This year for Christmas, Mills Shimai, Mackenzie Shimai, Mitsuyama Shimai and I received a surprise telephone call. Or rather, Mackenzie Shimai and Mitsuyama Shimai received the call. As of December 24th, our apartment of four will become an apartment of two. Mitsuyama Shimai and Mackenzie Shimai are transferring to Kyouto and Mills Shimai and I are whitewashing Takatsuki and taking over both wards. So, we have become the Sisters for both the Ibaraki and Takatsuki wards....hence making us the Ibaratsuki Shimai. That phone call ended with a lot of tears on all of our parts, it is really sad for the Takatsuki Shimai to be leaving for the entire ward, and the apartment will be really different with just the futari. It is slightly overwhelming to be learning our way around two areas at once, since Mills Shimai and I are still learning our way around Ibaraki....and also learning all of the member’s names in both wards, as well as adopting the investigators from the Takatsuki Shimai. But, the Lord has a way of stretching our comfort zones and showing us that we can accomplish more than we think we can when He is on our side.
It was a really weird week though...we didn't know when the Takatsuki Shimai would be leaving until Saturday night because we kept hearing lots of different things from mission leaders...but it was finally decided that the Takatsuki Shimai would be leaving on Christmas eve. So, I have re-decided that transferring is a very sad thing...even when I am not even the person transferring!
On a happier note, we had a fun ward Christmas party this week! And we had a few of our investigators come and they all loved it a lot. Also, two missionaries from Ibaraki finished their missions and just came home...which was incredibly exciting because they are really excited about helping the missionaries do missionary work. The members here are really wonderful and super loving especially at Christmas time. They are just such an amazing group of members and they always do so much for us at Christmas time. After church yesterday they gave all of the missionaries a large box of presents for Christmas and it was the sweetest thing ever. (Japanese church members really help you feel super loved all of the time :)
There is nothing quite like being a missionary at Christmas, especially at Christmas time. As a missionary, Christmas just pops up way faster, for whatever reason. And I have decided that it is because we are focused on "Christmas" every single day for this 18 month period. And the Christmas season just makes it even more wonderful to share why we are out here talking about Christ, every single day - on Christmas there is a light brought into our work. I found this quote on lds.org and I really liked it.
"When we keep the spirit of Christmas, we keep the Spirit of Christ, for the Christmas spirit is the Christ Spirit. It will block out all the distractions around us which can diminish Christmas and swallow up its true meaning."
The Spirit of Christmas is the Spirit of Christ, and we may notice it more at Christmas, but we can keep this spirit with us at all times.
Merry Christmas everyone!! I love you all :)