. I have no doubt that we knew most if not all of them in the zense (pre-earth life). I can imagine that they begged for you to help them here on earth. We can't disappoint them. Let's all try to be a little bit more like Jeffery. When we extend commitments to our friends out of love, anything is possible! It is the start of a new year! May we all take a step of faith into this new year and work hard to achieve our goals (hint, hint...member missionary work) that will help us out on the road to our full potential.
Wishing you all the very best 2014. I've got a feeling it's going to be the best year ever!!
In PMG, we read that the two most important tools in missionary work is the Spirit and the Book of Mormon. So, as a mission on December 31, we will be cleaning our apartments from morning until evening. This will help us to have the Spirit in our apartments so that we can receive revelation for our investigators and our area. Then, on January 1,  we will be having a mission-wide Book of Mormon reading day! Dedicating this day too reading the Book of Mormon will help us to renew our testimonies and start a new year of dendo off right. I'm way excited for the way that I get to celebrate this New Year. It's going to be fabulous!
Love you the most,
Yamauchi Shimai

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