Monday, December 30, 2013

Tokyo Japan Week 21

Hey everyone!! This letter is gonna be a little short cause I just wrote you all personal emails, but it was such a blast writing you all. :) I'm definitely gonna do that from time to time. This week was awesome! Why? Well, first the Skype call was such a blast. It was so cool to talk to you guys, see your faces, and feel of your love. I just want to say thank you so much for being that awesome family, and always being there for me. I can't lie, it was a little hard to refocus after the call, but I was just stoked (yeah I said it) to get back to work and serve the Lord in this great cause!

I'm really so sad to hear about Virginia. I'll be praying for her every day. She's such a fighter, and I know that she can overcome this. If it is her time though... I know that she has true mansions above waiting for her. She's been such a strong influence on my life and the lives of others, and I know that whatever happens will be what the Lord wants. I'll be praying for her every day though. 

Nothing too much has happened in the few days that we talked on the phone, but we have a new Baptismal date here in Maebashi! We're following an area seventy counsel and inviting investigators to be baptized on the first lesson, and we saw that true miracle today! We taught our new investigator Nozawa the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and then we committed him to be baptized at the end, and he said yes! February 1st is his date, so we're way excited to start working diligently with him. He's a way cool guy who just moved here from Yokohama! 

Other than that, it's been a pretty mellow week. With Christmas, not too many people in Japan celebrate Christmas, so it was a pretty great day of missionary work! We went out and worked hard, and the Lord is blessing us so much everyday. I'm seriously so thankful to be a missionary, and I'm so thankful to all that the Lord has given me. He's blessing me so much everyday, and I'm so thankful to Him. Oh! We also had a Zone Conference, and President Budge said that this month was the most baptisms a Japan mission has seen in a single month in... Basically ever! How incredible is that? He says the whole story is on the mission blog, so please check it out! It's been an awesome Christmas season full of miracles in Japan, and I'm so thankful to be a missionary at this time. 

Also Mom, THE PACKAGE CAME! And it was so awesome. Seriously thank you so much for sending all of those awesome presents! They really made my day, and it was so cool to put on those old sweatshirts again. As well the ties are seriously awesome! I can't wait to start wearing them! Whit!! Love the CDs but... Our CD player doesn't work here so we'll have to wait until next area maybe until I get to use them! Sorry...  

You guys are seriously so awesome, thank you so much for everything you do for me everyday! The Lord has really given me an awesome family, and this missionary experience is truly changing my life each day. It's been the greatest gift going out and focusing on others, rather than focusing on myself, and I really love it so much. Some days it's hard, but I want to testify that the Lord truly does answer prayers, and He hears us when we pray to Him. He is eager to help ease the burdens on our back, and He is always walking beside us. I love you guys so much!! Have an awesome week! The Gospel is true, The Book is Blue, and God LOVES YOU!! 


Elder Justesen

Monday, December 23, 2013

Tokyo Japan Week 20

Perera and all the Oyama missionaries!

Hey everyone!! Okay so this email is going to be pretty short, because well... I'm talking to you in about TWO days! I'm so stoked to talk to you guys and see how everyone is doing. WHIT! So proud of you!! I'm so stoked and I know life is just gonna start clicking for you! The Lord is getting ready to bless you so much, and I know things are just gonna work out the way the Lord wants it to. I'm praying for you everyday!! Sad I wasn't there to see you take the stage and receive your diploma, but I know that the Lord has some really awesome things in store for you. And Alexa you too!! Holy awesomeness, I'm so excited for you too! Going to the Bay Area! I know that's where the Lord wants you, and things are gonna happen. Provo is a really awesome place, but I think there comes a time when everyone has to leave. The Lord's preparing awesome stuff for you! And Tyler, you look so good in your photos man!! Seriously. Keep it up! 

Chika, Brother Taylor, and Elder Burgin!

