Alex Fuller's Mission to Japan

Alex at MTC From June 2006 to June 2008, Alex is serving
a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ
of Latter-day Saints in the Japan Tokyo
South and Japan Nagoya Missions.
(click pic to enlarge)

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Christmastime in Shimizu

Merry Christmas!!
Here in Shimizu, it certainly won`t be a white Christmas. Nevertheless, Japan is doing it`s very best do get ready for Santa Clause. When we talk to people on the street, we try to explain that Jesus Christ and Christmas are related. They have no idea! Christ in Japanese, borrowed from the Portugese who first came in contact with them several hundred years ago, is Kirisuto. However, they spell Christmas just like us and pronounce it the same. So they don`t see the connection at all. In addition, everyone just uses X-Mas now anyway. They would more likely link X-Mas with Malcolm X or the X-Men before Christ. So when we explain it, they are completely mesmorized. They asked how Santa got into the holiday...which we don`t have a great answer for really, but it is fun.

Even though the commercial side of Japan is trying really hard to make Christmas a big holiday, it still really isn`t. They don`t get work off or anything. To them, it`s a hyped up Flag Day which is a precurser to New Years. I haven`t yet experienced New Years, but it is supposed to be wild. Usually missionaries aren`t aloud to go out on that day because of the mass drunkedness. We`ll see what fun we`ll have though.

So lately we have been doing a new type of proselyting. Christmas Caroling!! It`s very, very fun. We stand outside of a trainstation by the city`s Christmas decoration and as a district sing hymns and songs in both Japanese and English. We then have someone standing in front handing out fliers for our free English Class or about our church. A comment on their christmas decorations. Shimizu seems to think Cinderella was a good theme for decorations this year. There is a carriage shaped like a pumkpin and everything that comes with that all lit up and sparkly. However, the rest of the decorations have nothing remotely to do with Christmas, except for a couple bells. It`s quite hilarious. So as we sing, we give out lots, and lots of fliers. Lots of people are taken back when they see us and many stand and clap for a while. It`s really fun, and sometimes, when we sing silent night or another hymn, you can tell that people walking by are feeling the Spirit which scuh songs bring. It is an amazing experience.

Yesterday I saw a salvation army lady outside of a store. I was amazed. Weent and talked to her for a while and she was increadibly nice. We became good friends. They don`t ring a bell though. They stand by a very nice fabric pot thing and talk into a microphone hooked up to an amp. Non-stop they talk and talk and thank people for when they donate...though very few do. It`s very interesting.

This morning, we got a phonecall from the 2nd councilor in the bishopric who is from Canada. He lives here with his Japanese wife with her parents who are farmers. He called and asked us to come over and help them put up four greenhouses. We of course said we would love to and he assured us it would only take about an hour or so and he would take us out to eat later this week. Well, we worked straight from 8:30am to 3:30 and finally finished everything. It was increadibly hard labor and I will be soar for several weeks. Nevertheless, it was very fun and we were able to leave a very good impression with her parents who aren`t members of our church unfortunately. They tried to pay us, quite a bit actually, but somehow we were able to explain what Christian service was. Kindess is our religion. It was foreign to them, but I think they realized towards the end that we`re just here to help.

Well the adventures just keep coming and it`s been great to serve here. I am doing very well and am excited for Christmas. I hope you all have a great week and a very merry Christmas.

Elder Alexander Todd Fuller


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