|I'm alive! Here's proof, Mom. No worries. I'm healthy and fine.|
I still remember when it was New Year`s Eve 1999 and we were turning towards the year 2000. It seemed like a big deal. So important. I remember how crazy us kids were with Aunty Lani`s family. It seems like forever ago.
I think about how good it feels now to say I devoted my whole 2014 to the Lord. It`s a year I will never forget. With this new year starting and with many changes coming my way, I couldn`t help but appreciate the things that have remained the same, my solid foundation of certainty:
-Family. We are big, we are getting bigger, and we love big. I don`t think there`s a family out there that loves more than ours does, immediate and extended. I`m so grateful for the close bonds we have been blessed with.
-Book of Mormon and Bible. Words from the Lord to us. Words that are constant. And never change. The Book of Mormon I read today are the same words I read when I was 5. It`s an indication of God`s constant love and desire for us to be happy.
-Christ. His atoning sacrifice. In the scriptures it is described as eternal. It is said to be ultimate. There`s no expiration date on the atonement. There`s no pass or fail. We are all able to receive the mercy and grace that come because Christ loves us.
Yesterday was the 1st Sunday of the year. I took time during sacrament to really reflect on Christ and why He is important to me. An investigator`s son (around 9 years old) was the only boy in Primary. He looked kind of lonely and weirded out, so I grabbed my companion and 2 of the brethren closest to us and I said, `Hey, let`s go to Primary today!`
Sister Aoba is the primary teacher and she prepared such a great lesson about Jesus Christ. Here in Japan it is the year of the Sheep. She compared us to sheep, how we have a Shepherd, and He is Jesus Christ. We made goals together and sang songs and laughed. The thing that impressed me most was when we sang `I know that My Redeemer lives` and she explained to this boy why we say `He lives`. It wasn`t her explanation that got to me. She said, `Christ died on the cross and was resurrected 3 days later. That is why we say He lives.`
But it was the reaction of this little boy. He just nodded. He just accepted it. No questions, no gasps, no doubts. I was amazed as I waited for him to ask questions (because that`s our job as missionaries). But he didn`t. His face was calm and it was almost as if he was saying `Okay. I get it.`
Don`t you wish we could all be as strong and solid and as full of faith as little children? How many times do we allow our faith to waver in the Savior because of trials? The Savior said so Himself, `Be not afraid. Only believe.` This little boy taught me how easy it is to just be willing to believe in Christ, to believe that He lives.
Changes are coming my way, they will come to you as well because it`s a new year. But regardless of those changes, we have a solid foundation, we`ve got a living Savior. He`s just as ready and able to help us as our friends or family are when we give them a call or send them a text. He`s real. He`s there.
`And now, I would commend you to seek this Jesus of whom the prophets and apostles have written, that the grace of God the Father, and also the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost, which beareth record of them, may be and abide in you forever. Amen.` (Ether 13: 41)
That`s my wish this next year, that the grace of our loving Father in Heaven and His Living Son Jesus Christ may abide in us.
|With recent convert Airi chan having New Years dinner at the Nakanishi couple's house. I spent NY eve in the hospital...|
|...but got healthy really quick through Nakanishi shimai's magical cooking.|
|My Niihama Grandma & Grandpa Nakanishi!|
|My Imabari Grandpa & Grandma Watabe (from Hawaii)|
|Went on exchanges with this lovely lady, Zamani shimai!!! Woo hoo for LAX!|
|My District Mom & Dad, Elder Pace & Elder Roylance. We have waaayy too much fun!|
|My last District meeting. I love my mission fam!|
|A member's nonmember husband. He's agreed to come to church next week! He let me wear his kimono while we ate dinner. I love this old man!|
|Ashitani family and 2 other investigators. I love these people more than words can describe.|