Monday, December 8, 2008

Dec 8, 2008

Dear Family & Friends,

Sorry this is late.

It has turned quite cold here, so it feels good to bundle up. We had a nice day last Saturday so we took pictures of trees in the park that we like to go walking. We always love the beautiful fall colors—one of the main reasons we moved to Utah. Hope you are able to enjoy them once we get them downloaded to our blog.

Sister Hill is doing something different this transfer. Usually, when they do zone interviews, Pres. & Sis. Hill travel to each zone and do some training and interview them there. But for this transfer, they are having each zone (there are 9 total) come here to Nakano for their training, interviews, and a special big Christmas lunch that Sis. Hill is personally preparing for them. It is so wonderful!! The Mission Home and Office are all decorated for Christmas, the missionaries eat well, sing Christmas carols, hear Christmas stories, and get the royal treatment for Christmas. This is fun but lots of work. I help when I can. Our apartment is also decorated with a tree (about 24 inches tall) and decorations that have been left by previous office fufu.

We have been surprised with all the decorations and Christmas music in the stores since the beginning of November. Of course, it is mostly for the commercialization, but for us Christians, it reminds us of this beautiful time of the year. Cut evergreen Christmas trees are very expensive here in Tokyo, $100 per foot!

In the Church News for November 30, one of our apostle’s wives, Sister Oaks, told of being a missionary in Japan a number of years ago, and not seeing any Christmas decorations anywhere, and feeling a bit sad to be in a country with no Christmas. Then, one night, they heard a violin playing “Silent Night” coming from somewhere nearby. Suddenly she knew that God had not forgotten her, that he knew who she was and where she was and loved her.

We also know this—God knows us and loves us and helps us in our work each day. And he loves all of you, too, even more than we do (and we love you a lot!!)

We had Stake Conference this past weekend and enjoyed wonderful, uplifting talks. Our Stake President was all excited about missionary work and encouraging his stake members to share the Gospel more. Made our missionary hearts feel all warm and fuzzy!!

Our thought for the week is: “The Lord hath brought forth our righteousness: come, and let us declare in Zion the work of the Lord our God.” Jeremiah 51:10. “We have work to do, you and I, so very much of it. Let us roll up our sleeves and get at it, with a new commitment, putting our trust in the Lord.” Pres. Gordon B. Hinckley

Our word for the week is: konkatsu. It is the food I really like to eat here. It is similar to tempura, so I have been calling it the wrong name for awhile. It is fried battered pork and it is delicious. They have a wonderful meat sauce to pour on it or dip it in.

That’s all folk!!

Love, Jim & Pat

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