Monday, December 21, 2009

Izumi Ward Christmas Party

Dear Family and Friends,

Christmas is in a few days! I’m so grateful to be serving the Lord at this time. Izumi has gotten snow this past week! Just a little bit sticks to the ground—it’s cold but not too bad. The Izumi ward members are wonderful. They put Christmas present for the missionaries in a big box and gave it to us yesterday—lots of food and socks—so Yoneda Shimai and I will eat well and stay warm!

The Izumi Ward Christmas Party on Saturday was great! It was more of a program than a party. We watched Christ’s birth DVD (it was in English, so two YSA members dressed up as Mary/Joseph and translated it into Japanese.In between different scenes the ward choir sang and I played my violin. Oh, how the Japanese people can sing!!!! There were maybe 25 people in the choir, and it was beautiful. It was so wonderful to reflect on the Savior’s birth – how significant it was, yet He was born in a very humble way, in a manger. How grateful I am that He came into the world, lived and died for us! This means everything to me, especially as I am a representative of Him now. He is the way!

It’s been neat to see the progress of those who’ve recently been baptized. We continue to meet with them, re-teach them the lessons with their home teachers, and help them as they become fully active in the church. This week we visited the Miura Family, an older couple, obachan (grandmother) and ojichan (grandfather) who’ve recently joined the church. They live in humble circumstances and have very little means—but during our visit Sister Miura expressed to us her strong desire to go to the temple to do temple work for her deceased mother and father. I was touched by her strong faith and hope, and realized how much I’ve taken for granted the blessings of having a temple nearby my whole life. To Tokyo, it is a 6 hour drive by car. Sister Miura doesn’t have a car, and it’s hard for her to get around—but she said maybe she can take a bus there…in her condition this will be hard. What great faith and example to me!

I love missionary work, especially planning for our lessons. We talk about each investigator individually, their needs, and how we can help them—and the Lord helps us through the Spirit to know what we should teach them. It’s neat when Yoneda Shimai and I have the same thoughts of what we should teach them---we’re unified!

This morning we visited Numakura san, the blind woman. She is easily touched by the Spirit, but hasn’t yet accepted the teachings o f the gospel after many years of hearing it by the missionaries. I was able to bring my violin and play some Christmas songs for her. She loves music! I pray that her heart /ears will one day be open to hear and really accept the gospel. It would help her so much!

I’m grateful for and love all of you. Thanks for your support and love! I hope that you will reflect on the Savior this season, and throughout the year, and accept His love and healing power in your lives! I truly have felt and seen His love out here-truly all are beloved children of God!


ister Swain

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