Monday, January 27, 2014

Tokyo Japan Week 25

Hey everyone! It's been a gnarly week of transfers, but I finally made it to my new area of Tsukuba! It's such an awesome area, and I'm getting so pumped to get to work here. So some really cool things about Tsukuba area! 1: I'm in an apartment with one of my Dai-Senpai at the MTC! Elder Hardin, who was in the District of Elder Peters who picked me up at the MTC curb, is in my apartment! It's been way fun joking around with him a bunch about the good old days at the MTC. Also, my Bishop here in Tsukuba is awesome! He served his mission in the SAN FRANCISCO mission back in the 90's, and he speaks perfect English! He actually speaks a lot like a Californian, it's pretty awesome. As well, Tsukuba is a ward that has 8 missionaries, and they're all so awesome! The Davis family as well is so great, and actually we know a few same people back in Utah which was way cool. Connections everywhere! Haha.

But overall this week has been pretty awesome! I love my Zone so much, and I'm getting so stoked to help out as best as I can. I was doing some study today, and I was studying about how I could be a better leader here in the Matsudo North Zone, and I came across the story of King Benjamin. I always remember how much Dad refers to King Benjamin, and as I read through I could really see why. King Benjamin was the perfect example of a great leader. He showed the way to his people, and he got down into the work with them. I've really been trying to apply that so much to this transfer, and I'm so excited to be a true servant this transfer. I feel really so blessed with this calling though, and I'm just pumped to work with all of got, and be a missionary just always ready to serve. I love being a missionary so much!! I can't believe I'm almost at 8 months, but I'm so thankful for each and every one. It's changed me so much from the person that I used to be, and I'm so thankful for that. President Budge is always urging missionaries to be that, "Follow Me" type of missionary, and I've decided that's the missionary I really want to become. I just want to serve and help as best as I can, and I'm just really humbled and really so thankful for this awesome chance to serve in this Zone. :)

Another awesome thing about Tsukuba... They have a Costco! Yup. Just right on the outskirts of town, we have a genuine Costco. My awesome companion Elder Dunbar has a Costco card, so we made a four man trip to Costco and all I can say... It was pretty awesome. Costco pizza after 7 months of no pizza is pretty awesome. As well they had so much American food, and we all went pretty crazy. I was able to pick up some of my favorite Tortilla Chips, and it was just a really fun time being with my awesome apartment. Also! I'm sorry I've been taking so much personal money out! I needed some money for transferring this week, and as well I picked up some new white shirts today at Costco! I've been really needing some for a while since my old ones fit pretty baggy, and they had them for really cheap at Costco! Hope that's okay... Just wanted to make sure! I may have to take out just a little more next week due to some pants issues. So President Budge has asked all missionaries to move away from wearing the UniQlo pants because they look too fashionable, and so I may have to buy a pair of slacks or two that are pretty cheap, but within the standards. Sorry about that! Elder Dunbar is really awesome at working out every morning, and I've started losing weight again! Haha, I'm sorry though, I hope that's okay! I won't take out too much I promise, just need some of those things to not look like a baggy, or grungy missionary.

As well, the Lord has really blessed us with some really awesome miracles this week. First one being we found some new investigators really quick! We white washed here into Tsukuba, and it was a pretty hard area last transfer. I was talking to some of the missionaries, and apparently this area has been proselyted in very hard for quite sometime that finding has become really hard. But the Lord has already blessed us with some really awesome people! One of which named Cho, an awesome college student from China! We were riding back home from Stake Conference, and the four of us rode post Cho and I waved and said hello! He smiled really big and said hello back, and as we went past, I felt we really should go back and talk to him. Next thing, Elder Dunbar says, "Hey! Let's go back and talk to that guy!" So both of us feeling that impression, we went right back to go talk to him. He had some really strong interest, and he really had a great desire to learn more. He told us it's really hard for him to believe in God, but he wants to try. So we met with him today, and he's just so awesome. We started talking about God being our loving Heavenly Father, and Cho whips out his notepad and starts writing down what we're telling him. It made me feel so thankful to be a missionary, and as well it showed me how people are truly so prepared to hear this great Gospel. Cho was really excited to start reading the Book of Mormon, and he really just seems so prepared. If you guys could pray for Cho, that would really mean so much to me! He's going to China this weekend, so we're not going to see him for a while, but when he comes back we're super excited to continue with him. He just seems so prepared, and we're working hard to see some really awesome miracles this transfer.

