Wow, how is it already a week until Christmas?? Time seriously is flying by so fast. I can't believe that next month I will have been out on my mission for one year. I can't believe it! This past year has been so amazing and I'm so grateful for the opportunity I've had to be serving a mission here in Japan.
This week was really busy with tons of different events and proselyting. First, we had zone conference where the theme was knowledge of the Savior's birth. It helped me to realize how grateful I am for the the knowledge I have of the Savior and the sacrifice he has made for us. I'm grateful that I get to share the wonderful message of His birth with others. Also, we talked a lot about working effectively as missionaries and the new goals that are beginning to be implemented in our mission. At first, it was a little overwhelming but then it helped me to realize how I can improve as a missionary and how I can work harder to follow the Spirit and to find those that are out there and are prepared. That night after zone conferece, me and Sister Torgerson went out that night and really focused on following the Spirit which led us to this certain apartment. We weren't orginally going to go there, but we felt prompted to stop at this random apartment and we ended up finding two potential investigators who we had really spiritual discussions with. They had a strong interest in our message and I could tell how they have been prepared. It was such a cool miracle being led to those people who are ready and I'm grateful for the inspiration that comes from zone conference.
We also had interviews this past week with our mission president. It's always good to meet with the mission president and his wife because we don't get to see them much here in Okinawa. But we had a great discussion about the Savior and how his birth and His Atonement helps us and what it does for us and also our investigators.
Last Saturday we had a Christmas party with the Japanese Ward and it was so much fun! Probably my favorite Christmas activity I've ever been to! They had a handbell group play some Christmas carols and then they had some members put on a Nativity play. It was so much fun watching it in Japanese and seeing a Japanese Mary and Joseph and angels and such. They also had tons of Japanese food and especially KFC because the Japanese always eat fried chicken on Christmas (don't ask me why, they just do). They also had a Christmas cake decorating contest. But the best part of all was all the members brought so many of their nonmember friends and we were constantly being led over to new people to meet! It was awesome and also one of our investigators came as well! All and all, it was just awesome! I realized that no matter where we are, no matter what country or what traditions we may have, it's still the same holiday--the birth of our Savior. It's all about the ultimate gift that was given to us which is Jesus Christ. It was an important lesson to me to learn that it doesn't matter what kind of Christmas it is, as long as it's centered on the Savior.
Anyways, yesterday we also had a Christmas caroling night with the Japanese ward and it was so much fun going in cars with some of the members to different families in need or less-active members. In one instance, we went to a hospital/old-folks home and we gathered around this one old lady who was a member but hasn't been to church in some time because she's so sick. But we sang "Silent Night" really softly to her and it was the most beautiful we sang that night. I have never felt so much peace as I did that night in that hospital room singing "Silent Night" to that lady. I could just feel God's love for her and it felt as if we were almost in the stable that night when Jesus was born. I felt just so much peace and reverence and I could really feel the real meaning of Christmas which is about love and service and the Savior.
Anyways, things are going really great down here in Okinawa!! I hope you guys have a great Christmas!!!! メリクリスマス
(Sorry, I don't have many pictures this week!)