Merry Christmas everyone!!! I hope you have a great Christmas season spending time with those you love!! I'm loving the Okinawan Christmas season so far. Definitely a tropical Christmas!! But it has been so much fun! I'm so lucky to spend a Christmas around people I love here in Okinawa and with my awesome companion Sister Torgerson.
Last week's p-day, we went to the "American Village" which is a huge shopping place here in Okinawa. We went with the other sisters here in Okinawa and it was a ton of fun! They had tons of Christmas decorations and we had fun going around to all the shops and also going on top of the ferris wheel!
This week we really felt the spirit by doing a lot of Christmas missionary work. We were able to meet so many cool people because of it! We met two really promising potential investigators. One lady was smoking outside of her apartment and we ran into her and almost wasn't gonna talk to her because we already had made the moment awkward, but then we decided to anyways and turns out she had a lot of interest about finding out more about God. We bore testimony about Him and who He is and how He can help her along with her newborn baby. We were able to make a return appointment and it was so awesome!
Anyways, we had a pretty funny awkward moment that happened twice in a row which made it even more hilarious. We were proselyting this apartment complex with really small apartments and we knocked on one door and we could see in the window to the right that there were lights on in the house and I could hear water running but all of the sudden this man pokes his head out the window and his head is wet and covered in soap and he's like "what do you want? I'm in the shower" and we awkwardly handed him a flyer and he brought it in the shower with him to read I guess. LOL that was my favorite thing of the week haha BUT the funniest thing was that it happened TWICE! The same thing happened at the next door haha.
We had a lesson this week with our investigator Asuka for the first time in a long time and she really came to the lesson with a spirit of learning and hunger for what we were going to teach her. We committed her to read and pray sincerely and promised her that if she did she would really know if this church was the true church or not. She was really convicted as she committed to do it. I have a lot of faith in her.
Also that night for Eikaiwa (English class), the elders showed up in Santa outfits and our English students LOVED it. They all wanted to take pictures.
We also got to go on junkai (exchanges) in Naha this week with the sister training leaders. It was a lot of fun and I got to an exchange with Sister Yonei from Chiba, Japan. She was really hilarious and is such a great example to me. We got to visit the investigator that I found last time I was there in Naha and we got to teach her a lesson about baptism and Jesus Christ. It was such a great lesson!
On Saturday we had the Messiah concert which was for all the Japanese wards and English Military Branches in Okinawa. They all got together and did a special choir performing the Messiah. It was sooo good and so fun getting to see a mix of Japanese and Americans singing about the Savior. They also had a live orchestra and it felt like a legit Messiah concert! Tons of locals and nonmembers came and it was such a great missionary opportunity. Also, a local Japanese high school choir came and sang some Christmas songs and they were all in Japanese and it was soo so so cute. They also had a kid dress up as Santa and it was so hilarious!
Last night for Christmas Eve, we went over to the Campbell's house. They are part of the military and it was so fun because it felt just like Christmas Eve at home. We made paper snowflakes and ate ham and had Christmas dinner and then read the Christmas story together. It was so much fun!
After we got back from that, we still had a couple hours that Christmas Eve so we went around to nearby less-active and members houses and caroled to them, just me and my companion. Not many people were home but one of our investigators (who's American) was home with her family and we sang some Christmas songs and the little kids loved it so much and sang along too. They gave us some of their Christmas cookies too and it was adorable. Christmas has been so special on the mission so far. I don't know how to describe it because it's not like the usual Christmas but it is still so special. I love Japan and I love the opportunity to be here this Christmas. It can be hard being away from home and away from the people you love but what I am slowly but surely learning is that we can still have a good Christmas in our hearts and where we are at, no matter where we might be in life. As long as we focus this Christmas on the Savior, it will be okay. I hope you all have a great Christmas as you think about the birth of the Savior and what He has done for you. Merry Christmas from Japan!!!!
Love, Sister Atwood