Monday, August 26, 2013

Tokyo Japan Week 3

Hey! So... This is gonna be way short, cause I just wrote this massive letter with all this cool stuff and... The internet cut out and I lost it all. Yeah... That was a doozy. Haha, so this is gonna be brief since I've been on the computer for a while already. Dang, it was a way good letter too! Sorry, that actually really bums me out! 

So onto the week! It was way good. Dang... I really wish I hadn't lost that other letter, it was really so good! We had a great lesson with our investigator named Chika, and we commited to her to baptism, and she said yes! She's gonna be baptized on the 28th of September, and we're so stoked for her. It was an amazing Spiritual lesson, and yeah, Chika is the bomb. We had stake conference which was so good! I wrote all about this in the earlier letter that was lost, but yeah, it was really awesome. That night we were teaching Saratandra, our Sri Lanka investigator, and we found this super prepared family because of it! Again... Wrote all this is the letter that was lost. So lame that I lost it! Sorry, haha. Then I met Sumi this week during splits! Super great kid who loves guitar and skateboarding, so we became instant buddies.

So... I lost that really great letter, but oh well! Haha, this Gospel is so true, and I'm so thankful to be here in Narita. I've seen so many amazing things, and my testimony has been strengthened so much because of this decision to serve.  I love you all so so much! I'm sorry this letter is pretty short, but blame the internet! Haha. Anyways, I hope you all have an awesome week. Dad! Thanks so much for all that you do. You're such an amazing Dad, and I'm so thankful for the example you set for me. Mamma! You're the greatest mom in the world. Seriously. Thank you so much for everything! You're the greatest, I love you and pray for you and the whole family everyday!

Hurrah for Israel! Tee internet stinks! Haha. Have a great week! I'll write more next time! 

-Elder Justesen

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Tokyo Japan Week 2

Hello from Japan!! I hope everyone had a super great week, it sounds like everyone is doing way good! First off... HAPPY BIRTHDAY MAMMA! I'm sorry I wasn't there for it, but know I was thinking about you all day, and praying that you had a great day. It sounds like you did though so that makes me way happy! Sorry if I seem a little hyper, it's been a way good week, missionary work wise. Thank you all so much for your letters! They mean so much to me, and I love hearing from all of you. On to the week!

So on Tuesday Elder Taylor, one of the AP's came on exchanges with us and we worked HARD. By the end of the day, we found 13 new investigators, and we taught 12 lessons! The Lord blessed us so much, and I even found one all on my own in Japanese! I was really thankful from the help I received from the Lord. He's really behind us in everything, and He's preparing people for us to meet everyday. Being a missionary is seriously so great. Many days it can be so hard, especially learning Japanese, but meeting people and telling them about the wonderful Gospel principles makes me so happy. Speaking of that, we set 2 baptismal dates this week!! Our investigator Shiyuu accepted last night, and our other investigator Ogura accepted 2 days ago. We're so stoked for them, and their incredible faith is so inspiring. They're truly prepared, and I'm so thankful to have met them. Elder Taylor told me at the end of our lesson that my face lights up when I talk about the Gospel, and he said he could really see that I love being a missionary and this Gospel. It was way nice of him to say that, and I give the thanks to my family. You all taught me so well when I was a kid about how this Gospel blesses lives, and I'm so thankful to all of you for setting that example to me while I was growing up.

So! Somewhat of a funny story. So the other night we're getting home from the day, and Elder Hamada (My awesome Nihon-jin Companion) says he wants to make us a traditional Japanese meal! We say yes of course, and he quickly whips up this really tasty looking rice meal. However. On top of the rice is a long pink meat type thing, and it looks a little sketchy. It's really soft, and completely raw. We ask what it was, and he refused to tell us until after we ate it! So, we start eating it, and it DID NOT taste right! But I kept eating until my bowl was empty, and Elder Burgin and I asked again what that was. He smiles a bit and says... "It's fish ovaries! Really good right?!" Haha, so yup! I ate fish ovaries. Pretty cool right? Hahaha, I can just imagine Mom freaking out. Welcome to missionary life in Japan!
But in all honesty, I am so thankful to be here. The other day I had such an awesome experience I want to share with all of you. So yesterday at church I was feeling pretty discouraged about the Japanese language because I still can't understand church hardly at all. It's hard not to get down on yourself a bit, and I was feeling pretty overwhelmed. Suddenly, Elder Burgin motions to me we need to go outside. We go outside right as a car pulls up with one of our good member friends, the Sugiyama family. Recently Sister Sugiyama has developed a form of cancer that has stolen her daily abilities such as walking or even standing up. We helped Brother Sugiyama set up her wheelchair, and he lovingly placed her in it and brought her inside to church right as sacrament meeting started. Even though she was so weak, her desire to keep her covenants was even stronger, and it showed me how much love our Heavenly Father has for us. He sent us to this earth to have those experiences that uplift us. Even when at times we just feel we don't have enough strength, or the task is too hard, we can always trust in the Lord and know that He walks beside us. He wants us to be happy in this life, and all experiences we have in this life are for our benefit. It was such an awesome thing to be able to witness.
Well, all in all, being a missionary is amazing. This Gospel is amazing, and the Japanese people are amazing. Thanks so much for all of your love and kindness, I miss you all so much, but I know that this is where I am supposed to be for now. Have an awesome week!!! Love you all so much.:)
-Elder Justesen

