Monday, February 24, 2014

Tokyo Japan Week 29

Just an awesome day in Tsukuba

Hey everyone! It's been another really awesome week here in Tsukuba and I'm excited to write about some of the cool stuff we saw this week. :)

Goofing around

First of, I just want to say I love you guys. Seriously, I was praying a lot today about those things in my life that I'm thankful for, and I felt really so thankful for the awesome family I was sent to. You guys really kept me on that straight and narrow path, and were always urging me to love those around me, and always trust in The Lord. It seems like every day as a missionary, I'm using something that I learned when I was a little kid, and I'm really so thankful for that. Just wanna saw thank you so much for all that you do for me, and especially for all of the prayers. I've been really feeling it so much recently, and I'm so thankful for that. Being a young Zone Leader really leaves you pretty worn out sometimes... But then there's that burst of energy and strength that I know isn't from me, and I know that it comes from those prayers. Thanks so much. :) I love you guys so much, and I'm so excited to talk to you again on Skype in just a few months or so now! How crazy is that?! Weren't we just talking on the phone for Christmas? Time is really picking up like crazy, but I'm loving this whole missionary experience so much. It's really changing my life and making me into that person I've always wanted to become. I'm so thankful to be here in Tsukuba as a missionary, and I'm so thankful for the wonderful miracles the Lord has blessed us with here. It's been such an awesome transfer, and I'm so stoked to see what the next transfer has in store! Can't believe it's already about over! Today was temple day, but unfortunately I wasn't able to go due to some money issues and lessons that prevented us from going, but it's all good, there's always next transfer!

So one really awesome miracle I want to share is about our investigator Dhani! Dhani is a 19 year old college student here who has been meeting with the missionaries for 2 years, and this week he finally committed to be baptized in the first week of April! I really hope I'm here for it, haha. But we had such an awesome powerful lesson all about God's personal love for him, and the spirit was so strong in that lesson. It really built my testimony in the power of those simple principles. What we decided to do was collect a bunch of things that God loves about Dhani, find scriptures to back those things up, and then we shared them with him. He really appreciated it so much, and The Spirit really spoke strongly in that lesson, and he was able to set that date to be baptized! How awesome is that? It's been so crazy, the miracles that we've been seeing here are seriously so amazing.

Another really awesome miracle was our investigator Kiyo! One of my life long dreams has been realized! I'm teaching a Japanese surfer. He's such an awesome guy, and recently he's been reading the Book of Mormon so intently. He's a vegetarian, and he threw out his TV because he thought it was too distracting. But he's such an awesome guy, and he's loving the Book of Mormon. He says he knows it is a true book from God, and our next big step is just helping get closer to baptism. He really isn't a huge fan of organized religion, but he is really such a prepared guy, and we know that the Lord will help him get to that point as we keep working hard and showing love to him. Kiyo is so awesome though! He always sends such gnarly emails with awesome endings like, "Keep easy like a bird. Sultry summer breeze, dense freeze winter." And "Relax yourself, and step confidently." Kiyo is awesome.

But honestly, I really love being a missionary so much. It's changing my life so much every day, and I feel so thankful to be here. Some days my Japanese feels like it's really coming along, and some days it's pretty hard, but the Lord has blessed me so much, and His strength keeps me going. I've been thinking a lot about the Atonement lately, and it's just something that has become really so real and awesome in my life. Through that incredible sacrifice of our savior Jesus Christ, we can truly change. There is no mistake that can't be painted over, or wall we can't climb over. With Him, anything is possible. Sometimes we feel like we're walking in that thick fog, or darkness that surrounds us, but He is that unfailing source of light that guides us back home. My new favorite hymn has become Brightly Beams Our Father's Mercy, and I love the lyrics to it so much. We have this great knowledge of this great Gospel, and we know the change it can truly have on all of those around us, and we really are those lower lights along the shore. :) Man, I really love that hymn. I feel so lucky to be a missionary at such an awesome time, and for the chance to just try to be that light along the shore. I love this gospel, and I'm so thankful for all that it's given me. I can't believe I'm reaching 9 months! It seems like yesterday I just started, but I'm so excited to just keep going strong and give this work all I've got. :)

One of the biggest churches in Japan, and it's an LDS church!

In other news, I've lost weight! Today I hit 72 Kilos! Which I'm not too sure what that is in pounds anymore... But around 160ish I believe? That's almost about 20 pounds lost since leaving home! Pretty gnarly. I've been trying my best to work out hard every day, and I've recently started doing a P90X for missionaries! All the Zone Leaders, assistants, and even President Budge use it apparently! It's pretty awesome. And with Spring on the way, I'm gonna try to start running every morning again with my companion. It seems like yesterday Elder Howard and I were running around Oyama when I was transfer 2, time flies by way too fast!

But all in all, things are going really awesome. The Lord has blessed us with some truly awesome investigators here in Tsukuba, and this transfer has just flown by. Elder Dunbar is really such an amazing missionary as well. He's really taught me so much throughout this transfer, and he's shown me that true power of exact obedience. He's truly a Christlike servant of the Lord, and I feel really lucky to be serving with him. We're hoping to be together again another transfer, but we'll just see how it goes!

Being a missionary is just awesome though. I wish I could have been there at that missionary fireside, and I would have just testified that missions change lives, and it is the greatest gift ever. Two years may seem like a long time, but it's the chance of a lifetime. Tonight we taught Jimmy the plan of salvation, and the spirit was so strong as we taught about this life and where we will go after. Jimmy just kind of smiled and said it's so crazy because before tonight he just saw life and the grave. There was no life before, or chance to keep living afterward. When he said those words, it really just made me feel so thankful to be here, and be sharing this message. Yeah, somedays are pretty hard, and somedays you're way tired, but you're on the Lord's errand, and He's with you every step of the way. He'll raise you up. He'll strengthen you. He'll bless you. He'll cleanse you. He'll refine you. He'll change you. I've really come to feel that in these short few months, and I'm so thankful for this chance to be serving.

As well this week, Elder Hardin, who was in the MTC with me, and I went on exchanges, and we saw so many awesome miracles. At the end of the exchange we just talked and testified about how our missions have changed us so far, and it was such an awesome experience. Being a missionary has been such an amazing gift, and I'm thankful that I still have about 15 months to keep going with my whole heart. I love this gospel, and I know that it has that incredible power to change lives and change hearts. This week we also visited a man named Jason who is a less active here in Tsukuba ward. He's preparing to receive the Aaronic Priesthood so that he can baptize his son, and it's been so awesome being with him and his family.

I love being a missionary! I miss you guys like crazy, but I know that this is where I'm supposed to be. :) Have a great week, and know that I'm praying for you everyday by name! I love you guys so much, and I'm so thankful for all that you do for me! The Gospel is True, The Book is Blue, and God Loves You! Also... Keep easy like a bird, sultry summer breeze, dense freeze winter. Have an awesome week!!

Elder Justesen

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