My Sweet Family!!
We are at the internet cafe again because it is another HOLIDAY in Japan! In fact, yesterday there was this moving float with all of these kids running around it in matching clothes and there were drums being played, out of nowhere...so colorful! People stopped, traffic stopped, and everyone else on the street was really quiet and acted like it wasn't a really big thing... we were wondering what was happening. And then the next road, there was another one--this one pink! It was probably for "Kids Day" yesterday. It's an actual holiday in Japan! Who knew, right? Will hopefully send pics next week, these internet cafe computers sometimes eat SD cards!
And...you guessed it, I am low on time today--but I am so grateful to be a missionary! It's been crazy with things "winding down." But our work is winding up and we are so focused on finding people ready to make commitments in the Gospel. It's been an awesome week. We've had so many neat opportunities! We met some former investigators this past week, and some are looking good to investigate again. We had a contact yesterday while we were housing and no one was listening...and we met this woman who didn't believe in God. She told us her life story and the Spirit just testified to me (as I testified to her) of the Restoration and the Plan of Salvation. In her story, at the hardest time in her life, no one would give her a hug or a handshake which is what she really needed. So, at the end of talking with her, I asked if I could hug her. She just stood there, and then said, "I'm embarrassed!" But she hugged both of us and told us good luck in everything. I looked into her eyes as we talked and could feel the Spirit touching her heart, her face softening and eyes glowing as the Spirit touched her. There are moments like that when people are prepared only to listen and not to "hear," but it was good. I love this work. I love just having the chance to give the people we talk to a chance to hear what we have to say.
Tomorrow we have our last Zone Taikai, and I will give my "last remarks." This is what has been on my mind: that it is an incredible opportunity to serve. That it is such a privilege to be a missionary. That it is a joy to let His children choose! We grieve when they don't listen, but our calling is to invite. HOW GREAT IS OUR CALLING! My mission means so much to me. It is sacred ground where I have come to know Heavenly Father and to act everyday on the Atonement my Savior performed. It is a miracle. :)
Next week - Mother's Day!!! Call Japan time 9:30-10:30 (or 10 to 11 if it is easier). Let's talk, call me! Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!! :)
I love you all, little schnookums. I hope you have a great day. The work is true!
Love from the other side of the world from where I was raised,
Our sweet missionary will be arriving home from Japan on Wednesday, June 5th!
She will be speaking in Sacrament meeting on June 30th at 9 am.
The ward building address is 14400 South Redwood Road, Bluffdale.
Thanks for your continual love and support!
Tango no Sekku
The day was originally called Tango no Sekku (端午の節句), and was celebrated on the 5th day of the 5th moon in the lunar calendar or Chinese calendar. After Japan's switch to the Gregorian calendar, the date was moved to May 5. It was originally for boys but has since been changed to include both boys and girls.
Sekku means a season's festival (there are five sekku per year). Tango no Sekku marks the beginning of summer or the rainy season. Tan means "edge" or "first" and go means "noon".
Children are stars. Fish fly. Schools have the day off.
Every May 5, it is Kodomo no Hi or "Children’s Day" in Japan. Families fly koinobori banners in the shape of a carp (a type of fish) for each child in their house. In Japanese folklore, the carp is a symbol of determination and vigor, overcoming all obstacles to swim upstream. Samurai warrior figurines and samurai kabuto helmets are also displayed in homes to inspire strength and bravery.
Children indulge in kashiwa-mochi, sticky rice cakes wrapped in oak leaves, and other sweets. Around the country there are many events for children and families. Children take center stage in traditional Japanese plays. Thousands of children compete in the "Kids' Olympics" held at the National Kasumigaoka Stadium in Tokyo. Children also use the day to thank and show respect for the teachers, parents, and relatives who care for them.
Until 1948, May 5 was called Tango no sekku and only honored boys. A separate holiday called Hinamatsuri or "Dolls' Day" celebrated girls on March 3. Even now, on this day girls still receive dolls that had been passed down to their grandmothers and mothers. For many families, May 5 still centers on boys. Some people say that Hinamatsuri for girls should become an equal holiday instead of combining them into one. How about you? Would you want a holiday for all kids, or one for boys and another for girls?