Sunday, December 22, 2013

Merry Christmas!


I can`t even explain how crazy/rough/awesome this past week has been!

First of all, my birthday was awesome. We spent the most part of the day trying to find more people to teach, unfortunately without success, but had good experiences nonetheless. We went out to eat Indo-curry for lunch and dendoed the owners, which was great. They`re already good acquaintances of ours, so we get along super well, so it was easy to start talking to them about church stuff. 

One of my favorite things out here on the mission so far is just making small and random relationships with people all over the place, and then seeing the same people over and over again out on the street, in restaurants, at train stations, etc. and just being able to talk to them and continue to build relationships. It`s seriously the coolest thing. There comes a point when you feel like you just know everyone, and you can go hardly anywhere without seeing a familiar face and having someone to talk to. It`s freaking awesome.
My first companion in Japan, Elder H, is now Brother H.
He came to visit before his 2-year commitment to the Korean Army
So Mom and Dad, the Christmas package you sent was great timing. It came on my birthday! As you know, I have like 0 patience, so my reasoning for opening all the Christmas stuff you sent me was that it was my birthday. Need I any more justification? No, I don`t. The food was delicious (keyword: was....meaning that it`s virtually all gone by now) and I am super grateful for the music and warm clothing and everything in between! Thank you so much!! And the calendar is awesome. It made me super 懐かしい (natsukashii) and made me miss home and the Coast Guard, but it makes me smile every time I look at it. Thank you!
Japan, thank you for the love. Origato gozaimasu!

I was really feeling the love this week. Sister S and her companion Sister A gave me more stuff for my birthday when I saw them again on Wednesday for zone conference, which was super nice considering they already gave me stuff at district training last week.The zone sang to all the missionaries who had recent birthdays, and I got some new socks from the mission (YESSSS). And the ward came through, gave us these huge boxes of awesomeness!

Zone Conference was great. We focused mostly on the Savior and how we can become better missionaries and keep our faith strong in Jesus Christ. I felt a great spirit there.

Disaster struck after zone conference, however. Basically all of the missionaries in the zone got sick. As a result, Elder Ahuna and I were holed up in the apartment for two whole days. We`re still trying to get the smell out of there, haha. I didn`t get too bad of a sickness, but Elder Ahuna was practically on his deathbed. 
with the wonderful I family
While he slept all day, I used the extra time to go nuts with scripture reading and to continue to map out the members and less actives in our area. It`s a daunting task....I`ve only gotten through 4 pages of the member list out of 26....but it will definitely be a huge benefit for the missionaries who serve here after we`re gone. It`s already helped us a lot when we try to visit people and find new people. It takes forever to map people because all the addresses and names are in kanji. It`s awesome though, it`s accelerating my learning of kanji big time. Sweetness.

We got two new investigators this week though, despite the sickness! Samurai and Furone, ages 9 and 11, both in the part-member O family (Seira`s siblings). We had an awesome evening with them, teaching the whole family (except the dad) about God and about the scriptures. The spirit was super strong, and the kids had a sincere desire to learn more. I freaking love kids.

Another miracle (completely out of nowhere), Y-san randomly showed up to church yesterday!!! Seriously SO happy to see him, and super surprised too! We had an awesome lesson with them later that evening, and they`re progressing! Reading and praying and everything! It`s so awesome to see them starting to apply the gospel of Jesus Christ in their lives. It was cool earlier this week, we decided to visit them randomly and unannounced, and it turned out his wife needed some help moving some heavy stuff around. She was really happy that we stopped by, and we were able to lend a hand. I love building relationships with people through service. She was super grateful. Awesome stuff.

Japan has caught me!
At church I had a chat with this guy in our ward, Brother S. He is a dear friend of mine here. As we were talking, he suddenly just straight up asked me if he could tell me about some of the problems he`s been having lately. It was a really tender moment as he poured out his heart to me as we sat there in the chapel. I felt a very sincere and real love for the guy, and I could feel Christ`s love for him as well. I was also touched that he actually trusted me enough to tell me about his problems....many people are generally pretty closed about their emotions and stuff like that. But it made me realize how grateful I am for the trust of the Church members here and the relationships I have made with them. I love it here in Ichinomiya. Plus it was also a big confidence builder for me that I was able to have a relatively deep and meaningful conversation with someone in Japanese. I guess I am actually learning the language, after all, haha. Thank goodness for the Gift of Tongues.

I`m looking forward to a Christmas Skype sesh this week! Just FYI....Elder Ahuna and I are trying to set up Skype on the computer this morning, and it`s not really working, but we will keep trying. If it doesn`t work, we can still talk on the phone. I`ll keep you posted, no worries.

sometimes I cook for myself
even Idaho spuds!

sometimes I don't!
Okonomiyaki. DELISH.
I love you all so much. This week, I really can`t explain how grateful I am. So many awesome things happened this week, despite some of the bad stuff, haha. I have felt the love of God and Jesus Christ so strongly. I cannot possibly deny the feelings that I have felt. This Gospel is true. God loves us. We are all brothers and sisters, children of the same divine being. What awesome knowledge!


Peace and love,

Elder Naylor

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