Monday, January 9, 2012

あけましておめでとうございます(新年に言う言葉) Happy New Year!

Hey Family!

         Sorry I didn`t get e-mails off last week or yesterday...last week I figured we had just talked so there wasn`t really any need to, and then yesterday we actually ended up getting called by a member randomly and asked to help them move some stuff. We had just enough time to look at the e-mails we received, and then had to jet off to a lesson that we had scheduled for right after p-day ended. Sorry for the wait :) 
          It was awesome to see all of you last week on Skype! I love you guys so much :)  It`s crazy to see how everyone is changing while I`m gone...and Nathan`s voice is soooo different! I kinda felt like I had tons of stuff that I wanted to talk about before, but then in the moment I couldn`t remember any of it. haha. I think that I probably will end up taking the mother`s day call...we`ll probably want to figure out flight plans and all that stuff. (At this point I`m sure you are all laughing to yourselves and thinking "Ha, yeah we knew that all along..." ;P ) Anyway though, yeah the time on those calls always seems so short, but I guess that we will have lots of time to catch up on things in about 5 months.
         The last couple of weeks really have been good! I mentioned a little bit about that little event that we had with the hospital for handicapped people when we talked on phone...that was probably one of the neatest experiences that we had for Christmas this year. The people there were severely  handicapped, most of them to the point where they couldn`t really move much at all or even talk...and to be honest it kind of ran through my mind at first whether they would be able to recognize or enjoy the songs that we were singing or the other performances. Elder Wilson and I dressed up in the Santa suits though, and along with all the members from the branch start singing the songs that we had prepared for them. We completed all the songs that we had, and then Elder Wilson and I went out in front and put on our best Santa voices and started saying things like "Hohoho Merry Christmas!" and "Merrrrrrry Christmas everyone!" Their reaction to that is something I don`t think I will ever forget. As soon as they heard that and saw us in our Santa costumes, their faces just lit up, and they started stretching out their hands to us while doing their best to talk. The nurses and doctors helped those that couldn`t move at all to sit up on their beds, and we walked throughout the room, shaking their hands and saying Merry Christmas to everyone. By the time we finished, the atmosphere was completely different in the room...when we had first walked in I had felt so sad to see all of them in that condition, but when we left everyone was happy and smiling and as we walked out there was one person who actually start waving and saying "bye bye" to us. I think that made one of the best Christmas experiences that I`ve ever had...I felt so much love for those people there at the hospital, and felt so strongly that despite the less than ideal physical circumstances that they are in, that they are such special spirits.
        Our investigator is doing really well! We have another date that we were able to set with him for January 29th to be baptized! Still has those difficulties that he has been trying to overcome, but we feel like we are unified with him to do everything we can for him to receive baptism on that date! :) We have still been in a kind of slow spot with finding new people to teach, but we are doing our best to work through the members to find new investigators. We actually do have one other investigator...I can`t really remember if I told you about him before. He is from the Congo and was taught in the past by the missionaries, but now we got back in touch with him and started teaching him again. He grew up speaking French, but also speaks English and Japanese. Really really great guy and we are excited to meet with him again. 
        We also had a really good New Year! On New Year`s Eve we had a Nabe lunch after church with a few less-actives which was a lot of fun, and then that night we were invited over to the senior couple`s apartment to have the special New Year`s dinner that they have in Japan. By the way, Nabe is basically a have a huge pot in the middle of the table, and as you eat you just keep throwing more ingredients into the pot where they cook super fast. Basically a soup buffet...from one pot. haha. Anyway, it was a ton of fun being with the Matsuhashis...their kids came from other places in Japan and we had fun talking with them while we ate.
       In answer to some of the questions you had...yes, Elder Wilson actually knows all three of those people in Huntington Beach. Doesn`t know them very well, but has definitely met them. Also, yes, there are lots and lots of traditional looking houses...with all of the crazy tiled roofs and sculptures and stuff. It looks pretty cool :) The shoes are great mom, thanks! We don`t see Japanese women in kimonos a whole lot...but they wear them a lot for festivals and other special occasions. Anyway, I`ve gotta run! Thanks for all your e-mails, and for being a wonderful family! I love you!

                                                                                                                                          -Elder Voss

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