Dear Family & Friends,
This past week we were on the phone with our son, Brent, when our mission president, Pres. Hill, walked through the room. He asked if he could speak to Brent and we said, “Sure.” Pres. Hill proceeded to tell Brent how wonderful we were, how we fit in so well and were doing our jobs so well and were a great asset to the mission. Also, how much he and Sis. Hill enjoyed being with us and considered us good friends. Of course, this made us feel so good!
The Hills have 9 children, 8 of them are married and having families. Two of the children and their families have been able to come visit since we have been here. Each of those children took time to tell us how we were the answers to prayers and how grateful they were that we had accepted the call to come here and be such a help to their parents. And one of the daughters also told us how much our mission would mean to our children at home. That all the Hill’s children at home, though they missed their parents a lot, were so happy to have them serving here in Japan and how much it meant to them and their children. And the Hills are here for 3 years, not just 18 months!
To top all of this off, we had a very special conversation with Sis. Hill earlier this week. She told us that back in November they realized that the Hatches would be leaving in March (when they were supposed to leave) and that they had better request a couple if they felt prompted to do so. They had 3 different couples that they knew were turning in papers to serve missions. They prayed about each one but didn’t feel that any of them were supposed to come here and serve. So they and their family just prayed that the Lord would send the right couple for the position. They were delighted to hear from us just two weeks before we were supposed to come. They hadn’t even gotten word from Salt Lake City yet when we called. As we visited on the phone, Sis. Hill told us that they received confirmation that we were the ones the Lord wanted here to assist them. Our hearts were so full of gratitude to the Lord for allowing us to be the answer to so many prayers. Truly, the Lord knows us and what we can do and where we need to be.
We are learning our jobs better and better all the time. I (Pat) am connecting more and more dots in my secretarial duties and am starting to work on projects that I haven’t had time to do before. Things are going very well—we have had a great week. Jim had a fellow from the area office over accounting who came to observe and train. He learned a lot and was so grateful for the training.
I, Jim, have also been called to be the executive secretary in the Mission Presidency. I attended our first meeting, Friday evening and was set apart. It was a very special meeting to meet these other great men. The one who has been his first councilor has been called to be the mission president in Nagoya Mission here in Japan, and so a new presidency was organized that evening. There is a special, very spiritual experience for me to be in the company of these great men. President Hill was very complimentary of me and my dear wife for what we have brought to this mission. He said he had prayed us here, and so we are here. It is so wonderful to know there is a living God in Heaven who hears and answers prayers and is mindful of all his children and how to support their needs. There are many wonderful people in Japan who are prepared to receive the Gospel, we just will have to find them as Jeremiah in the Old Testament (Jer. 16:16) said we have to be fishers and hunters and find them in the mountains, in the hills, and out of the holes of the rocks. Pat and I are keeping the nets mended and fishing poles ready.
Saturday, a week ago, we were able to visit our first Buddhist temple, called Asukasa, and pronounced Ah-sock-suh. It was really interesting. It had a gate to enter the area, a long marketplace street, a neat parade (that was unexpected as it was part of a wedding party), and the temple itself was big and ornate, with symbolism and statues inside and on the grounds. Right next to it was a smaller Shinto shrine, and a tall 7-story pagoda that we were not allowed inside. We had fun looking at the shops, then took a ferry boat down the river to downtown Tokyo, then to Shibuya where we walked the Shibuya Crossing—supposed to be the busiest intersection in the world—people going every which way all at the same time when the traffic lights allow it. Really reminded Pat of growing up in Vegas and the crosswalks they had there that allowed diagonal crossings—but not nearly so many people. And we even ran into another mission president there with his family!! With so many people and so many streets all coming together, the chances of running into anyone without previously planning it are so small as to be negligible—but we did!!!
Well, stay tuned—more to come next week--
Love, Jim & Pat