Thursday, December 31, 2015

Merry Christmas!!

(December 24)

Merry Christmas, everyone! Today I got the best Christmas present ever, and that was to Skype my family - they are the best ever! Everyone really has grown and changed in their own little ways (although the Dad jokes remained the same). I'm so grateful that our family will last beyond this life and into eternity through the Atonement of Christ, whom we celebrate today. Truly His life and sacrifice set the rest of eternity on course. If you get a chance, look up "The Living Christ," the testimony of the 12 Apostles. Anyone in any walk of life really can become happier and more fulfilled by following the example He set. What a blessing it is to be able to celebrate His life today!

This morning, I was studying the December edition of the Ensign (church magazine) from the past few years. In the 2014 edition, an article by President Uchtdorf really stuck out to me. Here's an excerpt:

Think of the simple yet dignified way our Heavenly Father chose to honor the birth of His Son. On that holy night, angels appeared not to the rich but to shepherds. The Christ child was born not in a mansion but in a manger. He was wrapped not in silk but in swaddling clothes.

The simplicity of that first Christmas foreshadowed the life of the Savior. Though He had created the earth, walked in realms of majesty and glory, and stood at the right hand of the Father, He came to earth as a helpless child. His life was a model of modest nobility, and He walked among the poor, the sick, the downcast, and the heavy laden.

I know that Jesus Christ lived and died so that we could progress eternally with our families. Nothing will bring us greater joy :)

In other news, I have a new companion! My seventh companion in six months - definitely more than average. But we are doing really well! Sister Fritchen is from California and just got to Japan a little over a week ago. She's this cute little ball of smiles and energy, and also a really hard worker. We'll be together for the next three months, maybe more, and we're so excited!

The work in Japan continues to explode! Here in Iwakuni, we are spending a lot of time with American marines, actually, and teaching them the gospel. It's a little weird to spend so much time with Americans, but we are all children of our Heavenly Father and need the strength the gospel provides. We are working hard to find new Japanese people to teach, as well. This week, we had a fun Christmas party with our English class, where we sang Christmas carols, were visited by Santa, and decorated cookies (my favorite!). 

The other day, we were out talking to people by the train station and saw two cute girls waiting at a bus stop. We went over and talked to them about our English class and quickly became friends. When we found out one of their birthdays was the next day, we ran into the donut shop and bought all four of us donuts! The look on both of their faces was absolutely adorable. They couldn't stop saying "are you sure?" "Wow, this is so nice!" "Wow, thank you!" and it totally made our day. Little acts of can do them anywhere and make new friends easily! (We're also pretty sure they posted our picture online, so we're happy about that too.)

This has been one of the best weeks! I'm wearing short sleeves and a light jacket today - it really doesn't feel like Christmas outside, but on the inside, the spirit is there. So grateful for that

Grateful for all of your love and friendship! Merry Christmas!


Sister Janette Jorgensen
Japan Fukuoka Mission
9-16 Hiraozyosuimachi, Chuo-ku
Fukuoka, Fukuoka
Japan 810-0029

Transfer 3 over and out

(December 15)

Here's a couple of highlights from this week:
1. We met a guy on the train who we think is ex-yakuza (Japanese mafia). He had a full-on python bag, and made a huge deal about showing us his new 3300 dollar Burberry coat he'd just bought, complete with the receipt in a little gold envelope. Oh, and his thumb had totally been cut off and grafted back on. I know it's usually the pinky, but it was the grossest thing I've ever seen. Reminded me of the Phantom of the Opera. So there was that. 

2. I got to visit my first Japanese castle today! It was beautiful, even though it was raining a lot. I love this country, it's so beautiful!

3. We've had three random people come up to us this week, saying "hey, sisters!" and we have no idea who they are. But they want to be taught the gospel, so we're gonna teach them! Heavenly Father is putting awesome people in our path!

4. I can't believe my third transfer is over! They go twice as fast as the preceding one, I'm telling you. For the next two transfers, I will be staying here in Iwakuni and training a new sister missionary coming from the states right! I'm so excited for this opportunity! We're going to have the most fun and see the most miracles :)

5. I took the famous Japanese bullet train for the first time yesterday! It was super expensive so I don't get to do it a lot, but it was so fun! Even more fun was when I realized I can navigate the train/bus experience all by myself! I cannot get over how much I love this place and my mission in general!

The next time I talk to you, it'll be Christmas! So excited to be able to Skype my family, but more than that, I'm grateful to be able to celebrate the birth, ministry, and Atonement of my Savior, Jesus Christ. Truly I am and would be nothing without His constant care. Even though this year I'm not doing my usual holiday activities and concerts, I still feel that special Christmas spirit as I testify to people everyday of its importance. Sadly, in Japanese, the word for "Christmas" doesn't even have "Christ" in it. As we keep Him the focus of our upcoming weeks (and lives), we will be happiest!