Also if you could keep praying for Luis! I called up Elder Tu'ua today, and it sounds like he's having some trouble kicking some word of wisdom issues, and it's kind of holding him back from being baptized. Just keep praying for him. He and I had a really long conversation the night before I left for Tsukuba, and Luis has such strong faith. He just has never made a lifestyle change like this before, and he may just be getting kind of nervous. Just keep him in your prayers, and I know we'll see some really amazing miracles. :)

It sounds like you all are doing so well, and I just want to say thank you so much for all that you do for me. Your prayers and thoughts always keep me going, and I feel really so thankful to have such an awesome family. You guys really are the greatest, and I'm so thankful and happy about all of the blessings you are all seeing so much recently. Just always look to Heavenly Father, and show that thanks, and I promise that those blessings will keep coming. It truly is how the Lord works, and when we trust in Him, and kind of just let go of our will, we can really find that greater peace and happiness. That large step is just letting go, but I have seen it bless the lives of others, as well as my own. Serving as a missionary has completely changed my life, and I'm so thankful to every second of it. It has it's ups and downs, but the Lord has given me so much in these past 7 almost 8 months that I can't not give all I've got to this great cause.

I love you all so much! Mom, feel better! Know I'm praying for you, and Dad you too! Happy birthday by the way!!! I'll be sure to take a moment and sing happy birthday to you in Japanese. :P Alexa, keep being awesome and go learn some surf down in Santa Cruz!! I'm way jealous dude, but go catch some gnarly waves for me, a'ight? Haha. Tyler! Feel better too man! I'm so excited for you going to Europe! That's gonna be such a blast. Just remember to call mom and dad a lot okay? Somedays I really wish I could talk to them as much as I used to. Don't take advantage of that, and call them a lot just to say you love them. Whit! Keep being awesome you dream catcher you. Haha. I'm so excited for your Iceland trip!! Just keep working hard, live the CA dream, and do those simple things of actively feasting on the words of Christ, praying daily, and seeking out ways to share the Gospel. As you do those things, the blessings truly come. :) You guys are all so awesome! Thank you so much for everything, have an awesome week!!

Elder Justesen

Monday, January 20, 2014

Tokyo Japan Week 24

Hey everyone! Well, just got back from some P-Day activities, and as well we received some really awesome transfer calls... Are you ready?

So! I'm going to be transferred! I'm going to an area called Scuba in the Matsudo area, which is a place that is on FIRE right now. And... I'm a Zone Leader!!! Yup, pretty intense, but President Budge called me up, and I'm so stoked to go forward and just keep trusting in the Lord. My companion will be Elder Dunbar, but I don't know him too well yet, but I hear he's a really hard working, very obedient missionary. He's quite a few transfers older than me, so I'll be learning tons from him, and it just sounds like it's really going to be an awesome transfer. Apparently there's a family living in my area called the Davis', and they're professors at BYU! They've been working really hard with the missionaries and apparently their English Class is about 80 people! Which is totally mindblowing, because in Maebashi we had about 16 max, haha. President Budge told me that the goal should be to go out and harvest those souls and bring them closer to Christ, and I'm just excited to get going.

