Marjorie and her kids! Converts from Koiwa! :) I love them so much.
I got this picture from sister Frank's at MLC- Kouno San's baptism from a while ago! :)
Hamburgers for activity
Our church! 5 stories!! Never mind the bill board... Or the truck... Haha
Dear family, Merry almost Christmas!!! :D I heard that the tree isn't quite up yet... I'm thinking that should happen soon because Christmas is coming soon!! I'm so excited! Sister Morley and I have been singing Christmas hymns ever since I came here to Matsudo. There are lots of pretty lights and I'm beginning to feel the Christmas Spirit strong already. I love Christmas so much! I hope you are all listening to Christmas Music and making Christmas treats, because that always helps me to be excited for Christmas. I've been thinking a lot lately about what kind of Christmas I want this year to be like. As a mission, we want to see one baptism for each companionship by the end of December to bring in the 'whiteness' and snow for Christmas. Sister Takahashi and I have been doing lot of planning for our zone meeting, which is tomorrow. We have really hard working Zone leaders and so we think that this zone meeting will be really amazing! We have a zone theme of "Give the Gift." During this Christmas season, we want to give a gift to Jesus Christ. After Jesus Christ was born, there were 3 wise men who came looking for Jesus Christ. When they found him, they each have Him a special gift. Each gift was different, but I imagine the wise men all felt a similar feeling as they saw the young Christ child. As missionaries, what we give to the Lord will be different for everyone, but we all want to promise to do something to be more consecrated as missionaries. We are all planning to change something about ourselves as a gift to Christ for Christmas. We feel really strongly that if we all commit to this one thing, each individually, that we will become more sanctified and be able to see one baptism/companionship before the end of December. So exciting! :) Anyway, I just wanted to encourage you all to think about what Christmas really means for you, and to think about something you would give to Jesus Christ if you had been there in the stable when he was born. This has also helped me to be so excited about Christmas! :D Alright, so I've had a way busy week! I don't think I've ever been so busy in my life. It's a good thing though. We taught a lot of lessons this week, and were able to pick up a few new investigators! So many miracles! On Wednesday, sister Morley and I decided that we wanted to visit 3 member families. We felt it would be good to drop by, share a short message, and then pray with the families before dendouing in their areas. When we arrived at the third members house, she wasn't home. It gave us an opportunity to think about what we should do at that moment, as the member was not home and our plans had changed. After saying a prayer to know what we should do, we noticed a young mother and her son playing at the park about 50 feet away from us. We felt like we should go and talk with her, and so we did! As we talked with this woman, (her name was Shimizu San) we learned that she was the member's we had originally come to visit, best friend! As we talked with her, she began asking us questions about our church. We just started to answer her questions when out of nowhere the member friend came riding by on her bike. She saw us talking with Shimizu San and stopped to come and see what was happening. I will never forget the look on this members face as she scrambled over to see us. We were able to have a lesson together right there in the park. It was such an amazing miracle! I saw light go off in this members face as she witnessed her best friend taking interest in the church. This member bore a powerful testimony of the Savior and of the true meaning of Christmas. This member really caught fire and it warmed my heart to see the hope in her eyes as we talked together with her friend. The member invited Shimizu San to come to the ward Christmas party. It was a really neat experience. I feel like there has been a great change in Japan in the short time I have been here. God is really hastening His work here. Being in the Matsudo ward has really given me a great perspective on God's hastening of the work. There are over 100 children in our Matsudo ward, and they are all coming from strong LDS families, preparing to be missionaries someday. It's amazing talking with these kids and hearing about what their parents have taught them their whole lives. The other day, the Cub Boys and activity day girls invited us to a lunch that they were hosting. They made us hamburgers and it was really fun! It was a huge activity-probably 50 of them all together, plus their leaders. I had the opportunity to talk with all of these cute little Japanese 8-11 year old boys and girls. Almost every child I talked to, said opening and without me asking them, that they wanted to serve missions and teach the gospel to their friends. A couple of them brought their friends and we were able to meet them and their families. I am so overwhelmed at the thought of these young people wanting so greatly to help share the gospel. They love the missionaries so much. It has been a humbling experience to be in this Matsudo ward. Everyone is so wonderful. I can't