(December 4)

Clayton got baptized! He was so excited and happy that he didn't even feel cold in the November Pacific Ocean. He radiates the light of Christ and his testimony so strongly, it really does inspire me. We met with him this week and he said there's been a lot of opposition to his conversion, both from the adversary and people around him. "There's going to be trials, though," he said, "it's how we show our faith." So proud!!! He is so awesome and has such a solid understanding of who we are, why we're here, and how we get back to our Heavenly Father. It seems a little crazy that we met and taught him on the other side of the world from where we all live, but it was undoubtedly the hand of the Lord guiding all of our lives to this point. I know He guides each of our lives, and that we can see it even in the minutia of every day. 

Check out "Because of Him." This video is just under 3 minutes, but given the choice between this and Gilmore Girls or even The Office for the rest of my life, I'd watch this all day. I always feel the Spirit and my love for Christ grows stronger! Let me know what you think!

Short and Sweet

(November 15)
Hi everyone! It's been an amazing week - can't believe how quickly time is flying! It truly is a blessing to be here in Japan, working for the Lord. I always feel most successful, happy, productive (and tired) when I know I'm doing what He wants. We have to be in our apartment by 9, but we always wait until the very last second, knock on just one more door, before we head in. We always run up the stairs, out of breath, laughing, exhausted, and plan for the next day. Sometimes we have to bike at rocket speed to get home on time, and during those times, I usually feel like dying. But being obedient is so worth it, and it's so fun! (Plus, I can't say I'd bring that intense of exercise upon myself if I weren't absolutely forced to as I am now.)

My English is going downhill...sorry for the awkwardness of my writing. And it's only been a few months. At this point, I often feel more comfortable speaking Japanese than English. 

It's been raining here lately, but today we visited an island called Miyajima, and had the most perfect sunny weather ever! It sure doesn't feel like the middle of November, but I'm not complaining! Hopefully we get to keep the sun and don't have to start dressing like Eskimos any time soon. 

A good friend of mine sent me a challenge, and I'd like to pass it on to each of you: 

Recently I read a talk called "The 40 day fast" and it got me thinking about a number of different things...anyway, Starting today there are exactly 40 days until Christmas! SO! My challenge to you is to choose ONE thing you want to improve on, ONE goal to focus on for these next 40 days. I promise that through prayer and hard work and not giving can accomplish whatever this goal is!:)

She's awesome. I'm going to do it! I'm not sure what I want to focus on yet, but tonight before I go to bed, I'm going to pray about it and decide what I can do to become more like Christ. We can do all things through Him!

Random fact about Japanese culture: old people love to tell you how old they are. They wear age as a serious badge of honor. Usually it goes something like this, "I can't learn English. I can't learn about Jesus Christ. I'm seventy-six years old. I can't remember anything." Usually people that age look about 60, so I'm always in shock. When I'm 76, I want to look 60 and ride my bike all over the place. Better start loading up on fish and seaweed!

All the love!

Little America

(November 8)
Hi everyone, hope you're doing well! Guess what, I transferred! I was sad to leave Beppu, but after my fourteen-hour travel day to here in Iwakuni, it instantly became home. My new companions are Sister Welte (Vegas) and Sister Klein (CA). It's very uncommon to work in a trio, but I'm really excited! So far, it's been a lot of fun. They are both angels, and I know I will learn a lot from them. 

In Iwakuni is a military base, which has its own branch. We attend this branch every week, so after months in Japanese, yesterday I sang hymns, took the sacrament, and did three hours of church in English! It was weird, let me tell you, but I loved it! So many cute little kids and families. It reminded me of the church in Jacksonville where my dad grew up. Since we have so many members on base, we went a couple times this week. Hello, America! They still drive on the left side of the road, but everything is in dollars and there are things like Costco and blond people there. 

I was a little apprehensive at first, worrying I'll lose my Japanese, but I know the Lord wants me here serving, and when He wants me somewhere else speaking some other language, that's where I'll be. Fortunately, we also work with quite a few Japanese people, and we even teach a free Japanese class on base! It really is the best of both worlds. I'm also looking forward to Thanksgiving a lot more than I was last week :)

This week, I am ponderizing 3 Nephi 13:22 (compare Matt. 6:22). In my study of 3 Nephi this week, I feel so much love from the Lord. I know that Jesus Christ did appear to the people of ancient America and establish His church on both continents. Because God loves us, He always provides a way for us to access salvation and eternal happiness. Amidst ups and downs, we truly can find comfort and purpose as we turn to God. I know it!

Have the best week! I love you!

Sister Janette Jorgensen
Japan Fukuoka Mission
9-16 Hiraozyosuimachi, Chuo-ku
Fukuoka, Fukuoka
Japan 810-0029