There have literally been so many miracles that they can't all fit in this email, but I will do my best!
The beginning of this week was rough because we had to walk everywhere until Sister Bede's bike came and we also needed to do a lot of caroling prep including making posters about our message and practicing our songs. We had plans to carol with the primary kids on Saturday and the Single Adults on Friday so we needed to be ready. Therefore, the first half of the week wasn't very exciting, but it was all in preparation for our Christmas miracles!
The start of the miracles happened when we went to Meikai University this week and found three people who are interested in studying English with us. Two girls even invited us to their English Speaking Society Christmas party. We couldn't make it, but we hope to meet with them soon!
|Sotodate Shimai and Christmas Eve Crepes|
The biggest miracle we saw this week happened on Christmas Day. We had the craziest morning because Sister Chinain and I both Skyped our families before church and we ended right before church started. We were having a special musical program and the missionaries were asked to sing a song. Well, Sister Chinain also had a baptism in Chiba at 11:15, church was from 10-11:30, and we had a lunch 30 min away at 1:00. How was this all going to work? We decided that right after our song, Sister Bede and Sister Chinain would leave and go to the baptism and I would stay and go on splits with a Young Woman and hold down the fort in Urayasu.
|Christmas lights in Japan|
(Side note: I was personally dying because we had just come from a meal and I was so full. The food was delicious, but yeah, it's a rough time because everyone just wants to feed us! Then everyone gave us even more food at Sacrament Meeting to take back to our apartments! It took all three of our baskets to get it all home. The ward members are so generous.)
The other huge miracle happened yesterday. We had plans to meet Jessica and Shan Shan (from Meikai) to go to lunch because it would be the last time they would see Chinain Shimai. Well, they told us a few weeks ago that they wanted to go to church, but they had work so we planned to do a church tour for them. However, they came late and so we didn't end up giving them the tour.
|With Shina San|
I know that for both of these miracles, Heavenly Father was really looking out for us. He trusted us to be in the right spot at the right time and to do what we came to Japan to do. The day Chinain Shimai met Shina San she had been sick so it would've been so easy to have not talked to her. It would have been easy for us to have not invited Aoi to dinner but because we were prepared, we were able to see amazing miracles!!!
|Christmas Eve Lights|
Now for my Japan Christmas experience.
It was a crazy time!
Christmas Eve, we went caroling with the Primary kids at nursing homes and it was so fun. The little obachans and ojichans were so cute! They would sing along and play the little hand game with us and they gave us all candy and juice. It was so fun!
The primary also asked Elder Richards to dress up as Santa. We had to bike to the last nursing home and so all the missionaries lined up behind Santa and we did Santa dendo, aka ringing bells and yelling Merry Christmas to everyone we saw. It was so much fun and we made so many people smile! I really felt like I was helping to bring these people a little bit of joy. Christmas is not a big holiday in Japan, but I feel like we were able to help bring a little bit of the Christmas spirit to some people by doing Santa Dendo.
Later that night we Santa Dendo-ed to the Eki where we caroled and handed out flyers. We had just done it the night before with some of the single adults, but Christmas Eve we had a lot more success (maybe because we had Santa?). We just sang fun songs and Christmas hymns while handing out flyers and ringing our bells. It was so much fun and there were so many people who walked away smiling. The point of caroling was not to convert anyone or to look for new investigators, it was to bring a little bit of joy to the people of Urayasu on Christmas Eve and I think we did just that.
|Disneyland on Christmas Eve|
After caroling, Sister Bede, Sister Chinain and I biked to Ikspiari and ate crepes with a member for our Christmas Eve dinner. She showed us all the beautiful lights too and it was amazing! On the way back home we stopped and watched the Disneyland fireworks and it was just so perfect.
|Skyping with my family|
It has been a crazy, miracle filled week and I am so grateful for my calling as a missionary. I love Christmas so much and I'm sad it's over, but I know that I have the special chance to continue talking about Jesus Christ and the amazing gift he gave us all year long.
I love you all and I hope you had an amazing Christmas!