With love and gratitude
Scott and Angelle
and Sister Jen in Japan!
My Dearest Family,
I love this work, and I love you. I love to look at pictures of you all, and just count myself so blessed to be all wrangled in with you for eternity. You are so all so beautiful, every one of you! So many accomplished children, who are sprouting up so quickly, it is just such a delight. I have received so many sweet birthday packages and Christmas packages and letters (thank you Grandpa and Grandpa Jan, The Georgia Anderson's, Soulier Fam, and Spen and Rach fam just this week!) And so many others!! Thanks so much for your thoughtful love, support and prayers! Can I just say I love you all? And happy birthday to all of you who are celebrating in December! So glad to hear that Nate is on the mend after his surgery! :)
We have been reading Jesus the Christ frantically at mealtimes to try to finish by the end of the year, and I think the crowning hope the Savior has for us is just to love each other, to share the gifts He wants so much to give us to lead us back to our Father. Our Heavenly Father wants to bless us so much!
We had (are having) a pretty amazing spiritual experience with our investigator. We have been working for months on that faith bed, through prayer, scriptures, teaching for her--and we taught her the Word of Wisdom this week! I love studying principles again and again, if I am ready to learn, the Lord enlightens my mind with new ways to teach. We taught the Word of Wisdom a little bit to another investigator as well, and I had her put her hand out and close her eyes, I touched it lightly with a pen. She then put on one glove, two glove, three gloves, (blue fish?), and we tried again. She let me know when she could feel it. I touched it probably thirty times, and she said "hai" maybe three. One of the reasons we have these commandments is that we can feel the influence of Heavenly Father, through the Holy Ghost! We get to, throughout our lives and covenants, though we are not perfect, to take off those gloves--and receive that gift. No wonder it is a prerequisite to baptism! In Japan, breaking the Word of Wisdom is culturally.... approved, exalted, more than normal. We taught it to one of our investigators and she said, "But I love alcohol!" "Tea is my hobby!", and yet, she has been living it this week--because that is what Heavenly Father, Her Father has asked her to do. It is pretty incredible to watch these people change (this is Izumikawa San).
She and two of her boys were able to come to Church for the first time this week, we had 4 investigators there and two others, it was pretty wonderful--just like the Christmas party, where you close your eyes, and just feel Heavenly Father's joy that His children are at His house. WOW. (not a pun for word of wisdom) (Even Ushiroda Shimai came, who we haven't met in a long time, and I sang in Church while Dobson Shimai played... we made a medley of "Away in a Manger" and "He Sent His Son," who knew they were in the same key right?)
So! That is an awesome story, we are teaching her tonight and she is moving right along--it is just such a testament that He knows who is ready. Our Rachel is also just progressing along, she is doing so wonderfully. She is so funny, and she is building such a wonderful relationship with the members.
In this picture she is with her daughter. She is one of the funniest people I've met, and we are talking about some things from her "Rachel Kyo" (Rachel's Church) doctrine, but her problems go away so quickly. She was meant to come here and feel His love, and she feels it so well and so quickly. The lessons are just exploding out because we want to teach her so much, the Gospel has the answers to those questions. The work is moving right along, even though it is the last week of the transfer. So many other miracles, like an investigator the Elders had who wasn't doing well when we came, but came on Sunday and said he wants to know why we believe personally, and hear more about the Book of Mormon. We went caroling yesterday and it was so fun. Rachel San is also studying English as hard as she can even though she is in her 70s, I wish you could meet all of our investigators. Some other investigators dropped this week--we had two lessons in one day, one where someone testified that they knew that the Book of Mormon was true, and one where they could not accept it. That is so hard - I know it is true! I love that book. You cannot get away from the witness of the Holy Ghost if you seek it. The fullness of the Gospel has been restored, which matters because of a babe born in a manger in Bethlehem over 2000 years ago. Oh, to sing to our King at this Christmas time. I would like to add my testimony to that in the Doctrine and Covenants 76 "This is the last testimony, that He lives! For we saw Him, on the right hand of God..." I testify that He has prepared a place for us there if we will but exercise our agency and choose to follow Him. This is the biggest adventure in the history of the world--what you are living now--more than movies or video games, all shackles of the biggest truth and adventure: You. Your life. Your experience on earth. Let us use what we have been given and follow our Savior. "For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:38-39). My last testimony, too, is that He lives. Our lives we live can be gifts to Him, never to repay as King Benjamin reminds us, but as solemn, wonderful gifts of gratitude and devotion: let us live. As our Savior Jesus Christ has said: "I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly."
My wish for you, my sweet family and friends, is that first you feel that love from Him for you--and then, together, we go forth in sharing that gift so other may live in Him, that we may attain that abundant life together and eternally. (what a message!) I am your companion and servant in this great work, let us go together. I love you all, Merry Christmas--for it is about Him, it is worth celebrating.
"God be thanked for the matchless gift of His divine Son." -The First Presidency, "The Living Christ"
Love you forever, because of His love,
Santa came to the ward party! Isn't he cute?
I am soooooooooooo spoiled!
Thanks Dobson Momma!
The Takamatsu Shimai, rocking the new looks!My gifts from Spencer and Rachel, Ella, Caden, and Claire! They had my name for the sibling draw! :)
To my Colorado Family: Thanks for the Christmas!! You are so sweet, and your kids are getting so big!! Thank you so much for thinking of me this Christmas season! I LOVE YOU! Love, Sister Jen
The new mini "hand size" PMG!
In our humble apartment...