Monday, August 25, 2014

Tokyo Japan Week 54

Hello everyone! It's been another seriously awesome week here in Urawa, it was probably one of the most intense weeks ever! So this week we had transfers, and the ten missionaries have arrived all safe and sound in the paradise stake of Saitama! I feel so lucky and so blessed to be here at such an awesome time, and I'm so excited to go forward with the transfer! So... there are a lot of things I could say in this email this week, but I wanted to write about one thing in particular, and that's the incredible blessings of being a missionary. So this week had one seriously amazing miracle, but something as well that was pretty sad. First! Brother Saito was baptized this week!! I actually had the great opportunity to confirm him a member in Japanese! It was pretty intense, but it was such an incredible experience to feel the gift of tongues really working forward, and helping me to know the words that needed to be said. It was such an awesome service, and we were actually able to Skype the missionary that taught him in Sapporo who just returned home! It was so cool to see this miracle stretch from here in Japan all the way back to the United States, and I feel so blessed to have taught brother Saito. He truly has so much incredible faith and desire, and he has such a strong desire to follow the Savior's example in his life. Really amazing miracle. :)

But the kind of sad thing... my best friend Shohei is moving to Kyoto this week! He called me up a few days ago, he let me know the sad news, and he said he may not be returning to Tokyo for quite a little while. He's going to do all he can to come visit, but he's pretty bummed to leave his home... and especially the missionaries. From there we set up a P-day meet up today, and it was so great. We had plans to go into Tokyo, but due to some train schedules, we ended up meeting with some other missionaries, and played hide and seek in the church, haha. It was super strange seeing a bunch of 20 year old guys running around hiding, but you know, haha, that's missionary life. ;) But what was really so amazing was after the games, it was us and Shohei for a little bit, and we started taking some goodbye photos, at least until next time. As we finished up, Shohei and I were talking, and I just told him thanks for being my friend here in Japan, and as he gave me a hug, tears started to fill his eyes, and he just expressed his thanks to all of the missionaries he had met in his life. It really hit me so hard, and I felt in my heart the true blessing of being a missionary. For this short time we're given this chance to give not only our hearts, but whole souls to the people we meet, and there truly is no greater blessing than that. To completely forget about yourself, your needs, the things you wish you were, the things of the outside world, and completely focus on others has been the greatest blessing in my life.

I love being a missionary with all my heart, and I'm so thankful for Brother Shohei Yoshida. He's truly changed and blessed my life so much, and has shown me the reason why we do this. The reason that young men and women can drop everything for 2 years, arise at 6:30 each morning, work all day until 10:30, and have one day off where usually you're still working. Why we take the bikes out even when it's raining like a typhoon, snowing a blizzard, more than 100 degrees in the hot sun. Why we meet with, talk to, say hello to thousands of people, try with all of our effort to share this message of happiness and peace. Why we come to foreign countries, not speaking any of the language, and using every effort we can to learn how to say, "you have a Father in Heaven who loves you!" It's for the people like Shohei Yoshida. It's for the people that are prepared to receive this restored gospel of Jesus Christ, and have been looking for something more in their life. It's for the love and peace we have felt in our own lives that has come from this great truth. Despite the days that leave you pretty worn out, feeling like you've given your all, and still no results, you gotta love being a missionary. You gotta love this work. It's truly life changing, and heart changing. It can take the desires you once had, completely change them, and place you more on a path that you've always wanted to walk. Through this great gospel of Jesus Christ, it can take the person you used to be and completely change you. It can help you see and feel the potential you have as a son or daughter of God, and what's more the people around you. I love being a missionary so much!

Whoa! That was an intense paragraph. Haha, it's just been such a great week, and something that's really been on my mind lately. With my birthday on the way, and realizing that all of sisters in my MTC group will be heading home in about 3 months, it's really caused me to reflect on those awesome things I've learned in the past year, and it's given me such a great excitement to keep going forward with all I have to make every day count. Brother Saito was such an incredible miracle this week, and I'm so excited to keep going forward and looking for those great brothers and sisters!

