Dear Family & Friends,
Thank you for all your good wishes and kind thoughts. We enjoyed both the cute and the sublime in the Thanksgiving messages and forwards you sent to us. It’s interesting how getting and receiving emails makes us feel not-so-far-away from all of you. Thanks for updating us on what you are doing and how your families are. We look forward to your Christmas letters to catch-up even more.
We had a wonderful week. Monday and Tuesday were all about preparing for Wednesday’s All-Mission Gratitude Conference. And what a highlight it was!!! It was fun to see every missionary in our mission in the same place at the same time. They are a wonderful-looking group!!!!
The Theme of the Conference was: “The Power of the Book of Mormon—Especially as It Testifies of Christ.” Pres. and Sis. Hill both gave powerful talks about the Book of Mormon and it’s warnings to follow the prophets and be obedient to what they tell us to do. Pres. Hill read a testimony written by one of our missionaries who told of reading the book in Japanese (must have been a gaijin) and then praying to know whether or not it is true. He received a warm and powerful witness that it is true and was sent by God to help us come unto Him!!
Then some of the missionaries stood up and shared their favorite scripture from the book and what it meant to them.
We also heard from Elder and Sister Aoyagi who bore their testimonies, and Sis. Evans who talked about what the Book of Mormon meant to her. Then Elder Evans spoke about how we need to teach about Nephi and Lehi and what they teach us right from the beginning of the Book of Mormon—about the importance of families and obedience to parents, about prayer, about the guidance of the Holy Ghost, about following the prophets, about forgiving others, etc.
We also had 4 musical numbers: a men’s sextet, a violin duet, a women’s duet, and a piano solo.
Everything was so beautiful and reverent and filled with the Spirit, that we felt we had been very richly blessed for being there.
Then, after the meeting was over, we went into the Cultural Hall for a feast prepared for us by the Relief Society of the Tokyo South Stake, both gaijin and Japanese sisters. The food was so delicious (ham and all the trimmings), the tables beautifully set with cute stove-pipe pilgrim hats filled with candy and a sweet Thanksgiving message on top, also flowers and other lovely decorations. They served us with such kindness and love that we stood and sang “As I Have Loved You” to them and clapped and cheered.
We were overwhelmed with the feelings of love and peace and joy that were with us throughout that day.
Then Thursday we had a quiet day, some of it at the office and some of it at home, until 6:00 when we went to the mission home for a true Thanksgiving dinner. There were 24 around the tables (3 set end-to-end) and we ate turkey, stuffing, and everything else. I contributed the rolls and Waldorf Salad. It was such a wonderful feast and we enjoyed it very much.
Friday was a regular office day, and Saturday was “clean up the apartment and wash the clothes” regular P-day stuff.
Our thought for the day is: "The face of sin today often wears the mask of tolerance. Do not be deceived; behind that facade is heartache, unhappiness and pain. .. YOU be the one to make a stand for right, even if you stand alone. Have the moral courage to be a light for others to follow." Thomas S. Monson, "Examples of Righteousness", Ensign, May 2008, 65–68.
A saying that goes along with this is: Wrong is wrong even if everyone does it, and right is right even if nobody does it.
We love you all and hope you will always “Choose the Right.”
Love, Jim & Pat