Monday, December 3, 2012

December 3, 2012

Hi family!
Thank you for sending the photos of the Santa Run! It looked hilarious! We have a Nihonjin living in our 4-sister apartment now and it was very funny trying to explain to her what thousands of you were doing dressed up as Santa! Too funny.
This week in Kichijoji was spectacular, as always. My president's letter this week is short but I'll include it because it talks about some of the things we're doing recently:
Dear President,
We had a GREAT week in Kichijoji! We've been seeing lots of miracles! The people we're teaching are growing to trust us more and more and accept commitments that help them strengthen their faith. What we struggle with most is getting them to attend church. People get too busy or too tired to make it a priority. We've been working with more less-actives recently too, and we're not sure how we can better teach the importance of sacrament meeting attendance. We'll work on that this week.
One thing that's been really helpful in our dendo (missionary work) is expressing lots of love. I feel like that's a strong point in our companionship. We try to help our investigators and members understand that we want to help them progress in the gospel out of a sincere love for them. Facer Shimai is great at pointing out people's strong points and using words to express her love, and my favourite way is to give hand-made thank-you cards and pictures to people we teach. I'm learning about the importance of using God-given talents to enhance dendo and make it personal to each missionary.
Another thing that's been really helpful in our area the last few weeks is scheduling member mogis (role-play lessons). During weekly planning we look through the area book and schedule mogis with two sisters/families we want to get to know better, then we practice teaching a lesson we have coming up with an investigator. This has been working SO much better than unplanned member visits I've done in the past. We get to know the member, they get to hear the gospel and think about missionary work, and then we always ask for advice on how to improve our teaching. We've really been strengthening our relationships with the sisters in the ward, so when we ask for joints for investigator lessons we have more to go on and they trust us more to agree to help. It is such a privilege to work with these members and help strengthen their faith and desire to dendo.
Sister Facer and I have been working on filling our stockings with lots of miracles! It's going great and we love it! Thank you for the idea and thank you always for the inspiration and guidance! We love you!
Sister Long
The first line to his reply was, and I quote, "It sounds like you have found your dendo groove if there is such a thing :-)  " I love our president. He's such a smart guy but he's never afraid to be goofy, and he's passionate about the work and our people. I can't remember if I wrote this last week or not, but every missionary has a stocking hung up at home, and every night we're supposed to write miracles on index cards to fill our stocking with. On Christmas Eve we'll all get together at the mission home and read some of our miracles. This really is the best time to be a missionary. Of course I miss home, and whenever we hear Christmas music or families out shopping I get a teensy bit homesick, but I love being here at this time of year. I have fallen so hard in love with missionary work in this area and I'm never going back!
Thank you for forwarding Tanner's emails. I spend so much time focusing on my own missionary work here that I forget he's on the other side of the world doing a lot of the same stuff! It's cool to see him growing, especially because I went through all the same things not too long ago. I hope he learns life lessons much earlier than I did! As for skyping, we should probably do separate times so it doesn't get too crazy. On Mother's day it was about 10 am for me and 6 pm for you...however that works out with the time difference. I'm not actually sure when I'll be able to skype so maybe I'll get back to you later on that? It will probaby be the 26th for me and Christmas evening for you but we'll see. I like Tanner's idea of writing questions down beforehand so there's no wasting our 30-40 minutes! As for plans for coming home next August, don't ask me yet! I don't know! I don't want to think about it because I'm loving this way too much.
Thank you so much to everyone who's been writing me! You're the best. I love hearing about your experiences sharing the gospel with family and friends. The very best gift we can give to anyone this Christmas is a chance to strengthen their relationship with Heavenly Father and the Saviour.
I love you all and I'm grateful for all you're doing! Sorry my emails haven't been very full of detail lately but I never feel too bad because you get my journal pages too. Enjoy them!
Long Shimai

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