Monday, October 27, 2014

Tokyo Japan Week 63


Hey Everyone! First off, happy Halloween from the awesome country of Japan! I'm so stoked, we're having our Halloween party this weekend, and it's shaping up to be awesome! So many members are bringing their friends to come check out the church, and I'm preparing a pretty awesome missionary style surfer costume, should be pretty gnarly. ;)

Well today was seriously so great, and this week all in all was so awesome! This week I really felt the amazing power of prayer, and Heavenly Father has been really blessing our zone so much this past week. Our investigator Chen from China set a goal to be baptized next month! We're so excited for him, and he's really showing so much desire and faith as he's reading the Book of Mormon diligently to find that answer from his Father in Heaven. It's been such an amazing opportunity, and we're so stoked for him! As well we saw such an amazing miracle this week with our great friend Yoshimasa! We were having P-day this past week, and our other investigator canceled on us last minute, and we weren't able to meet, so we decided to hop on the train and look for people to talk to. We met Yoshimasa, and he's been looking for a church to attend here in Urawa! He recently went to Italy, and was deeply moved by a picture of Christ that he saw, and he said ever since then he's been wanting to learn more about what Christ did in this life. Long story short, he attended church this Sunday, LOVED IT, and is now reading the Book of Mormon! He's a really cool 39 year old man, who loves the Beatles! He's a great guy, and just such an awesome miracle I'm so thankful for. At church he asked as well if we performed baptism, and he said he'd love to learn more about it! He's pretty golden!

Then this week we tried really hard to boost some of the areas in our zone by doing blitzes throughout this week! Heavenly Father blessed us so much in that spirit of helping, and on one blitz with a group of elders we found 14 new investigators for this one area, it was so awesome! I really love serving as a Zone Leader so much, it's been such an awesome life changing experience! Then this Sunday was Stake Conference, and President Dorff bore such an amazing testimony on the power of daily prayer and scripture, and doing family home evening weekly. As we all got older and moved out it was hard to do family prayer, but I'll always remember those evening when we would gather as a family to read the scriptures, and I know it's something I really want to continue with my family in the future. :)

Speaking of future families, my trainer Elder Burgin is getting married in December! I got a sweet email today, and he's so pumped! I've got some really amazing trainers, and I'm so thankful for the awesome examples that they always set for me. :) And then today! Today was temple P-day, and it was such an awesome time at the temple today. It was Elder Dunbar's last temple day as a missionary, and we had an awesome talk in the temple, and it was such a great time. He said some really nice things about our time serving together in Tsukuba, and it just made me feel so thankful to have such amazing companions while serving here as a missionary. This time has really changed my life so much, and I'm so thankful for the growth and change it's brought to my life. It's given me such a stronger reliance on Heavenly Father, and has made me so excited for the future ahead. Always at temple day I do lots of reflecting, and despite the intense trails this past transfer, Heavenly Father has blessed us so much, and this week was just miracle after miracle. The zone is really starting to pick up, and I'm so excited for the future ahead. Next week is transfer calls, so we'll see how it goes! Either way, as long as I still get to be a missionary for this awesome Gospel, I'm way stoked. :) 

It seems like you guys are all doing way great though! Just want to say thank you so so so much for the awesome package! I really loved the tie, and the candy was gone pretty quick, haha. Thank you so much for taking all that time to send it, I really do appreciate it so so much. :) Whit I'm so sorry about your camera!! I can try to find a cheap Nikon over here for you! Such a bummer, but I know it'll lead to something cool! Also Lexa, your costume was seriously gnarly! I was sad you didn't go as Facebook though... ;) Tyler I really liked the shots and tennis racket photo! I'm way glad you're still using the babolot! And Dad, I seriously loved the costume! Way to go the other day as well carrying all of those assignments! If it makes you feel better, one week I had to manage a surprise missionary musical number, teach gospel principles, and all that stuff on one Sunday. Service is the best! ;) But I know all of the talks and lessons you gave were so awesome, I really do miss hearing your gospel lessons, they made learning so much fun, and and made the doctrine so interesting! Thanks for always being an amazing teaching example to me. :) And then Mom! Your costume was so great, and I'm so glad to hear you're doing great! Elder Shumway and I met this crazy nice family recently, and the mom asked why we seemed so happy and smiley all the time, and I told her it was the example my mom set for me! I told her about your incredible service, and always having that attitude of helping others. After that when she saw your picture, she said, "your mother is beautiful! She looks like a model! What an amazing women!" And I just nodded and said, "そうですね" ;)

I just want to let you guys know how much I love and appreciate all of the prayers you gave in my behalf this week, our whole zone really felt it, and it was so easy to feel that extra love and support. I really do have the most awesome family ever, and I'm so thankful for this time to be serving here in the amazing country of Japan. At Stake Conference I just felt such an awesome appreciation to be serving in such an amazing country, and then at temple, it was so amazing to see old companions, great friends, and people I really look up to so much. It's been such an amazing experience so far, and I'm so excited to just keep it going! I love serving as a missionary with all of my heart, and I'm so thankful to be serving during this awesome holiday season. It's going to be such an awesome Christmas! Please know I'm always praying for you, and I'm so thankful for all you that you do for me, and the incredible examples you always set before me. :) I love being the youngest of such an awesome family, and I'm so thankful for the gospel and how it has truly brought us so tightly together. I love this work, and I love this missionary work! Thanks you so much everything, I love you guys!! The gospel is true, the book is blue, and God loves you! See you later!

