Monday, October 28, 2013

Tokyo Japan Week 12

I taped this to the back of my nametag

Konnichiwa everyone!! It's been a pretty awesome week here in Oyama, and I'm stoked to announce some new changes that have just happened today. So transfer news... I'm staying in Oyama! I'll be receiving a new missionary and an older missionary and I are going to be co training basically. I'll be follow up trained, and as well help with this new missionary! Elder Howard and I are bummed to split up, but he's stoked to go to his new area of Matsudo and be a Zone Leader! He's been an awesome companion, and I have really learned so much from him. I'm stoked to go forward with this new transfer!! I have a really good feeling about it. My new companion will be Elder Packer, who is coming down from Niigata which used to be apart of the Sendai mission, and President Budge said he's a hard worker! I'm stoked, and I know that if we have faith and work with all we've got, we will see miracles!! So to answer some questions, yes I totally felt the Earthquake a few days ago! It was pretty gnarly, and shook our apartment a bit, but honestly I loved it! Don't ever worry too much though, if there was any real trouble, I would always email! Japan loves their earthquakes, and it always brings back memories from CA. ;)

A whole fish that I ate, eyes included!

So today was seriously awesome! We did a massive Zone P Day and we went down to an area called Oizumi! Tyler, you would love this area. Basically, if you speak Portuguese or Spanish, you go to Oizumi! It's a small area that is a little Brazil. All of the signs change to Portuguese, BBQ restuarants line the street, and there are Brazilians everywhere! We had our Zone P Day down there, got some awesome Brazilian BBQ, and had a really great time. A few of the missionaries in our zone are actually heading home at the end of this transfer, so we said some goodbyes, and it was overall a really awesome day. Tyler I gotta say, Brazil seems like an awesome place! Gotta love the Fazion (Rice and Black Beans) so good!! Dad, I'm so stoked you and Mom tried Japanese Curry! It's actually kind of my forte here in Japan. I make a mean delicious curry! I'm excited to make some for you in about a year and a half or so. Hopefully you'll like it more by the time I come back. ;) 

But anyways! This week was seriously awesome, but one pretty major sad thing... So Okenchu did not get baptized this weekend, and as well he's completely dropped us. He won't answer our calls or emails, and he canceled our appointment we had the other day. He's such an awesome kid, and I'm praying for him everyday, but it does hurt quite a bit. It's really incredible to see how just a few small bad choices can take us so far from our Savior, and so far from the good path. I'm not giving up on him yet though! He's such an awesome kid, and I know that he will be baptized one day. I'm following the missionary trick of imagining all of your investigators in white ready for baptism, and I know that that's Okenchu. He just needs some more time, but he'll come back soon. Love that kid though. The Lord blessed us with some awesome new friends though! First one is Ike! He is an awesome guy from Nigeria, and he really seems so prepared. He loves his Savior Jesus Christ so much, and is always talking to us about how he wants to learn more about Him. He met a missionary about a year ago in downtown Tokyo, and he was just really busy at the time and couldn't meet. But he really wants to, and we're so stoked to start teaching him. He's such a nice guy though! He and Elder Howard were talking on the phone the other night, and he just goes, "Hey, tell your friend Justesen I say hello! I hope he has a great night." He's just awesome, haha. Our other new friend is Sandro! Take a guess Tyler, he's from Brazil! He's actually a referral from Oizumi, and he also is a nice guy. He's full of so much good light, and he and I were talking the other day and he told me he just wants me to teach him more of the words of Jesus Christ. I laughed and told him that's what I'm here for! He laughed and set up a date to meet. He rocks! The Lord gave us some trials with our baptismal candidates, but he's given us two really awesome new investigator. Both taught in English/Portuguese, so it's seriously so fun! By the way... My English is seriously starting to slip! It's pretty sad, haha. I've recently had a hard time saying: Bless, rain, hello, English, etc. It's so true! Once you start learning a new language, the little things start slipping and you can't speak the same way anymore! Alexa is going to give me a hard time when I talk at Christmas with an Engrish accent... Hahaha.


