Iesu Piedro’s Birthday! Happy Halloween! Merry Christmas?!

こんにちは! How is everybody doing in their various locations? I am doing quite well here in… 清水 (Shimizu)! Yes, I am staying in Shimizu, so I will be here for the next six weeks, and Elder Gonzalez will still be my companion. In fact, our whole district is staying (which is kind of crazy, since a few of them have been here for six months or longer)! Also, my previous companion and trainer, Elder Jensen, transferred into our zone, so I will see him in just a few days!

This week has been quite superb! On Tuesday we met with Inoue san (Iesu Piedro), whom I have mentioned before. During that conversation we discovered that his birthday was the following day (Wednesday), so we decided to return again on Wednesday and celebrate with him. We bought some cake, ice cream, and Calpis (a Japanese soft drink), which we gave to him, and had yet another great conversation about various religious topics. He really likes to talk, so it has been a great exercise in trying to keep our conversations focused, but he loves talking about Christ and religion. We visited him yet again on Saturday, during which visit we invited him to be baptized; however, he said that he does not want to commit to joining a church that he does not yet know much about, and explained that he wants to read the pamphlets we gave him but his eyes are so bad that he can only read the very large type that is printed on some of the pages. When we asked if a magnifying glass would help he said that it doesn’t really work for him (I don’t remember why), so we are going to copy the pamphlets and enlarge them to a size that he will be able to read. We also invited him to church (provided that we could get a ride for him), and he said he would come…and he did! We were able to pick him up with one of our members, Brother Aikawa (who was actually baptized just four months ago; he is awesome!). Inoue san seemed to enjoy the Priesthood and Gospel Principles classes (which we have before Sacrament meeting in our ward), and actually commented quite a bit, but unfortunately he had to leave before Sacrament meeting. Oh, well. Hopefully he will want to come again!

I love this work! I know that the Lord is leading it, and as long as we trust in Him He will guide us to those who are prepared. I am grateful to be a missionary!

On Saturday night we had a Halloween party (which we missionaries had spent a bit of time preparing for throughout the week). It turned out rather well! There were crazy kids running around, candy flying, candles melting, and all sorts of Halloween fun. The Tsuboi elders (for the other ward that meets in our building; we all live in the same apartment) had a potential investigator come with her family, which was great! Everybody seemed to have a very enjoyable time. The best costume was definitely one of the toddlers, who was dressed up in an octopus costume. It was so cute! I have pictures, but (as I mentioned in previous emails) cannot send them from the library computers, so I will have a stack of pictures to send whenever I am able to. People in Japan know about Halloween and some celebrate it, but it definitely is not as big as in America. Apparently they don’t actually know that it’s on the 31st, but think that it’s sometime last week. Daiso (Japan’s dollar store) was selling Halloween stuff (decorations, costumes, etc.), but when we stopped there on Saturday (to get some more things that we needed for the Halloween party) they had already replaced the Halloween displays with Christmas decorations! Also, the Colonel Sanders statue standing outside of KFC is already bedecked in his Santa Clause clothes! It is rather interesting how these holidays are interpreted in Japan. Apparently, for some reason Japanese people think that we Americans eat fried chicken for Christmas, and therefore it has become tradition for Japanese to go to KFC (although in Japan they just call the restaurant "Kentucky") for Christmas. I have no idea where that tradition stemmed from (I don’t remember eating fried chicken for Christmas), but there it is! It is very peculiar how traditions change between cultures.

I love you all, and hope that you have a wonderful day, a fantastic week, and a great year (only two months left)!

Love,

マドセン 長老
Elder Madsen

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