Mom and Dad,
Last week for prep day, after all the normal stuff, we went to a big shopping center by the closest train station to see if we could find special gifts for our investigators. We had been planning on getting a small gift for them all, and we figured that was the best time. After prep day we attended a Christmas party at a member's house. This is the same family whose daughter and son we helped to finally decide to serve missions. It was a pretty great time!
The following day while we were studying at the church, a couple of the people from the ward who's children attend eikaiwa every week invited us upstairs for a snack party with their kids and the shimai. We joined in for a little while, then one of them invited the four of us missionaries to their house that night for dinner. Before going to dinner we had a lesson with the Filipino guy. He couldn't meet on Saturday because he had plans to take a trip to Tokyo for Christmas. The previous week, when we gave him a Book of Mormon, he had questions about what it is and where it came from, so we taught him the Restoration lesson. He was way interested. We told him how it has affected us and what it means to us and he opened up about his childhood. Apparently he went to Catholic grade school since then his parents sent him to a Protestant middle school. For high school, he attended a Catholic institution. He was very confused by all the conflicting doctrine and he definitely would like to know the truth. It was such a great opportunity to relate him to Joseph Smith and how he also was searching for the truth. We invited him to follow Moroni's promise, which he accepted. He was very interested in Joseph Smith's experience and how he, too, can receive an answer from God.
Wednesday: Christmas Day! No, it didn't snow. I'm yet to have a white Christmas. That morning we opened our Christmas packages, as well as all the presents the ward gave us. Holy cow, they gave us so much stuff! Mainly it was food--particularly snacks--and clothing to keep us warm. I got this cool hipster neck warmer that's gray, purple, and yellow striped. I'll fit right in with Portland when I get back! After studying, we finished everything we needed to get presents to everyone, then we biked all over the place to get them to the people. The Catholic family really liked the sparkling cider, especially since they don't drink alcohol. Most of the other presents were assorted chocolate. Christmas night we were invited over to the house of a member who's been a great at fellowshipping to the GC investigator. They also had that investigator over and we all had dinner together. It wasn't quite like our Christmas dinners, but it was still great! They even had some sort of jello pie! Nothing like jello salad, but it sufficed. The investigator was way genki the whole time and seemed really touched. He lives alone right now so he doesn't have a whole of people to keep him company.
Thursday: Christmas Day and Wednesday for you! メリークリスマス！As I'm sure you know, I talked with you guys on the phone in the morning. It was good timing because I had just finished my prayer for language study when you called. Pace Choro's family called a couple hours before you did. After study we had the normal weekly planning session. I'm sure Alex remembers all about it. That took us 'til the late afternoon, so there wasn't much time afterwards.
On Thursday I noticed I had a sore throat, so Friday I woke up a little sick. We then missed the bus to get to District会 by a few seconds because I took a few seconds to grab cough drops. So much for learning about marginal analysis in AP Econ. We had to wait twenty minutes for the next bus. While we were waiting an older lady came to talk to us and marveled that she was talking with gaijin. She made sure to express her amazement to every other person that trickled up to the bus stop. It was pretty funny. Overall we were only a few minutes late to District会, so no worries there. We then had District lunch at a restaurant by the eki and gave our yogen's about transfers. It was at this point I began feeling sicker and sicker. I also had an exchange that day, so by the time we got to the other area I was in bad shape. That companionship had a lesson that evening but the person called and cancelled, so Isaac Choro and I spent the whole time outside. It was probably 35 degrees and windy. It wasn't super bad but I was way sick and couldn't really think straight or dendo effectively so we went back the apartment and I crashed on the couch while Isaac Choro made dinner. We then planned quickly so I could get to bed early. I took some ibuprofen and was out for the rest of the night. Considering how sick I was, the DL should probably burn his futon to be safe when he returns. At least I slept way well that night.
The next day I woke up and I felt sooo much better. I still had a slight scratchy throat but comparatively I was ready to climb Mt. Fuji again. Isaac Choro and I had a lesson that morning with one of the area's seishinbyo investigators. He's one of the nicest guys I've met. He's come a long way from when we first started teaching him.
Sunday! This day was probably one of my most rewarding days in this area. In the lesson we had last night, we asked the investigator to do his best to listen to the talks and lessons without any distractions. Well, he did just that! He even studied the Book of Mormon and wrote notes on the talks! In addition, the investigator who works all the time also came and brought his 8-year-old daughter! After Sacrament Meeting, both investigators even came to gospel principles' class. For the GC guy, it was a surprise as he always takes off after Sacrament Meeting. The daughter of the other investigator rushed right off to primary since she loves it so it made it easier for him to stay. The third hour, instead of regular elders' quorum, there was a combined RS/EQ dendo discussion. The discussion we had went very well. He said again that he'd like to be baptized so we are trying to help him with any obstacles keeping him from that.
Looks like that's all there is for this week. Next week is the new year! I don't remember if I mentioned that New Years is actually a pretty big deal in Japan. Give everyone my best!