I can't believe I've been a missionary for almost 5 months now!! I feel like it was just yesterday I was being dropped off at the curb at the MTC. It just goes to show how fast time flies when you're having the greatest experience of your life. I'm so thankful to be here in Japan, especially at such a historic time. The field is white everywhere, and we should expect to see miracles of this everyday. With the White Christmas season on the way, the whole mission is just getting psyched to do missionary work. Missionary work is so amazing, and it just blesses the lives of everyone it touches. I feel so lucky to be a missionary, even though some days can be pretty rough, like with Okenchu. That's the one thing that is still hard for me! As missionaries, you basically wear your heart on a sleeve, and it can be rough when stuff like that happens. But! At the same time, it's kind of my favorite thing as well, I get to love everyone! It's such a blast, and I'm so thankful to be here everyday, and just keep going forward. No baptisms yet, but I'm staying committed! Success doesn't come from numbers, it really is centered on how committed you are everyday to just give it your all. I'm giving this work my best! Some days it's hard, but I love it so much. I've made so many awesome friends here, many of whom have completely changed my life. I'm stoked to say the training wheels are coming off, and I'm stoked to be a full fledged missionary! The Japanese is coming along pretty well, and I love speaking it. It's such a fun language! The gift of tongues is really so real, and I'm really thankful for it everyday. Serving a mission has hands down been the greatest decision I have ever made, and I'm so thankful the Lord has allowed me to come work here in Japan. The most gnarly, awesome, prepared place ever. Japan rocks. All I can say! Haha. ;) Well, I better go and start prepping for my trip down to Tokyo this Thursday, I love that city! The bustle is really so cool, and I just love it. I hope you all have an awesome week, and know that I love you all so much! I pray for you everyday, and I know as we unite our prayers and pray for this Gospel to go forward, it totally will! It's too awesome to keep to ourselves, and it truly changes lives. The Gospel is true, the Book is blue, and God Loves You! Have a great week!! またね? あいしっていますよ!信仰によってなんでもことができますよ!

-Elder Justesen!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Tokyo Japan Week 11

Elder Hamada and me on Temple Day!

Konnichiwa everyone!! It's been another gnarly week here in Oyama, and I just got back from temple day, so I'm so stoked to tell you guys all about this really great week! First off, I want to say hello to my favorite girl! No sorry ladies... I wanna say hi to Virigina! I'm so glad she's still waiting for me, I hope she knows I pray for her everyday, and that whenever I feel a little overwhelmed, I just say, "Blah, blah, blah..." and get right back to work. You keep me going strong Virginia! Keep the faith, and know I love you!!


So this week has been pretty amazing! A little bit of a rough ending though. First, both of our baptisimal dates may not be happening this weekend like we had planned, but that's okay. The Lord prepares everyone at His own time, so it's just pushed back a little bit. Basically what happened with our super awesome investigator Okenchu was during the week, he suddenly stopped answering our calls, and he didn't come to church on Sunday. So we were getting really worried, so we decided to email him, and he explained to us what was going on. He recently lent his friend about 2,000 dollars in Yen, and found himself in quite the pinch. He had to find a job, and the only job he could find was at a local club here in Oyama. He felt so bad about having this job, because he knows it's wrong, so he kind of ran away for a few days from us feeling we would be mad at him, and wouldn't want to be his friend anymore. As soon as he said that, I grabbed the phone and called him up. He was close to tears when I called him on the phone, and we talked for quite a little while. We read some scriptures together, and I told him that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, and we, would always love him. We agreed to meet up with us this week, and right now we are praying that he can find a new job. He said if a new job arises he would switch, so we're just praying for a miracle! Please keep him in your prayers. He's such an awesome guy, and he's really close to baptism! This is just kind of a major setback as we weren't able to teach him some of the commandments because he couldn't meet with us. Our other investigator Shun, who wanted to wait until after school to be baptized, recently started keeping his commitments again, and is progressing really well! Hopefully we can see a change of heart in him as well. :) This Gospel is really so amazing, and I know that it is true. The experiences that I have seen here as a missionary has solidified that belief into a sure testimony. The Savior loves us all so personally and deeply. It pains Him so much when we decide to follow other sources in this life, but His loving arms are always outstretched to us, and His call is always sounding. I felt so blessed to teach Okenchu that over the phone, and I know he could feel of the love his Savior has for him. Keep him in your prayers! I really love this kid, and I know that if we have faith, work hard, and it is the Lord's will, he will be baptized soon!!

Ward BBQ fun!

