Monday, June 30, 2014

Tokyo Japan Week 46

We got caught in a downpour!

Hello amazing family! It's been another really amazing week here in Tsukuba, and I'm so thankful for all of the incredible blessings and miracles the Lord has really blessed us with this week. Pretty awesome miracle was that Brother Orlando Jordan was baptized and it was such an amazing service! His son is actually serving a mission in Peru, and it was just so amazing seeing this small family from Columbia come fully together in Japan. :) Orlando kept saying again and again, "Nova Vida. Nova Vida." Which Dad and Tyler will know means "new life." It was such an awesome miracle, and such an amazing blessing here in the Tsukuba ward. I wasn't able to teach Orlando very often, but it was so cool to be part of the Tsukuba Ward family to help welcome him in. This gospel is really so true, and one of its incredible purposes is to bring families together. It was so cool to see that with Brother Orlando, and it just made me so thankful to be here in an area as amazing as Tsukuba. 

So this week was really amazing! We saw an awesome miracle with setting a new baptismal date with our amazing friend Tomohisa for August 2nd! He's such a cool guy, and he's been such an amazing miracle here with Elder Jacox. He's been such an amazing companion, and it's been so awesome doing some of the same group work we did at the MTC. The Lord has really blessed us so much recently, and I'm so thankful to have this guy as my companion! We've been really blessed with so many awesome miracles, and we're way excited to go forward with faith.

It sounds like everyone is doing so great which makes me so happy! Way to go Mom and Dad for doing some great missionary with your apartment manager, that's so cool! The gospel is truly prepared for everyone, everyone just has their specific timing. :) Sounds like this great woman is being prepared by the Lord, and I'm sure there are some great miracles in store with her. As well Lexa, you are so awesome to be working with the missionaries in your ward! I promise you're making their days, and they are so thankful for you. Just keep being such an awesome friend to them, and I promise you'll make their mission journals. :) As well, Heavenly Father will really bless you so much as you do so, missionary work is truly so amazing, Heavenly Father really is so happy when the members and missionaries come together to share this great gospel. Whit it sounds like you had an awesome time with all your friends in LA, thanks so much for all of the photos! Keep me posted on all you're doing okay, but it sounds like you're having a blast! You're amazing, just keep always relying and looking to the Lord in prayer, scriptures, and attending church, and I know that He'll guide you on the paths you need to go. He's got you at all times. :) Tyler, I'm really loving the bike so much! Looks way good man, and I hope my Portuguese is getting better! Seriously such a fun language, and it's been cool to use it a bit recently here in Tsukuba. Love you man, thanks for always being such an amazing example to me.

All in all it was such an awesome week, and I'm so thankful for all of the wonderful blessings the Lord has given me as a missionary. I know I'm so far from perfect, and there are many days I slip up, and I need to make that drop to the knees and ask for forgiveness, but I'm so thankful for that incredible power that the Atonement gives us everyday. It truly cleanses us, makes us stronger, and makes us into the people we've always wanted to become. I'm so thankful for this opportunity to be a missionary in a country as amazing as Japan, and I'm so excited to go forward with faith. I can't believe Ryan VanWoerkum is coming home! That seriously blew my mind. Tell him hello for me! He's always been a way awesome guy I really looked up to. Tell him thanks for all he did for me, he's a great friend! Time really does fly by so fast, but I'm so excited to go forward and keep giving it all I've got every day! I know that this gospel is true, and that it truly changes lives. I feel my life changing and becoming more focused everyday, and I'm so thankful for the things I've learned in this short time as a missionary. Thank you all so much for all you do for me, and please know I continue to pray for you guys by name every day, and I'm so thankful for the incredible examples you show me every day. :) Love you guys so much! Have an amazing day, and I'm way excited for that amazing care package! Love you guys, have an amazing week!!!

