The Light
Japan Kobe Mission: December 2000

"Behold, I am Jesus Christ, the son of God. I am the Life and the Light of the world." --D&C 11:28

Mission President's Message

Dear Missionaries,

This season fills me with such joy I think about the Savior and what He has done for us. 1 think of the people who have come unto Christ during the past month through your efforts. Thank you for your hard work; not only at finding, teaching and baptizing, but at strengthening new members and helping the less active rekindle the fire of testimony in their hearts.

What a month December is. We have the privilege of helping people come unto Christ at the same time the world celebrates Christ coming unto us. "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given:: and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6) There is no greater message, for He is "'the way, the truth and the life." (John 14:6) It is because of Him that we are able to come to earth and know that there is a way back to our "home" with Father. Jesus Christ is the center of everything we do. He "created the heavens and the earth and all things that in them are." (3 Nephi 9:15) He and His Father breathed into man "the breath of life". (Abraham 5:7) Joseph Smith described seeing Jesus and His Father by saying that Their "brightness and glory defy all description." (Joseph Smith - History 1 .17) And yet this God of heaven and earth chose to be born in the humblest of circumstances, in a place where animals were kept, to a simple family that had little of material value to offer Him. By His example He taught us how to live a life of internal peace and contentment, unrelated to our wealth or station. By His resurrection He provided for each of us the surety of a perfect, immortal, resurrected body. By His suffering and death He unlocked the door leading to eternal life, an opportunity to live together and fellowship with Him and His Father, and to create eternal families of our own.

At this season we remember that our Father in Heaven gave us the great gift of His Only Begotten Son. This is why we give gifts to one another, as a similitude of the Gift of God to us. As missionaries we have a special opportunity. We can give to others the gift of Jesus Christ, Himself. This will be a key topic in the December zone conferences as we share testimonies and ideas about how to do this. This can make December the most wonderful month of the year 2000. Elders and Sisters, I love Jesus Christ with all of my heart. I love each and every one of you. And I love the Japanese people. Let's take the love we feel for one another and demonstrate it by giving the Gift of Christ to someone. In fact, let's give the Gift of Christ to as many "someones" as we can, beginning now and continuing right through O-shogatsu.

May the Lord bless you in this special and sacred effort.

President Robertson

From Sister Robertson

Dear Wonderful Missionaries,

As the millennial year (2000) comes to a close, I feel like I can "Taikoban o oshimasu" all of you wholeheartedly. Do you know this idiom? It means "to stamp a drum-sized seal", or "enthusiastically endorse" or "highly recommend". We are so grateful for your continued efforts, zeal, and enthusiasm. And, speaking of Japanese idioms, we are also grateful that you never "saji o nagete" on your all-important work (This idiom means "to give up in despair"). On the contrary, many of you continue to inspire us with your unfailing dedication to the Lord's work.

Well, I hope you got to take a few pictures of the beautiful children in kimono for Shichi-go-san. In December, the only official Japanese holiday is the Emperor's Birthday, which just happens to be the same day as Joseph Smith's Birthday, December 23rd. Perhaps, this is a good way to introduce the prophet to your PI's. Tying up loose ends at year's end, super cleaning houses (and apartments - hint), and preparing for the biggest holiday of all, Oshogatsu, keeps everyone busy this last month of the year. (See the Japan Times articles on "Gantan" and "Kadomatsu" in this issue)

In recent years Japan has celebrated a commercial side of Christmas. During our first Christmas here, we looked in many stores for a nativity scene (Baby Jesus, Mary, Joseph, Shepherds, Wise Men). Almost none of the many people we asked even knew what a nativity scene was. So, there is a lot of opportunity to teach the true meaning of Christmas whenever and wherever you get the opportunity. I have always liked to teach my Eikaiwa students the serious side and the fun side of Christmas and show them the difference. If you would like some pre-made handouts to help you do this too, let me know. I can send some to you. By the way, have you noticed the increased percentage of baptisms coming from Eikaiwa? Congratulations! That means you must be doing a good job--attended by the Spirit.

And that reminds me that I have had a number of new conversion stories recently. It amazes me how many times these very grateful converts mention the "glow" or "unusual appearance" or "dignified" and "caring" behaviors of members and/or missionaries as an initial attraction for them. So, keep the Spirit with you. We know that's what they detect. And maybe be a little extra service oriented (a good birthday gift for the Savior) during this season.

