Monday, April 21, 2014

Tokyo Japan Week 37

Bel's baptism

Hello everyone! It's been another seriously awesome week here in Tsukuba, and I'm way excited to write about some of the awesome miracles that happened this week. Happy Easter by the way! It looks and sounds like you guys had tons of fun, I hope it was a great day! This week we had a ward family night where we painted Easter eggs, sang some songs, and as well watched the Because of Him video! It's been so awesome to share that video around this week, and as well watch it with our investigators. That video is seriously so powerful! When I first watched it, it made me really think about all the really amazing blessings that the Savior has given me as a missionary, and as well how much my life really has changed because of Him. This week I've really felt so thankful for that incredible Atonement that can really change who we used to be. In the video it talks a lot about those chances to start again, and I know that this time as a missionary has been that for me. It's given me a chance to really look at myself and try to become a better person with the Lord, and I'm really so thankful for that chance and blessing. The Atonement has that incredible power to take who we used to be, and change us into who the Lord has always wanted us to be. I love being a missionary so much! It's really changed my life so much, and I'm so thankful to be here! Another way it has changed my life is my English is getting bad! Haha, seriously I hope I can still speak just a little bit when I come back home, but wow it's been so noticeable this week! I've been really blessed to have an awesome Japanese companion, but it's definitely stealing my English, haha.

So this week Bel was baptized!! It was seriously so awesome, and such a strong faith builder knowing that Heavenly Father is truly preparing all of His children to hear the Gospel. We met Bel just about 2 months ago, just walking on our way to the train station, and we stopped to talk to him. He couldn't speak a huge amount of English or Japanese, but he recognized the name of Jesus Christ and wanted to learn more. I was really lucky with the opportunity to baptize him on Saturday morning, and Elder Sakamoto was able to confirm him on Easter Sunday. Seriously an awesome Easter weekend. Bel is such an amazing person, and I feel really so blessed to have met him. He's really changed my life, and I feel really so blessed to have been able to share the Gospel with him. The church is very small in Nepal, but Bel is going to be such an awesome church member! He's so excited to receive the Priesthood soon, and we're way excited to just keep meeting with him now as Brother Shrestha. :) 

Just want to also say this week how thankful I am to my awesome family! Whit I really loved your email this week! It was so cool to hear about your trip down to Alaska, and hear how much you were able to share your faith with Grace and Austin, and just have an awesome week with them! Seriously those pictures are so awesome!! Haha, my companion was checking them out and he was freaking out at how pretty the mountains are. ;) as well Lex! Thanks so much for being such an awesome ward missionary. I promise that missionary appreciates what him did for him so much! It's those little things from the ward that help a missionary really feel like he's worked hard in that area, and that little going away party definitely meant a lot to him. I promise that! Tyler thanks so much for your email as well man! I really loved the pictures, and you're seriously looking way good! Sounds like you're having tons of fun in Provo, thanks for always being such an awesome example to me. I know if I can be a missionary half as devoted as you were, I think I'll be doing okay, haha. Really though, you really set that example to me of being a missionary that is always obedient, and I'm really thankful for that. A really awesome missionary serving in the Portuguese branch here in our mission just went home this week, and I got to talk to him for a while at temple day, and he really reminded me a ton of you. You're awesome Tyler! I really love you a lot man, and I'm so thankful for that awesome example you set for me all growing up. :)

Mom and Dad! Just want to say thanks. :) I did think about you guys a ton this past Sunday because it was Easter, and I really just wanted to say thanks so much for everything you do for me, and did for me as a teenager. You always were such amazing examples of positivity and love, and as well you always relied on the Lord. I'm really so thankful for that example you showed me, and for always guiding me along that right path. I'm sorry I wasn't always the best son I could have been, but I'm really excited to just repent and strive to change as much as I can as a missionary. :) This time is really so precious, and I can see now every day those moments when you would say, "hey this will help you when you are on your mission!" Those little experiences really are helping me so much everyday, and I'm so thankful for all the awesome things you've done for me. :) I love you guys!

All in all it was a really awesome week! Pretty stressful with transferring, but all in all it was an awesome miracle-filled week. The Lord has really blessed me so much here as a missionary in Tokyo, and I'm so thankful to be here! This short time has really changed my life so much, and I feel so thankful to here. :) Of course there are times when it's hard, you wish things would go differently, but I've loved this time being a missionary with all my heart. I'm so thankful for this time, and for the really awesome miracles the Lord has blessed me with. It's really changed my life so much, and I'm so thankful for that! I love His Gospel so much, and I'm so thankful for this chance to be a servant in the vineyard, here in Japan preaching the good news. I love you guys so much!!! Thanks so much for all that you do, have an awesome week!!

Elder Justesen

Monday, April 14, 2014

Tokyo Japan Week 36

Ward Family Night!

