こんにちは！ あけましょておめでとうございます！Happy New Year! Wow! Can't believe it's already 2018!!! SO crazy! Here's to a whole new year of awesome memories! Looking back on this year as a missionary, I'm so grateful for the chance that I've had to be a missionary here in Japan. I have learned so much and grown so much in this year. There have been many ups and downs but hey, if your life isn't a rollercoaster, then it isn't very fun! So excited for what this new year brings!!
Christmas was so much fun this past week! We as a district got together and had our own little meal and then watched "It's a Wonderful Life" while playing board games. Then afterwards we got to go out and proselyte and we met so many awesome people while sharing a Christmas message.
Recently our investigators have been doing sooo great! WE HAVE A BAPTISMAL DATE!! The Miyagi family kids decided they wanted to be baptised and some of them aren't old enough but the 11-year old and the 8-year old are planning to be baptised in February! The 11-year old named Toshimitsu read the whole entire Book of Mormon in 2 MONTHS!! Last time we met with them, we challenged them to read the Book of Mormon and they asked me how fast I have ever read the Book of Mormon and I said 2 and a half months and Toshimitsu said "I'll do it in 2 months" and he did! He brought it to school with him every day and read it during recess and during all his breaks. Just hearing him say that just brought joy to my heart as I was realizing how important the Book of Mormon was. No matter how young or how old, anyone can learn so much from the Book of Mormon and grow their own testimony.
We got to help the Japanese ward clean the church building for their yearly big cleaning. It was so much fun and reminded me of going to clean the church early Saturday mornings as a kid. It was fun having the whole ward out to help. We also ate soba noodles after because it's a Japanese tradition to eat soba on the last day of the year in prep for new year.
New Years is such a HUGE holiday here in Japan! There are many traditions but one of the main tradition is just getting together as family and giving gifts (usually money in decorated envelopes) and eating a huge meal. Also, everyone goes to the Shinto shrine and prays for a good year. We have an all-day p-day today, meaning we have p-day during the night too since proselyting is basically ineffective. Another huge tradition for the Japanese is waking up early on New years day and going to see the sunset. So, this morning at 5:30 we woke up and biked up the tallest mountain to an ancient ruins site of Nakagusuku castle. From the top of the ruins you can see all of the island and both sides of the ocean. It was absolutely BEAUTIFUL! We stood amongst tons of Japanese people watching the sunrise on the New Year. We took tons of fun photos and also on top of the castle we ate cereal and drank Apple cider, haha. It was so much fun! Such a great start to 2018.
Anyways here's to 2018!! I love being a missionary and I love the Savior.