Elder Justesen

Monday, June 23, 2014

Tokyo Japan Week 45

Hello amazing family!! Happy start of summer, it's actually really starting to warm up here in Tsukuba, and the transfer is winding down to the end, which is so crazy! This week is only a 5 week transfer, and today starts week 4, so it's definitely getting to that "go with all we have" type feeling in the zone. Especially for me! I've been here in Tsukuba the longest, and so it's definitely looking like this might be my last little bit of time in Tsukuba, and I'm just really so excited to go forward with all I have these last couple weeks here. I'm so thankful for these past 6 months, and I'm so thankful for the growth and building up that this time has given me here. It's been such a blast serving around the college students here, but it will definitely be a nice fresh start into a new area. This past week we had stake conference, and it was seriously so great! Especially because I could actually understand almost all of the talks! I remember just about a year ago when I was sitting in my first stake conference in Chiba with Elder Burgin and Elder Hamada, and I really couldn't understand a single thing! Now here I am a year lately being able to understand, and really gain so much more out of these wonderful stake conferences. :) It really made me so thankful for the gift of tongues, and the amazing help Heavenly Father has given me as a missionary here in Japan. At the stake conference we were able to crash at the Matsudo Elder's apartment, where my greatest buddy ever Elder Barnes is being a Zone Leader in Matsudo South! It was so great to talk with him, catch up, reminisce about the MTC, and talk about the growth that has happened in the past year. It really made me so thankful for the people Heavenly Father has placed in my life, and I'm so thankful for this time as a missionary. Another way big thing was my old trainer Elder Hamada got married this past weekend! Way gnarly, and it made me realize I've been out for a while! Haha. The time has flown by so fast, but I'm so thankful for this incredible chance to serve the Lord. I'm ready to just go forward with all I've got into this last year, and keep trying to changing every single day.

It sounds like you guys are all doing so great this week! Sounds like Utah was way fun, whoa snow!! That's super crazy. But what's a good family reunion without some craziness? But all in all it sounds like you all had a great time! I can't believe that Mom is starting up for girls camp again, I feel like that was just yesterday you were telling me that in an email! Crazy how fast time flies by, but it sounds way fun! Whit, totally have a blast in Long Beach! Tell David I say hello, and make sure to find a church to attend! I know it can be hard when you're on trips, and you have lots of things you have to do, but always remember to take that time to give that special time to the Lord. He loves you so much, and I know that he's blessing you so much, and he's so thankful for that desire you have to draw closer to Him. Tyler, sounds like you're having a blast on the Thruxton! Keep having a blast in SLC, and always keep the Lord involved in all you do. He loves you a lot man, and I'm really so thankful for the example you've always shared with me growing up. That decision to serve a mission really was so strengthened by your decision to serve, and I'm so thankful for you man. Obrigado! Alexa, I'm so stoked you're loving your new job, and I'm so thankful for all you're doing to help the missionaries and be such an active role in the ward! I know as you keep doing that, Heavenly Father will bless you so much. :) Honestly, young single adults are so awesome to missionaries, and I promise you can be present to see lives being changed, and see Heavenly Father's children come closer to Christ as you keep helping His missionaries. As well, I know Heavenly Father will bless you so much as you do all you can to help His servants. Keep being awesome! :)

Mom and Dad, I just want to say thanks so much for all you do, and for creating such an amazing home for me to be raised in. I'm so thankful for all of the love and kindness you've always shared with me, even at times when I wasn't doing all that I could have done to have been a better son. I love you both so much, and I'm so thankful to have parents as amazing as you. In this short year, a lot has changed, and I really just want to be a better son, brother, friend, and one day husband and father. I know that if I follow the example both have always set for me, it'll all work out okay. I'm so thankful for all you do for me, and especially the prayers that bear me up everyday. Somedays can be pretty hard, and working in a non-Christian country definitely has it's challenges, but you both have always taught me that with Heavenly Father, anything is possible, and this weekend I was really able to feel that. One of my first investigators in Japan, Sarath Chandra was baptized! Way funny story is that my first MTC companion Elder Turley is back in the mission, and is actually in my first area Narita! And now this week they saw that miracle of Sarath being baptized! It was such a cool miracle, and he was actually very high up in the Buddhist community before, but now he's made that decision to come closer to Jesus Christ. :) such a cool miracle, and I felt so thankful for the wonderful people the Lord has allowed me to meet here in Tokyo Japan. I couldn't ask for a cooler, more awesome place to serve!

