Hey! Yeah you said it right. I'm hoping this year will be awesome, too. Actually, I know it will be!!! Thanks for your quote from church and I'm glad your lesson went well! I'm also glad everything with grandma went well. My vision for the basement is probably coming true now that I am gone, hahaha. I'm glad Mara is doing great and that's so exciting about Mara's friend! I wish I had tried to find so many awesome missionary opportunities like her. When is her baptismal date? If the missionaries haven't made one yet they are slacking off... hahaha! Not really, but from what I've heard about her she probably could've got baptized a long time ago. How is Mara's other friend in seminary? We did the santa suits at the Christmas party a few weeks ago and on Christmas morning before we called you. The crab was at our apartment on Christmas. The KFC was from before. Sorry I didn't even think of saying anything about p-day. :(
Zone conference is tomorrow and we, well...we do all of it hahaha. Basically we get everybody to go to Asahikawa and have a big workshop there. I'm a little nervous, but it should go awesomely. Definitely tell Spencer congrats! That's awesome for Lily and Mya as well. Nice!
So I procrastinated writing this email so I'll try to sum stuff up.
Wednesday we ate lunch w/ the Saito family and had new year's food and it was great. Saito B loves talking about how Japanese people are descended from the Jews and stuff it is really interesting though not (yet) doctrine hahaha. After that we went to Sapporo for a little gathering because Wilson E came back to visit Sapporo w/ his family. Lots of red heads. They actually knew the Prices because they're from Palo Alto. We came home and had dinner w/ the branch pres' family. Cutest kids. Oh man. We had a lot of fun and a good FHE w/ them. Thursday was deep clean day, but we also had lunch with the Miyazaki fam. They're super amazing - they have two boys and they're awesome. Their mom is also one of the only people I've met in Japan who bakes bread using whole grain/whole wheat so I was really happy and she was really happy that we liked it hahaha. They had these interesting toys that we played with called LaQ. We also got a "toshidama" whichis a Japanese tradition where all the kids get money at new year's. Since we can't receive money we gave it back as fast offerings, but it was still cool. Ahhhh, there is another cool miracle story I want to tell you about, but I'm out of time!!!! Sorrryyy :( remind me to start from here next time!!! Aishitemasu!!!!
Then Braden's mom opened this email:
This is Elder Hutchinson`s companion, Elder Hatch. Elder Hutchinson didn`t really have time to tell you about our crazy Sunday with the Adachis and so he asked me to send this to you. Your son is awesome and I love working with him! We are having a blast and seeing a lot of miracles!
(Below is his letter)
Iwamizawa is very famous for the amount of snow it gets during winter. Up until about two weeks ago people were saying there wasn`t very much snow at all and that it usually snows more. You could probably google Iwamizawa and see some crazy pictures and videos about the snow here. Well this week it seemed to be snowing all the time. Yesterday I think it snowed all but one hour. It is steadily building up. Fun, fun! Also, we have seen some REALLY long icicles.
This week was great! We had meals with several members. New Years was the Saito family and Adachi family. The Okuizumi family also brought us dinner on New Years Eve to our apartment when we were reading the Book of Mormon. The second was a deep clean day but we had a nice break and went to the Miyazaki family`s house for lunch. I really, really do love the members here! Not just because they feed us well and are so nice, but just because they are all such great people! I am really grateful and lucky to be here.
Friday was kind of back to normal routine. We went with Pres. Adachi and visisted Yamashita. We ended up being there for 3 and a half hours because he just keep asking questions. It ended up being a really good lesson and he is doing very well. He feels like he needs to learn all of the church doctrine before he gets baptized. He was busy and couldn`t come to church yesterday but he is doing very well and we are excited that he is still progressing.
Saturday we got invited by the Adachis (the older couple that gave us a ride a couple weeks ago when we were out in the middle of nowhere and who invited us to a Christmas party in Sapporo). We were pretty excited to go. We thought it was only got to be the husband and wife, but when we showed up there were about 8 people from the company Christmas party that we attended. Apparently they all wanted to come see us. Some of them even came from Sapporo, maybe an hour and a half hours drive away.
Mainly we just ate with them and had a good time. We were able to share a little bit about what we are doing here as missionaries and why. We also showed them our family pics, which Japanese love seeing (probably mainly because we are foreigners....). The night ended and the husband took us home. We thought maybe we shouldn`t try continuing to meet with them so often because they didn`t seem interested in the gospel. Then Sunday happened.....
So, Sunday as church is about to start (priesthood is first and Sacrament is last here) and we got in priesthood. Bro. Kaneko came in just after the opening prayer and then mentioned that two people who have never been to church before are here in the parking lot. Elder Hutchinson and I decide to go outside, curious who decided to suddenly come to church without us knowing. We got outside and Adachi (the wife) and one of the other woman about the same age who was there on Saturday are walking from their car to the church. As we called out they were a little disappointed that we came out and saw them. They were wanting to surprise us showing up at church.
Long story short, we go to Relief Society with them, then we had a very simple lesson in Gospel Principles, and then they attended Fast and Testimony meeting. Also, upon talking to two members, one of the other LDS guys that works at their company is a relative of the teacher or Gospel Doctrine, one of a member`s best friends is also an employee of the comany, etc. There were so many crazy things, but I think it helped them build friendships with the members. Also, several of the members talked about them in their testimony and we had an AMAZING lesson with a Sister Oikawa in the ward after Sacrament meeting on the Restoration. Sister Oikawa was really strong and really bold. At the end of the lesson we asked Adachi to pray. She said a good prayer and we were about to finish when Sis. Oikawa boldly asked Okuyama (the friend) to pray as well. Okuyama`s prayer was really short, but she was having a hard time getting words out because she was choking up. They definitely felt the Spirit, which was SO cool!
The main reason they came was just to come see us, not to come to church, but it turned into an amazing 4 hours. We gave them each a Book of Mormon and challenged them to baptism. What a miracle! Meeting Adachi two weeks ago on that lonely rode when she gave us a ride seemed like it was all just a coincidence. It was not coincidence. Everything just played out too well! If timing had been off by even a minute, this whole story would not have happened.
Everytime I start to think "Man, nothing special has happened lately. Am I doing something wrong?", is when an amazing miracle happens. I testify that Heavenly Father works by faith. As I read in the Book of Mormon this last week focusing on faith I realized that everytime somebody exercises faith, something good happens. It doesn`t always happen right away, but it does happen. It is amazing to see how much Heavenly Father really does look out and love each one of us. I know He does love you and me.
Happy New Year! Its 2014 but lets make it a good one!
Elder Benjamin Hatch