Ritsurin Koen in Takamatsu
To the Sweetest Family in the Entire World--
I AM ON A MISSION!!! Right now! It's Christmas Eve! (or Christmas month eve). I love you all so much! Wow - what a big week at home! Birthdays, parties, ordinations, and Marissa's baptism. Not to mention all the mission calls! I am so excited for Lindsay and Emmy - please tell them! And Drew Hunt, too. Let me know when Brandon and Jeni get their calls. Thanks for the pics and congratulations to everyone! What joy!!!
This week was AWESOME. Our investigators are so incredible. We had an amazing Zone Taikai yesterday, and a Zone Meeting on Friday where I got to see Cousin Elder Lythgoe again! So great! We are so full of dendo fire and haven't had that much time to do much more than attend lately! It has been so amazing though. I was so spiritually fed!! The training we received was so incredible. The theme was about "remembering..." President said he didn't want us to learn anything new, but to remember (and apply). It was so good for me. I felt my missionary purpose sink deep into my heart. I felt the Spirit. I love the Spirit!
Today the wind knocked over our bikes at the dollar store after we'd brought groceries and some things got a little squished and... cracked the eggs... ha ha.
The investigator that came to church was the ten year old daughter of the investigator family that is deaf. They sent her with the neighbor, and it was so great to see them come in! She and her little sister came. They were to leave right before Sacrament meeting ended to be home on time. We were able to send a little note home with them (with help from the member) for the family, pass her a little card with an attached note of how to pray, somehow get little treats, little notes for each of them. The Lord is so great. I definitely am making a "mom bag" for Church as we are preparing, praying, and hoping our sweet investigator families can come! Any great ideas sisters and mom? We got some stuff today that I think will work great.
The Lord truly knows His sheep. We had another experience this week where we were walking in a quiet neighborhood and this young lady was walking down the street out of nowhere. She was going to work and we chatted for a bit, and said we could share a message with her. We have an appointment this week. Isn't the Lord so amazing? I count so many of my lucky stars when I think that I get to be on a mission, and that I get to serve my fellow men, and then I get counting again when I get to be in this incredible, obedient mission. It is amazing. I love Japan, I love the Saints, I love their respect, I love their sweet, giving souls. I love Heavenly Father's part of the vineyard here. It's amazing how the Lord just makes a spot in your heart for a place you didn't even know before, you know?
So, our Preparation Day became today because of the taikai yesterday... and here we are! We went to Ritsurin Koen today, it is famous in Japan and everyone said we had to go if we lived in Takamatsu. We will include some pics next week! We went today with our incredible investigator Ushiroda Shimai. She is so wonderful, and has no daughters, so she is becoming (one of) our Japanese moms. She is so great!! Her lessons were SO AMAZING this week. She taught the Gospel of Christ back to us perfectly. It is SO FUN to see someone have it CLICK so much, so quickly. She is alight with the Spirit of the Lord. Her family is a little against the idea of church, we want so much to help them! Pray for us to find a way into their hearts. We had a miracle this week. The mission united in praying and fasting, specifically, by name, for those with opposed family members... and right after, a heart was softened, a mother said her son could be baptized, and she wanted to hear more. The Lord prepared them in a situation where they were asked if they would like to receive Priesthood blessings, and after she received one she said he could be baptized, and called the Elders later to ask to hear more!!!!!
I am so amazed at the Lord and His goodness. I wonder how often we live under our privileges! I am amazed at His bounty, and how He keeps reclaiming us back. THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT WORK IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD! An Elder shared yesterday a quote from Elder Eyring stating (in part) that we should have NOTHING LEFT by the ends of our missions, that we will need to be taken home in an ambulance from the plane—and I want to be that much more dedicated. I am so happy! I love my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ so much. I have been thinking a lot about how to explain that to my brothers and sisters here. Simply put, the Savior provided a way so that we could return home to our Heavenly Father. He suffered for our pains, sins, and death. We can become new through Him. Something comes alive in my heart when I think of Him. Our wonderful Zone Leaders are so inspired, and we are reading Jesus the Christ as a zone now. I want to testify that I know He lives. He can heal broken hearts...heal us.He is alive and well and “needs volunteers.” Mom and Dad, get the ambulance ready!! ha ha. This really is the best work in the entire world. We are shaping history today, in the eons of time this is the work that will be in books to be told in future councils. I love it! I am imperfect, but I am a disciple of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I will be His witness whenever and always, and as He calls on me.
So, I just would love to share with you everything, to plop you down in our cultural hall in Takamatsu and have you listen and feel the Spirit of this great work, hear of the miracles, see the beaming faces of those teaching us these last few days, and feel Heavenly Father in His Church. I know this Church is run by Jesus Christ at the head. Wow! Our commission IS “above the kings of the earth,” like Elder McConkie says. I don't want to go home. I don't want to be done. I want to save souls, to tell them how they can feel that balm. I love Jesus Christ! I love Him so much. I love my sweet brothers and sisters in Japan. I wish you could know them. I wish you could see the little man in his eighties that comes and sits on the front row, who can hardly hear or read, but comes every week to pass the Sacrament because he made a promise with God. There are so many stories like that here!
There is a fire in our mission, a fire in my bones, to find those who are ready. I am so grateful that my brothers and sisters are patient with my Japanese. I am so grateful to be born of goodly parents. I am so grateful, like Elder Holland says, that I have something to give, that I have "more mission in me." This is the best work in the ENTIRE WORLD. It is a privilege and hardly a sacrifice to leave things behind, but I want to sacrifice! I am giving my all to this work. We have this life TO GIVE, and give 100%, and a little extra. I love my God. I love my Redeemer. I am so grateful He has saved me from death, from the pains of "heck." I love you all! I am so grateful to be a missionary at this time and in this dispensation.
I love you fam! Thanks for your examples. I got to sing at taikai yesterday! Way fun, but the Spirit was so strong, standing there I knew the Lord's love and my inadequacies and how purely I wanted to rededicate myself to His service. I am so grateful to still have time in this beautiful country. I want to “Let [my] light so shine," teach people of Him - for it is His light, and keep witnessing miracles!
Have a great week, sending prayers for everyone and especially those who were in the hurricane's path.
Sister Jen's cousin Lindsay Castleton...
"Feeling extremely blessed to have been called to serve in the Chile Vina del Mar mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints! Leaving January 16th."
Sister Jen's dear friend and ours - Drew Hunt...
"I don't even know what to think right now, but I'm soooooooooooooooooooo excited to announce I have been called to serve in the Mexico, Culiacan mission!!!:) And I report to the MTC February 20th~:)"
Here is a note form the last post:
Sister Jen's cousin Emmy Anderson's mission call:
Sister Anderson, You are hereby called to serve a missionary of The Church of
Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. You are assigned to labor in the
France Paris Mission.
Sister Jen's niece. Marissa, (daughter of Angeli and Evan Child) got baptized November 3rd!
Sister Jen's nephew Joseph (son to Jana and Jeff Christensen) turned twelve
on Nov. 1st and was ordained a deacon November 3rd.
Quincy Warne (Sister Jen's first cousin once removed) was ordained a deacon November 4th! This pic is of Quincy and Joseph.
Sister Jen's nephew Eli (son of Angeli and Evan Child), turned twelve on November 1st and was ordained a deacon on November 4th.
And...Sister Jen's Aunt Crys had a birthdaythis last week, too!
Did we miss any other relatives???? Very fun and busy week!