Dear family, Aloha!
Yesterday was our friend Usa Kyodai's baptism. He isn't the type to smile very often, but he did yesterday, A LOT! We were teaching him on Thursday night about the importance of baptism. He's been working towards that goal for a while now, but we were shocked when he started looking at his phone calendar at the end of the lesson and then says, I think it s best if I get baptized this Sunday, the sooner the better. SisterDolan and I were so surprised but so excited. He's only 19 so he's still considered a child in Japan, so he still needed to ask his mother's permission. It was very short notice but he passed his interview with flying colors, his mom gave him permission, and the ward was so great helping us plan his special day in just 3 days. It was a miracle! He seemed so happy and the best part was seeing him smiling. He told us that we are his big family and to please help him with anything he doesn't know. He is such a humble young man and it's exciting to see him start down this road. The ward showed their love and decorated him with leis and gave him juice and snacks. This reminded me of Hawaii. Definitely a miracle I feel grateful to have seen.
This week also we made soba with these darling retired ladies. They acted like teenagers really. Misakosays she has 5 hobbies --- and one of them is making soba. We met them coming out of the community center where they also practice their many hobbies like Latin dancing and badminton. I hope I can be that active when I'm their age. Misako-san invited us to her house and taught us how to make these noodles. It is an art --- even the way she makes them in this little soba house outside. It smelled really natural and she even had a little koi pond too. We ate the work of our labor and we told them about how all beautiful things come from our Heavenly Father. Japanese people have this view of God like he is in everything, which is true but they think there is like a god for the ocean, a god for the plants, the idea that he is an actual father is really foreign. I love these Japanese people with all my heart. They are so good and they always make the best of everything and appreciate everything. They are a joy to be with.
I have to make this quick, but I know that the most important thing is nurturing relationships. I love you guys so much, but am loving the people here because of you.
Everything is going by very quickly these days and I'm trying to just cherish each day. I know that Jesus Christ lives and that because of him we can live too. Because of Jesus Christ I can try every day and become better. This is the greatest gift --- that we can improve.
I've been thinking lately how time can be our greatest enemy or it can be our best friend. 5 minutes. 5 minutes doesn't seem long but it's long enough to say a prayer, read a scripture, write a note, and make a friend. If we delay important things, nothing will happen immediately, so it's easy to put off things like taking care of our bodies or reading scriptures, they are not urgent but they are important. I was thinking about this with relationships. If we don't listen to children, or talk to Heavenly Father, one day it will catch up to us. Like when someone suddenly has a heart attack. Or with relationships we will find ourselves far from the ones we love without ever realizing how we got there. President Budge taught me this week about how just little by little is how we can avoid big stresses later. Avoid emergencies in the future by doing a little bit at a time to improve something today.
Anyway... I love you all and I know that we can be happiest when we do the small but important things.