The Most Wonderful Time of the Year! Happy Birthday, Ryan!

Hello, everybody! How are you doing in your various locations? I am doing quite well here in Shimonoseki, Japan!

This has been a very nice week. We have seen great miracles lately as we have been focusing on Christmas and have begun sharing the Church’s new Christmas video (see christmas.mormon.org). One of our new investigators, Arisa, is a 21-year-old college student who has had contact with the church since a member invited her to a 4th-of-July party they had a year-and-a-half ago. She loves the members because they areso friendly, has been coming to church whenever she can (which has been off-and-on because of school and work), attends institute (and enjoys it because even though she does not understand much of the doctrine, everybody is nice and helps her out), believes in Christ, and did a few lessons with missionaries last year but was not able to continue meeting. Recently the Institute teacher referred Arisa to us again, and we had been trying to come up with good ways to start teaching her. She likes playing music and Elder Colton is a very good pianist, so we decided to ask her if we could play some Christmas songs together and teach her about he meaning of Christmas, and she said yes! So, after playing and singing some Christmas hymns for a few minutes we had a lesson with her in which we shared the Christmas video, taught and testified of Christ and the blessings of following him, shared a scripture about following Christ through baptism, and invited her to be baptized…and she said yes! We will be meeting with her again this week (hopefully a couple times), and are hoping to do a musical number in Sacrament Meeting either this or next Sunday.

Christmas is a wonderful season! I am grateful for my Savior and Heavenly Father, who were willing to give such a wonderful gift to all of God’s children, and I am grateful for the opportunity to share that gift with His children.

Brother Tanaka, Sister Fukatani, and Sister Miyamura continue to do very well. Brother Tanaka was sustained to receive the Aaronic Priesthood this past Sunday. When we arrived at church he was already there (about 30 minutes early), and was looking very nice in his new suit and haircut. On Saturday night around 10:15 pm we received a call from President Egan (our mission president) informing us that he still had not confirmed with his companion yet, so it wasn’t certain, but as had felt prompted that they should come to our branch for church on Sunday. Apparently Sister Egan must have agreed, because they rolled into the parking lot about 15 minutes before Sacrament meeting started. The branch members were quite thrilled. President and Sister Egan are so wonderful! The branch leadership invited them to bear their testimonies at the end of fast-and-testimony meeting, and I felt the spirit very strongly as Sister Egan bore her testimony completely in very good but simple Japanese. Both President and Sister Egan do exactly as they have instructed their missionaries to do, which is to: 1. Work Hard, 2. Work Smart, 3. Be Strictly Obedient, 4. Have Fun! and 5. Come Home Tired. They are truly great examples of losing themselves in the service of others, and I am so grateful to have such wonderful examples of Christ-like service!

I love this work and am grateful to be a part of it! This work is not mine, nor that of any mortal man. This is the God’s work.

I hope that you all have a wonderful day, a fantastic week, a very Merry Christmas, and a fantastic remainder of this year!

Love,

Elder Madsen
マドセン長老

#ASaviorIsBorn

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