Thanks so much for all that you do for me every day, and for all of the love and prayers you send my way. They really do keep me going, and give me that strength I need everyday. Being a missionary has been the greatest experience and decision in my life, and I'm so thankful to be here serving Heavenly Father's children. Also Alexa! Your friend Benjamin Taylor and I have tons of mutual friends now! Ask him if he ever served in the area of Oyama in Tochigi prefecture! I think he did! Way cool to see how much missionary work brings people together, and help them grow and progress with the Lord. I know Heavenly Father loves us all so much, even at times when we wander a bit from that security. He is always calling to us to return to Him, rely on Him, and trust in Him. There have been so many times as a missionary where I just needed to let go and trust in Him, and it's really blessed my life so much. I love being a missionary so much, and I love this Gospel so much! Thanks so much for everything, I'm so excited for the next care package! Here's some things that would be greatly appreciated!

1: delicious American candy! Trolli is an amazing candy company.
2: family member letters!
3: inspirational quote cards like from before!
4: some prints of pictures! Whit would know what I mean I think. :)
5: this may be a big stretch... But a great Hawaiian p-day shirt for
the apartment would be so cool.
6: something that would bring a California spirit! Sorry I know that's
really broad, but that would be so cool!

Again thank you so much for everything, love you all so much, have an awesome week!!! The Gospel is True, the book is blue, and God Loves You!

Elder Justesen

Monday, June 16, 2014

Tokyo Japan Week 44

Hello awesome family! It's been another really great week here in Tsukuba, and I'm so thankful to be a missionary this week! As well... Happy Father's Day in the great state of California!!! Sounds like you guys are having a really great time in Utah, but I just wanted to tell Dad happy Father's Day! During church yesterday the primary children sang some of those classic primary Father's Day songs, and it really made me feel so thankful to have been blessed with such an amazing father. Thanks so much for everything you've done for me, and for always being such an amazing example in my life. You've really blessed my life, and really shaped so much of who I am everyday, and I'm so thankful for all those times you've made that time to be with me, and just spend some time. There really is so much power in just making some time for someone just to let them know you love and care for them, and I'll always remember that about Dad. I can't count how many times he would finish a phone call, and I'd hear, "Dev! Let's go throw the ball!" Or go grab some Arby's, haha. Although it was just little moments here in there, they really blessed my life so much, and Dad really is that amazing example of someone who will always make time for you. Love you so much Pops, and I'm so thankful to have an amazing Father like you. You've set that example of the priesthood bearer I hope to be like, and especially the type of father I know I want to become. Thanks so much Pops, love you a ton. :) 

This week was pretty great! A couple struggles, but that's missionary life. I'm really so thankful for some of those tougher times that really bring us to the depths of humility, and give us that chance to more fully rely on the Savior Jesus Christ. I'm so thankful to be here in Tokyo Japan, and I'm so thankful for the people the Lord has blessed me with being able to teach at this time in my life. I love this Gospel, and I know that it is the true and everlasting Gospel on the earth, and I'm so thankful to have had this chance the past year to share this good news with all of those around me. At mission leadership council we discussed the need to have more focus on less active work, and my testimony has been so strengthened in that importance. Just as we rejoice and feel that great excitement over someone new who enters the Gospel, it's so important that we never forget about those that may have wavered on the path a bit. it's been so cool this past week to have that stronger focus on less active, and I'm so thankful for this chance to help the great people here in the Tsukuba area. I love being a missionary with all my heart, and I'm so thankful for all of the blessings The Lord has given me here in Japan.