Elder Justesen

Monday, October 20, 2014

Tokyo Japan Week 62

The Urawa sky!

Hey everyone! It's been a way awesome week here in Urawa, and I'm so pumped for Halloween! I can't believe it's already coming up, but it's really starting to feel like Fall here in Japan, and it's starting to cool down quite a bit! First off, I just wanna say thank you so much to everyone for all of the awesome, kind words you put in your emails this week. :) I was having a pretty hard time last week, and your emails were all so encouraging and uplifting, and gave me such a strong desire to work harder, and always keep that faith and trust in the Lord. Just wanna say thanks so much, and please know I love you guys so so so much. Although I wish I could be with you guys through this holiday season, I'm so stoked to make it the best one ever living here in Japan! It kind of set in the other day that this would be my last holiday season in Japan, and I'm so stoked to give it my all throughout this really awesome time serving as a missionary! There definitely are those ups and downs, but overall this time serving as a missionary has changed my life so much, and I'm so excited to keep going forward with faith! It's gonna be an awesome Christmas Season. :)

To answer one of Mom's questions this week, yes they celebrate Halloween here in Japan! Thanksgiving not so much, and Christmas yes! Christmas doesn't really have the nativity or anything like that in Japan, instead there are two main traditions in Christmas in Japan. Christmas Cake, and KFC. How awesome is that?? Christmas Cake is basically like really decorated and extravagant fruit cake, and everyone eats KFC on Christmas Day! The traditions here are a little different, but most of the members of the church here in Japan really know traditional Christmas, and it's always so awesome visiting member's homes during the Christmas time. Halloween is pretty much the same, except trick or treating is pretty unheard of, and Thanksgiving is usually celebrated only by members of the church. :) The holidays are so awesome in Japan, and there lots of way cool Japanese holidays I've been able to celebrate here! One of the biggest is New Years, we always make lots of something called Mochi, and eat really traditional Japanese food! Mostly consisting of raw fish, rice, fish eggs, raw shrimp, boiled bamboo, and other awesome food! It's really cool, I'm so stoked to celebrate it again this year! Last year in Maebashi was such a blast during that season, and I'll always remember my Thanksgiving in Oyama. :) Both times Heavenly Father really blessed me with so many awesome memories, and I'm so thankful for the awesome areas I've been really blessed to serve in! Holidays are way awesome in Japan. :)

Elder Shumway got pranked

By the way Mom, you're an amazing example to me of someone with such unfailing charity and love for those around you. I just want to say thank you so much for always sending me those amazing care packages, I really love them so much. I felt so thankful to have a Mom as awesome as you when you said you didn't want to "bother" me with care packages, haha. I don't think anyone has ever been bothered by a care package... Ever. ;) haha, just want to say I love you so much, and thank you so much for the never ending love and kindness you share with me, you're the coolest Mamma!

It sounds like everyone is doing great though! I was so excited to hear of the great things you guys are planning, doing, and the blessings that are coming your way. I'm always praying for you guys, and I'm so thankful for the blessings Heavenly Father has given us this past year and few months. Just want to say your guys are the best and I love you all so much! Keep me updated with all of the things you are doing, and please send some of those pictures! It's cool to see what's going on back in your lives, and on P-day I always try to take extra time to think about you guys, and pray for those specific things you're doing, goals you're going for. By the way Tyler! So right now I live right next to the University of Saitama, but this university is right next to a Triumph Dealership! We've gone down a couple P-days to check them out, and I gotta say I think you made an awesome decision with the Thruxton! All of the salesman here agree it's the most stylish bike they've got, and when I showed them pictures of yours, they were way impressed! Way to go man. ;) As well Whitney, being near one of the more difficult universities in Japan, there are many photography buffs here! It's been so cool to share some of your pictures, and explain how your testimony has influenced your work! Haven't met anyone yet who knows your work, but I'm pumped for the day when someone will recognize your stuff when I show it to them! Do you think you could send me some of your most popular photos, and maybe some of them will know it! That would be so cool! Thanks so much for always being such a great example to me of going for your goals, and never putting barriers on the things you want to accomplish. I know Heavenly Father is actively watching over you, and he's so excited to help you get to the places you need to be. :) As well Alexa I'm so stoked for all of the awesome missionary work you're doing in your ward! Ask your missionaries if they happen to know a Sister Dorff, her dad is the stake president here, and she's serving in the San Francisco mission! Also Mom and Dad, you should ask about an Elder Dorff! That's his son, and he's serving in the Sacramento Mission! Last I heard he was serving in Folsom, but he may have been transferred! President Dorff has been so awesome to serve with, and we hit it off pretty quick when we found out we're both Californians, and his kids are serving so close to my hometown! Small world right?