But I can't lie, I'm really bummed to leave Maebashi! It's been such a growing area, and although it hasn't been always easy, I've learned so much from this awesome area. As well, it's been such an awesome blessing seeing all of these incredible miracles that have happened this transfer, and I'm genuinely pretty bummed to leave all of my awesome investigators. Luis and Edward, who are our two baptismal candidates, are both looking really good for those dates! Luis is looking the best so far, and he's just shown so much faith lately. When I first got here he wasn't sure if God was there, and not even thinking about being baptized, but now he's getting so excited for February 5th. The other night we had such an awesome experience with him! We went over to his apartment, and our goal for the lesson was just to get him so excited for his baptism. So Mom! I decided to take one of those packets of pictures of Christ that you gave me, and Elder Tu'ua and I decided to pick the picture of Christ being baptized, the one that is one the cover of PMG? So near the end of that lesson, and we hand it to him, and we both start testifying to him about how he can make this date, and how much it's going to change his life. As I was testifying, I felt such a strong impression that I just needed to stop talking. Stop testifying, and just listen and pay attention to Luis. It almost felt like a hand on my shoulder just letting me know I needed to pause. So I did. And I can't even begin to describe the incredible Spirit that flooded that room. Luis just stared at that photo for a really long time, until he looked up at us and just whispered, "Thank you." It was one of the most powerful moments of my mission, and it reminded me how much when we go into share the Gospel, there's always three of us walking into that lesson. The Spirit is the true teacher, and it was so evident that night. It made me so thankful to Luis, and just so stoked to be a missionary. Not every day is easy, and not everyday is like that... But wow. I was just blown away, and it made me so thankful to have met Luis. He's about 21 years old, and when he first met missionaries about a year ago, he had no interest in God, religion, or anything like that. But now he's moving forward, and I know he's going to be baptized! I'm just a little bummed I can't be here to teach him the rest, but I know that Elder Tu'ua and his companion will take awesome care of him, and he will be baptized!

It sounds like you all are doing really awesome! Seriously... My family is the best. I love you guys so much! I just want you to know how thankful I am to all of your examples, and especially your prayers everyday. They help me truly so much, and I know those days when people are paying for me. Please know I'm praying for each of you by name every night, and I'm just so excited for all of the things in store for you! Oh! Mom, to answer your question! So... I plan to go HARD my whole mission, epecially those last few months, so I wouldn't mind a short break at home before school! Fall semester sounds AWESOME. :) That's crazy far away, but yeah! That sounds really good. Thank you so much for taking care of all of this for me, you're the best! I'm so stoked for Provo in a year and a half or so! Haha. Whit I'm so stoked for Iceland for you!! Just have fun with Mom and Dad, they're pretty grovy folks. ;) And Lex! Sounds like you're tearing it up in The Bay Area, さすがね? Pronounced sasuga, my new favorite word. :) And Tyler, man you're looking super great in your photos! Just to let you know, I went on exchanges with the Brazilian area in my district, and it was AWESOME. I got to see a little of what your mission was like! I met two guys who were from Curachiba and Minaos, and they were way excited when I told them you served in Londrina! Como vie? Un fallo bien! Bien ne? Haha, as well I went to a really awesome BBQ, got some real Brazilian steak and tons of Guarana. Good stuff, haha. Mom and Dad, you guys are just awesome, and I'm way excited to hear about the success you're seeing with these restaurant chains! It seems like a really effective business to go into. People will always have to eat right? Does this mean I'm like the heir to Costa Vida, and I can go in and demand free nachos whenever I so please? I hope so. That would be pretty awesome. I'd be a a just ruler, but a stern ruler.

;) I'll always have my humor I promise! It may get a little different during these two years, but I got it still!

I honestly still can't believe this transfer call! It's so crazy, and I can't lie I'm pretty nervous, but I know that with the Lord anything is possible, and I'm just way excited to go forward. This is going to be my fourth area in 5 transfers which is pretty intense! I never get to stay anywhere too long, but I'm so thankful to all of the areas I've been blessed to serve in. In each area I've seen so many awesome miracles, and I'm so thankful for them. Aw man, I'm just really thankful and so stoked today. Yesterday another one of my old investigators in Oyama got baptized! His name is Sandro, and he was one of my Brazilian investigators! We had such a hard time meeting with him, but when I was there, I think I called him just about everyday to try to set up an appointment. I knew he would be baptized one day, and I'm just way stoked I got to hear about it. The Lord has really blessed me so much since the day I entered that MTC, and I'm so thankful to be a missionary.

