It`s been a wonderful New Years here in Koriyama. For the Japanese people, New Years is a bigger holiday than Christmas. Instead of going back home for Christmas, everyone goes back home for the New Years to be with their family and eat traditional New Years foods, such as mikan (tangerines) and mochi--it`s rice flour that`s ground into a hamburger or square shape that they eat with everything. In soups, sweet beans, etc... We had lunch on New Years with the elders at a member`s house, where we had all these traditional foods, it was delicious!
New Years dendo has been fun, asking everyone if they have goals for this new year and how they would feel if God could help them with it. People are pretty busy around this time, but we`ve found some people who were alone for New Years and have been able to share a little of our message with them, including a sweet Baptist lady who invited us into her house and listened as we taught her about the Restoration of the gospel through Joseph Smith! She accepted a Book of Mormon and will pray about it.
Kato Kurumi chan is doing great and excited for her baptism in 2 weeks. It will be a great thing for her and her family, as she is the last of her siblings to get baptized.
A little bit of sad news--Mai san, the investigator I told you about last week--talked to her dad about how she was going to church and learning from us, and he said that it was `dame`--bad, and she can`t come to church anymore. Even though she`s an adult, she`s still living with her family and can`t go against her dad, so we aren`t teaching her anymore. When we called her and talked to her, we encouraged her to keep praying, so that someday the Lord will prepare a way for her to be able to join the church again. I`m sure someday, in the Lord`s timing, she`ll be able to!
Kokubun Shimai still hasn`t been able to get the consent of her husband. We`re continuing to pray for her, and hopefully after the business of the New Years we`ll get another chance to help her husband.
As I realize that my mission is coming to an end, I`m sad to think of leaving these wonderful people and not being a full-time missionary any more! I`ll try to do all I can, and all God wants me to in these last few weeks...this is His work! I know that God lives and loves each one of us.