Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Merry Christmas!

08 September 2014, Sanjo

Hello everyone! This week flew by, but it also felt like multiple weeks all piled into one. It's one of the weird phenomena of being a missionary I guess.. It is officially cold here! But I am not complaining. Bring on the tights and scarves and sweaters..oh how I have missed them. And goodbye to the sweating...I will NOT be missing that!

Ok here were the highlights of the week:

We had a talent show this week and it was a SUCCESS! We had 27 people all together. Maybe that doesn't sound like a lot to all of you, but let me tell you, that is a lot for a Sanjo activity! It was a lot of fun. One member did very cheesey magic tricks, another told a story in a traditional Japanese way, there was lots of singing and a few poems in between to mix things up. The missionaries sang “Arise.” If you haven't heard it here is the link: 

It was pretty decent.

We didn't have nearly enough time to practice so there were a few rough spots, but I think everyone enjoyed it. Nitta Shimai and I had planned to do something as well, but we ended up running out of time (something we did not expect to happen) and so it, along with Elder Sugawada's talent got cut. Oh well.

We all had a lot of fun! And everyone there did as well. And the elders now have a new investigator too! One of our eikaiwa students came and started talking to one of the members. Turns out he knew a Christian when he was younger and really admired them. He took a Book of Mormon and I think the elders are meeting with him this week! Very exciting!

So every Friday we have ping-pong night. Is Friday instead of playing ping pong we got to sing! It was a very special night. A while back, some missionaries met this lady who loves the gospel but, due to learning disabilities can't really study. Because of this she has designated herself as a missionary for the cause! She loves church music and so she orders hymn books and CDs and gives them away! Well, we as a district sound pretty good when we sing so for over half an hour we sang song after song for her. We were all exhausted afterwards but she was so happy, it was so worth it. And everyone could feel the spirit. It was fantastic.

Once a week we do service at an old folks home..well, two actually. This week we got to do taecho (ed. note: “tai chi”, I think) with old people! Taecho..if I'm spelling it right, is a national exercise here. Everyone knows it and everyone does it. Even the old folks! Well, the much younger women who were leading it would take brakes in between to talk and make little jokes.
Everyone was dying to know of we had boyfriends/girlfriends and what our favorite foods were haha. At one point I got asked what I was looking for in a man, or what kind of character I wanted...I had no idea how to answer that in Japanese so instead I said, motioning to one of the old men sitting by me, "someone like Michi San" . Everyone’s reaction was priceless! Especially his! He didn't know how to take that! Oh it as so funny! The whole time we were there was pretty great. To my right was sitting one of the elders and a very old lady.

Well, that lady did not let age get in her way! She was pretty frisky!

When she would talk she would put her hand on the elder's leg!! He looked soooo uncomfortable. It was sooo funny! This week we also had exchanges. I was with Sister Hanashiro who is nihonjin! I was a little nervous! But it ended up being ok! And according to her, my Japanese it pretty good. I don't sound like a foreigner trying to speak Japanese either! But she did say I need to have more confidence when I speak. Something I completely agree with.

The highlight of exchanges had to have been when we were heading to Nagaoka to switch back to our regular companions. While waiting at the station we struck up a conversation with a lady waiting for the same train and after talking to Hanashiro shimai for a few minutes tells her her nihongo is amazing! I busted out laughing. Of course it's good! She is nihonjin! The lady realized her mistake and became very embarrassed and apologetic. And I couldn't stop laughing. We all laughed together about it actually.

During our district meeting this week we talked a little bit about Christmas. We are talking about it in our zone conference this week, so it was in preparation for that. Nitta shimai said something I really liked. It was in response to what I had said. We were asked why we like Christmas. I said I liked the atmosphere; everyone is happy, they are kinder and more willing to help and serve. And the happiness and joy is everywhere and it is contagious. She added that it is because, even if we don't realize it, we are centering our lives around Christ. That is, after all, what the holiday is all about. We are celebrating Christ's birth. Top she continued to say imagine if we really had Christ in our hearts all year round. That's how it would feel all the time. Heaven like. I really like d that. So, I am sharing it with all of you. Merry early Christmas!

We visited so many members and less active members this week. It is amazing and such a blessing to get to be in the front row seat of watching Heavenly Father change lives. I'm lucky! This week is going to be even better. I'm excited to see the miracle that we will have.

I read the following story this week. I liked it so much, that I wanted to share it with you. 

"A few weeks ago on a day when this area was experiencing one of its worst snowstorms, and that is saying quite a bit because we had plenty of severe weather this past winter, a handsome young serviceman and his beautiful bride-to-be encountered extreme difficulty in getting to
the Salt Lake Temple for their marriage appointment. She was in one location in the Salt Lake Valley and he was to come from another nearby town. Heavy snows and winds had closed the highways during the night and early morning hours. After many hours of anxious waiting,
some of us were able to help them get to the temple and complete their marriage plans before the day was over.

"How grateful they, their families, and friends were for the assistance and concern in their keeping this most important appointment. My friend, we will call him Bill, expressed his deep
gratitude with, "Thank you very much for all you did to make our wedding possible. I don't understand why you went to all this trouble to help me. Really, I'm nobody."

"I am sure Bill meant his comment to be a most sincere compliment, but I responded to it firmly, but I hope kindly, with, "Bill, I have never helped a "nobody" in my life. In the kingdom of our Heavenly Father, no man is a "nobody" "(in Conference Report, Apr. 1973, p. 20; or Ensign, July 1973, p. 24).

I love this gospel and I love you all!

Sister Molinari