Hey everybody, happy Easter! It was really such an awesome time in Japan last week, and conference was really so amazing!! Seriously, I was so blown away by the power, and the boldness of the conference, and I really enjoyed it! It really reminded me that really important need we have of standing for the truth, and standing for what is right. There are a lot of gray areas in the world right now, but I know as we look to the Savior, we can find those things that are truly right. I'm really thankful to be a missionary right now and be really focusing on those things that are truly so important. This week Bel is set to be baptized, and I'm going to be here for it! We got our transfer calls today, and Elder Sakamoto and I are still gonna kick it in Tsukuba another transfer. :) I'm way excited, and I'm really thankful to have such an awesome companion like Elder Sakamoto. He's really taught me so much about truly following the Spirit, and really relying on that power from the Lord. The Spirit is such an incredible gift that the Lord has given us, and I know that as we heed those gentle tugs from the Holy Ghost, we'll be guided to those things that the Lord really wants us to do, and most importantly what He's always intended for us to become. I love this gospel so much, and I'm so excited to go forward this transfer! Especially cause I'll be able to talk the MOST AWESOME MOM IN THE WORLD! I'm so stoked to talk to you Mom and the whole family! It's gonna be such an awesome experience, and I'm so excited to talk to you all again. :) Time is really picking up speed, which is pretty scary, but I love being a missionary so much, and I'm so thankful for this time to be a missionary. These short 10 months have seriously changed my life so much, and I'm so thankful for all of the incredible miracles that the Lord has blessed me with here in Japan. Not every day is super easy, but this time has been such an awesome miracle in my life, and one I'm really so thankful for.

Elder Dunbar and I with the Sakura trees

It sounds like you all are doing so well! I was so stoked to hear about Mom and Dad reading from Preach My Gospel together! As a missionary, I want to challenge you all to just take a little time download it on the gospel library app, and give it a read! I'll do some follow up. ;) I know that Preach My Gospel really isn't just a book for full time missionaries, but for all who enjoy this great gospel, and as well seek to share this great message with those around them. Within the pages, there are so many incredible teachings and promises that can truly bless our lives so much. My life has been so changed by those chapters, and I know that we can find so much direction from the simple principles that are continually taught in Preach My Gospel. I love you guys so much, and I'm really so thankful to have an awesome family is so excited to share the gospel. :) Alexa, just want to say thank you so much for helping out your missionaries in your ward so much recently. I promise you, it really means so much to them, and they'll continually pray for you. I know because that's what happens here in Tsukuba. On Sunday morning, we were trying to find a place to go with our investigator Cho to watch conference, and the Davis family in our ward invited us to come to their home and watch there, and it was really such an incredible miracle. It brought the spirit so strong, and our investigator Cho to have an amazing spiritual experience. Member missionaries are really so amazing, and I am so sure all of those missionaries are way thankful for all that you do! Thanks for being awesome. :)

Elder Sakamoto being classy

Overall this week has been really so awesome, and the Lord has really blessed us so much here in Tsukuba. Especially with Bel! He's looking so awesome for this Saturday, and we're so excited for him! He's been such an amazing miracle here in Tsukuba, and it's really shown me how much the Lord prepares His children in every country, at all times. I feel so blessed to be teaching Bel, and I'm really so thankful for his strong faith and great desire to follow the example of the Savior and be baptized. He's been reading the Book of Mormon every day, and he even looked up some of general conference on his phone! The language barrier can be pretty hard sometimes, but with teaching and being around Bel it's really strengthened my testimony in the fact that there is a language that has no bounds and can be taught to everyone, and that's the Spirit! Bel's such an awesome man, and I'm so thankful to know this great man, and I feel so grateful to have been able to teach him!

Elder Sakamoto, Bel, and I at the Sakura trees!

Well since it's transfer week, I don't have a huge amount of time to write, but I just want to say I love you guys so much!! I'm really so thankful for all of your love, kindness, and especially prayers. I really do feel them everyday, and you guys everyday push me to improve and try to do my best as a missionary. Time is going way quick, but I'm so thankful and so excited to be a missionary! I know this gospel is true, and I know that the atonement really can change lives. I've really come to feel that as a missionary, and I'm so thankful for that gift. With Heavenly Father anything is possible, and we can all change and enter that path that the Lord has always intended for us. He loves us more than we can understand, and he wants us to truly find happiness in this life. I know that's true!! The gospel is true, the book is blue, and God loves you!!! Have an awesome week!

Much Love,
Elder Justesen

Monday, April 7, 2014

Tokyo Japan Week 35

Sakura trees in full bloom!

