It`s almost December! Is that crazy or what?? This year has come and gone in the blink of an eye! I realized the other day, that in three weeks when we get to talk on the phone, there is a possibility of me being in the exact same area that I was seven months ago when we talked on Mother`s Day! THAT`S a pretty strange thought. Everyone here in Matsumoto (or rather, all the members in Nagano ken) are always talking about how unusual it is for someone to be here as long as I have...they are always like "Elder Voss, I`m happy that you didn`t transfer because we love having you here...but really, when ARE you going to transfer??" haha. I`m glad that I have had the opportunity to be here so long though...I feel like I know pretty much all the members in the zone, and have been able to meet so many amazing in that time.
This has been another good week! We had a great experience while we were housing ! Well, I say housing...but what we were doing was going out to contact referrals that we had gotten from the sisters, and then doing the 10X housing pattern that President Baird introduced to us. It was probably one of the more far out places that I have been to in Matsumoto, and it was absolutely FREEZING that night. We biked out to a place close to the biggest college in Matsumoto (which for some reason is out in the middle of nowhere) and discovered that the place we were supposed to contact was actually right next to a Juvenile Delinquent center (not a terribly promising environment I know). In the end we actually weren`t able to contact the referral, but we started 10Xing and after about 20 minutes we ran into this woman named Ikeda. The whole apartment had kekkou boxes (intercoms) and so we were afraid that nobody would actually come out to talk with us because it was so cold, but started talking to her and asked if she could come to the genkan for a couple minutes so that we could share our message with her, which she readily agreed to! She came out and it ended up turning into us teaching three of the principles from the first lesson, giving her a book of mormon, and inviting her to read and pray to know if it is true...which she agreed to as well! :) It was awesome! That whole experience reminded me a lot of when when we first housed into Miyake shimai in Toyota and almost the exact same thing happened. We are going to go back this next week for another lesson, and we have a really good feeling about her. We also found several other PIs in that same building, so we are going to visit them too when we go back.
Otsuki is progressing really well! We have had a couple lessons with him this week, and he is really working hard to prepare for baptism. It might take a little more time for him, but we feel confident that with the desire that he has to be baptized and to be on the right path, that he will receive the help that he needs from Heavenly Father.
Probably one of the coolest things that we had happen was when President and Sister Baird came to do two firesides this weekend. It was mainly focused around the in-active members in our branch, and it was a huge success! In specifically there were two members, one who we have been meeting every week, and one who just randomly showed up at Eikaiwa this week, who benefited from it so much! They both haven`t been to church in a very very long time, but during that fireside President Baird asked if they would commit to come to church and be as active as they could for three months, and also take the steps necessary to prepare to go to the temple, which they agreed to. I think that a lot of the members were kind of doubtful how that would turn out, but they came, dressed in suits, and ready to follow exactly what they had committed to do! They had a great time at church, and really seem like they are ready to follow President Baird`s counsel.
Anyway, there was a whole lot more to the week...but I`ve got to run! I hope that everything is going well back home! On a little side-note...we actually did get to have somewhat of a Thanksgiving celebration! We got a whole bunch of less-actives (who brought a lot of their non-member friends!) and had blast making pies, which we ate with vanilla ice cream...sooooo delicious! We also followed the traditions that we had from back home by talking about the things that we are grateful for...which in turn really brought a great spirit to the whole activity, and we were able to introduce some of the basic things about the church to the non members there. Gotta run! I love you all, have a wonderful week!! :)