So Mom! I'm so sorry I never answered you last email! But... So I haven't received my package, but I called the mission office, and they said they would get back to me. What they may be doing is giving me the package on our Zone Conference which is this Friday. They do that sometimes, but I'll try to call them soon and see if that's the case! Don't stress though! The Maebashi ward decided to buy Christmas Presents for all of the missionaries, Elder Tu'ua and I, and there were so many! Tons of candy and socks, and a couple ties! I'm still way excited to see what your package has though! It'll be so nice to receive some stuff from the states. :)

Well, I'll tell you all about this week on Wednesday, cause it was really one to remember. I saw TWO baptisms  this week, and they were my two close friends Perera in Oyama, and Chika in Narita. What was awesome was last minute, Perera asked me if I could come to Oyama and baptize him, so I did!! I'll tell the whole story on Wednesday, but it was such an awesome experience, and one that has really shaped my mission. Chika was baptized Sunday morning, and although I couldn't go because I needed to be in Maebashi, she and I had an awesome conversation on the phone, and it just was so good. Elder Hamada, well now Brother Hamada, came down, and Elder Burgin was able to baptize her. It was awesome!  But I'll tell you more this Wednesday! This week was really so awesome, and I'm so stoked to talk to you all this week! I'm praying for you all everyday, and I just want to testify that this work is so true. Being a missionary has it's ups and downs, and sometimes you really just have to give your heart to the Lord, and trust in Him. When we do that, I promise that the Lord will bless us! He did it for me this week, and I'm just way thankful for all that He has given me this Christmas season!! I love this Gospel!! Talk to you on Wednesday!

Elder Justesen

Monday, December 16, 2013

Tokyo Japan Week 19

Konnichiwa everyone! Emailing you from my new area of Maebashi. Just finished getting all settled in and stuff, and I'm stoked to write about some of the stuff that has been happening here in Japan! Just want to say really how thankful I am to be a missionary here in Japan at such an awesome time. The Japanese people have truly been prepared to hear the Gospel, and not just the Japanese people in Japan, but as well people who moved to Japan who didn't have a chance to hear the Gospel in their own country. This week... I'm going to TWO baptisimal services for two investigators!! First, Perera, our awesome Sri Lankan investigator in Oyama, who was just about ready to be baptized when I was transferred. He called me up last night to let me know he's going to be baptized this Saturday, and he wants me there. I'm so excited to travel a bit this week, and go see these amazing people come closer to our Savior Jesus Christ. Just wanted to say, I love being a missionary so much! It's completely changed my life, and made me a better person. It's been so far from easy, but I am truly loving it. I've made some really awesome eternal friends here, and I'm just stoked to go forward! Just yeah, haha, it's been a really awesome Christmas season so far. :)

This week was really intense but awesome!! I went and picked up Elder Tu'ua, my new companion, and he and I went down to the Honbu in Tokyo to go receive some awesome trainer and trainee training. All of the missionaries were there, and we got to go in and see where all of them were going, as well as who their new companions are. What was so cool was my entire MTC district was there!! It was an awesome reunion, and we just got pumped for what's in store for all of us. We're basically all training now, which is crazy intense, but we're stoked! I've hit that point I think where missionary life just seems so natural and normal, and it's hard to remember everything that came before! I really love it though! So after the training, Elder Tu'ua and I started heading down to Maebashi, where they were having a baptism that night. Elder Martinez, my zone leader, was going to be going home the next day, and he finished off his mission with a baptism. It was seriously so awesome, and it was so cool to see such an awesome way to seal off his mission with such an awesome thing! Elder Martinez is just awesome! It was such a great service, and yesterday the man baptized, Keshab (Nepal), received the gift of the Holy Ghost! It was so awesome, and his smile just really built my testimony so much. There are truly prepared people everywhere, and the Lord is bringing them to the Gospel all the time. I feel so blessed to be apart of this awesome work, and just to be here. :)