Hello everyone!! It's been another seriously gnarly week here in Tsukuba, and today was temple day! I was so stoked to be able to go this transfer, and it was really such an awesome experience. I always feel so blessed to be in a mission where we have that awesome opportunity to go to the temple every six weeks, and it was exactly the spiritual refresher that I needed. This week has really been so awesome, and the Lord has blessed us so much down here in Tsukuba! I can't believe that this transfer is coming to a close, but it's been so awesome. I really feel like I've grown so much this transfer in particular, and I really felt such a strong love of being a missionary today at the temple. There's always such a strong feeling of love here, and I know that that is a place where we can go to take a break from the worries of this busy world. :) It's such an awesome blessing to be able to go there every six weeks, and today was just especially awesome. I can't believe I've been a missionary for 10 months already! The double digits have started, but seriously I feel like I just started! Haha, the weather has been so nice lately, and Japan really is so gorgeous in the spring. The other day we went on a bike ride with our amazing investigator Bel, and we took a ride through some Sakura trees. It was seriously so pretty, and it just made me feel so thankful to be a missionary. Especially in Tokyo! Today after temple day Elder Sakamoto and I went on a walk around Tokyo a bit, and it's such an awesome city! So massive and full of people, but it just has such a cool feeling about it, and I feel super blessed to be a missionary in such a prepared place. To answer Mom's question, I haven't heard anything recently about North Korea! Hopefully that all mellows out, no worries so far though! I knew things were getting tense, but that's about all. :/ Don't worry though! I'm all good. :)

It sounds like everyone is doing super great though! I just want to say thank you all so much for the long emails this week! It was so awesome to hear about all of the cool things you are doing, and I know that the Lord is really blessing our family so much. Even hearing about those little things that go on every day helps me to see how much the Lord is involved with all we do, and I'm really thankful for those longer emails! :) I really love hearing from you guys so much, and I'm really so thankful for all of your love and support. It really keeps me going on those days that may be a little harder than others, and I'm just really thankful to my awesome family. I'm always praying for all by name everyday! Just wanted to say thanks so much for all you do, I love you guys! :)

So this week was way fast but really awesome as well! Bel is looking so great for his baptismal date! He's come to church every week, he's heard all of the lessons, and his baptismal interview is set up for next week. He's so excited, and he's really so excited to come closer to Jesus Christ and follow that example of being baptized. Bel is one of those giant miracles I know I will remember my whole life. He's had such an impact on my faith, and he's shown me how much the Lord cares and knows His children so much. We had a lesson with him the other day, and he explained to us a dream he had a week before he met Elder Dunbar and I! He explained in the dream he saw two books in front of him, one was about Buddhism, and the other about Jesus Christ. He knew he needed to read one, but he couldn't decide, and he said he felt God say to him, "You need to study this book about a Christ." And then a week later he met the missionaries! How incredible is that? He's been waiting to hear this message, and he's so readily accepted it, and is applying it into his life. The other day he fasted with us on Fast Sunday, and was so eager and ready to pay his tithing. Bel is just so awesome, and has shown me that as missionaries, we really are just tools in the Lord's hands. The Lord prepares His children every day, and as missionaries, we have this incredible opportunity to just become those tools, and seek to do the Lord's will. To answer Mom's next question, I'm so stoked you are starting to study PMG with me!! I love PMG so much, and I'm way excited to be studying it together. Recently I've been studying a lot from chapter 8, focusing a lot on the "How to Set Goals and Accountability" sections. There's really such incredible power in setting goals, and I'm studying to become a better goal setting missionary. :) As well, I'm trying to study from chapter 6 at least every other day, and focusing on an attribute I want to improve in my life. Have a blast with PMG! I love it!

This week as well, one of our old investigators Jason from last transfer hit us up last night! He's such a prepared young guy, and we were so sad when we lost contact, but all of sudden he's back, and he's so stoked to learn more! He recently went to Utah with his mother, and she urged him to study as much as he could about the Mormon faith because the church has such powerful and good members. She's not a member herself, but that incredible example the church sets has influenced her so much, and she wants her son Jason to learn as well. So cool!! The Lord is seriously preparing Tsukuba so much every day, and it makes me so thankful to be here!

Burgers in Tokyo! 

All in all, it's been just an awesome week. Of course not every day was super easy, but I just love this work with all I've got, and I love being a missionary. It's been such an amazing blessing in my life to come to this awesome country, and share this great news with those around me. This experience has completely changed my life, and forever changed the course of my life. The atonement is so real, and it has such an incredible ability to change hearts, and change desires. I've felt such a big change in my life here as a missionary, and it's something I'll forever be grateful for. I know this gospel is 100% true. I've been blessed to see it change hearts and lives, including my own. I know Heavenly Father lives and He loves us so much more than we can possibly understand. I know that being here is exactly where I am supposed to be right now, and I wouldn't change it for anything. Not every day is easy, but this experience is a once and a lifetime thing. I know that as we give all of our desires to the Lord, He blesses us with that ability to face all of life's challenges, and as well achieve those things that it is expedient to Him that we accomplish. Japan has changed my life, and I'm so thankful to be here! I love you all so much, and I'm so stoked to Skype in a couple months? Next month? I can't remember! Haha, but soon! Thanks so much for being the most gnarly awesome family ever! Love you guys so much, have an awesome week!!!


Elder Justesen