Sunday, December 4, 2011

Christmas in Japan

In December of 1993, I was a new missionary serving in Hokkaido Japan.  I was so many miles away from my family and friends and all that I knew. It was a difficult time.  I had never been that far away and for that long, and I had never spent a holiday away from my family.

On Christmas Eve, I got to speak on the phone with my mom for a bit and she told me that she had mailed me a few things, but it was late so I probably wouldn't get it in time.  I told her it was fine, it was the thought that counted, but I will admit, as I struggled being so far from home and missing it so much, I was more than disappointed.  I had always loved Christmas and the magic of waking up and opening gifts.  Even though I knew I was doing something far more important than thinking of myself, I guess I still wanted something to mark that date.

I went to bed that night, trying to just not think about it being Christmas Eve. I told myself that I was giving Jesus the best gift of all-sharing a message with many who didn't believe in him and that would make Christmas special all on its own! And don't get me wrong, it really did!  It was definitely a different sort of experience!

Early the next morning, I woke up to my companion (another sister missionary) saying "ho, ho, ho".  Now, something you  need to know about my companion. She was a native Japanese girl so she didn't really grow up with all the Christmas traditions I was used to.  Christmas in Japan isn't really the same as it is here in America.  However, she wanted to make my first Christmas in Japan special, so the package of things her family had sent to her, she wrapped everything up and shared with me.  There were little things like nail polish and a little notebook.  I will never forget how fun that morning was! It was completely unexpected and totally from her heart!

That evening, as we returned from a long day of knocking on doors and trying to share our message, we returned to our little apartment to find a box of goodies left by the Elders  (also serving in our area). They shared some of their Christmas goodies with us, things like kool-aid and ranch dressing mix and jello!  They were heavenly gifts in a country where you can't buy those things and I already  missed them! LOL!

I will always cherish that Christmas as one of the best ever!

Here is today's freebie:

link expired


sherry said...

What a great memory, thanks for sharing.

NanaScraps said...

though there are many different cultures in this world the human factor matters...caring and giving to others..don't know if I am getting my point across....but thanks for sharing a memory and thank you for today's template and yesterdays.....and for the direct download link..awesome

Cassandraann said...

Yes thank you for sharing your story and template! My husband and I spent our first Christmas as missionaries in China, so I can relate to the "it's not the same" feeling. The one thing I always wanted when we were there was a salad with Italian dressing!

CBH said...

Thank you so much for this post. I want to let you know that I posted a link to your blog in CBH Digital Scrapbooking Freebies, under the Page 5 post on Dec. 05, 2011. Thanks again.