Here's my advice for Hector! Not everyday is easy. Not everyday is great. But, serving as a missionary will be the greatest gift in your life if you allow it to be so. It takes effort on your part, and a lot of willingness to change. But I promise, if you let it, this time can change your entire life. If you let it work in you, you will see the Lord's hand so much more fully, and feel of His infinite and personal love for you. You will feel that power and strength that only comes from Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, and He will work miracles through you. You will change lives, and bring people to a happiness that they have always been searching for. There's gonna be slammed doors! There's gonna be tired days. But as well, there are baptisms. There are confirmations. There are lives changed, and souls saved. Proverbs3:27, "Withhold not the good from them to who it is due, when it is in the power of thy hand to do it."

Proverbs 3:27 has become my new scripture that I've been trying to live by, and I'm just way thankful to be here. :) I miss you guys a ton a lot of days, but I know that this is where I'm supposed to be. I know that if I continue to work hard, and just show the Lord I'm willing and ready to give my all, I know I can see a deep change in my self, and as well see changes in the lives of those I teach. I love being a missionary so much, and I'm so excited to go forward with transfer 5! As a zone leader! The Gospel is True, The Book is Blue, and God LOVES YOU! Have an awesome week!!

Elder Justesen

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Tokyo Japan Week 23

Hey everyone!! It's been another really awesome week here in Maebashi, but I don't have a ton of time to write today! Today was temple day, which is always one of my favorite days of the transfer, but it stole all of our P-Day time because Maebashi is about 3 hours away from Tokyo! Long story short, I got up at 3 in the morning. My mind is a little scattered right now getting this whole last week of the transfer in order, but we saw some REALLY awesome miracles this week I really want to share.

First off, I got Sister Eshbaugh's cookies!! It took some time, but they were really seriously delicious! Be sure to tell her thanks a ton from me, and I'll try to email her as soon as I can! They were really so awesome, and it was really so nice of her to send those. She's awesome, and the package really made my day!

Holy goodness my siblings are all having crazy awesome lives!! Whit. I think Seattle would be AWESOME. Not even kidding, I was getting pretty worried about you moving all the way to NYC, even though it would be awesome, but to me... Seattle feels right for Whitney. :) I'll keep praying for you for sure! But seriously, that sounds so cool. AND ICELAND?! That's so cool! Dang, the Lord is really blessing you so much right now, that really is so cool. Make sure to always to let Him know how thankful you are for all these awesome blessings! I'll be praying it all works out for you Whit!

And Alexa arriving in The Bay Area!! That makes me so stoked! I know that the Lord really has so much awesome stuff in store for you there, and know I'm praying for you everyday Lex. You're awesome, and the Lord is so proud of you for jumping into the deep end and moving to California. I know it's all gonna work out for the best!

And Tyler!! Europe?! That's so gnarly! Dang, that's way cool. It sounds like you're gonna have a ton of fun, just be careful man! I'm way excited for you though. Except, it would have been cool if you came to Japan and got a little taste of my life here everyday, but Europe is way cool too!

Mom and Dad, you guys seriously make me so proud to your son every day. I just want to say thank you so much for being such awesome member missionaries, and really helping the missionaries. The ward members here in Maebashi gave us tons of presents during Christmas, and I can't tell you how happy it made me. When the ward does nice things for you, and it just helps you feel like you're really doing your job and building up the kingdom. I'm positive that you made those two missionary's journals and letters home. Thanks for being so awesome all the time. :)