It sounds like everyone back home is doing so great this week! Honestly this weeks emails made me way stoked and happy for all of you! Whit, so dang proud of you!! Life is just gonna take off for you I know it, and Lex I'm so stoked to hear you're moving to the Bay Area! These things falling in place should just show you that the Lord has some really awesome stuff in store for you, I know that there's things on the way! Tyler, it sounds like life's really going for you too, especially with that Scion. ;) Haha, Mom and Dad, I'm so stoked to hear about all of the missionary work you guys are doing! Missionaries and members really do have to work together in a companionship, and then the work can truly go forward, and it sounds like you guys are seeing it in the ward! 4 baptisms!!! That's so intense, I bet those Elders are just stoked, and especially thankful to you guys. Aw man, I just love you guys so much!! I'm really so thankful to have such an awesome family. :) There Lord is really blessing us so much everyday, and I'm so thankful for that. We just gotta keep going forward with faith, and I know that those blessings will keep coming! ESPECIALLY THE BYU ACCEPTANCE THING! I can't believe it!! I'm so stoked though, and it really showed me that miracles happen everyday! I mean... I just got into BYU! That's a pretty gnarly miracle!

I just gotta say I really love being a District Leader here in Maebashi! It was pretty stressful at first, but I've started to just love calling everyone at night. My district is actually one of the biggest in the mission, so I have a lot of people to call! But it's seriously so awesome. They all have so much faith and a strong desire to serve their Heavenly Father, it really builds my faith up so much whenever I call them up! It's a lot of responsibility, but I really love it so much. The Lord is strengthening me everyday, and I'm so thankful for that! 

I'm really so stoked for this week, and I can't wait for the photos I'll be sending next week! I'm so thankful to be here and sharing this message with all of those around me. I'm so thankful to all that the Lord has given me, and for all the blessings he has given me. :) 

I'm so stoked to talk to all of you NEXT WEEK! How crazy is that?? Weren't you just dropping me off at the curb in June? Time really is flying by so quick, but I'm so stoked to talk to you all! Have an awesome week, know I love you guys so much and am praying for you everyday by name! LOVE YOU!

-Elder Justesen

Monday, December 9, 2013

Tokyo Japan Week 18

Konnichiwa everyone! Well... I got some pretty big news for you guys. So we just got back from Zone P-Day down in Maebashi, which is going to be my new area!! We got transfer calls on the train ride up, and I've been called to train and be a district leader in the awesome area of Maebashi! It's where the Zone Leaders just were, and I'm just way stoked. Nervous as well, but really so thankful for this awesome chance to serve and take this next step and have some leadership experience. What's way cool, I'm one of the youngest district leaders in the mission's history! Well, at least youngest non-fluent Japanese fluent speaking missionaries, but anyways. It was a crazy call, but I'm just stoked. They said they really prayed about it, and President Budge felt I was really ready, and could do great things in Maebashi. My new companion is on transfer 2 so I'll be training him and his name is Elder Tu'ua! He's an awesome Poly from Provo, and he just seems like a missionary who is ready to go. I knew him pretty well this transfer cause he was with our Zone Leaders, but I know he and I are gonna see some awesome miracles. (I wonder if he'd be weirded out if I asked him to call me Kolipoki...) A few of my old District members from the MTC are all training, and a couple of us are District Leaders, so it's just showing how much younger the mission is getting! We're all so stoked for this Christmas season, and I know we're going to see some awesome miracles.

But to answer some questions! Still waiting for my Christmas Package, but I'm so stoked to get it! Elder Packer and Elder Broadhead all got some Christmas stuff this week, and I'm pumped to get that little piece of home. It's hard not to think about the family a lot during this Christmas time, but know that you guys are always in my prayers, and I love you all so much! Also Mom and Dad, you guys are really making me so proud and stoked to hear about the missionary work you guys are doing! We had our stake conference this week, and the big focus was on members and missionaries working together as a partnership, and it makes me so happy to see you guys have caught that vision, and are just being amazing. Missionary work really is the greatest thing ever, and it has that incredible power to change our hearts, and focus more on the needs of others. I promise you guys will keep feeling that love for Kimberly, especially as you bring a family unto the Savior during this Christmas season. The past six months have really been some of the hardest, but most rewarding 6 months of my life. I love being a missionary so much, and I'm so thankful to all the experiences that the Lord has given me recently. Just way stoked right now! 

Whit, just want to say how proud of you I am!!! I can't believe you're graduating onto bigger and better things, and know I was totally there being an art critic around your BFA project, haha. I know that the Lord is blessing you with some awesome things, and you're just gonna go be amazing. Keep praying for those things that you want to accomplish, and I know the Lord will bless you! I'm praying for you every day, and I know that great things are right on the horizon for you! Just keep it up, and keep giving photography your all. I know that the Lord has blessed you with so much in that department, and you're destined for awesome things! Keep your chin up, and always look to the Lord in that you do, and He will bless you, I promise that! 