express what I feel, but I know that I was sent here for a much wiser purpose than I know now. God is hastening His work here in Japan, and in the whole world! We are so lucky to live at this time. We also found a new investigator this past week! We were riding our bikes to the bishops house, when out of the corner of our eyes we saw a young mother with two little boys. This woman seemed to be having a hard time. It looked like she was walking home from getting groceries and her little boys were running around laughing and playing in the road on their way home. Her hands were full of grocery bags and I could tell she was having a hard time keeping her little ones close beside her. We stopped our bikes and I began talking to the mother while sister Morley tried to entertain the little 4 and six year old boys. I usually have a small battle within myself when approaching people, but when I saw this woman I had no doubt or fear in my mind about what to do or say. I felt a great urge to stop her. As we began talking, she recognized us right away! She said she had met the missionaries previously. I asked her if she believed in God, and she said that the past sisters also asked her that question...She said that when they asked, she didn't believe there was a God. She said the same thing to us, but then after thinking for a little bit, said she thought maybe there was a God after all. She explained that all of the sisters she had met were always so happy, so maybe this happiness came from God? We were able to teach her and she asked us if we would walk home with her so that we would know where her house was for the next visit. Her name is Mika and she is very excited to learn about the gospel! The best part is, she lives really close to the bishop and so if she ants to come to church she can always catch a ride with them! There are so many miracles happening here. I'm praying that we will be able to keep up with the work that needs to be done and the lessons that need to be taught. Today, I had a visit from Marjorie and her kids! They came to Matsudo and we went out and ate dinner together. It was so good to see her! It was such a tender mercy for me to see her and her kids for Koiwa. I love them so much. We have an investigator, Shizuko San, sho is preparing to be baptized next week! Sister Reeder (previous missionary in Matsudo) and sister Morley taught her all of last transfer. She is really excited to be baptized and it has been neat to be able to finish teaching the lessons to her. Coming to Matsudo has really tested my Japanese skills. We teach all the time, and because sister Morley is still a fairly new missionary, You would think that I might feel a lot of the weight as far as teaching and talking goes, but I don't feel that way at all! God is really helping us to be able to say everything that we need to. I feel like my Japanese has come miles in the last week and all I can say is that the gift of tongues is a real thing. There has never been a time on my mission when I have tried to day something I feel impressed to say, and not be able to say it. As we trust in the Lord, no matter how weak our abilities are, he is able to multiply our efforts by hundreds and thousands. This is the work of the Lord! Towards the beginning of the week, Shizuko San was very nervous about being baptized. She said that she felt like she needed to understand everything and that she still had a hard time understanding the scriptures. She felt a lot of anxiety and she told us she didn't know what to do. As we sat in her living room, thinking about what we might share with her to help her feel better, this scripture came to my mind. 1 Nephi 11: 16-17 16 And he said unto me: Knowest thou the condescension of God? 17 And I said unto him: I know that he loveth his children; nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things. As we read this scripture together, we talked about all of the things that Shizuko San did know. We asked her if she knew that God lived and loved her? She reply yes, beginning to get emotional. We asked her if she felt like God wanted her to be baptized? She said she knew and felt it very strongly. We were able to testify and help her understand that we will never know everything or understand everything. Even prophets in the Book of Mormon, Nephi, did not understand everything. However, if we really know in our hearts that God lives and loves his children, then we can trust that everything else is okay because He is in charge. We may not understand everything, what we should or shouldn't do in life, but as we turn to the lord and ask Him, because we know Him and know that through him, we can know all things. I know that this church is true. This gospel has the power to change people and help them become happier. Jesus Christ is the savior of the world. He lives and loves us perfectly. He died for our sins so that we could return to live with Heavenly Father again someday. We could never do it by ourselves, even if we exerted every inch of power that we could muster. We need Jesus Christ. We need his Mercy and His Atonement. Because he loves us, we are worth something. He sees us as His greatest treasure, and stands with arms wide open to embrace any man who will come unto Him. Come unto Christ. Have a wonderful week! Love always, Sister Hubbard xoxo Sent from my iPad