To My Dear GG 1st Ward Family…


Dear my beloved Garden Grove 1st Ward,

(I apologize in advance if my English is not the best, hopefully that means I am getting better at Japanese, or that I might come home and not be able to speak either language which I'm thinking might be the case) I wanted to express gratitude for all the love and prayers that have been shared on my behalf. I am so grateful for each and every members example in my behalf. I have often thought of the example from my ward family as I have been a missionary here in Japan. It's funny to be serving across the world in a foreign land and meet people and members and realize they remind me of my ward family members so much. I ought about why that was so and realized it was the amazing strength and testimonies that each member has and the love that radiates is the same in each of us no matter where we are in the world.

A fun experience I wanted to share with you all, a member named kitahara shimai here in Hachioji every fast Sunday has the
missionaries and an assortment of members and investigators over each time and together we eat an incredible meal, have a family message and sing hymns and top it off with a picture. As this sweet member showed me three albums full of pictures of years of memories of every fast Sunday meal she recorded since 1992 I was amazed! A friend of ours who had been invited to the meal said how hard it must be too feed so many people each time and prepare so much, but kitahara shimai said how each of the people that have come through her home whether they be missionaries, members, friends, or investigators have left a lasting impression on her heart and that was priceless and worth every minute. As I continued to look through the albums along with the pictures of
each meal and a little description, she had put in cards she received and wedding invites from a variety of missionaries throughout the years. One invite that said Huntington Beach on the address caught my eye, I opened the envelope and lone behold I saw two familiar faces whom I love, bishop and sister hatfield. I was so happy and told sister kitahara shimai this i
s the bishop of my home ward right now, they were so happy to hear the hatfield are well and said he was a great missionary here! I am so grateful for the strength of the garden grove first ward, Bishop and Sister Hatfield along with each member of the ward, Bishop Stowell, Mama Barbie, Risuenos, Bremmers, Sister & Bro Smith, Bowmans, Sister Koford, Sister Huebner, Akina, Gracia, Wallace, Van Patten, Kishishita, Bro. and Sis. Schenck, Sister Gloria Haynes, Sister Hinkson, the Cruzs, the Davis, the Cooleys, Yuens, Bowcuts, Pikes, Toelupes, Gleasons, Rodriguez/West, Schwartz, Reupenas, and Garlock's. I'm so sorry if I have forgotten anyone! But bottom line I am grateful for each of your examples, they have helped me to cultivate and grow a testimony of Christ for myself and now from your examples I get to share this special gift of the gospel with others. Thank you. Through our heartfelt kindness and service, we can make friends with those whom we serve. From these friendships come better understanding of our devotion to the gospel and a desire to learn more about us. Each of you has a special light that helps others see the path towards our savior Jesus Christ, and as you share that light you each help move the lords work forward. Elder Ballard said, "The future growth of the Church will not happen through just knocking on strangers’ doors. It will happen when the members, along with our missionaries, filled with the love of God and Christ discern needs and respond to those needs in the spirit of charitable service." I always remember the proactive and selfless service the Garden Grove First ward members always gave to my family and so many others and I hope you all continue to help the work move forward through your loving service with those serving in the ward. I love you all, and to all my many mothers and grandmothers in the ward I say, HAPPY MOTHERS DAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I love you all!!!!! I am so grateful for all of you and send my love to each of you from Japan!!!

Sister Natalie Wilson
These pics are for bishop hatfield lol! 
Love my GG 1st Ward connections!


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