This just came in my son's latest email from Japan:
Lots of other cools things happened this past week, but because Thanksgiving is coming up, and because I am a missionary, I figured I could get away with doing tacky things, so I made a list of 100 things I am grateful for as a missionary. I will try to write some explanations as time permits. Here it goes.
1 Parents, I have been born to goodly parents who love the Lord. My parents have done so much for me. I am understanding more about how much they love me as I see the things they taught me bless me. It is hard to express feelings in words sometimes, but I am truly grateful for my parents.2 Siblings, I have a cool family. They are really funny and love me and are my best friends. I am grateful for their emails and letters. Can`t wait to have more fun after the mission!3 Grandparents, both my Kimball and Vaughn Grandparents have been a great support to me growing up and as a missionary. They have shown me good examples and always express great love towards me.4 Relatives, I have had many great examples of relatives serving missions and also am grateful as I receive letters and feel of their support. I know that they and many others are praying for me.5 Friends who served missions, they set the example and also have always shown me a lot of love and great friendship. Thank you!6 Friends who didn`t serve missions, there are many I know who didn`t serve missions but still are wonderful members of the Church. They remind me how important it is to be a good member whether or not you serve.7 Good health, it keeps me going!8 Humor, laughter is good. Enjoy the next part as it might get a little humorous.9 和食 Washoku (Japanese Food), I really like food, especially tonkatsu and other stuff too.10 Duct tape, fixes many problems.11 Daiso, Japanese ￥100 store. They have nearly everything I need to servive as a missionary.12 Japanese Pens, they write well13 My pink scissors, they cut well.14 Exacto knife, they allow me to cut down my milk containers for the Japanese recycling system.15 White boards16 Western Style Toilets, they are good.17 5 o`clock chime, reminds me to appreciate Japan18 Pokemon19 Purikura, funny Japanese photo booths20 Brazillians, met many on my mission, they are awesome, love them!21 Guarana, drank my fair share on my mission. Deliciouso22 Rootbeer23 Aircon24 Heaters25 Thermals26 Camera, lets me take cool pictures!27 Monkeys, they make me laugh, and I have seen lots on my mission.28 Japanese Castles, they are cool!29 Letters, make me feel loved, appreciated, and supported.30 Mountains, they are beautiful, remind me of God.31 Cleanliness, it`s next to Godliness32 Windows, let me see outside and let in light.33 Shoes without holes34 Trumpet, allows me to express myself a little bit musically35 Piano, used to play beautiful spiritual hymns36 Wrist Watch, helps get me to the Church on time.37 Bicycle, I want to ride my bicycle. I want to ride it where I like. It gets me around.38 Missionary Purpose, helps me focus my service.39 PMG, gives me so much guidance. Answers so many questions.40 Tebiki, Rulebook. Tells me what I need to do to be safe and receive blessings from God.41 Adjusting to Missionary Life Booklet, contains great ways to manage stress, which has really helped as I get stressed easily.42 Power of Everyday Missionaries, awesome book that helps me as a misisonary and with how member missionary work should be like. Thanks Clayton M Christensen!43 Electronic Dictionary, it has taught me more Japanese than anything else, besides the Spirit.44 立ち合い Tachiai (member present lesson), members help us so much, not just with the language, but they truly enhance the spirit in every lesson they help out with.45 MSF, missionary something fund. It lets me buy food and stuff for dendo!46 Insurance Card, it makes it cheaper when I go to the hospital.47 Reimbursements, allows me to get money back after taking trains all over the place.48 Daily Planner, I would be lost without this one. Helps me to accomplish so much.49 Journal, allows me to express my thoughts and record good memories. (need to write in it more)50 Nametag, It is empowering to wear the name of Jesus Christ alongside mine as I serve the Lord.51 Cell Phone, don`t know how they contacted people before they had this.52 Dendo Shoulder Bag, lets me carry everything I need to help the people I serve.53 Church Pamphlets, very simple and good visual aids. Make teaching easier.54 Mormon.org passalong cards, very good way to introduce people to the Church.55 OYM, open your mouth. I have had so many wonderful experiences talking to people on the street. I am glad my mission president really pushes us on this. I have also had my fair share of interesting experiences with OYM.56 Eikaiwa, English Class. Allows me to share something I know, or so I thinked.57 P-Day, gives me a chance to take a breath, email my family, buy food so I don`t starve, and get ready for dendo!58 Companions, some of them are difficult, most are perhaps a little strange, but when a companion shows me love, it helps me to change to become a better person and really do well serving.59 Koukan, companion exchange. I have learned a lot from great missionaries as I go on exchanges, especially Elder Tsukamoto.60 Missionary Leaders, they really help encourage and support and guide us in the