Lex, I'm praying for you everyday as well, and I know that the decision to move back to CA is pretty scary, but I know awesome things are in store for you as well! Sometimes we just have to leave our comfort zone a bit, and then those blessings will follow. Hey, we're both doing way scary things right now right? I'm moving also, and it's a little intense! But through the Lord, anything is possible, and when we do what's right, and just show Him the desires of our hearts, He will always show us the way! I know that that will happen for you, and the Lord's gonna bless you as you take these big steps. 

Tyler, you BOUGHT A SCION! Like a boss, I'm way proud. It may not be 100% Japanese, but it's pretty close. I'm stoked to see some pictures of it soon! I know that the Lord's really blessing you as well, and it's so cool to hear how your life is really just going forward and taking off. Just keep showing the Lord those desires that you have, make some goals, and go get them! I know that the Lord will bless you also! I'm praying for you everyday man! 

Mom and Dad, I love you guys!! I'm so stoked to talk to the whole family in a couple weeks, and I know that's because of the wonderful Gospel centered home we were all raised in. We talked a lot this week about family Christmas traditions, and it just got me thinking about all the awesome things we used to do as a family, and it made me so thankful to all of the awesome memories I have. Being far away can be hard, and I do have a craving for mom's famous cinnamon rolls right now, but there is no where else I would rather be! The Lord is blessing me so much everyday, and I'm so thankful to the eternal friends I have made here so far.  I know that this Gospel is true, and that through it we can find that eternal happiness through our Savior Jesus Christ and His infinite Atonement. I was really lucky to meet Elder Aoyagi of the seventy this week at stake conference, and his testimony was so strong and powerful. This is an incredible time to be missionaries and to be members! The Gospel is truly going forth, and we have this awesome opportunity to share it with all of those around us. I love you guys so much!!! I hope you have an awesome week, and I'm praying for you all everyday by name! Next week I'll be sure to let you know about how we're gonna do some calling for this Christmas season!! So STOKED! Love you all! The Gospel is True. The Book is Blue. And God loves you!!


Elder Justesen

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Tokyo Japan Week 17

Temple day with my companions!

Konbanwa everyone! This week has been really so amazing, and we have seen some awesome miracles here in Oyama. I'm way stoked to write about them! Today was Temple Day, and I really did some deep thinking about some of the things I have really been thankful for in my life, and I just have to say two things came to my mind instantly. One! My awesome, amazing, gnarly family. I just want to say thanks so much for all that you do, and all of your prayers for me, and always just being so awesome. I love you all so much! I sat in the celestial room and just prayed, and felt such a gratitude for the home I was raised in. Just, thanks for raising me in the right way, and always pushing me to do my best. :) Also! Number two, I felt so thankful to be a missionary at such an awesome time in Japan! Today we got to explore downtown Tokyo, and I got to hit up Shibuya and take a walk in the Scramble! Check it. World's largest intersection in the world, no big deal. It was so cool!! It was awesome seeing all of these people from all over the world in such a brief crosswalk! So cool. And Whit, photographers were EVERYWHERE! Like flickr-esque people! So cool, I definitely chatted them up a bit, asked if they knew you! They said no... But! It was a good ice breaker to introduce the Gospel a bit. ;) It looks like you all had tons of fun this week! I'm sorry I couldn't be there, but you know I was there in Spirit! You guys were on my mind all day, and I just felt really thankful for all that you have done for me. Thanks for keeping my joking reputation up Pops, love ya. ;) Haha, but I really want to go into the most awesome thing that happened to me this week!

So, this week we had this AWESOME opportunity to have an exchange with one of the assistants named Elder Hogue. He's going home at the end of this transfer, and he's seriously an incredible missionary. So he came down to Oyama, and he and I were going to have a few hours to work together, and I was stoked. I really learned so much from him, and he taught me the huge importance, and how to really give this work your absolute all. We just worked and taught, and I really learned so much. I'm not sure where he lives in Utah, but keep an eye out for an Elder Hogue coming back from Tokyo. He and my old companion Elder Hamada, now Brother Hamada, were companions and Assistants together! So we had some fun joking around and talking about Elder Hamada, and it was way cool. 

