I hope everyone had a fantastic start to the new year. You are all amazing!! I know it's already the second week of the year, but don't stop doing those New Year's resolutions yet!
For shogatsu (new years) in Japan everyone goes to shrines. Yamaji Shimai called usand asked if she could take us to a shrine and we said of course, so on pday we went to one together. I got to see a little of the Buddhist culture and saw someone pray. I don't really now how to describe it since it was all so foreign and I didn't understand most of it. We bought a fortune out of this machine for 100¥ ($1) and read them (I didn't understand it at all haha) and we tied it to a tree branch so it would come true (hopefully it was a good fortune).
The Iwasaki's invited us, Yamaji Shimai, the Elders and another person in our branch over for a special dinner for shogatsu. We made sushi!! They had some fish, vegetables, rice, seaweed, and all that stuff all over the table and we made our own sushi. I think it's safe to say that I will never work at a sushi restaurant... mine didn't look too pretty, but it sure tasted good!!
Apartment-trapped = lots of cleaning:
On January 3 we weren't allowed to go proselyting since shogatsu is huge and lasts a couple of days after the 1st. So we stayed inside and cleaned the entire day. In Japan they do their deep cleaning at the end of the year so that they can start the new year fresh. We were sent a list of what to clean by the assistants and we cleaned for about 7 hours straight. We cleaned everything, and now we have so much trash in our main room that we have to throw out. And by everything I mean EVERYTHING. We cleaned the outside of our front door, our planters that are outside, washed the curtains, vacuumed our futons (our beds), cleaned the light fixtures, cleaned under the tatami mats, if there was something to clean, we cleaned it.
I know I've already mentioned her a couple of times, but she's just amazing!! We taught her the commandments this week and also went over repentance with that. Tea is pretty big here in Japan (it's like coffee in America), and she loves tea. She even told us that she was in a tea club in high school. She was so surprised when she heard that we can only drink herbal teas. She then had one of the members right down teas she could and could not drink so she could follow it. We went over each commandment individually and then asked her if she would keep it and she said "of course" every single time (even the Word of Wisdom). We had a practice interview with herand she passed! Her real baptismal interview is and she's a little nervous for it, but I know that everything will work out. We planned her baptismal service after church and her two options for a font (our small little building doesn't have a font) were either in a hotel bath tub with warm water (I'm not sure how big the bathtub is) or in a rentable pool outside the church with freezing cold water and she just said she doesn't care she's just excited to get baptized (we picked the warm one for her though). She also picked "Angels We Have Heard on High" for the closing hymn which is a Christmas song that we sang at the Christmas party and she just loves it so it'll be Christmas in January!
I don't think I've mentioned her a lot lately, but she's the lady who brought her cat to church. We have been trying to contact her and she's always busy and then when we get the chance to talk with her she isn't very interested so we decided to drop her. Faith to find, faith to drop. It was kind of sad, but I know that when she's ready the missionaries will be there for her!!
Word of the week:
Pronunciation: peck-o-peck-o (you say it really fast)
Pics (going across):
1. Shogatsu dinner
2. All of the trash we collected in our apartment haha
3. Me and Yamaji Shimai tying our fortunes on the tree
4. The entrance of the shrine
5. Don't exactly know what this is
6. Walking in beautiful Japan
8. Yamaji Shimai and me!!
9. Close up
10. Sister Boden and I got matching cat slippers and they are so warm and comfy. Japanese people always where slippers in their houses because the floor is always so cold.
I love the faith that Yamaji Shimai has. It's a beautiful thing - she's ready and seems excited. I also love these pictures - Japan is beautiful and I think that Sister Jordan Wunderli has really immersed herself into the culture and the people so that she can truly love and serve them. I'm so proud of her.
I'm also very appreciative to all of you who support her via letters, emails (firstname.lastname@example.org), thoughts and prayers. It means a lot to us (her parents) and to her and I know that she can feel your prayers. Happy New Year and make it a great one.