Monday, August 12, 2013

Tokyo Japan Week 1

Watashi no kazoku! Konnichiwa from the land of the rising sun! Just finished eating some sushi at this little restaurant and I'm ready to write. :) 

So! This week has been a whirlwind of new stuff, but it's been so amazing. So when we landed in LA, we thought we would have a large amount of time to eat dinner, but nope! We had 5 minutes. It felt like the breath before the plunge, but I made it! The flight itself was not bad at all, we were able to give a few people some Books of Mormon and pass along cards in our broken Japanese, but it was seriously so cool to be amongst all these missionaries willing to serve. Then we arrived in Tokyo!! Honestly... It's the most gorgeous city I have ever seen. You guys have to visit some day! It's so beautiful, and everything you heard is true. Japanese people are the nicest people ever. They are always so eager to help and are truly so kind. But anyways! We spent the next two days meeting President and Sister Budge, who are so great. President Budge joked with me a bit about California, and he seems so great. He's ready to give these last two years all he's got, and he really does have so many great ideas! Then I got assigned my area! Drumroll please.... I am serving in NARITA! Basically the Los Altos of Tokyo! It's this awesome little town outside the city and it's so beautiful. My trainer(s), yup plural, are Elder Hamada and Elder Burgin! Missouri and Osaka. ;) They're the zone leaders! So the three of us share a super small apartment, and it's been really great. They're the best in the mission, and I feel really lucky to have them as my trainers. They work so hard! It's so inspiring and I love learning so much from them. Elder Hamada lived in Hawaii before his mission so his English is perfect, and he's hilarious. Elder Burgin is an ox! He works so hard, and he's been such a great trainer.
The language is pretty dang hard, but I'm having faith. Heavenly Father called me to teach the people of Japan in the Japanese language, so I'm just going forward with faith. There are miracles happening in Japan! So on Friday we decided to go to the Eki (Train Station) and hand out English class flyers, which is one of our primary ways of finding, and we ended up finding 9 new investigators. 9!!! It was so incredible, and I'm so thankful the Lord is blessing us here in Narita. I've been in many wards, but I don't think they can touch this one. Narita ward is so unified, and they're like a big family. I had to bear my testimony and give a short talk on Sunday, kind of last minute which was gnarly, but that's mission life! But anyways, I bore my testimony and I don't think I've ever been complimented so much for bearing a testimony. It was so cool! They said my Japanese was really good, and as well that the fact I was 18 was unheard of. Haha, seriously Japanese people are so amazing, I love them. Also you use a lot of English here in Tokyo! So far we've taught one man from Nepal, one from Sri Lanka, and a couple from Brazil! Tokyo really is a melting pot of great people.

This Work is really so amazing though. I'm so thankful to be apart of it, even when it's hard. It definitely isn't easy, but I feel like I've become stronger in my faith in the Lord. I had to teach an English class, and do many other things that were WAY out of my comfort zone, but I've loved every second of it! Even yesterday, here's a funny story. So we are streeting at the Eki again yesterday, and I spot a man and women standing by the train, so I went over and started talking to them in English since they weren't Japanese. It turned out they were from Norway, so I explained many of my ancestors came from Norway! We chatted for a while, and they started asking why an 18 year old was living in Tokyo, so I taught a little bit about the church! After that I bore testimony about the Book of Mormon when I realized I left my copy in my bag a little ways away! I asked if they'd stay put as I went to get the Book, and when I came back they were gone. Sad Face. But! I just kind of laughed cause I realized how much I must have looked like Elder Calhoun from the Best Two Years, hahaha.

But seriously, this Gospel is amazing, and I love the Japanese people. The language is hard, but I have faith that Heavenly Father will help me! Gambattemasu! Haha, I love you all so much, and I'm so thankful to all of your kind words and prayers. Families are so important to our Heavenly Father, and through this Gospel are families are so strengthened. Thanks you all so much, have a great week!! Thanks so much! Love you!

-Elder Justesen