It sounds like you all are doing really great! Tyler you sound super stoked on life, and I'm way excited to see your present! Seriously thank you so much for all you do for me man, and the awesome example you set through serving your own mission so faithfully. Whit, it sounds like Vancouver was gnarly as usual! I'm so glad you had such an awesome time with your friends, and I know there's really amazing things in store for you. I always picture you doing such awesome things with your photography, traveling around with your family. I know as you keep trusting in the Lord and always seeking to follow his will for you, he's going to lead you to those path you're meant to walk. Alexa! Don't give up hope on things! If I gave up on every person that told me they're not interested in me here in Japan, that'd be a pretty short mission, haha. But seriously though, I'm way sorry, I'm giving you a super big hug through the email! I'll be praying for you every day. A lot of times, Heavenly Father will have us wait right until that brink, and then the blessings begin to flow. Just keep the faith, and invite Him to be apart of all you're doing! He loves you so much. Mom and Dad! I just want to say I love you both so much, and am so thankful for the incredible example you always share with me. This week was really one of the busiest weeks of my whole mission, and I always remembered the amazing example you showed me of how to ask Heavenly Father just for that daily bread to push through another day. With Elder Mobley being the area Senior, I was left to be the Senior, with 9 other new missionaries that didn't know the area, and myself only being here for six weeks! As well, I had to coordinate all of the meetings with the bishopric, and stake president, who is awesome by the way! See if anyone in Folsom knows an Elder Dorff! His dad is amazing! But on top of that we had a baptism, haha. It was such an intense week, but I always looked back on the amazing example you set for me of being diligent, and just always leaving that trust in the Lord. Love you so much!

As for the care package for the birthday! I just want to say thank you so much for making this for me, it really means so much to me, and I'm so excited to be turning 20 here in Japan! I was thinking this year...It may actually be really awesome to have some new garments. I washed my garments this past week, and summer in Japan is pretty intense and it looks like I may be in need of some new tops and bottoms! Haha, anything will be so appreciated. :) As for anything else, I may just borrow some money for a P-day or something, but just letters and pictures would be so amazing! Thank you so much, I really appreciate it so much. Just like Dad always told me, your birthday as a missionary is just kind of another normal day, and sometimes you don't really realize you're having one! Haha, it's gonna be so awesome though to receive this package though, thank you so much!

Well I love you all so much, and I'm so thankful to be a missionary this week! We moved into our new apartment this week which is right next to the Saitama University, so I'm doing more college student work! I'm so thankful for the amazing miracles Heavenly Father has blessed with us already, and I'm so thankful for this chance to go forward and work here in Urawa! I love this work with all my heart, and I love you guys so much! Have an awesome week!!!

Elder Justesen

Monday, August 18, 2014

Tokyo Japan Week 53

Hello amazing family! It was so awesome to hear from you all today, and I wanted to start off by saying happy birthday to the most awesome mom in the whole wide world!! Thanks so much for everything Mom, you're so awesome, and I'm so thankful for all that you do for me every day. :) We just finished having a seriously awesome two-zone P-day, and it went so great! I tried to revive my old first zone P-day, and it ended up going so great, and overall an awesome time! We had a special skills relay race, and it was a blast. :) And then the transfer calls came! Super crazy... I'm staying in Urawa though! Elder Mobley, my amazing companion, is heading to the other side of the stake in the other zone, and my old MTC Zone Leader is going to be my companion! His name is Elder Shumway, and he's so awesome! I'm so stoked to go forward into this next transfer! He's from Utah, and he's been working as the tech staff lately, and it's looking fun this coming transfer. Elder Dunbar, my old companion, is coming down to Urawa for his last transfer to white wash the new area in Urawa! It's going to be such a blast working with him again, and I'm excited for this next transfer. I'm so thankful for all of the incredible blessings Heavenly Father has given me in this short time as a missionary, and I can't believe I'm starting transfer 10 today! It seems like just yesterday Elder Burgin and Elder Hamada were picking me up from the mission home, and now boom! It's gone by so so so fast, but I'm so excited to keep working and going forward with faith. I know that if I trust in Heavenly Father, and continually give my whole heart this work, it's going to be so amazing!

Sports Day!

It sounds like you're all doing so awesome! I was pretty sad not to hear from Whit today... But! I'm sure she's having a seriously awesome time with her photography friends, and I'm excited to hear from her next week! Love you Whit! :) And then it sounds like internet is a tough spot right now, but I just wanted to say thank you all so much for the constant love and kind words that bless and help me so much every day. I know that I was really so blessed to be a part of this awesome family, and it's so cool showing investigators and friends my family picture, and they all comment that Mom looks like she's in her early 30s, Dad looks like a super cool beach bum, and Whit, Alexa, and Tyler all look like Uniqlo models. Haha, pretty awesome! But in all honesty, I just wanted to say thank you all so much, I love you guys so much! I miss you like crazy, especially on Mom's birthday, but hey! I'll be home for the next one! I can't believe that we're already going into September, and I'm going to be 20 soon! No more childish things, I'm becoming a straight up man. A manly man. A handsome man. A majestic man. A frivolous man. A jolly man. A happy man. A skater... Man. A guitarist... Man. A coking man. A candy eating man. A MAN.

