Happy New Year akemashita omedeto!

Dear family,
Happy new year!
I feel like I have eaten enough to last me a lifetime. New Years here pretty much entails eating for a week straight.  Seriously, I am fasting for the rest of the year!  

Today we went to one of my favorite people in the world, Shimizu-san's house.  We have been teaching her for a while now, but her favorite thing to do is to teach us about Japanese culture.  Today she showed us how to make this thing called Ichigo Daifuku, it's like strawberry wrapped in red bean, wrapped in mochi, which kind or resembles playdough when you make it.  Of course Shimizu-san and my companion's looked like a beautiful porcelain ball and me and Sister Galbraith's mochi had cellulite.  Not very professional but very fun.
This week I felt a little discouraged thinking to myself, why I have been in Nakano for a while now and still haven't seen a baptism come from our teaching?  It made me feel sad like maybe I'm not trying hard enough or that I'm not exercising enough faith. I just felt so low and just prayed that I can be better so we can see a miracle.
One Elder said  in his testimony this week at our zone conference, "we just have to try our best, even if we don't work hard, the Lord will still love us, but when we work hard, we show the Lord how much we love him".  I always want to work in a way that shows Heavenly Father how I feel. I felt recommitted to always work hard and look forward with faith for the little miracles.

So the next day we were out streeting on Saturday night and there weren't so many people on the street.  It was really cold and it felt like everyone was kekkoing us (saying no thank you), and then just when we were about to go home for dinner, a couple came walking by asking us, "Mormon?" We talked to them for a while and it turned out they were Mormon but had not been in over 30 years.  They got busy with raising kids, and then moved to this area years ago and never reconnected up with the Nakano church. So they don't know any church members here.
We sang to them and they just became so happy. They kept saying how we were bringing back so many memories. I showed them pictures of you guys and shared my favorite scripture about Christ, in Helaman 5:12, how when we build our lives on Christ everything will be okay.  The sweet husband got tears in his eyes and said all these years, he still hadn't forgotten about Christ. He joined the church when he was 15 and now he's probably Dad's age.  He said that maybe because this is a New Year, he is being given a new opportunity.  They were surprised at our Book of Mormons because they only knew the "Mormon-kay" a really old version of the Book Of Mormon with super-hard Japanese that they used to use in the old days.  We gave them the updated version and they gave us their address.  We were so happy!  As we were walking ourseparate ways I looked at them and told them how much I knew God loved them. As I did, I really could feel Heavenly Father's great love for this couple.  I also felt  that he knew exactly where they were and exactly where we were. I felt so blessed to be able to cross in their path.  

We told our ward about this couple on Sunday and they are already tracking down this couple's records from years ago in another location.I learned this week that even though we do desire to bring new people unto Christ, that maybe our purpose sometimes in an area is also to build up the ward or to find the less actives and bring them back. I am still trying hard to do everything I can for our investigators, Maeda-san and Stefany but I was reminded very quickly this week to not be blind to the little miracles that are happening everyday around us.
I love Nakano and our ward.  I know Heavenly Father wants to work miracles in our lives, he is just waiting for us to ask!
Love you
Vail Shimai

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