Konnichiwa everyone!! It's been another super awesome week here in Tsukuba, seriously... Just awesome. I'm so stoked to write about all of the awesome miracles we saw this week, and yeah, onto the week. :) First off DAD! Happy Birthday!!! I'm way sorry I didn't get a chance to send you anything awesome this year... Just know I love you so much Big Guy, and your prayers and advice always keep me going. I know that if I can be a missionary like you were, I can be a really great missionary. I was looking over the "My Family of Missionaries" picture, and it always just makes me feel so proud to be a missionary alongside such awesome examples. You really set the way and path for me Dad, and I just want to say I love you so much. I'll just have to miss one more, but after that we'll do something super fun together! Maybe Huge Motorcycle Road Trip? ;) I really like this idea, haha.
Mom I'm so sorry you got so sick! Please know I'm praying for you everyday, and I hope everything works out. Dang... Just know I'm hugging you through the email, and my prayers are with you! You've always been such an awesome example of endurance in my life, and I know sometimes all that hard work can take a heavy toll on our bodies. Just feel better and don't work too hard! I love ya so much!
Well all in all, it sounds like everyone is doing way good! I just want to say I love you guys all so much, and I'm so thankful for all of your prayers and especially all of your kind words in the emails. They really give me that drive and desire to do my absolute best, and I just want to say thank you so much. I love you guys!! Just keep praying, reading the scriptures, and looking to the Lord, and I know that those awesome blessings will keep coming. :)
This week started off super awesome! Elder Whiting of the Seventy came and toured our mission, and it was probably one of the most intensely Spiritual meetings I've ever been in. He prepared no talk. He had nothing written, but he taught with the power and authority of a General Authority, and it was so awesome. I received a ton of personal revelation, especially when he talked about the importance of these two years. It was so awesome, and it made me so stoked to give my absolute all to this incredible missionary experience. I can't believe I'm at 8 months!! That's almost a year! I swear it was yesterday I was dropped off at the MTC, but the time is really starting to pick up pace. Scary! Haha. As well, we're receiving our iPads! The whole mission is getting super excited, and I'm so stoked to see how much it will change missionary work. :)
But this week was really so awesome! So... This week we started with one baptismal date in the whole zone, and now we have 4 in one week! The Lord truly strengthened us so much, and really blessed us with some really amazing people. We have a new baptismal date with the COOLEST college student ever named Jason! He's a really young guy from China, and it was the coolest miracle we saw this week. We met him on the street, and set up a time to get some dinner and talk more about the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and he said he had some interest because his grandma was a devoted Christian women. So we met for dinner, and we started talking to him about some of his goals and life dreams. His main dream is to work really hard, earn some money, and eventually take his mom to see the United States. Apparently she has had this dream for such a long time, and his main dream is to help her achieve hers. It was so awesome, and he instantly accepted the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and set a date to be baptized on the ! He's in China right now for the New Year Festival, but I gave him one of my personal Books of Mormon, and he said he would read it while he's in China. Way stoked because that Book of Mormon was completely marked up with Questions of the Soul! It was my main finding Book of Mormon, but it was the only one we had on us, so I couldn't not give it to him! Haha. But Jason is just such an awesome guy, and we're so stoked for him. Keep him in your prayers!
As well through this week, the Lord blessed us with so many awesome new investigators. So Tsukuba is home of one of the biggest universities in Japan! Aka, tons of foreigners, young students, and people with incredible desires and open minds. It's been so much fun getting to know the area, and meeting so many awesome people! A lot of them speak English super well, but my Japanese is getting better I think! I can now read the Book of Mormon in Japanese pretty quickly, which was one of my goals I set in the MTC to have done by my half way mark, so that was awesome! The gift of tongues is really so real, and something I'm thankful to so much. It's helped me so much in knowing what to say, how to say it, and most importantly when to say it. Being a missionary has taught me that so much. When we rely on the Lord with all we've got, trust in Him, and give our absolute best, He's with us every step of the way, and brings us to that higher plane, and helps us to reach and achieve those desires of our hearts. This week just really showed me how much the Lord is eager to help us, and it's something I'm so thankful for. I love being a missionary!! :)
And honestly, I love being a Zone Leader! It's been such an awesome learning experience, and it's really strengthened my faith so much. It's been so much fun getting to know all of these awesome missionaries, and having my faith strengthened so much by them. As well, I love so much being in a position of always trying to serve and help others. I love praying for them by name every night, and I love celebrating with them when they see awesome miracles! It's just way fun, and I'm way thankful it's something I get to experience so early in my mission!
Just gotta say, being a missionary has been the greatest gift I've ever received in my life. Elder Dunbar and I were housing in Tsukuba yesterday, and it was a pretty countryside, rice paddy, type area, and I just kind of had a blown away moment about how much I've been blessed in these short 8 months. My life has truly been so changed, and I'm so thankful for it. It's not been easy by any means, and there has been some intense refiners fire, but it has changed me so much from the person I used to be, and is molding me into something better. Elder Whiting spent a lot of time talking about the Atonement, and I just felt really so thankful to our Savior Jesus Christ. Sometimes we look at the Atonement as kind of our free ticket. It's that cleanse factor we all are searching, but it really is something so much more. It's an incredible loving tool that we can use to change from who we used to be, and become that child the Lord has always wanted us to become. He loves us so much, and wants nothing more than our happiness. Sometimes we have to have that opposition in all things, but with the Atonement, we can truly meet any challenges that we have in life, and continue on with that brightness of hope that it talks about in 2nd Nephi 31. I'm just really so thankful to these 8 months, and I just want to say how thankful I am to be a missionary. It's really changed, and is still changing me everyday into the man I've always wanted to be, but maybe wasn't too sure I could actually be. It has shown me that with the Lord, anything is possible. Anyone can change. Anyone can be forgiven and move forward lightened from those burdens.
I love this Gospel! I love this work, I love being a missionary, and I especially love my family! I miss you guys a ton, but I know that this is where I'm supposed to be. :) Less than a year and a half now we'll all be back together, and I'm so excited for all the awesome changes that we'll see. :) I love you guys so much!! Have an awesome week! The Gospel is True, The Book is Blue, and God Loves You!