work. I am also glad to have an opportunity to learn and serve as one.61 Mission President, President Yamashita shows me so much love. He teaches me an incredible amount through just his example.62 Mission President`s wife, Sister Yamashita is so funny and helps us do some of those things we might not particularly want to do, like 元気会 or Ninja lines, that help us out.63 Mission Culture, We Love the Lord, Trust the Lord, Serve the Lord. We work harder harder and harder with a big smile. We never give up and don`t set limits. We forget ourselves. We are One!64 Mission Honbu, mission home. They really help us out a lot as missionaries with supplies, keeping us safe, etc.65 Mormon Tabernacle Choir, they bring the spirit.66 Hymns, I love feeling the spirit through hymns67 Church, I love this Church, going to church makes me happy.68 Church Buildings, they are a great place, almost a 2nd home to us missionaries. Feel the spirit there and do fun activities there.69 Temples, though I don`t have one in my mission, I love seeing pictures of them and remembering the feelings and things I did inside of them.70 Members, they are our family and friends out here in the missionary work.71 Bishops and Branch Presidents, I have met so many wonderful leaders in the church who have really taught me great things about this gospel and help us in missionary work. Especially grateful for President Arata right now who is one of the most brilliant spiritual men I have ever met.72 Relief Society Presidents, the Mom of the ward or branch, they do so much and truly deserve a lot more thanks and appreciation than they are shown. (love you Mom, thank you!)73 Church Leaders in general, they really help all those they serve with their wonderful Christlike service74 Ward Mission Leaders, they are the missionaries` best friend and truly help us in the work. Shout out to my man Fabio in Inuyama and Mizuki in Ueda! (we don`t have one in Takayama)75 General Conference, hear the prophets words and feel the spirit so much that we sometimes are overcome by the spirit and even fall asleep.76 Prophets, they teach us the word of God with love.77 Joseph Smith, I love teaching about him. It empowers me as a missionary. I know he is a prophet of God.78 Brigham Young, I studied his teachings book. Learned a lot from this great prophet.79 Thomas S Monson, he is the prophet. I love him. I know he loves each one of us.80 Book of Mormon, it gives me so much guidance and helps me feel the spirit. I know it is true.81 Priesthood, so many miracles are performed under its power. You can`t do missionary work without it.82 Sacrament, a time to reflect and renew. A time to feel of the power of the Atonement.83 Testimony Meeting, a chance to share our gift from God.84 A growing testimony, it is either growing or decreasing. I am grateful that my experiences as a missionary are strengthening it.85 Seminary, taught me a lot. Especially helped me develop the habit of daily scritpure reading.86 Patriarchal Blessing, gives me comfort and counsel. It reminds me that God knows me and loves me.87 Liahona and other Church Magazines, they are wonderful. My picture even appeared in a couple. (2014 July? 2012 June?)88 Family History, remind me where I came from. Thank you Dad for your example of doing Family History work. Also makes Temple visits become more meaningful89 Gift of Tongues, I didn`t learn Japanese without the Spirit.90 Gift of the Interpretation of Tongues, understanding is a whole different game from speaking. The Spirit again helps me with this as I study and work hard.91 Trials, I wouldn`t grow without them, no matter how hard it may be in the midst of them, in the end, I am learning to become grateful as I see the result play out.92 Gratitude, helps me feel the spirit. Saved me from depression at times on my mission.93 Happiness, it is truly the love of God. Even though it isn`t easy, I have been more happy as a missionary than I ever have in my life.94 Prayer, I can talk to God. He listens. He answers.95 Faith, I believe in Jesus Christ. He helps me as I believe, understand, and act accordingly.96 Repentance, as President Uchtdorf put it, repentance allows me to leave the past behind with clean hands and a determination and a desire to be better.97 Baptism, I am grateful for a brother who has shown me a great example in my life and performed the sacred ordinance of baptism. I love showing people that picture.98 Holy Ghost, helps me feel God`s love. Without it, I couldn`t do anything as a missionary.99 Atonement, because of God`s love, Christ atoned for us. We are now able to become clean, to repent, and we will be resurrected and brought before God to be judged. Because of the Atonement, I can change and become worthy and return to live with God.100 Our Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ. I know that my Redeemer lives! That is one of the most powerful statements that I know to be true. Never have I seen Him, but I have felt of His love time and time again. I am so grateful for my opportunity as a missionary to share with these people I serve my testimony of our Savior, our Redeemer, even Jesus Christ.Happy Thanksgiving, Thank you!
|The "staged" pic from the New Era and Liahona|
The young man standing just got home from a mission to Ghana
(his family lives across and down the street from us)