Awesome park across the street from the temple
But so that's not the awesome part! After we have our time together I get a call from Elder Burgin in Narita! He's kind of laughing, and he just says, "Elder Justesen! I got someone here who really wants to talk to you!" And he puts on one of my first investigators Chika on the phone!! She had just had here Baptisimal interview, and SHE'S GETTING BAPTIZED ON THE 22ND! When I left Narita, I promised that I would come back when reached her baptisimal date, and she did! She and I talked for a little bit, and she asked me if I would give a talk at her baptism. Also, I talked to the sister missionaries now teaching her, and they sayed that she talks about me really a lot, and that the small picture of Christ I gave her when I left (Lameneted one mom sent me!) has been her scritpture marker, and something she holds really dear. Elder Burgin came back on the phone and just sayed, "Elder Justesen, you are loved in Narita." he told me that she walked out of her interview, she walked up to him and said, "I gotta call Elder Justesen!" He said it was the first thing she did. :) It was just awesome, and it just showed me that when you gave your entire self to the Lord, He returns it ten fold with so many blessings. Chika is so awesome, and I'm so stoked to go to her baptism! Elder Hamada will be coming down from Osaka, and it's going to be just a really awesome Narita reunion. It's like Dad said, once you hit those sixth months, things just starting kind of happening, and I can really see that now. Missionary life is just becoming way natural, and something I love so much! It's been the greatest gift I have ever received, and I'm so thankful that the Lord has taken something as simple as me, and with His power and love, He's blessing me with the ability to do great things. I'm still just a really simple 19 year old missionary, but the things I have learned in this short time will bless me the rest of my life! I know that that's true.

Oyama elders! 

I'm so stoked to see what happens next transfer! Elder Hogue said President Budge's vision is that my group start training this coming transfer, which was unheard of in the mission before apparently, and I'm stoked for the challenge! I know that with those tough challenges come some of the greatest miracles. I know that if I do become a trainer, with the Lord's help I can do it! My Japanese might not be really great, but He can strengthen it. My teaching may not be incredible, but He can strengthen it. I may not be able to read train schedules at all, but He can strengthen it. There may be days where I won't know where to go or what do or what to say, but He can strengthen and guide me. I love the Lord with all my soul, and I'm so thankful to be a missionary! I can't believe it's been 6 months already, but I'm so stoked for what the next 18 have in store! I know that as I keep working with all I've got, and follow the examples of the awesome missioanries I have been blessed to work with, I know I'll see success out here! This Gospel is so true, and I know that it blesses and changes lives everyday. The Prophet Joseph Smith truly saw our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, and with that, brought a world living in Spiritual Darkness into a light of eternal happiness.

You can see Moroni through the trees!

Just want you to all know I love you!! And I'm so stoked to talk to you guys in just a few weeks now... How gnarly is that?? I'll let you know what the whole way we will be doing that as soon as I find out! Who knows, I may be training at that time! Haha. But anyway, love you guys so much, and keep sending those pictures! I love seeing what you guys are up to, and see how suteki everybody is! I have one super oshare family! Ask Sister Eshbaugh what those words mean! I'm sure she'll find it pretty funny. :) Tell Virginia I say hello also! She's still the only girl for me, and even when some missionaries talk about their ladies back home, I know I got Virginia so I basically win. Nuff said. Haha, have an awesome week!! Love you guys! Also! I'll try to see if I can get some Christmas presents for you guys here! Apparently sending things to America is cheap, just sending to Japan is way expensive. For my Christmas, probably just some ties, maybe some slacks? You know, good old missionary stuff. Oh! Also, one other thing! Mom, if you could... Could you toss in some of my sweatshirts into that package if they fit?? That would be so awesome! Especially the San Jose Sharks one! I would love that one up here! If you can't that's totally fine too!! Thanks so much! Love you guys!!!

Elder Justesen