Hello wonderul family,
Today for Pday we went to Saitama and went to a Bonzai tree museum with Kentaroh a recent convert and his sister who is visiting from college, Chiharu.  We saw a sign that showed us the correct way to view Bonzai trees, not laying down, or looking above, but in a Japanese persons most popular position-the squat.  From this position you can admire the beauty of the trunk, and see the details of the roots and leaves.  I never have spent so long looking at trees but it was a great Pday.  Some of the trees are so old that parents pass them on to their children, we saw a tree who was 350 years old I think, before the Restoration of the Gospel.  The tree was alive for the dark ages.  Bonzai trees are so small, like only a few feet, growing in small pots, and people, artists really put wires on them to make them into different shapes. There were some trees that were imitating dragons or waterfalls.  It was very artistic and beautiful.  Kentaroh, I feel, is very Dad-like and of course insisted on getting us the English Guide to listen to for each tree.  On the way home I was able to give away a copy of the Book of Mormon to his little sister Chiharu. She is very sweet and said she wonders what is in the Bible.  I shared with her a little from the Book of Mormon today, about how God wants us to feel joy every day.  I hope these people know how much I love them. 
I love Nihon so much.  It really is my treasure.  I know for certain that Heavenly Father is there.  This week I got my flight plans to return to America and it was so weird.  It seems so surreal, like receiving my call letter did in alot of ways.  This mission has been such a journey. Joy-filled, some parts painful, tired, but all in all it just feels like real happiness, everything.  But it has been so worth it.  There is nothing like the peace that the spirit brings. 
I am sad to think of leaving these people.  I love them with a love I didn't know I had.  But this scripture I have been thinking of lately says, "all things would have remained in the same state in which they were after they were created; and they must have remained forever and ever and have no end" (2 nephi 2:22).  We need opposition, trails, we need change. 
This week we taught one of our friends Daiki.  We are trying to help him stop drinking.  He really wants to go to the celestial kingdom but we told him he has to live all the commandments to get there.  He always says, "I want to go to the sun".  When we taught him the Word of Wisdom it made alot of sense to him, but he asked, "why isn't fast food included in the Word of Wisdom?" He couldn't understand it.  He is a wine maker so his whole life is centered around drinking but he wants to be clean.  I asked him how he knows what we have taught him is true and he said, "because when I talk to you about my life, my future, everything seems so clear".
We had another lesson with Mika this week about the Plan of Salvation, she really seemed to understand,  except for the part where we don't turn into another person after we die.  I think she believes in reincarnation.  We invited her to be baptized and she said she wants to but her dad seems a bit difficult to convince.  Okay sorry I have to go now, sorry this is all over the place.  I LOVE YOU!!
Sister Vail

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