It was just so great. Baptisms are always wonderful and I do usually think about what kind of member the person being baptized is going to become; but yesterday, there was something different about it. Just knowing that the two of them are already planning on getting to the temple as soon as possible and the strength and depth of his faith makes it so much more stress and worry-free. His testimony afterwards was incredible. I don't know how he knew all of the church vocabulary that he used. The members were all saying that we "shikkari shita" ("did it right") with him and taught him so thoroughly, but the truth is we really did nothing. Lara had taught it all to him and he had accepted it long before we met him. Lara told the story of how they met before the baptism too. They met three years ago speaking Italian at a common interest club. She said she remembers the first time she asked him about God and he said that he wasn't sure. He'd stopped practicing his Catholic faith in his teenage years. Lara at the time was less-active, not going to church. She DID hold true to her testimony though. She said she never doubted that anything she learned about the church was true.
She still had that light about her and that obviously was enough to spark his interest in the Gospel. On the other hand, he was necessary for her as well. Had she not found him, she could possibly be still drifting and wandering away from the church. It's truly a miracle. It's like the beginning of a fairy tale ending. We were really lucky to be a small part of it. Really though, we did nothing. They had been led and guided to where they are today throughout their whole lives.
I went to show the pictures you sent to Tachibana-san. So just so you know, their third daughter lives at home with her two kids. her husband works in Kyushu. She comes maybe once a month, neither of the kids are baptized, so we're trying to work with them. The oldest daughter is married and living in Okayama. The youngest daughter (the one with you in the picture) is married and lives in Nagoya. I believe she's still active as well. Anyway, ojii-san (The father) was really happy to see those pictures. He's not too interested in coming to church but is incredibly nice and said to say hello. The older lady in those pictures is his mom. He was very surprised to see pictures of her.
Go to http://jon-low.blogspot.com to view this video.
It snowed REALLY hard this Friday morning. We were studying and heard our next door neighbor shout "yuuuuuukiiiii!!" ("snooowww!") on her way to school.
It started like this, pretty soft.
It snowed for about an hour and got really strong. It was like Utah.
And then after another hour it looked like this.
Now that Michael is baptized, we need to work to find. We actually had a really solid, deep pool of investigators we were teaching before he came around, but they all kind of disappeared into thin air just before he was baptized. They either cut contact or just stopped keeping commitments and became unteachable. We're still meeting with Y-san every week though. I believe she can be baptized soon. She is a very caring, sincere, and loving woman though. She loves missionaries so much that she knows all of the missionaries in the zone by name as well. When Elder Knight, our zone leader, came to interview Michael for baptism, Y-san showed up and dropped off take out from an Indian restaurant, just to say hello to him. She needs a strong spiritual experience, I'm praying that we can make it happen eventually. Her daughter (18, baptized in October) was able to come to church yesterday for the first time in over a month. Juken (entrance exam prep) is killing her.
We tried to do some finding at the Seto Ohashi Bridge Commemorative Park this week. Even in the freezing cold, there were a lot of people there....still wasn't too effective though. It is a really nice place though. It's a pretty big park with fountains, etc. and a really pretty view.
Side note: Grandpa just sent me an email and I could only understand half of it. I know it was about my accident though and that he's willing to contact the insurance company, or even come down here, etc. I don't know what to do. The whole thing is just really mendokusai (a pain). I don't have time or energy to even think about going to the hospital and arguing with an insurance representative.
I sure hope nobody else is crying over hearing about my accident. Really, I'm fine. I ride my bike about 10 kilo's everyday and I feel fine.
I felt like I had a lot more to say but I can't think of too much now.
I kept meaning to write it week after week, but I did finally receive your Christmas package about three weeks ago. It looks like it got sent to Thailand somehow and that's why it was so late. Don't ask me why it went there...
Also, the package I sent you back around Christmas time is fine to open and look at. I remember you writing about it. In fact, those ties were supposed to be gifts. I was in too much of a hurry to write a note of explanation and put it inside. That stuffed animal with antlers on his head is Sento-Kun. He's the Nara city mascot. All of the big tourist cities have mascots, just like Himeji had that fat princess with a castle for a head. I always think they're so strange and end up buying one before I leave.
I'm glad to hear that there is Japanese instruction going on in Family Home Evening. The next step is to start singing the opening and closing hymn in Japanese. That helps a ton and is the best way to learn hiragana. Ganbare!
Here's a picture of the Las Vegas burger. It doesn't even come close to the Grand Canyon.
I can't think of anything else. As always, ask questions if you have them. Have a good week!