Hey! This week was good. Sounds like work is complicated, but good! Sounds like there has been a ton going on there!! A You've Got Mail party, huh? That's way funny hahaha. Sounds fun though! How is Mara going on personal progress?? That's pretty cool.
It actually hasn't been snowing very much lately here at all, but it is way frozen and icy. The roads are covered in inches of ice, but I have been doing fine. Just have to be careful when I walk around. I haven't seen any car accidents or anything, but there are some funny drivers now and then. I'm way sad to hear about the car getting damaged, but at least it was the oldest of the cars eh? I hope you can figure out what to do with that whole situation. That's cool about Richie and Xela's reception! You said hi for me right? I heard the Jordan River temple was closed for a long time, but that's good to hear dad is back and working there again. I miss the temple lots. It is really interesting to talk about it here and teach about it to the new converts, etc.
Good luck with whatever your new calling might be! I am having a hard time remembering what it's like to not be a missionary, but I remember that I really loved being in the Elder's quorum presidency at USU and in stake YSC etc. and I wish I did more for those callings then. That is funny about Lauren and her stomach too. (That is, us trying to tell if Max is moving) The pictures of her you sent last time were pretty good!
I am praying for you to find missionary opportunities too, but the main thing you need to do is look for them. Remember that prayer is just the first step. There was a plaque one of my roommates had at USU with a quote from Gordon B Hinckley that said "get on your knees and pray, then get on your feet and work". It's just like that out here too! I'm glad to hear you are doing better with scripture study! What kind of things are you trying? I also want to hear about how FHE is going. Hatanaka Shimai and Haramai Shimai want to know more about it so if you had any cool ideas that'd be awesome. Also Haramai Shimai made a new years resolution to learn to make candy at home just like you do at Christmas so if you could send me a bunch of recipes she would be really happy. She reminds me of you a lot in a lot of ways actually. She has said before that you sound cool and she wants to meet you haha. If you have any patchwork, stitching, etc. things that you think she might like let me know.
Let me know how the YSA fireside went! I am jealous you get to see it! I am glad Adam is doing great in institute and German sounds way fun too! That trax thing does sound like something I would do. How is he liking riding the train??? I think it sounds fun and I want to try it when I get home.
I hope church was awesome! I gave a talk in sacrament meeting yesterday on the sabbath day and focused on the Lord's rest, because in Japanese the Sabbath is "rest day." It actually went really awesome and I spoke for almost 20 minutes which is double what they asked, but they were okay with that haha. It felt really good to be guided by the spirit and be able to expand on the things I planned to talk about. My Japanese has been getting a lot better I think, but the tough thing is always being led by the spirit to know how and what to say. Really the secret is just opening your mouth. The time that is the most tough is when you don't even know how to say it in English and you somehow pull it out in Japanese.
So the cool things about this week are that on Monday I bought a sweet new backpack in the mall in Chitose and on Tuesday we started Eikaiwa again with Elder Rodenberg and it was way fun and energetic. Then on Wednesday was straight housing and going to Brother Katanuma's house for dinner. He used to be the area Seventy and spoke at the Sapporo Temple groundbreaking. He is also good friends with Elder Holland and a few other general authorities. He recently wrote a book about Christianity in Japan focusing on our church and it has actually gotten a lot of high up people interested and it is way cool. He is an awesome guy who has gone all over the world, served several couple missions in Japan, and speaks English pretty much fluently. He also taught at BYU for 3-4 years. At the end we watched this movie called "home" that was from 1992 (one of those cheesy seminary ones) but it was really good and afterwards we shared scriptures and testified about the hope from the gospel. It is pretty cool to testify to someone who used to be a general authority! haha
Thursday we planned and visited Haramai shimai. Friday was visiting a lot of people in Chitose and one of them was a girl that Elder Hansen got almost all the way to baptism, but went on vacation and got protested by her parents so he had to drop her, but she sent us a new year's postcard and when we visited her she said she talked to her parents and everything is good! Her name is Miyashita and she is pretty much a kinjin. She came to church on her own because she said it seemed like a warm place and she could feel that it was full of love. Literally. She has still been reading the Book of Mormon everyday. We will see how that goes :)
Saturday was amazing too!!! We had the mochitsuki activity which was tons of traditional Japanese new year's games and toys plus making mochi!!! Mochi is rice turned into this doughy stuff. To make it like that you... Smash it with a giant hammer!!! It was so awesome. I didn't get pictures, but lots of other people did. It was way great plus we got a few investigators to come too. It was a great way to make better friends with the ward and feel closer to Japan. Haramai's husband came too! We are trying to help her a lot to share the gospel with him. We also did a song there with me on the guitar, Brown Choro on the keys, and Rodenberg and Ishiga Choro singing. It was kinda loud with the mochitsuki going so the beat got a little funky, but it went great!
Well that is what has been going on in a nutshell. I am getting my haircut today because I need it really bad. Who cuts my hair?? Some Japanese dude. Not my companion. Haircuts here are expensive by the way and there are probably more hair salons than any other building. Literally.
Anyways I love you tons and and am so grateful for you! Jesus Christ is my Savior and He lives and loves us! Keep showing good examples and do your best to become more and more like Him!
Funny things seen at the mall: