Hey there everyone! So I have some interesting news for you. Sometimes, in Japan, the ground moves. It's this crazy thing called and earthquake. Woah. So, as I'm sure you may have already heard, there was a 7.3 earthquake in the Tokyo area. You may not have already heard, but all the missionaries are safe, so it's all good. We were actually in our apartment eating dinner when it hit, and over where we were it was only about a 2, maybe a 3, so we didn't even think about it. About 10 minutes later we got an email from the mission home informing us that parts of the mission just experience a 7.3, and told everyone to check in with their zone leaders and let them know if we were ok. So, in our case, it really wasn't all that exciting. What was really fun though was a few weeks ago when we were at a member's apartment and we had a 5.0 earthquake hit. Yeah, things did a little more than just shake a little bit. That was interesting. But, Japanese buildings are designed for these sorts of things, so there probably is no safer place to be in the world during an earthquake than in Japan.
Other than that, things have been pretty busy this last week. Christmas is coming up soon, and Elder Nakamura and I decided we want to make Christmas cards for all the families in the ward. We took some time to buy paper and some markers and a few other things, so we're going to be spending a little time over the next couple days getting those all put together. Other than the typical activities of teaching investigators and trying to find new people to teach, there have been a few good highlights. For example, we went to a wedding reception on Saturday. It's really kind of interesting being a missionary in Japan actually. In the states you see the missionaries at church, you invite them over for dinner once in a while, and you don't really expect to see them much more than that unless you see them riding around on their bikes. Here in Japan (or maybe it's just the Yamato Ward), the members always invite us and expect us to come to ward activities, ward parties, and apparently even wedding receptions. So that was fun.
One of the members in the ward, Brother Akasaka, has a less active son that we've been trying to contact for almost as long as I've been here. He's a high school teacher, so he's really busy all the time. Well, we managed for finally make contact with him on Sunday! Brother Akasaka is a way cool guy, and he's really nice, but if I didn't know already that his son is his son, I don't think I would have ever guessed. They don't look anything alike. He seems like a really nice guy like his dad though, so that's good. We're hoping we can start meeting with him once in a while, and hopefully he'll start coming back to church. That would be great to see.
On sunday we also watched the First Presidency Christmas Devotional. Basically it's just a small devotional from President of the church and his two counselors. They each share a 10 minute message themed on Christmas, and there's also music and singing. I highly recommend watching it. Here's the link: http://www.lds.org/
broadcasts/archive/christmas- devotional/2012/12?lang=eng There was some really good stuff that was said. I especially like Uchtdorf's message. Many times in an effort to improve ourselves and focus on giving, we almost become trained to think that receiving a gift is a bad thing, and we forget how important it is to be a grateful recipient. As he said in his message, there is no joy in giving a gift if the recipient is not grateful for receiving it.
So, I've been waiting some time now for this legendary Japanese fall that I always hear so much about. You know, red leaves and all that. The kanji for fall is actually the kanji for tree and fire combined, so that should tell you something. Well, now that we're in December, we finally found some red trees. It's actually kind of interesting, because some of the trees just had their leaves die and fall off kind of like in Arizona, and thy already have no leaves left. Then there's these trees with all their red leaves, and then there are other trees that haven't even started changing colors yet. So I'm not entirely sure when fall actually started around here.
That's about it for now! Oh, and one last final thought. I can't remember where I heard this, but there's quote that's been bouncing around in my head for a couple days. "There are two types of people in this world: those who say to God 'Thy will be done,' and those to who God says 'Alright, have it your way.'" Humorous, but I think it gets the point across. So yeah, take care everyone! More adventures to come next week!