Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

28 December 2014 Sakado

How was your Christmas?
It never really felt like Christmas here. It was a little sad. We are still waiting for it to feel like Christmas! Guess I will have to wait for next year. This week was still pretty busy but, because New Years is coming up no one has time to meet us, they are all "busy". So, past and upcoming week will be the calm before the storm! While it is sad not having lots of lessons, it's a blessing in disguise. We inherited the other sisters’ investigators and everything else that was theirs when Sakado area went down to only one pair of sisters. It's been crazy! And it'll be nice to have. A chance to go through everything now and organize! 

This week wasn't nearly as exciting as last week. We got lost twice; once because I wanted to find a short cut (and didn't) and once because we got fault directions. And my Christmas package from my family was delivered to the wrong person! And they sinned for it! So we spent a lot of time having to deal with that. All the members banded together to find it. It was really sweet of them! They also put together a package for me to make up for my lost one! It was full of food and hand warmers! It made me sooo happy. We eventually did find my package. Ito Kyodai did some calling during eikaiwa and by the end of the night he had found the package. When we got home we were met by Ito Kyodai and two met in suits, in a nice car, and they handed over my package. I'm not sure how that package had been retrieved...it had been opened and things were missing from it. But, maybe the person who took it needed those things more than I did!

This week we had lots of Christmas parties to go too. On the 23rd was our ward party. Our bishop renamed it our Christmas celebration. Because he doesn't think it's a party. We are celebrating the savior's birth so it should be called a celebration. I liked he thought. M San came to the Christmas celebration. She fits right in. You wouldn't even know was she wasn't a member! Everyone loves her and her kids. The next day she came to our eikaiwa Christmas party too. She even came early to help set up! 

On Christmas day we went to Keiko's Christmas party for her kids she teaches (she runs an after school program-which I learned the other day she does it for families who can't afford the fancy jukus! How great is that!). It was a fun party. We planned some really fun games and made this goopy stuff. It was like putty but you could stick a straw in it and blow bubbles! Very fun. 
After we went to our bishop’s house and had Christmas dinner. That was fun as well. We shared a message...naturally it was the Christmas story! But it was so awkward. We asked the kids to help and they just wouldn't say anything and neither would the adults! Ahh. At the end we said tonight Christmas is over, but that doesn't mean we need to stop thinking about Christ. We should have him in our hearts everyday! And then we asked them all to think of a way they could remember Christ throughout the year. 
Christ isn't part of Christmas here. I think that's why it didn't feel like Christmas. Christmas in Japanese doesn't even have Christ in it! It is KU-RI-SU-MA-SU. They took Christ out! I'm sure not intentionally, but still they took him out! We need to make sure we don't take him out of our Christmas! I know, from here on out, I will be trying much harder to keep Christ in my Christmas.  

Time for a cool miracle this week! On Saturday we had planned to bring cookies to a member and his family, who had helped us a lot this week. First we needed to go to a seven eleven to get wifi and see on the map where this member was. Well, as we tried to leave, I couldn't find my bike key. It was nowhere to be found! And I couldn't seem to find any of my spares. Oh well, guess that is a sign we needed to walk. So we did.

We tried to stop everyone who walked by. And they all ended up being Jehovah's witnesses! What! We got the address, and realized that it was nowhere near us and that we had to bike. Back to the apartment we went. I still couldn't find my key I'd been using but I did finally find the spares. Off to the member’s house we go!

And I take us on the wrong side of the tracks..oops. So we cross back over and head in the right direction. But, we couldn't find the house! And after looking for a little we had to turn around and go. We had a lesson that night. I was feeling pretty discouraged. We had found no one interested all day! As we headed back to our apartment we stopped at a light. There was a mother and two girls standing there. We said hello but she didn't seem too interested in us. We continued on, we were in a hurry. But, I just couldn't bring myself to ride away, so I stopped hopped of my bicycle and ran back up to her. I told her we were missionaries and would love to teach her! She is from Africa, she came here about five years ago with her husband, Bijoux. We exchanged information and we are just waiting for her call, pray she calls! Sister Bettridge was sooo excited. It was her first real positive contact. Yay! 

Nihongin restaurant meal
Sunday we went over to a member’s house for dinner and we started swapping second language bloopers. Sister Bettridge has already collected quite a few. But she is speaking and trying so I'm so proud of her! My favorites have been "I'm a squirrel" instead of "I'm twenty" and today we told someone the headband I gave her keeps her eyes warm! One of them members told us that she, when she was in the US, would call people on the phone and they would say hello, who is this? She thought they were quizzing her, jokingly, so she would reply "I don't know who this is." I laughed so hard when I heard this. And whenever I think about it I laugh too. So funny. 

Sister Bettridge's first heart attack
Well, that's all for now. 

Here are some pictures.

Love you all! 

It's COLD! You can see Mt Fuji in the background