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)

Monday, December 10, 2007

Baptism and Saxophone

Well the baptism went well – I even said the baptismal prayer in Portuguese with no problems! Latin based languages are a whole lot easier – that’s all I have to say about that. Brother Reinaldo Nagata will be confirmed a member of the Church this upcoming Sunday and will receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. The blessings are just innumerable. His whole family came to church as well to see the baptism – and two of their friends. The wife was a little sad since she is a pretty strong member of another church, but I think someday she’ll join her husband in receiving baptism.
Brother Reinaldo is just incredible though. He reads and understands everything. His testimony is so powerful and he is just a kind, gentle man. He really wants to learn Japanese now so that he can talk with the other members – but while he learns, I think he’ll feel loved.

The baptismal service went very well. Elder Golladay translated everything from Japanese to Portuguese and back – he felt like a squeezed orange afterwards – but the Spirit was very strong. The two sister missionaries, Elder Golladay and I sang “abide with me” in Portuguese, and then everyone sang “I am a child of God” in Portuguese for the closing song (although a Japanese pronunciation of Portuguese is pretty funny).

Otherwise, it has been a very eventful week. Tuesday we had interviews with President Traveller, Friday Elder Golladay and I went to Nagoya for zone leader council, and then today was cleaning day – tomorrow is transfer calls (exciting! kind of). In between all of that, I have been doing something pretty fun. I use the saxophone that the branch president let me borrow, and we go down to the train station and I play Christmas songs. While I play, the other missionaries hand out fliers for our English class and for our Christmas party coming up. It is way fun to play – I included a picture so you can see me. We all wear Santa hats and the sisters wear Christmas lights around themselves – very fun. I wish I could do that every night.

So I haven’t received any hard evidence that I’m transferring, but logic and rumors say that I am going to – probably to Kanazawa, but I won’t know until tomorrow. If I do, I think I will shed a few tears, because I have come to love Matsumoto so very, very much. The members are amazing – and are some of my best friends. The investigators and recent converts, and other friends I have gain are all examples of faith and kindness. I had the wonderful blessing of seeing two souls receive baptism here, and I will miss Brother Reinaldo and Sister Wang very much. I hope to return, but that certain knowledge that we will all meet again someday is very comforting.

I am keeping warm – I spoiled myself with a very nice hat – so even when riding a bike as it snows, my ears are toasty. There are a few signs of Christmas here and there – though it is all about Santa. Actually, let me answer those questions you sent me mom.

1. Give us a brief description of how the people /communities in your mission celebrate Christmas - what's similar? What’s different? What’s the most surprising or unique thing to you?

Well, Japan is a funny place for Christmas. First off, it isn’t a national holiday, so people go to work just like normal. There are some Christmas lights here and there, but everything is focused on Santa Clause. They don’t really give many gifts, though the stores advertise just like in America. The traditions they do have however include eating a Christmas cake, which they purchase at the local convenience store, and then eating Kentucky Fried Chicken for dinner. Both of these traditions are done because they think it is what everyone does in America for Christmas. There are also a couple Christmas songs that little children sing about Santa, but I have never heard them before. Really, it is kind of like Valentines Day in that it’s a nice day, and maybe you do a little for it, but not too much. I’m not sure how Santa gets into houses anyway; they don’t have chimneys at all. However, when I go to church, and hear “Silent Night” and “Hark the Harold,” it feels like Christ and the true meaning of the season has not completely been ignored.

2. What do you miss (if anything) about Christmas here?

I miss the word `Christmas` everywhere Christmas is advertised, it is always Xmas. People not working would be a good change too. However, I have enjoyed the experience very much and will always remember my Christmases in Japan.
3. Feelings about being a missionary.

Being a missionary at Christmas time is an amazing opportunity. I get to explain what this holiday is about to people who never knew Christ and Christmas were related (they are pronounced differently in Japanese). If ever there as a time to declare glad tidings, it’s during the same season that angels did many years ago. The Light of Christ seems to penetrate many barriers during the season of giving in commemoration of His gift to all.

4. What you'd like to share with folks back home in Lenexa?

Though I miss Kansas (well, minus the freezing rain), it really has been a great opportunity and blessing to be teaching Christ to the Japanese people. I have come to love them and see that God loves all people in all places.

Well I`ll talk to you next week. Hope things are well.


Elder Alexander Todd Fuller
Japan Nagoya Mission
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints


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