Thank you SO MUCH for all of the birthday wishes! I can't believe it's this week! ha ha. Things come so quick these days! You are all so sweet to think of me and send all those THOUGHTFUL greetings - you made my day and my birthday week! You are the greatest!!! Thanks for all the updates on the happenings in your lives...from "Back to Bethlehem" breakfasts to ball games...and even a new driver's licence (what...Mook? ahhhhhhh!) to church service and travels, parenting and grand-parenting, school stuff, birthday celebrations, competitions and concerts, cute things the little ones say...and everything in between! I LOVE LOVE LOVE to hear from my loved ones! Happy birthday to all of you who celebrate your birthdays with me in December! And...Merry Christmas month!
What a week! Time is flying, I can't believe it's preparation day again. I feel like I turn around and here we are again, planning for another week, or here we are again at the computers. Life is so wonderful. The weather in Japan hasn't been too cold, only sometimes (like this picture that my comp took of me this morning... when we were pretty much out of everything but salad and ramen and the weather was a little... chilly... ha ha) I love Japan!
Yes, we are gearing up for winter around here!
On top of that, today I polished my shoes, (do you think they needed some attention?)
and now they look like they've only been out three months. I was so happy!!
My time, as the mission has gone on, has become more and more devoted to how I can help my investigators understand a certain principle, how I can teach, how I can organize my visuals, etc. Love it! It is so wonderful. I love this work with all my heart.
This week Yamashita Chorro will come to our mission! (And I turn 22, which means in 3 years I will be 25... which sounds so old for me to be! Ha ha. I can't believe how quickly time goes. My life has become all of those feelings I felt at Christmas each year, the constant, warm soft joy—it is the Holy Ghost who takes care of us, and I love Him! It has been so fun throughout my mission to feel even closer to Heavenly Father, to learn how we can access that power depending simply on what we choose, especially to do with our time. Isn't the Gospel plan amazing?) I love you dear fam. I just want to give a shout out to all of you who have put up with me so long. It has been so delightful. The cache of my memory bank is so full of wonderful YOU, and I love this earthly experience. I am just so grateful that I get to spend it with you...and eternity, too!!! :)
I had an experience feeling the JOY of missionary work all over again this week. It is so amazing to feel like you need to go house in an area, to house for so long, and find who you are looking for. We found this young grandma who said, “I want to hear your message! I want to hear your message! That's what you came here to share, right? I believe we are all children of God and God loves us. I am not really Buddhist or Christian, but I think that Japan is God's country too...” and on it goes. I was so touched and humbled after our short interchange that as I rode my bike back to our apartment, the joy swelled up inside of me and I just laughed the whole way home, rejoicing in the glory of the work with Heavenly Father. Even now, tears fill my eyes. We truly have the most precious message in all the world.
Today we get to start teaching Yuki San's boys, we are so excited. The Lord has helped me so much over my whole mission to find fun ways and simple ways “wakariyasui” (easy to understand) ways to teach. I am so grateful for every investigator, every day that has added to the preparation for today. And just imagine what the future will be like if "what a past" led to the here and now! I love it and I love you.
There are so many little miracles every day, answers to prayers, being led by the Spirit, having the chance to be obedient, laughing with your zone and learning so much. I love swimming in this, an Elder in my district calls it “spirit juice”... so we say that a lot now. I love Spirit juice!!
Our district didn't change with transfers (I don't know if I told you!) and I just love it because our district is so close, they are like our brothers. It is so fun. The work is just FUN right now.
President is encouraging another type of dendo style where you just tell people you are a missionary for Jesus Christ's Church and that we'd like to share a message with them next week for 20 minutes about God. It has been pretty incredible. I realized again this week, thinking back, that I know this work is not about me. I rejoice in these opportunities, just to be a part of it. I love investing myself, I love hard work and dedication! I can't imagine how joyous Heavenly Father must be, how perfect the Savior must be, what examples they are to us in ALL of these areas—perfect! With the beautiful promise that as we trust them, they will sculpt us into magnificent castles. What a blessed life this is. I can't express my love for Jesus Christ, my Savior, for my loving Heavenly Father. I just want to testify wherever I can. I can't believe how blessed I am to be in this work. Today I am working on organizing my teaching materials, and I am so excited! Heavenly Father helps us so much, and is always helping me change and hone to help these people with whatever individual gifts we have. Isn't that amazing! The Lord loves us enough to let us, our beautiful individual selves, help others and interact with them—but that will never be enough. It is us coupled with HIS power, with complete dependence on the Lord. I am so grateful that I have knowledge of Him. I am so happy and joyous that I get to be part of His work.
You are beautiful, all of you! We had a miracle this week where one of our sweet investigators (Ushiroda Shimai) who has been doing a lot of thinking, called us and said, "I will be baptized!" Our days are filled with such wonder, because it is His work. I testify it's true.
I love you now and forever, because Jesus Christ came to die for us so we could live in Him. What a privilege. What a life.
I love you!
Sister Anderson who is eating beans in bread... they love that in Japan, and it definitely has grown on me. haha! Beans!
breath-taking sunset in my beloved Japan!
Note from Sister Jen's mom:
She is so excited to have Elder Yamashita come to her mission and there is no question why!
Click here to read ELDER KAZUHIKO YAMASHITA's conference address from October 2011 (Ensign November 2011)
Treasure of the Church
Quote from his talk:
"I would now like to say a few words to the missionaries currently serving missions around the world. Your attitudes and the love that you show toward others are very significant messages. Even though I didn’t immediately grasp all the doctrines that the missionaries taught me, I felt of their great love, and their many acts of kindness taught me important lessons. Your message is a message of love, a message of hope, and a message of faith. Your attitude and your actions invite the Spirit, and the Spirit enables us to understand the things that are important. What I want to convey to you is that through your love, you are imparting the love of God. You are a treasure of this Church. I am so very thankful to all of you for your sacrifice and your dedication."