The city!

Man, I'm way excited! I'm so excited to take this incredible time to become more of who Heavenly Father wants me to be, and I'm so excited to just keep going forward with faith. I love being a missionary with all my heart, and I'm so excited to have my second birthday in Japan! Also! For the package... Anything would be so appreciated! I used about 40 dollars last week and bought a new set of scriptures from the temple! They're English, and I'm not planning to really use them until after my mission, but I thought it'd be way awesome to have a set of scriptures that were purchased in Tokyo, Japan at the temple. Other than that, the package would be so cool! Candy is always greatly appreciated, letters are so awesome, and anything else that you think I need for being 20 would be so awesome! Thank you so much for going to all this trouble to send me a package, I really appreciate it so much, it's definitely going to make my day!

But with the really big miracles this week, there is Brother Saito! He's scheduled to have his baptismal service this week, and we're really so excited for him! This past week he had a overnight shift going from Saturday evening at 7 to Sunday morning at 7, and he came all the way from work to church, just to have that chance to receive the sacrament. He had his baptismal interviews right after as well, and he's looking so great for this Sunday. Keep him in your prayers! He's a great 24 year old guy from Sapporo, and he's just awesome. He loves the Savior so much, and he's so excited to more fully follow Him at this time, and I feel really so blessed to be working with him, and being able to share this awesome message with him. Heavenly Father truly prepared him so much, and it's looking pretty great!

Again thank you so much for all you do, and know that I'm praying for you guys every day! I'm so thankful for all of the love and kindness you so openly share with me, and I'm so thankful for the wonderful examples you've shown me. Especially this week, alongside thinking about Mom a TON, I was thinking a lot about Tyler. I just wanted to say thanks so much for everything man, and for being such an awesome example to me. If I had to pick somebody that just goes with the Lord's will every time, I definitely think of you. You're really such a clutch player, and I've tried my absolute best to be more like you as a missionary. This week we're becoming a group of 10 missionaries in a single ward, which has never been done before, and it's definitely pretty high pressure! But I just think of you, and how you always just put that trust in the Lord, and roll with it. I really want to do the same, and I'm so thankful for the amazing example you always showed me. Love you man!!

And also there's Mom! Mom, I just want to say thanks so much for everything, I love you so so much. I'm so sad I can't be there with you today to celebrate your birthday, but I was thinking so much about you all day yesterday. I'm so tankful to have you as my Mamma, and I'm so thankful for you! You've blessed my life in so many amazing ways, and I'm just so thankful to be your son. I'm so sorry for those days I was pretty rough to deal with, and maybe those times of showing off my muscles during homework was pretty annoying, haha, but Mom you're just the best because you always had that true charity for all of those around you. Never have I seen someone so willing, and able, to drop everything to help the one. It's definitely an attribute I'm trying to apply in my life, and I'm just so thankful for the love and kindness you so happily share with all of those around you. Mom, you're a superhero, and you've totally shaped and changed my life, especially in this time of being a missionary. Your consistent follow up on my decision to serve has blessed me so much, and I just want to copy your quote and say you make my heart sing! Thank you so much for all you do, and I hope you have the most amazing birthday! See you at the next one, huh? ;) Haha, love you so much Mom, know I'm giving you the most gnarly air hug ever, because my muscles are so big, and I love you so much!

Have an amazing week!! The gospel is true, the book is blue, and God loves you!!!

Elder Justesen

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Tokyo Japan Week 52

Hello amazing family! Hey everyone! It's been another seriously awesome week here in Urawa, and to top it all off today was temple day! It was so awesome to go and be in the temple once again today! Last transfer we actually weren't able to go, but it was really so awesome to go today and feel the Spirit there. :) It was especially super awesome today because I got to see my old MTC companion Elder Turley! He's finally made it to the field, and it was really such an awesome blessing to see him, give him a super big hug, and just spend some time with a good old friend. As well with all the elders at the temple today, it was just such an awesome feeling of being surrounded by your brothers, and it's been a feeling I've been so thankful for these past few weeks. I love being a missionary with all my heart, and I'm so thankful for this amazing chance to share the great message of the gospel, and do all I can to help spread this awesome news. Today during the temple session, my mind was thinking so much about the things I've learned this past year, and I felt such a strong feeling of peace and appreciation for the brothers and friends I have gained here in the country of Japan. Heavenly Father truly does prepare the people we meet in this life, and I'm so thankful for the people in this missionary experience. They've all blessed and changed my life so much, and I'm so excited to just keep going forward and looking for my brothers and sisters out there!

