Merry Christmas Everyone!
I know we're not quite there yet, but this is the closest I can get to
saying it to you all. This has been long week here. The start of every
transfer is the same in that sense. We had a lot of prep for the
transfer and Christmas.
This week we had MLC where we met up with all the ZLs to talk about
upcoming stuff in the mission. I always like going to MLC and get to
see all the other ZLs that I have been able to make friends with
during the mission. We received some good training and we did some
goal planning and prep for the new year coming up. The new year is
always full of excitement and change and the mission seems to be off
to a good start.
This week we also had the Branch Christmas party on Saturday. It was a
lot of fun! A ton of people came (member and non-members) and yours
truly (that's right, me) was Santa Claus. I was told by the members
that I was a better Kris Kringle than last year, so HOHOHO! I have
had to be Santa-San three times in the last week since the
missionaries are the only white guys around. It's pretty fun, but the
Japanese children don't see Santa as a nice guy. They all burst into
tears and dread the thought of receiving a present from him. American
kids are completely different. Who doesn't want free stuff from a
funny, fat man in a red suit? I mean c'mon, the belly like a bowl full
of jelly has to make somebody smile.
Teaching wise this week, not too much happened. We met with our
investigator 松本 and talked about the importance of the Book of Mormon.
It was a great lesson and all the kids at the end came to the door
again and prayed with us. Then yesterday something rather unfortunate
occurred. We texted her to schedule a time we can go and share a
Christmas message with them when we got a call from a member who has
become her friend. We were told that she doesn't want us to meet or
contact her for a while. This kind of rocked our little world because
she is the primary person we teach and we thought we had a good
relationship with her. We're going to try meeting with her next year,
but for now we will see what will happen.
Christmas is coming up this week and I am really excited to call home
on Friday. This Christmas in the mission field has been better than
last year so far, but I'll be real with y'all, Christmas in Japan is
rough. There's no lights, no trees, no warm feelings, no family
gathering. It's grey and the people just ignore you like always. This
last month with every door I've knocked on and every person I've
stopped on the street I have asked if I could share a simple Christmas
message and everybody rejects you. Even when a warm looking, jolly
Christmas wreath is hanging on the door the people will tell you with
a cold reply that they don't celebrate Christmas and don't want to
hear about it. It's so sad to see and experience.
There is a flip side however; by experiencing what feels like a less
that satisfactory Christmas season you truly discover why we celebrate
Christmas. We don't celebrate for all the lights, decor, the treats,
but for a more special purpose. We hear it every year; the true
meaning of Christmas, but until you experience Christmas in a
non-Christian country you don't think about it as much. When you've
got nothing else to remind you of Christmas you have no choice but to
focus on Christ. You come to understand that all the joy and warmth
that comes with Christmas comes because of Christ. It is amazing to
think that in a stable in Bethlehem 2,000 years ago a child was born.
He was born so that you and I might truly live. He was born so that
you and I can return to live with Him and the Father again, with our
families, for all eternity. As the famous Christmas carol "Silent
Night"'boldly claims: "Christ, the Savior is Born!" That is why we
sing. That is why we celebrate. Christ was born so that you, me, him,
her, and we can be spiritually be born again! They say you learn a lot
on your mission and I think the true meaning of Christmas has been one
that has touched my heart the most.
Have a very Merry Christmas! I appreciate all of the emails and love
that I have received. As Tiny Tim would say, "God bless us, everyone!"
May the Lord bless you and your families.