Don't forget:

Love, Sister Robertson

President Gordon B. Hinckley

I am an optimist! What a wonderful time it is to be alive, here at the turn of a milestone century! With that frame of reference, my plea is that we stop seeking out the storms and enjoy more fully the sunlight. I am suggesting that as we go through life, we "accentuate the positive." I am asking that we look a little deeper for the good, that we still our voices of insult and sarcasm, that we more generously compliment and endorse virtue and effort.

I am not recommending that all criticism be silent. Growth comes with correction. Strength comes of change and repentance. Wise is the man or woman who, having committed mistakes now pointed out by others, changes his or her course. I am not suggesting that our conversation be all sweetness and honey. Clever expression that is sincere and honest is a skill to be sought and cultivated. What I am suggesting is that we have had missing from our society a buoyant spirit of optimism. What I am asking is that we turn from the negativism that so permeates our culture and look for the remarkable good in the land and times in which we live; that we speak of one another's virtues more than we speak of one another's faults; that optimism replace pessimism; that uncertainty and worry be pushed aside by an enduring feeling of hope.

From a very wise person

Watch your thoughts....they become words
Watch your words....they become actions
Watch your actions...they become habits
Watch your habits...they become character
Watch your character...It becomes your destiny.

Living on Earth is expensive, but it does include a free trip around the sun.

It's no use having a good memory unless you have something good to remember.

While faith makes all things possible, it is love that makes all things easy.

'Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of it's own.

After all, Today is the Tomorrow you worried about Yesterday.

Grandma and the Cake

A little boy is telling his Grandma how everything is going wrong; school, family problems, severe health problems, etc. Meanwhile, Grandma is baking a cake. She asks her grandson if he would like a snack, which of course, he does. "Here, have some cooking oil." 

"Yuck", says the boy. 

"How about a couple of raw eggs?" 

"Gross, Grandma!" 

"Would you like some flour then? Or Maybe baking soda?" 

"Grandma, those are all yucky!" 

Grandma replies, "Yes, all those things seem bad all by themselves, but when they are put together in the right way, they make a wonderful, delicious cake! God works the same way. Many times we wonder why he would let us go through such bad and difficult times. But God knows that when He puts these things all in His order, they always work for good! We just have to trust Him and eventually, they will all make something wonderful!" 

God loves you very much. If God had a refrigerator, you picture would be on it. If He had a wallet, your photo would be in it. He Sends you flowers every spring and a sunrise every morming. Whenever vou want to talk, He'll listen. He can live anywhere in the universe, and He chose your heart. What about the Christmas gift He sent you in Bethlehem; not to mention that Friday at Calvary. Face it, He loves you very much in spite of all of the problems that you tell me about. He loves us all, regardless!

The Russian Czar

There once was a czar in Russia whose name was Rudolph the Great. He was standing in his house one day with his wife. He looked out the window and saw something happening. He says to his wife, "Look honey, it's raining." 

She, being the obstinate type, responded, "I don't think so, dear. I think it's snowing." 

But Rudolph knew better. So he says to his wife, "Let's step outside and we'll find out." Lo and behold, they step outside and discover it was in fact rain. And Rudolph turns to his wife and replies, "I knew it was raining. Rudolph the Red knows rain, dear!"

Zone Taikais for December

12-04 10 AM   Kyoto/Kita at Shimogamo
12-07 10 AM Nishi at Akashi
12-08   1 PM Higashi at Toyonaka
12-11 10 AM Chuo at Abeno
12-13 10 AM Sakai/Minami at Wakayama

Mensetsus for December

12-04 6 PM Kita at Shimogamo
12-06 9 AM Nishi at Kitarokko
    1 PM Himeji/Miki at Akashi
12-09 11:30 Nishi at Kobe
12-13 6 PM Iwade at Wakayama
12-14 9:30 AM Gogo at Mikuni
   2 PM Mikuni at Mikuni
12-16   10 AM Kita at Sasayama
   12:30 PM   Kita at Fukuchiyama/Maizuru

Baptisms in November

11-03      Takeuchi, Yuki
11-05 Nishikawa, Kimi
11-05 Dwevedi, Sunil
11-05 Maeda, Toshihasa
11-05 Kitou, Tayuto
11-11 Osami, Hosoya
11-12 Yagi, Emiko
11-17 Yamakawa, Eiko
11-20 Kawabata, Miyako
11-25 Okumura, Chie
11-26 Mori, Mayumi
11-26 Ishiguchi, Muneya

Birthdays in December

12-01Rhett Butler
12-04Michael Anderson
12-09Scott Swenson
12-10Evan Caldwell
12-10Matthew Heywood
12-11Kristopher Benson
12-16Ryan Clark
12-22   Dreanna Sproat
12-31Kirk Nakano