Okay one really awesome somewhat funny story today! Today we were riding the train back, and August in Japan is the hottest month of the year! Basically the train was like a sweat box, and I was finally able to grab a seat next to a young Japanese father and his family. We started talking about the church and volunteers, and what I was doing in Japan as a missionary. He gave me a way nice compliment and said I looked like David Beckham! Clearly the man was using his eyes incorrectly, but I thought it'd be fun to joke around a little bit, and I told him I actually used David Beckham cologne, which makes you smell the way I did! Which wasn't great...but he thought it was funny, and we had a chance to talk about the importance of finding joy in life, and having fun. :) It's the best to be able to now bring some of myself into the Japanese, and I always love joking and having fun while sharing this great message with the Japanese people!

Also this week! I had the chance to meet Nori and Yamaguchi, two 40 year old skate boarders! They've actually been doing this for 17 years or so, and they meet every day after work to skateboard, and have great times with their close friends while boarding. It was awesome to sit down and talk to them more about Heavenly Father and how He gave us those things in life so that we could have joy, and they both said they'd like to hear more of the message! It was awesome skateboard dendo!

I just wanted to say again as well thank you all so much for all of the awesome emails! Your kind words always uplift me so much, and bring me so much confidence and desire to give my all every day. Being a missionary has really shown me the type of family I hope to have one day, and I know I'll be modeling so much of the pattern of our own family into that. I miss you guys a ton, but I'm so thankful for this time to learn and grow, and especially to be here serving the Lord. It sounds like you all are doing so awesome! I was so stoked to hear about all the fun things you're doing, and all the great blessings going on in the family! Whit it sounds like and looks like Seattle was such an awesome trip, and I'm way pumped to hear that the ward hopping was fun! Haha, also Lexa it sounds like you're just having tons of fun in the Bay Area! I love telling some of my companions and friends that you hopped out of Provo, and are now tearing it up in CA! It's definitely your place, and I'm super stoked for Sid! He sounds like someone so prepared by the Lord, and I'm so happy to hear he's making that decision to be baptized! It'll be the greatest decision, and he's truly surrounded by brothers and sisters that love him a ton! :) Actually keep an eye out for a Sister Dorff! She's apparently serving in the San Fran area, and she's the daughter of the stake president here in the Urawa ward! He's the most awesome guy ever, and his family is super great! Tyler as well it looks like you're having such a great time in Utah, and I'm way pumped for when we can ride some bikes together, and spend some awesome time together! Just wanna say I'm sorry about some of those lame arguments in the past man...Definitely wasn't worth and I just want to say I love you ton! You've seriously made such a huge impact on the person I am today, and your decision to serve a mission truly influenced and blessed my life so much, and I'm so thankful to have such an awesome older brother that decided not only to serve, but serve fully, and with all you had, and just be such an awesome example to me. Love you tons man!

Also today I just wanted to send out a quick special note to Mom and Dad. :) Yo I'm coming up on twenty years! How gnarly is that?! I just wanted to say thank you so much for being the most awesome, chill, loving parents in the whole world. :) I've gained kind of a reputation in the mission to always be smiling, Californian Missionary (sometimes called Sunshine, haha) but I seriously owe that attitude all to the home I was raised in. Home was always just a place where there was a lot of laughter, smiling, and so many great feelings, and I'm so thankful for the effort and love that you both put into making home such an awesome place. Thanks so much for everything, I'm really so sorry about some of those days I was so easily upset by such little things, and I'm so sorry for the way I behaved some of those days.. I'm striving every day to become just a little better, and I'm really so thankful for the love and never ending support you always give to me. :) Love you so much!

Next I really wanted to write Mom a more personal note for her awesome birthday!! I can't believe it's already the second one I'm missing, it seems like the first one was just yesterday! I was riding in a car, not understanding anything that was going on, and just thinking about how awesome Mom is! Well, one year later, not much has changed, haha, but I still know and just want to say Mom is the absolute best! Seriously the Mamma of all Moms. :) I'm going to do all I can to prepare something sweet for your birthday, but I just wanted to say thank you so much for all you do Mom. :) You've seriously blessed and changed my life so much, and I'm so thankful for all of the wonderful memories that we have together. Whenever we drove down to Cottonwood together, or just anywhere, I really felt like I could open up and just say anything with know, and I was really never concerned about judgement or anything. I know you would always listen, and always give the best advice. I love and appreciate you more than I can say, but I just wanted to say thank you so much for all you do for me. I love you so much, and you make my heart sing!!