This week was pretty great though! We're working really closely with some great people, and the Lord has really blessed us with so many wonderful people to teach here in Tsukuba. I'm really so thankful to be here for the fourth transfer, and it's been so cool to have this area feel so much like home. I'll be pretty bummed when the time comes to leave, but I feel pretty ready for that new area feel again, and that excitement in learning about the ward, people, and investigators. It's been such a blast being here, and I'm so excited to just keep going forward with faith here in the area! Tyler, I've been learning a little bit of Portuguese from my awesome companion Elder Jacox! He just arrived here from the Brazilian Branch here in Tokyo, and he's helping our investigator so much here from Mozambique. I have a question for you though! So Vundo our investigator is reading the Book of Mormon, and he's been raised in the Catholic Church his whole life, and he has really such strong faith. He believes the restoration might be true, but he's a little hesitant about receiving baptism because he was baptized when he was younger, and he's having a hard time realizing that he needs that baptism from the proper authority and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. Serving in Japan, we don't have this problem too often because we're not in a Christian country, but I know you probably has this situation many times in Brazil, and I was hoping for some advice! What do you think we should teach and explain to help him see and feel that he needs to receive baptism from the proper authority? Thanks so much, voce e muito bom! Eu nao falo Portuguese mais tranquilo. Haha, thanks so much man, te amo!

But all together it was such an awesome week, and I'm so excited to go forward with this next week, and just keep making the most of every day here as a missionary. Elder Jacox is such an awesome companion, and he's brought so much of that fun loving attitude back in my missionary life, and I'm so excited to work hard with him! Also, Mom I received that AWESOME package! Thank you so much! I really love the shorts, CD, shirt, and especially the super stylin' neck tie! I really love them so much, thank you so much! I'm so excited for the next package, and again thank you so much for sending so many packages! It really brought me so much happiness to feel of that love from home, and it keeps me going with all I have. I love this Gospel so much, and I'm so thankful for the fact that through the Gospel we can have that strong family faith. It's blessed my life so much, and I'm so thankful for such an awesome family. :) also! So funny crazy story, I had a massive bug get stuck in my ear this week! Sorry no pictures because he went in too far, but I had to wash him out, and it was a way intense evening! Nothing like feeling a bug buzz around in your head. ;) it was way funny to call the mission doctor, and he thought it was pretty funny, and we made some great jokes about it! Haha, we concluded we baptized the bug in my ear, and it's all good now, haha. Mission life right! Also, this week I reached 71 Kilos, which apparently is about 156 pounds, which is the lightest I've been since 15! It's been so awesome losing some of that heavy weight, and now I'm actually a Japanese medium/large. Which is way small!

All in all, I'm just really thankful for all of the blessings The Lord has given me in this short time of being a missionary. It's really changed my life so much, and made me into someone I never thought I could be. It's changed my way of seeing things, and it's helped me so much to see that we are all brothers and sisters here on this earth, and it's helped me to see the incredible potential of all those around us. I read the Elder Ballard CES devotional from May, and it was so awesome hearing his advice as we keep going forward into this time of so many resources to share the Gospel. It's been so cool to be using Facebook as a tool to help the gospel go forward, and we saw some really amazing miracles this week with Facebook! I'm so excited to go forward with faith, and give this work my all! I love you all so much, and I'm so thankful for all of the kindness and love you always share with me. Thanks so much, and please know I pray for you all everyday, and please know I'm so thankful for all you do for me. :) have an awesome week, the gospel is true, the book is blue, and God loves you!!

Elder Justesen

Monday, June 9, 2014

Tokyo Japan Week 43

Hello amazing family! It's been another great week here in Tsukuba, and it's exciting that we're having a baptism this week! There is a really amazing man named Orlando who the other elders have been teaching, and he's finally getting baptized this week! He actually has a son who is serving a mission right now down in the southern American region, and it's just an awesome miracle to see this amazing family come together in the Gospel. Way cool miracles in Tsukuba! I'm really so stoked to be here another transfer, and I know there are some seriously great miracles in store as we keep going. Tsukuba is an area full of so many amazing miracles, and we're so excited to go forward with faith. It's gonna be an awesome transfer!

So my companion is named Elder Jacox, from Kaysville Utah! Also, he and I were in the MTC at the same time, and it's been awesome reminiscing about the MTC and just some of those awesome moments of coming to Japan on the same plane and stuff. It was actually funny because transfer day was our year mark! So sadly I didn't do too much for the year mark, but everyone transferred safely, and it was a great day! Rainy season has officially started in Japan, and it's been raining for the past few days, but it's been seriously so pretty! As well we saw some awesome rain miracles with Dhani coming back to church on Sunday! It was cool because after we had those big 4 lessons, he felt like he really wanted to take a break from the lessons, but now he's coming back! Way cool miracle, and I really feel like the Lord has kept me here in Tsukuba for 4 transfers for Dhani, and I'm really praying so hard to be worthy of this kind of miracle. It would mean so much to me to help him make that decision to receive baptism and make those promises with Heavenly Father before heading onto another area. Dhani really is such an awesome person, and I've felt really so blessed to be teaching him, and to be his friend. He's really blessed my life so much, and I'm way thankful for him!