Well like I said, this week was really full of miracles, but not too much time to write them all... But! Luis our Peruvian investigator is looking really good to be baptized on the 5th, and we're getting so stoked for him. We've really come so close with him throughout this transfer, and I really just love this guy. He and I always joke around about California, but he has such strong charity. He's recognizing the Spirit every day in his life, and he's just doing great. Here's the awesome miracle of this week. So! Oyama. When I first got to Oyama, there weren't many investigators, and the ward hadn't seen a baptism in over half a year. It was really hard at first, but working with Elder Howard we were determined to turn that area around. We knew that if we gave it all we had, Oyama would become that area that missionaries get stoked to be called to. And it's happening!! Yesterday I spent the night in Oyama with my Zone Leaders, and they have had 2 baptisms this month, and 2 more this coming week. As well, many more baptisms are on the horizon, and Oyama is an area that is just doing awesome. Really brought so much happiness to my heart, and made me so thankful to be apart of helping that area. I love Oyama, and it will always have a really special place in my heart.

But anyways! Temple day was such a blast today, and it always just leaves me feeling so good and excited for the opportunities that lie ahead. This work truly is going forth. It's rolling forward, and I feel really so blessed to see some of the lives that it has changed, including my own. I can't believe I've been a missionary for almost 8 months, and I'm so thankful for every day I've been blessed with. Granted, every day hasn't been super easy and laid back, but it has molded me and shaped me into such a better person. It's changed who I am, and has really just helped me see the eternal perspective in all these things. I still have so much time, but that ending is starting to make itself known a bit, but it's just pushing me to keep giving my all every day. I know that this Gospel is true! It's changed and blessed my life so much, and I'm so thankful for it. And most of all, I love my family. :) I just want to say thanks to you guys for all that you do for me, and all of your prayers. You guys push me on to keep going when I feel too tired to keep going. I love you guys! I'm so excited for all of the awesome things that life is showing to you guys now, and I know that as you trust in the Lord and always align your will with His, He will bless you so much. He'll open ways that will change your perspective, and make you more of the child He has always known you were. I love being a missionary! This has been such a growing transfer, and I'm just pumped to go onto transfer 5!! Next week we'll know what the whole situation will be! I love you guys so much, have an awesome week!!

Elder Justesen

P.S. So about Burger King... It was awesome. Way expensive, but the taste was exactly the same!! McDonald's is WAY good here! Still pretty cheap, and a good place to have lunch with investigators. ;) Love you guys! Talk to you next week!!


Monday, January 6, 2014

Tokyo Japan Week 22

Konnichiwa everyone! First off I just want to say... HAPPY 2014!!! It was a pretty awesome day here in Japan, the night before we had a mission-wide apartment cleaning day! Yeah... so in Japan I guess it gets pretty intense on New Years Eve, so President and Sister Budge had us all do a mission wide apartment cleaning. Haha, it was way fun actually, and Elder Tu'ua and I were able to build up some comp unity from it. It was gnarly! There were quite a lot of areas in the apartment that REALLY had not been cleaned in a long time, so we finished up with the apartment nice and clean. Then I set an alarm to wake me up at 11:55 and counted down with Elder Tu'ua, and it was way fun. :) We heard a ton of fireworks throughout the night, but we couldn't see too many from where we were. Apparently Tokyo was going crazy though! A lot of missionaries didn't sleep too much I heard! Then the next day I got to go over to a less active's home and have some real traditional Japanese New Year food! It was SO good! Lots of sushi, rice, and bamboo! Yup! Bamboo is actually WAY good boiled, and it's supposed to symbolize long life! But all in all, it was a pretty awesome way to kick off the new year, even though I missed you guys a ton! 

Finally got my Christmas package!

This week has been seriously just awesome. I told you guys about the baptismal date we set with our miracle child Edward! Edward is the guy from Yokohama who called us up on Christmas Day, and asked to be taught! We set that date, and he's looking super great. He has a really intense work schedule on Sundays, so it's really hard for him to come to church, but we're praying really hard for him, and we know the Lord can work some real miracles with him. He's a really great guy, and he has such a strong desire to follow the Savior, and he says he's so sure that it can bless his life and as well his friends and family. He's a way cool guy, can't say enough about Edward! 