I love you all so much, and hope you all have such an awesome week! I'm always praying for you every day by name, and I'm so thankful for this awesome chance to share the gospel with the people of Japan. This short time has changed and blessed my life in so many ways, and I'm so excited to just keep going forward! Transfer calls are coming up next week, and I'm so excited to go forward into the next transfer! It's going to be such an awesome time, and I'm so excited to keep going forward and strive every day to give my whole heart and soul to this great gospel. I know that the gospel is truly that key to finding true happiness in this life, and I know that before we began this life we were living and loving side by side our Father and Heaven, and we all were so anxious and eager to start the journey, and come to this earth to have these experiences that we are having everyday. I love being a missionary so much, and I'm especially thankful for the awesome friends and family in my life. :) I love this message with all my heart, and I'm so excited to go forward with faith! The gospel is true, the book is blue, and God loves you!!!

Elder Justesen

Monday, August 4, 2014

Tokyo Japan Week 51

Hello amazing family!! So today I don't have a ton of time to write due to some seriously fun P-day activities with Brother Shohei, but I just wanted to write a little bit about some really amazing miracles that happened this week. :)

So first off I just wanted to say thank you so much for the awesome emails! They're always so encouraging and full of love, and truly bless my week so much. It's always so awesome to hear about all of the wonderful things you guys are all doing, and it brings me so much great help throughout the rest of the week. Recently there's been an announcement of having 10 missionaries in the Urawa ward, and it's definitely some intense pressure on the Zone Leaders since this will be the first time a ward has ever had 10 missionaries, but I'm so excited! The ward is so excited as well, and it's going to be such a great time going into next transfer. :) I recently got to sit down with President and Sister Budge this week for interviews, and it was so awesome to sit and talk with President Budge, and talk to him about some of those things. It's so awesome having a fellow Californian as a mission president! He's got so much great faith and love, and it's been so awesome working with President and Sister Budge. :) It also brought me so much comfort and happiness when Sister Budge told me that President Budge thinks really highly of the work I've been doing this past year, and it was just that little boost to keep working harder that I needed. This missionary experience has truly blessed and changed my life so much, and I feel so thankful to be serving here in Urawa at this 埼玉ステーク 浦和ワードの梅村兄弟です。 一緒に勉強してます。^ that's a side note from a recent convert in Urawa ward! Needed some help writing my email this week. ;)

This week was so awesome! I feel so bad, I hardly have anytime to write tonight, but I just want to say I love you all so much, and am really so thankful for all of the love and kindness you share with me. I'm so thankful to be a missionary, and I'm so thankful for the past year here in Japan! This short time here has changed and blessed my life so much, and I'm so thankful for the eternal friends made and that the Lord has blessed me with. They've all changed my life so much, and I'm so thankful to be here sharing this great message with the people of Japan. Today we got to go spend some great time with Shohei at Lake Town, the world's largest mall in Japan! It has a Krispy Kreme. So it was seriously so much fun, but it was so crazy talking to Shohei about how we became friends nearly a year ago when he gave me that red tie for my birthday! Haha, ever since then, he's been such an amazing friend, and a really amazing blessing in my life. As well I received a really amazing email from my trainer Elder Burgin now from home, and I'm forwarding that over! Basically made my day. :) Heavenly Father truly prepares and grants us such great people in our lives, and every day I feel so grateful for my decision to serve a mission. Is every day easy? No of course not, but every day is filled with tiny and large miracles that make up this divine work, and those who receive the blessing of witnessing and joining it, if you allow it to, it can truly change the course of your life. It can change your heart and desires, and it can change the way you look at this life. It will change the way you look at the person in the mirror, and it will help you to realize and feel you are a true child of a loving Father in Heaven.

Today I just wanted to share my testimony due to the busy schedule, haha, but I just want to let you all know how much I love being a missionary. I can't believe I've reached a full year circle, but I'm so excited and stoked for the next year! I know that if I give my whole heart and mind to this great work, it's really gonna be so awesome. :) I'm so grateful to you guys for helping me so much in preparing for my mission, and I'm just so stoked to be here! I realized today that time is so short, but I'm so excited to just keep working hard, and keep giving this work my all. I love it so much, and I'm so thankful that Heavenly Father let me come and serve here in the amazing country of Japan! I love you guys so much!! Have an awesome week! :)

Elder Justesen