San neen doryos

Dear wonderful family
This week has been awesome and crazy. We got another companion suddenly - Sister Barbour when her companion had to be hospitalized.  Kind of worrisome but her mom is with her and she should be out by the end of this week.  So, for now, I have two companions, Sister Barbour and Sister Stankosky. It's actually really interesting being a threesome, teaches you to be patient --- kind of like living in a family and you have to wait for everyone to get in the car to leave to go places.  But I really feel like I'm learning a lot from Sister Barbour.  She has a really dry sense of humor so I can never tell if she's serious or not, but I love her!  It's probably just temporary but it is fun to be a threesome in the meantime.
This week I went to Kofu with my good friend, Sister Julander.  I love her so much!  She has a Japanese mom too and we actually rode over together on the plane ride from the MTC.  I feel I have aged 20 years since then!!  But it was fun to Dendo with her in the countryside.  Her area is Kofu and I felt immediately relaxed when we rode about three hours by train into the mountains.  Just so beautiful! The people are way more slow paced and not as in a hurry as right in Tokyo where we are.  It actually reminded me a lot of Osaka, just the fact that you can see the mountains.  I had forgotten how much I love nature and how it puts you at ease.  Loved it!  We could even see Mt. Fuji from there!
I am doing my best to help build this wonderful area in Nakano. I have been here three transfers now and I love it so much!  One of the places I feel like I've seen a lot of growth is in our ward. I really feel like it's the home ward or something. Everyone seems very willing to meet with us and lately just volunteering for joints and when we bring friends to activities, the ward, without being asked, just fellowships. It is wonderful. As a missionary, you get such a different perspective on missionary work.  It really is best when it comes through the members!

This week we brought a new family to a Christmas dance the ward put on. TheNomura family. We have been stopping by their house every once in a while.  They live only three houses away from the church but have never been inside. We always chat with them in the genkon and sometimes drop off a treat. Finally, for the first time, they came to an activity on Saturday. The parents got a chance to dance together and see that the church is not a scary place. They said they probably will come again to the Christmas activity with their two kids. It was so exciting to see them in the church!

We made a new friend last week and he has been avidly attending all our activities. His name is Ayahito and we met him in a park just photographing things. We brought him to Family Home Evening and all the Youth were so kind and he kept telling us what a good feeling he has from being around all the church members. He came again to Eikaiwa and kept saying the same thing. I really do know that spreading the gospel is coming from the members, through their light and example. Now I really feel like all our role is, is to connect investigators with church members and help them learn through their examples. 
As a missionary, one of the things that I often struggle with is feeling like I have done enough. Lately, I have started to think about all the people that we want to help and how if we don't come for these people, that no one will. I have been thinking about how it is getting very cold lately and how each time we get on our bikes we go a distance for one person. I think about Christ and how it wouldn't matter the weather or the distance, that Christ would go any distance for me, so in representing him, we need to do everything we can for these people. Sometimes I feel the weight of our calling and I get hung up on coming up short when we don't get to every house we planned or if we're not able to teach as many lessons as I would like, or if someone doesn't meet their baptismal date. But this week I realized that no matter what there will always be something I could have done better, but that I can feel a great peace in my heart that the work we were doing is acceptable, and that as long as we are doing our best and being obedient, we can trust that the Savior will help us in our weaknesses.
This Christmas theme is one that I wish I could do every year. "What can I give for Christ?" Giving up something, or changing something to honor him. I love the scripture Ether 12:27. Heavenly Father will make weak things strong if we just ask him for help.
I love you each and am SOOOOOO Excited to see your beautiful faces!!!
Love you

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