As well Vundo is looking so awesome! He's our great friend from Mozambique, and now that Elder Jacox is here, he's looking great! The main language in Mozambique is Portuguese, and Elder Jacox just got here from the Portuguese branch so he and Vundo hit it off so fast! Vundo is such an awesome guy, with so much strong faith, so we're really so excited to go forward with him, and really help him learn more about this Gospel. I feel really so blessed to have such awesome people to teach here in Tsukuba, and it's been so cool teaching people from all over! It's really been such an awesome builder of my testimony that Heavenly Father truly loves all of His children so much, and really so strongly desires for them to receive this amazing Gospel. I love being a missionary so much, and I'm so thankful to be here sharing this great message of the Gospel.

As well I just wanted to say happy birthday to the most awesome brother and sister ever!!! I hope you guys had such an awesome birthday, and please know I was thinking so much about you, and sang happy birthday to you! Haha, please know I love you guys so much, and I'm so thankful for all you guys do for me. :) Your prayers always keep me going, and I'm so excited to go forward with faith! Some days are pretty tiring, but your prayers keep my faith high, and I'm so thankful for all you do for me!

All in all it was such an awesome week, and I'm way excited to keep moving forward! There are still so many weaknesses I'm working on everyday, but I'm so thankful to the atonement of Jesus Christ that helps me to keep moving forward, keep changing, and keep improving everyday. Some days as a missionary can be pretty tiring, but I'm so thankful for this incredible time of being a missionary, and I wouldn't change this time for anything! I love being a missionary with all my heart, and I'm so thankful for all of love from you guys! Please know I love you so much, and am always praying for you! I'm so thankful for the wonderful blessings Heavenly Father has been blessing us with, and I know that these miracles rely so much on our faith and desire to follow His teachings. :) Love you guys so much, have an awesome week!!

Elder Justesen

Monday, June 2, 2014

Tokyo Japan Week 42

Hello most awesome and amazing family in the world!!! Okay... So this email is going to be pretty short, and I'm so sorry! But! I'm staying in Tsukuba another transfer as Zone Leader, and I'm training a new zone leader! I'm really so stoked for this opportunity to serve again as a zone leader. It's gonna be gnarly. So right now we are in the midst of transfer planning, and we had a zone p day today where we went to the world's largest Buddha statue in the world! Look up DaiButsu in Ushiku City. Pretty awesome, I'll send some pictures!

All and all doing pretty great, but feeling a little sick today. The heat has been pretty gnarly here recently, but it's all good, and I'm getting a sweet tan again! So excited to be a missionary, and I can't believe it's been one year now!! I feel like yesterday I was being dropped off at the MTC, but boom! Here we are one year later. I love this gospel so much, and I'm so thankful to have such an amazing family! Thank you so much for all you do, and please know I appreciate every letter. Your encouraging words really push me on on those rough days, and I'm so thankful to have been blessed with such an amazing family. :)

Also Whittenshire HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!! I'll try to send something to ya if I can, and I'll be shooting you and Tyler two awesome personal letters next week! Please know I love you so much, and you're my hero! Sounds and looks like Iceland was amazing! Keep going for those dreams, and know that Heavenly Father is so eager to bless you as you keep his commandments. He loves you a lot!

But anyways, have an amazing week!!! I love you guys so much, and I'm so excited for the next package coming soon! Promise I'll be writing more next week, again so sorry! Also! Hope it's okay if I pick up a couple of white shirts, my shirts from this winter and last summer are pretty thrashed... Sorry! Won't spend too much though. :) Have an awesome week, I love and am praying for you always!

Elder Justesen (Devister McGee)