Merry Christmas! Happy New Year! :)

こんにちは! How is everybody doing in their various locations? I am doing quite well here in 清水、日本 (Shimizu, Japan)!

This week has been quite wonderful! I am so happy to have been able to see and talk with my family on Christmas, and I am glad that it appears everyone is doing quite well. I am glad that the Lord has provided technology for us to be able to see and speak with each other over such long distances.

Last night we were finally able to meet with Daichi. I mentioned in previous emails that we have been doing a "12 Days of Christmas" activity with him, during which we have been giving him various gifts along with scriptures that tell the story of Jesus’ birth. In his Christmas package Elder Gonzalez received a little nativity set and a note from his mom to give it to Diachi, so we left that at his door the other night (he still was not at home). Then we called him to set up an appointment to meet, and (as already mentioned), we were finally able to meet with him again! It had been about 22 days since we last met in person, so it was wonderful. We gave him the video Joy to the World to watch (the final gift of the "12 Days" activity). Unfortunately he is going out-of-town this week to celebrate New Year’s with his family, so we won’t be able to watch the video with him, but hopefully he will watch it on his own.

During our lesson we taught from Alma 37:35-46 about keeping commandments, and then specifically about the importance of reading God’s word (the scriptures) and praying in order to receive guidance from God. Daichi still does not feel like he has recognized the Spirit (which we assured him is alright, as we wait on God’s timing for the answers that we seek) so we are still focusing quite a bit on helping him recognize the Spirit, and prayer and reading the scriptures are essential for not only being able to feel the Spirit, but also to recognize that it is there. We are hoping to be able to share a really good video about recognizing the Spirit, because Elder Gonzalez and I believe that he is definitely receiving spiritual promptings, but may not yet recognize that what he feels is the Spirit.

I love you all! I am so grateful for the opportunity to be a missionary. It’s so great! I can hardly believe that it’s been nearly a year since I entered the MTC. How time flies (when you’re having fun)!

I hope you all have a great day, a super week, and a wonderful last three days of this year…and 365 of next!

Love,

マドセン 長老
Elder Madsen

p.s. Here is a picture that President Gustafson had taken at our recent mission conference with Brother Heaton (technically this is not all of the missionaries, since it would have been very expensive to fly all the missionaries up from Okinawa; however, it was still quite a large group of missionaries. There is a reason we don’t usually have all-mission conferences in our mission). See if you can find me!

p.p.s. Yes, Mom, I was coughing a bit, as I had recently acquired a cold. 😦 I am hoping not to have to go to the doctor for bronchitis. We shall see…

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