For Christmas Eve, since it was a Preparation day, we went to a castle. Can`t say I`ve ever spent Christmas eve in a castle. It was kind of cool, but the inside is all modernized and turned into a museum with old stuff behind glass in it. It was pretty cool still though.
On Christmas, we woke up and opened some presents when we were supposed to be exercising. haha. oops. It was the only time we had to do it. Pictures will follow so you understand the magnitude of the junk food I received.
That afternoon, we had some open time, so we went to the train station and sang some carols to the people there for an hour. A few people stopped to listen, not a whole lot though, and some people went away a lot happier than they approached. Most people just looked at us like they had never seen white people singing in a weird place in Japanese. Because they probably haven`t. haha. It was fun though.
In the evening, we went to the 水田家族`s house. (Mizuta Family) Their family was there, and also Jason, the Filipino from the ward and 2 of his work friends. It was way fun! We made お好み焼き again, and he even had us make some too! It was pretty tricky, but it was way fun and delicious. (^o^) We taught a message after, and it was a little different than first lessons with Japanese people, because they have a Christian background. The message went well, but they live pretty far away.
Thursday was the big meeting in Okayama, the Christmas Gathering. We played some Dodgeball and Capture the flag, they told us about the new English class program, the new Mission Training Plan for January, we had a good lunch, and watched a year-end movie of pictures from around the mission. (everyone submitted 3)
We had a companion exchange directly after that. I stayed in fukuyama with Elder Rassmassen. (probably slaughtered the spelling of his name) He is a great Elder and we were able to get some good work in. Well, everyone is crazy busy with the year end approaching and we hardly talked longer than 15 seconds to anyone, but it was good anyway.
The Baptism on Sunday went very well. Elder Hunt performed the baptism. A lot of the branch was busy and couldn`t make it, but it was still a good program. After the baptism, he bore a powerful testimony. He also talked about when he went under the water, he still had his eyes open, and as soon as he entered the water he looked up to heaven, and all the noise of the world was gone. He felt quietness. It was a great night.
The next day, I performed the confirmation. Usually a member of the ward does it, (I think?) but he wanted me to do it. It was a really cool opportunity. He says he feels like the Gift of the Holy Ghost has given him the power to endure to the end.
At church, the members talked about the goals for the coming year. The branch set a goal to become a ward by 2015, increasing attendance by 10 a year. (5 being converts, 5 being re-activated members) There was also a family from Seattle (the Father was Japanese, Mother was American) who are part of the ward mission efforts in one of the fastest growing stakes in the world. They had some great tips from the ward and emphasized the importance of ward cooperation with the missionaries. The work in Fukuyama is going to explode here soon. We already had a member tell us a day they are free and offer to go teach with us. Exciting stuff!
Last night, we had dinner at 広兼家族`s home again. (Hirokane Family). It was way fun! all the young single adults were there, plus 2 young couples and part of the family from Seattle. We had a meal called Nabe. Basically you just throw a bunch of stuff in boiling water and eat it. It was way good. ^^ It was really fun just to talk with some of the members and some people from the states. Afterwords, we taught another spiritual message, and invited everyone to talk to their friends about the gospel. I`ve never taught so many people at once. haha.
Well, this week is going to be crazy I`ve been told. The new year is a pretty big thing in Japan. ^^ Plus transfer calls are on Wednesday. So I might have a new companion next week. Or not. I have no idea really. haha.
Love you all.
|ummm..... don`t ask. I don`t know either.|
|There is this place people can get married. That is all it is for. haha.|
It has all these crazy fountains and stuff. This picture is from the top of the castle.
|Japan is still pretty green! it is way more green in the summer though.|
|A picture of one of the main roads from the top of the castle. |
The castle is right in the center of this big city.
|Here it is. Without any weird red-haired people blocking your view. haha.|
|Present from the branch! I think like everyone gave us something! Holy cow!|
|Christmas. Oh my gosh candy.|
|Yeah this drawer is still full today even. haha.|
|Wait.... I have to flip this?! sure.......... no problem.....|
|Flipped it once!|
|Yeah. I`m pretty good with the camera timing. haha ^^|
|Flipped it again! Well...... It doesn`t look like the one the member made....|
but it still tasted good! haha.
|He got a suit and everything!|
|The family that visited from the states|
|The group on Christmas ^^|
|my companion snagged a picture while we were at service! (with permission)|
|We sang them some Christmas songs.|