Another way cool experience that happened this week was the other night we were walking through the streets of Oyama, and this old man looks at me and says, "Morumon kyou desu ka?" Which meant basically, "Are you Mormons?" I instantly said, "YES!" and went into telling him what we were doing in Oyama. He got really excited all of a sudden, and because of the pouring rain, told us to come into his little clothing shop. We walked inside where he handed us a really sketchy looking drink. We were a little hesitant, but he said it didn't have alcohol, and it wasn't tea! Apparently... it was Turtle Extract!! Pretty tasty actually, and it knocked a cold I was having right out! Anyways, so we asked him how he knew we weren't supposed to drink alcohol and tea, and he started telling us that he met with missionaries 25 years ago!! He said he remembered how nice they were to him, especially when they brought him scrambled eggs and orange juice in the morning. He had read entirely the Morumon Ke, which is basically the original translation of the Book of Mormon in Japanese, which is CRAZY hard, and had been taught some of the lessons. So! We joined this awesome man's missionary legacy! We met with him last night, and had a great little lesson, and then some WAY cool guitar playing from him. I really want to learn how to fully play Enka on the Guitar. It sounds so cool! But we are going to continue teaching him, and I feel there could be some really awesome miracles in store with him. There has to be a reason he stopped us! He could have let us walk right by in the rain, but instead he stopped us, and let us into his little store. That's honestly been my favorite thing about being a missionary. Seeing these experiences where you know that the Lord is guiding you to His children so that they can hear the Gospel. I feel so lucky to be that mouthpiece! It seems crazy it's almost been 5 months since I first put on the tag, but I feel like a new person. I've changed from who I used to be, and I feel so much better now. I feel so much more happier too! I'm crazy tired all the time, but I love it. :) Being a missionary is just the best thing ever.

Shohei in his Michael Jackson jacket
I'm so stoked you saw Shohei Yoshida!!! He is the bomb. He's kind of a legend here in the Tokyo mission, as he had 20 missionaries at his baptismal service, and he was an eternal investigator. Tell Whit she should totally look for him!! He's in New York this week actually, and you can totally message him from my Facebook! Speaking of Facebook, please accept all friend requests!! I'll check them in about 2 years, but for now, accept them all please. :) Okay, now I'm thinking this could be way cool, Whitney go meet Shohei this week! He's in New York this week! Message him on facebook or something! He's so nice, he's your age, and he speaks perfect English. Also... His secret talent is that his idol is Michael Jackson! And he dances just like him. Not even kidding, the guy is a beast at dancing! If you're super busy in NYC that's cool... But! You should totally try to meet up with him. It's not a coincidence that you're in New York the same time as he is! :) Anyways, just a little thing I think you should do! Go meet my Japanese best friend! I seriously love Shohei, he's the bomb!

Prepping for Halloween, missionary style
It sounds like you all are doing so well, and that makes me so stoked! Just want you to know I pray for you all everyday, and that I'm having the time of my life as a missionary. Yeah, a lot of days are crazy hard, and sometimes a little emotionally trying, but I love it. Today at temple day, my trainer Elder Hamada is going home after 2 years of honorable service, and he said some really nice things about me. I know that if I had not decided to serve a mission, I would have never met him and Elder Burgin, or as well all the incredible missionaries and investigators that I have met so far in my mission. At the major meeting with Elder Nelson a little while ago, he apparently said that missionaries called to Japan are truly special. He said that the Japan missions are some of the hardest in the world, and that the fact we were here was a testament of our diligence and courage to serve. I loved that!! I feel so lucky to be a missionary in the Tokyo Japan mission, and especially to be serving at such a historic time! I love this Gospel, and I love all of you! I should be having a baptism in Narita pretty soon by the way!! That will be a story for next week, but just wanted to let you know. :) Elder Burgin and Elder Hamada continued to work so hard with our investigators after I left, and a lot of them should be receiving baptism really soon! I love this Gospel!! I miss you all so much, but I know that this is where the Lord wants me, and there's no where else I would rather be than right here in Oyama Area! I love it!! Hope you all have an awesome week, and WHITNEY HAVE A BLAST IN NEW YORK! TEAR THAT CITY UP! Tell ol' Opie I say hello, and that under the baseball cap... We all know there's no hair there anymore. And MEET SHOHEI! Love you all!
-Elder Justesen 

