There is so much to report!! I'm pretty amazed at how FAST time flies by. I feel like just a few days ago, yesterday even, I was sitting here telling you how wonderful Zone Conference was (which was yesterday too, wasn't it?). The leaves are changing here in Japan, autumn crept in, but is being given quite a nudge by the winter, heralded in by the beautiful Japanese productivity which quickly replaced many of the cold drinks in the vending machines with hot cocoa and some other Word-of-Wisdom no-no's! ha ha. IT'S ALMOST THANKSGIVING, and having that said...I am so thankful for you all! :)
Sounds like the YSA Stake conference was incredible! That is so fun that Brad Wilcox spoke about the atonement. I love his clear explanations, and the fact that he has helped so many people understand, appreciate and use it. Tell him thank you from me! And...it was one of those anticipated great moments when Elder Wilcox and I finally met!! He is an AWESOME missionary! It really is a small world - who would have ever thought that we would be serving in the same mission?
Congratulations to Jeni and Branden on their mission calls! Wow! And happy birthday to Grandma Jan, Steven, and Kristy! And anyone else I missed!
Our blessings are hard to count this week, let me tell you about an amazing change that is going on in our investigator's heart. She came to one lesson and wasn't ready to be baptized, still not quite ready to take that step. We finished half of the Plan of Salvation lesson, and she really wanted to hear the rest, (she picks things up SO FAST). So we were able to meet two days in a row. I am amazed at her strength. We asked her to read in Alma where it talks about the atonement, and I asked her to read the few verses following about baptism. It is so great, because we didn't plan it and it wasn't an overpowering feeling, but she she came the next day, she'd read and written about it! She said she wanted to have faith and be baptized!!! I almost started crying in the lesson. She said the scripture says to put away your fears and be baptized, so she wants to have faith and be baptized. It was an incredible day to be a teacher, but just evidence to us of the many times that we had felt prompted in preparing lessons, the way the Spirit led us to teach her, emphasizing so much to me that we just get to have a part in it, and that the Spirit is privately tutoring her. She came with all these concerns, read and prayed about a scripture, and came back in her own way, faithful and deciding to work towards baptism. I cannot believe her faith. I feel some of what Ammon must have felt when teaching King Lamoni's wife sometimes, I am so amazed by the people we teach. It is just such a privilege to teach her. She finished one of my sentences with correct doctrine that first lesson, (God wants us... "to become like Him.") I was astounded, "How do you know that? Isn't that hard to understand?" Most of our lessons we just sit and say, that's right! You're doing great! Your faith is growing! It is amazing. The Spirit is incredible. I am filled with peace and joy and determination as we teach these our sweet brothers and sisters in Japan. This is SUCH A PRIVILEGE. Her baptismal date is December 23. :)
We are on the front lines of the rest of our lives. We are in a battle against evil that GOOD WILL WIN. We get to pick what team we are on, as Elder Holland has said. I am so impressed with the simplicity of the Gospel!! As a mission, we are studying Preach My Gospel Chapter 3 and drawing out: main principles (8), commandments (2), connections to Christ and His Atonement (3), blessings to promise (3), short, powerful sentences (3), heartfelt examples/stories/testimony (3), and commitments (2). It has been AMAZING. The Spirit is so incredible at teaching us how to teach as we study this inspired book. This is a WONDERFUL way to internalize the doctrine and find the simplest way you can teach it. I would recommend it to anyone preparing for a mission--I wish I had known about it before! The Gospel is so wonderful.
Thank you for your examples and love. I am amazed at all of you and your goodness. Thank you so much for your sweet, personal letters. They continually uplift me and inspire me! I feel so close to all of you and I am amazed at all of the good you are doing in your own families and communities - building the kingdom wherever you are. I am reminded of Elder Ballard's beautiful talk about Christian goodness, about the one-twelfth of one teaspoon of honey, and I do feel like I am a bee buzzing around sometimes doing my tiny part! ha ha! I just want you to know how great I think all of you are. Thank you for your prayers in my behalf. I had a specific prompting this week that a lot of the help I'm receiving is because of the prayers of my family. I love you! Isn't this work amazing?!
The Lord sends a multitude of tender mercies at every beck and call, as we learn to open our eyes, we will feel His love even more... and the Spirit will open our hearts to ways that we can share it.
Onward and upward!
Love, Sister Jen
Zone Conference...so great!
More pics of beautiful Ritsurin Koen and our trip there last week.
It is a half hour from our place by bike!
Note from Jen's dad's letter to her:
We had Brad Wilcox come to speak at one of our meetings for the YSA stake conference. He is such a wonderful friend and we are so grateful that he was willing to do this for our young adults. I owe him big time! He is such an influence for good. He shared thoughts, stories and feelings about the atonement. "We don’t try to earn heaven, we try to learn heaven." He said some of his Christian friends have continually asked, “Have you been saved by the Savior?” and he always answers, "Of course!" Then he would ask, "Have you been changed by the atonement?" Or he would ask, "Saved for what?" Many don’t really have an answer for this thought. It is so wonderful to have the restoration that has meaningful truth that can guide and direct us in all we desire to do. There was so much more and so much that we could apply. I love the atonement and its beautiful and peaceful power. During his talk he told everyone that you and their son had met. He mentioned that Elder Wilcox’s companion said that you are the genkiest missionary! In fact he told Elder Wilcox, "Sister Anderson is even more genki than you!"
genki = enthusiastic, energetic, lively
Brother Brad Wilcox at the conference
Our winter wonderland front yard
Sister Jen's Grandma Jan turns 79 today!
Sister Jen's birthday is December 7th. Any birthday wishes can be sent to us and we will forward them to her! (hint hint) :)
Drum roll please.........Dear Elder Garlick, (Sister Jen's cousin Branden, son of Tammy and Michael)
"You are hereby called to serve as a missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. You are assigned to labor in the Sweden Stockholm mission."
Jeni Bowman (one of Sister Jen's BFFs and our neighbor and friend)
“I know that which the Lord hath commanded me, and I glory in it. I do not glory of myself, but I glory in that which the Lord hath commanded me; yea, and this is my glory, that perhaps I may be an instrument in the hands of God to bring some soul to repentance; and this is my joy.”
"I have been called to serve in the Brazil Florianópolis Mission! I report to the Brazil MTC on April 10th!
For those of you who don’t know, or need a reminder, my twin brother is serving in Brazil!! Even cooler? The Brazil MTC is INSIDE of his mission! I am SO excited!"
(this is where Sister Jen's cousin Will Garner served!)
More missionaries on the Lord's team! So many young people are feeling the fire grow in their bones and the front line soldiers are being prepared and entering the field at a remarkable rate. So great!!!