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

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