My companion, Elder Tu'ua!

But then this week there was Luis! I haven't told too much about Luis, but he is one of those eternal investigators that has known missionaries for about 2 years almost. He's from Peru, and he's really such an awesome guy. He's only problem was that he was very committed to being spiritual, not really taking part in organized religion. He loved what the missionaries were teaching him, he just couldn't really commit. But then we had an awesome lesson with him on Saturday night, and we just testified about this message. The room was on fire with the Spirit, and he told us he could really feel it. That day I had talked to the missionary who first found him, and I testified to Luis that meeting that missionary was no coincidence, and that it was God's plan for him. It was probably one of the most awesome lessons I've had on my mission so far, and I'm so thankful that the Spirit strengthened my words, and helped me to find the right things to say to him. But after that we committed him to come to church with us the next day, and he said yes! We found him a train, and were waiting for him at the train station. 

Maebashi got a Burger king!

All of a sudden the train that he was supposed to be on arrives, and there's no Luis. Elder Tu'ua and I were so bummed, but we had to run back to the church for sacrament meeting. The whole time running back, I just felt really down in my heart. I knew Luis needed to be at church, and I just couldn't understand how he didn't come. I said a prayer in my heart running back to the church, and I just had this awesome feeling that everything would be alright. We sat down in sacrament meeting, and it just happened to be the one Sunday that almost everyone stayed at home because it was so cold! I just got so down in my heart because there was hardly anyone at church, and all of our investigators that said they were going to come didn't show. It was way rough, and I was just praying to the Lord for some extra strength, and the Lord delivered. IN WALKS LUIS! He walks in and we run over to sit with him, and he just kept apologizing about being late, and it made me so... Yeah I'll say it, STOKED! He came to church, and we were able to have an awesome lesson on faith afterward, and he committed to be baptized on February 5th! It was seriously such an awesome miracle, and one that I'm so thankful for. The Lord showed me this week that when we rely on Him, anything is possible. I'm so thankful to be a missionary, even on those days where I feel like I really just can't do it. The Lord meets us in our weaknesses, and when we rely on that infinite love, He makes us strong. He take those weaknesses and turns them into reasons to hope. That's what he did for me this week, and I'm so thankful for that. 

I love me a good burger. 

I can't believe I've been a missionary for 7 months now! That's honestly so crazy, but I'm so thankful for every single day. Some days I love looking back on, some days I'd rather forget, but they have all changed me into something better, and more committed to the Lord. I'm so thankful to be a missionary!! I just want to say that. :) 

I ran into a Bentley and a Ferrari. Sweet!

But it sounds like you guys are all doing way good! Lex, have a blast in Palo Alto you're gonna totally rock it! I met a women at the train station the other day who was visiting from San Fran, and she was way nice! Go hit up Japan Town for me okay? Get a little taste of what life is like every day here. ;) And Whit! Get some good rest, and go hit that job market!! I'm praying for you everyday, and I know that whatever happens is what the Lord wants for you, and He's gonna take great care of you. Just keep trusting in Him, and follow Him, and He'll lead you to those paths that will bring so much happiness. Tyler! Keep Provo warm for me okay? Haha, it sounds like you're having a great time there, just keep following the Lord and use those things that you learned on your mission. Mom and Dad, I love you guys. :) Keep being awesome, and just know I love you with all my heart! It was hard not to be a little homesick this week, but I know the love that you guys have can help and push me through anything and everything. Love you guys! By the way! My Zone Leaders have my package from Sister Eshbaugh, and they're supposed to give it to me on Friday! Way stoked. 

Man... I just want to say I love you guys so much. I was thinking a little bit today about what life is gonna be like in a year in a half, and I just got so stoked! Heavenly Father has really blessed us so much with being a happy close family, and I'm so thankful to all you guys. Keep up the Faith!! The Gospel is True, the Book is Blue, and GOD LOVES YOU!! Have an awesome week!!

Elder Justesen