New Missionaries

Autumn Brooke Barker, Farmington, Utah
Donald Carlos Bjelde, Fort Lupton, Colorado
Paul Cochran, American Fork, Utah
Christine Lillywhite, Aloha, Oregon

Returning Missionaries

Samuel Alfred, Brisbane, Australia
Evan Caldwell, Midway, Utah
Jeffrey Gustafson, Moorhead, Minnesota
Deseret Miyamoto, Waipahu, Hawaii
Nathan Turley, Gilbert, Arizona
Drew Yergensen, Salt Lake City, Utah
Airi Ikemura, Okinawa, Japan

Voices from the Dust

Last month we exhausted our wonderful team of translators who take our English and put it into Japanese or vice-versa. We want to put out our "Light" but not theirs! (Good luck on translating that pun!) So, in this busy holiday season we'll tell you a message from just one of our beloved RMs and thereby keep the translation work more do-able

Elder Thompson returned last month and reports (as hav many returnees) that part of the "transition trauma" is seeing so many things that have changed. In his case, returning to SLC, it looked very different from when he left. He wondered repeatedly if the streets had always been so wide. His home had been redecorated. He had four nephews and nieces lie didn't knowl Ward members' kids were all grown up. Some of his friends were actually married! All of this and the newness of no companion, etc. worked on him to get him down a bit. (This, too, is a fairly common response.) However, Elder Thompson, you'll be glad to know, practiced what he preached, read the scriptures, and got a message. In 2 Nephi 1:21, he read, ".....arise from the dust, my sons and be men, and be determined in one mind and in one heart, united in all things, that ye may not come down into captivity!" He said that within just hours of feeling this after-mission slump, this scripture aroused him and helped him to quit thinking about himself and to instead find ways to be of service. He then shares what some of those ways are. But, because of "kindness to translators month", you will just have to call him and ask. (A good idea!)

Anyway, a good message for those of us still here as well. One of the most common things we hear from our "dearly departed" is to value the mission time and not waste it. So...back out to dendo. And for those at know how badly we need members to lead the way, so ... more next month and gomens to our tsuyaku no hitobito. And, thanks Elder Thompson for those words of "transition wisdom."

The Great Kobe Earthquake

On January 17, 1995, Kobe was struck by a massive earthquake. It was the second largest earthquake in Japan, in terms of damage, in the twentieth century. A staggering 5,000 people lost their lives, and 26,000 people were injured in the quake. More than 20,000 homes were destroyed and 56,000 buildings were damaged. Fortunately, even though the epicenter of the quake was only a short distance from the Kobe Ward chapel and the Kobe Mission home, these buildings were not damaged. They were available to serve as a center for preparing meals, distributing food and supplies, and organizing relief efforts

One member, 76-year-old Nagai Kimiko and her non-member husband were killed. Two children of an investigator family also lost their lives. Considering the number of Latter-day Saints in Kobe, the Church was fortunate in not losing more lives. Among the 300,000 Kobe residents left homeless were 35 member families. The ward and stake moved quickly to provide shelter and to meet their other needs.

Stake President Donomoto Tsutumo and Kobe Ward Bishop Takagi Kenji took charge of Latter-day Saint help and rescue operations. Kobe Mission President Curtis P. Wilson was also very much involved. All three men were impressed with the untiring labors of the Japanese people, members and others, and their willingness to share and help each other.

Gantan (New Year's Day)

  1. Shogatsu, literally translated, means the month of January
  2. New Year's Day is called gantan, or ganjitsu.
  3. Generally shogatsu means to most people the first three consecutive days of January.
  4. Most Japanese people think of shogatsu as being very important because January is the opening month of a new year.
  5. The Japanese tend to consider each year as an independent unit.
  6. A New Year begins with hope and joy.
  7. During the New Year's season, the Japanese try to behave in an exemplary manner, not getting involved in fights or speaking ill of others.
  8. They believe that the spirit of seriousness decides their future in the new year.
  9. The Japanese eat osechi dishes, special food that is prepared during the last few days of December.
  10. Relatives, friends and acquaintances exchange visits.


