Monday, December 23, 2013

It's a miracle! - Dec 23, 2013


Elder Healy as Santa Claus
Our biggest miracle of late has been Blanche. This week we taught her the Word of Wisdom and the Law of Chastity. Before we taught her about the Word of Wisdom, she knew about the normal things that are bad for our bodies, such as tobacco, alcohal, and other harmful substanes. However, she drank tea and coffee. She told us that she didn't know it was a commandment and that from that time forward she wouldn't drink tea or coffee. When we taught her about the Law of Chastity, she accepted it and said she wants to keep the Law of Chastity too. She is such a Christmas miracle to us!

We also received a referral from church headquarters this last week that wanted a Book of Mormon. She is a Phillipean and she wants to join our church! WAY COOL, deshou! She has three little children and her husband, but her husband is Japanese and doesn't believe in God. Her life is really hard right now. She got super emotional when talking to us and said that she was so glad that we came by. I love her so much. She is really excited to continue to meet with us and we hope and pray that her husband will soften his heart.

I am so grateful for this time of year and for the hope it gives to one and all.
Have a very, very Merry Christmas everyone! I hope you have the best holiday season ever.

Our Ward Christmas party turned out so wonderful! Fun games, beautiful violin music, wonderful food for everyone, children singing, and one of my favorite parts: a beautifully put together video about Christ and his life that opened everyone's heart a little bit more to the true meaning of Christmas. I think, however, that my favorite thing about the whole event was seeing so many less actives who we've been working with for what seems like forever. That night, I came to recognize to an even greater degree how much the Savior loves each one of us...individually. Every time we serve someone, our love for that person grows so much deeper. This is a picture of some of our less active members (Iwakiri Shimai and her two kids). Since I first came to Kasukabe in August, we been working with her. Her house is about a 13-20 minute bike ride from our church and I can't even begin trying to count how much time we have spent trying to help her. We have shared sooo many messages with her at her house. Most of the time, she doesn't answer her phone, and so sometimes we decide to surprise visit her and to give her support. A lot of times, she isn't home, so we leave her a note with a message and encouragement. When I saw her at the Christmas party, my heart was literally sobbing for joy. These feelings can't be described...I think it could be similar to the feelings our Savior has when one of His children comes back to Him. Eto Shimai is another less active member who works on Sunday's, but-if you remember from one of my earlier letters-she has really been feeling God's love lately. We have been teaching Eto Shimai's daughter, Sayaka-chan, the missionary lessons. Sayaka-chan is on and off with church. Every time she does come, my heart breaks because she doesn't have any family with her (although luckily she does have some really good church friends). Eto Shimai didn't have work on Saturday night (the night of our Christmas party), and so she was able to come. Sayaka-chan sang Christmas songs with the Primary children and she looked so happy. I couldn't help but think about her Mom and how proud of her daughter she must be. I could list a whole lot more, but for the sake of time, I better just talk about one more special less-active experience. Yamamoto Kyoudai went on a mission, but became less active. He has two twin boys who are serving missions right now and an 18 year old daugher. The wife also served a mission. Sister Yamamoto and the daughter come to church ever week, but Brother Yamamoto hasn't-that was the first time that I had ever seen him. I ended up talking to him for about 40 minutes. I asked him questions about his mission and the many miracles that he had seen. He told me about an experience that he had when he went to the temple in the US one time. He saw the prophet and got to shake his hand. Then, outside of the temple, he saw the prophet again. He didn't think that the prophet would recognize him and decided that he wanted to shake his hand again. After the hand shake, the prophet said, you tried again. We laughed about it and then talked about how prophets sure are amazing. I then told Brother Yamamoto about how precious I thought this experience was. Sometimes, when we have experiences, we tend to think about it only that context, but I told him how it applies now. We can always try matter what's happened in the past. The Lord welcomes all with outstretched hands to try again. The Atonement is truly is!
I am so thankful for the may wonderful experiences that I had that night. Those experiences changed hearts that night...mine included.

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