Monday, October 14, 2013

Tokyo Japan Week 10

After a long day of knocking doors

Hey everyone! It's been another really awesome week here in Oyama, and I'm so stoked to write about what has happened this week. 
Shohei and I on a trail to a shrine!
Anyways, it sounds like you all are doing so great. That really does make me so happy, as I always pray for you all by name everyday. I miss you guys so much, and I can't lie! Seeing Conference got me a little homesick for Mom's cinnamon rolls, BUT! I had some nice Sushi and Ramen on Conference Weekend, so it all works out. :) This week has been so awesome! I just got back from an awesome day trip up to Nikko, which is this AMAZING little area deep in a canyon basically here in Tochigi-Ken. It's really close to the Sendai mission actually, and it was amazing. Whit, you would die if you came here! There were so many awesome bridges that overlooked this awesome river, and as well I went on a tour of the Imperial Summer Palace deep in the Canyon. Seriously... So cool. I'll try to attach some photos so you can see! It was such a fun day, but dang I'm way tired now, haha.  
Elders Burgin and Hamada, my first trainers!
Me with some homemade curry
But onto the coolest thing of this week! So recently, we have been teaching a lot here in Oyama, but finding has been pretty hard. We've been pulling out all the stops trying to find some new investigators, but so far no luck. Then this week, we had splits, and Elder Howard (My comp) let me know that I would be staying in Oyama, he would be going to Utsunomiya, and a brand new missionary named Elder Gray would be coming to Oyama to work with me. I was so stoked, but then felt pretty nervous! It basically would be the blind leading the blind! As well, that day I would have to find a house I had never been to, which meant using Japanese directions, bless a house, and other missionary type stuff. So I went down to Utsunomiya, picked up Elder Gray and we started heading back. On the train, Elder Gray being the awesome new missionary that he is was trying to talk to everyone! I was doing likewise, but most people were pretty stand off-ish. But then one young guy started talking to us, and we sat and started talking. Since Elder Gray is brand new, his Japanese is still pretty hard, so I began teaching this really great young college student. All I can say is, the gift of tongues is so real. I was able to teach him all about the Book of Mormon, share scriptures, ask questions, and try to set up another appointment. He really nicely said he couldn't meet anytime soon, but! He has a Book of Mormon now, and he knows a little bit about it. The Lord really did bless me so much, and I just prayed and prayed saying thanks. That's not all though! That day, Elder Gray and I found 3 new investigators and 3 potential investigators! At one point in the day, we were teaching a group of 5 runners at the local college! It was such an awesome confidence boost for me, and it made me remember how much the Lord cares for His missionaries. It made me so stoked to be a missionary, and as well just got me so excited to see where the rest of my mission takes me. If we have faith and trust in the Lord, we can seriously do anything! He loves us so much, and He truly does want us to succeed.
Shinkyo Bridge! Translated as "God's Bridge"
Me with my guitar!

A wedding!
Nikko river!
But yeah, it was just a way great week. Conference was so good! I especially loved Elder Dube's talk! Got me so pumped to just keep working hard. Our investigators here are doing really well! Unfortunately our one investigator Shun has said he wants to get baptized after school gets out... In about 3 months. So that was a major setback, but we're not getting discouraged! The Lord has really blessed us so much here in Oyama, and I'm so excited to be here. I can honestly say serving a mission has been the greatest decision I have ever made. I'm so glad I made it, even though some days I seriously miss you guys! I know this is where the Lord wants me right now, and I'm so stoked to be His mouthpiece in Japan. When you're talking to someone about the love of the Savior, and you see their eyes light up, it all just makes sense, and it all becomes worth it. Every slammed door, every rejection, can be totally made up by that one person who smiles and says they can meet again. I love being a missionary! I'm so grateful to be serving, and I'm thankful for the blessings I've received. I love you all so much!! Have an awesome week! The Gospel is True, The Book is Blue, and God Loves You!

-Elder Justesen 

Inside the summer palace

Monday, October 7, 2013

Tokyo Japan Week 9

Crazy pretty sunset on Omoigawa bridge!