(New Year's pine decoration)

  1. The kadomatsu is a pair of pine branches used to decorate the gates of houses during the New Year's season.
  2. It is a combination of pine, bamboo and plum branches.
  3. Pine, bamboo and plum trees are considered to be symbols of good fortune and are called sho-chiku-bai for short
  4. The pine tree, being an evergreen tree is considered to be a symbol of long life.
  5. The bamboo grows upright; in other words it is straightforward and tenacious.
  6. The plum tree blossoms in spite of the cold weather.
  7. These trees are used for kadomatszu, as wishes for long life and prosperity.
  8. People start decorating their houses with kadomatsu on about December 28th.
  9. All the decorations are taken down around January 7th.
  10. Usually a pair of kadomatsu is displayed symmetrically.
  11. The Japanese flag is also put up at the front of the house along with the kadomatsu.
  12. In recent years fewer families seem to decorate their houses with kadumatsu.



You will need:

1 bowl of cooked rice (2 for a companionship)
2-3 pieces of tempura from the grocery store deli* (4-6 for 2 people)
1/2 cup water 
1/4 teaspoon fish broth seasoning (hon dashi)
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons shoyu (soy sauce)

How to make:

In a small saucepan, mix water, fish broth seasoning, sugar and shoyu. Bring to a boil and then simmer (almost boil) for 2 minutes.

Add the pieces of tempura and simmer another minute.

Put the pieces of tempura on the rice.

Spoon 2 tablespoons of sauce over the tempura.

* Pieces of tempura may be pumpkin, eggplant, fish; shrimp, sweet potato, or green pepper

Pinwheel Date-nut Cookies

The pinwheel date-nut cookies served at the November taikais were made from chopped dates imported from the U.S. If you have a place to get dates and still want this recipe, call Sister Robertson and she will be glad to share.

Easy Peppermint Sundaes

Crush up those candy canes you just might get during the upcoming season and sprinkle them over a dish of ice cream You might let it melt a little and stir it all in. Yum! Easy & tasty too.

Recorder's Corner

Welcome to the Recorder's Corner. For those of you who are fortunate to be reading this short article, I would wish to express thanks for diligently turning in your stats on time. If you are one of those District Leaders, keep up the good work. For those of you who might not, as a reminder, please fax in the district stats on Friday. I promise, there are a plethora of blessings awaiting your obedience. Also, when the joyous occasion of a baptism occurs, make sure to fax in the confirmation record and the baptism record together, and then mail it in. Do not leave the church after a confirmation without the records.

Thank you for your patience. Keep up the good work, and Dendo Shimasho!

Love, Pearson Choro

Assistants Corner

Dear Chomai's and Shiro's,

Wow, can you believe that it's that bell ringing, carol singing, hot chocolate season already?!? What a great time of year to be a missionary! What a great time of year to he one who knows Jesus Christ and feels of His love. It's a time of year to remember who we are, and whose we are; that we are children of a Heavenly Father who loves us so much that He sacrificed His Son to save us. It's a time to remember why we do the things we do as missionaries. That it's not about stats and rules and new methods (although those are all important parts), but that it's all about the love of our Savior. We're all about bringing people unto Jesus. Christ is at the center of all we do. What an amazing privilege it is to get to introduce someone to their Savior. What gift does the Savior want from us for Christmas? What do we have to give Him? The Lord tells us what we can give Him in John 14:15. "If ye love me, keep my commandments." The Lord truly rewards our obedience! Especially at this time as we are all striving to make sacrifices and to be diligent during a season that is usually filled with parties and fun. As we continue to be focused and to implement the things we learn, God will magnify bur efforts. No matter how much we give, He'll always give us more in return. Let's all do our best to glorify the Savior this season by working hard to share His love. Regardless of the weather, with Christ in our hearts we'll never be cold. He is the reason for this wonderful season. Let's all find the greatest joy this season by giving someone Christ for Christmas.

Have a Merry CHRISTmas!


Elder Yergensen and Elder Potter

Secretaries Corner

As we begin this wonderful Christmas season we are reminded of the reason we are here in Japan. To spread the word of Christ and have souls come unto Him who sacrificed Himself for our sakes, that we might again live with the Father in His great mansion. The mortal life of the Savior began two thousand years ago in a very humble setting. In your mind's eye picture the setting of the manger with cattle and sheep about and with shepherds and lowly people attending.

Who is the Child? *

Who is the child in the swaddling clothes,
     lying asleep in the manger?
Mary and Joseph watch nearby,
     Who is this little stranger?

Hush now, the child is the Son of God
     Jesus is quietly sleeping 
Shepherds have come to worship Him; 
     Angels their watch are keeping

Let us celebrate this season with this thought of the most important day in the history of this earth. Even the birthday of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

We wish you a very merry Christmas and pray for all of the great missionaries in this Kobe Mission.

Sister and Elder Pyper

* The LDS Children's Songbook

Merry Christmas to All