Konbanwa! Sorry it took me a while to write this week, Elder Howard and I lost our phone, so we just barely got back from finding it! Left it on a bus, etc. Pretty crazy! But onto the awesomeness of this week! First off to answer some of Mamma's questions, thank you so much for the card!! I'll be taking out my money to finally pay for the bike, and as well today I used some money to buy some great clothes that were really inexpensive! So I don't know if you can notice from the pictures, but I have lost some weight! Haha, about 10 pounds or so, and my slacks are HUGE now! So I bought a couple new pairs of dress pants that fit very nicely, and one of them is khaki! I was pretty stoked. I as well bought two of those sock type ties for 2 dollars! They're allowed in this mission so I was way happy to get them pretty cheap! One of them is San Jose Sharks colors, so I'm pumped! 
This week was really so amazing! To start off, we have two new baptisimal dates!!! Shun and Okenchu commited to be baptized on the 27th of this month, so we are now going crazy hardcore to prepare them for that day. Both of them have such amazing faith, and have truly been so prepared. I don't know if I've mentioned a whole lot about Okenchu, but he is an investigator that I found a couple weeks ago, and yesterday he came to church the second time! It was so cool, he bought a suit specifically for church, and he totally rocked it yesterday. He loves the Oyama ward, and they really love him. During church we had an awesome lesson with him about the Plan of Salvation, and afterwards we asked him if he believed in these things we have been teaching him, and he said yes! We went for the date and he said yes! So stoked for him. He's about 20 years old and from China, and he just rocks, haha. It was really so cool during the lesson, I was teaching about the Spirit world and how we can see our family members, and I started talking about Riley. I mentioned how even though he passed away so young, I knew that I would see him again, and so would his family. As I was testifying I could feel the Spirit so strong in my heart, and I really felt as though Riley was doing his own missionary work from the other side. Such a cool experience, and as well really built up my testimony. But yeah! We're shooting for two baptisms on the 27th, so please keep those amazing prayers coming! If you want to as well, for sure put Shun and Okenchu on the prayer roll! That would be so amazing.

Our recent convert Shohei (Aka the King of Pop) had the new Jack Johnson album at his house! I had to take to take a pic with it.

Well, onto explaining the title of my email... This week I was given a guitar! It's a beautiful sunburst acoustic Morris guitar, and it was given to me by one of my Eikaiwa (English Class) students! He's a really funny man named Oki, and he is a MAJOR Beatles fan. He and I hit it off really well, and he always starts singing Hey Jude when he sees me! Pretty awesome. Only downside is his mind has recently begun slipping, and his grasp on reality is pretty slim. He's a really great though, and I know he can feel the Lord's love for him inside the church building. But the other day he came to English class and gave me this guitar! He told me he recently broke his hand and that he can't use it anymore, and he wants someone to take care of it, and he knew I played guitar. I called President Budge and he said it was totally fine as long as I only used it for missionary work, and I told him I would! I know that this incredible miracle really has come from the Lord, and I'm so thankful for that. This great guitar will always be a reminder of my mission, and I'm so thankful for this awesome keepsake. I had a super missionary moment as I brought the guitar back to our apartment.
I started cleaning it, as it was out of tune, convered in dust and scratches. I started polishing it and tuning it, and in a matter of minutes the guitar was at it's total best, and had such a gorgeous sound. I was sitting there, and I realized how much we are all like this guitar. We all face challenges in life, and sometimes we put our trust in the wrong hands. We get scratched, we kind of go out of tune, and our true potential gathers some dust. However, when we're in the hands of someone who truly cares for us, we can really be made clean. We can be dusted, retuned, and reach our full potential. We may still have those scratches, but they don't have to effect our true sound. In the hands of the Savior, we can find our full true sound, and reach our full potential.
I'm so thakful to be a missionary! I'm so stoked to watch conference this coming weekend, because I know it will be so awesome! Thank you so much for all you do, I love you all so much! Some days I really do miss you all like crazy, but I know this is where the Lord wants me. He's blessed me so much as a missionary, and I'm so glad everyday that I decided to serve a mission! There's been some more talks of me training next transfer so please pray that I'll be a good trainer! Haha, Tyler and Dad, if you have any tips, please let me know! I love you all! So stoked to talk to you in about two months! It'll be so great. :) Have a great week!! BTW, I'm slowly losing my English pronunciation! Yesterday I said, "Bress" meaning bless, and "Engrish" meaning English. SCARY!
Elder Justesen