But overall this week was really pretty awesome! As a Zone we tried to stay really focused on finding, and overall there were so many amazing miracles! This week, I definitely felt the love of Heavenly Father, and the empowering fact that he actively hears, and answers our prayers. We were blessed with so many awesome college student investigators, and we're so excited to help them begin learning about the Gospel, and see how it can truly bless their lives. We live really close to the most awesome family I've ever met on my mission, the Hashimotos! Brother Hashimoto was baptized at the age of 19, and he now has a son serving as a missionary in Kobe, and he and his wife remind me so much of mom and dad! Last night they brought us by dinner, and have just been showing so much love, and it reminds me how the missionaries must feel when they come by our home. Missionary work, and just being a missionary has changed, and blessed my life so much, and I'm so thankful for this chance to share this great message with the amazing people of Japan. This country really has stolen my heart, and I'm so thankful for this chance to be serving in such an amazing country. I'm starting to see day by day why I was called here, and not some other place. I love Japan! Last week I got to go down to Shinjuku station, and my mind was just so blown away by the awesomeness of serving in Japan, and being able to share this amazing message with so many great people. I love being a missionary so much, and I'm so excited to go forward with faith! I love you guys so much, and I'm so thankful for the amazing family Heavenly Father has blessed me with. I miss you guys a ton during this time of the year, but I'm so stoked to stay focused, keep working hard, and continually strive to be more of the missionary, son, and servant the lord wants me to be. I love this gospel, I know it is true, and I know that Heavenly Father truly hears and answers our prayers. I love you guys so much, have an awesome week!!

Elder Justesen 

Monday, October 13, 2014

Tokyo Japan Week 61

With Brother Sakaguchi, a returned missionary!

Hey everyone! It's been another way awesome week here in Urawa, it's really starting to feel like fall! The typhoon has kind of died off since coming up here, and we've got some nice rain, and the temperature dropped pretty low! I had to bust out the sweaters once again, so it's definitely starting to feel like fall! It's pretty cold, but I've always really enjoyed seeing the leaves change and especially all of the awesome holidays! I'm so excited for this coming Christmas, and I know it's gonna be such an awesome last Christmas in Japan. :)

As well this week we had the awesome opportunity to have interviews with President and Sister Budge! It was so awesome to receive that great advice, and as well it's always so great to feel of their love and spend some time with such great examples of service. It was so awesome as well to sit down with Sister Budge, and we had such a great time talking about the past 14 months I've been serving as a missionary. She told me she's seen me change so much, and as well as so many other seriously nice things. She thanked me for all of the hard work the past months, and as well we talked so much about the special time serving as a missionary for this great gospel. She and President Budge will be heading home right before, basically two weeks, before I'll be heading home, and we talked about some of the amazing things we have learned as missionaries. As well I shared with her my plans to attend BYU and teach at the MTC, and she got so excited and said they'd love to help me receive a job there! It was a really awesome miracle, and I'm really so excited to work hard to make that goal become a reality! This short time of being a missionary has truly changed my life so much, and I'm so excited to just keep giving this work my all, and do all I can to make every day count. There definitely are those hard days, but being a missionary has truly blessed and changed my life so much! Thank you so much always for your kind words, and always cheering me on, I have the most amazing family ever!

It sounds like you guys are all doing so awesome! I loved the pictures of the ride up to the canyon, it looked seriously so pretty, I was blown away! The leaves are starting to change color here in Japan, and I'm so excited for it to become super pretty fall colors! As well it's always so cool to hear about all the fun things you're doing, and it's so cool to see all the blessings that are coming your way! Just want to say always thank you so much for the amazing examples you guys always set for me, it really does mean so much, and it's so cool to see all the awesome things you're doing! Yeah I heard Meet the Mormons was awesome, hopefully it'll come to Japan! Haha, that'd be pretty gnarly. We've referred a couple of investigators to go check if out online, and they really love it! Especially the David Archuletta song, they really loved that, haha.

But overall it was a pretty awesome week! We as well had a great Zone meeting this week, and we really came together as a Zone to really work out these things that are happening in the Zone right now. Basically where we are at is really low, and we faced that with faith, and a desire to more fully repent and change. As Elder Shumway and I were planning the meeting, we definitely felt the love and guidance of the Spirit, and the meeting went really awesome! The Spirit was really there, and the message we wanted to get across came loud and clear, and the Zone is really so excited to go forward with faith! I can't lie, I haven't written too much about this situation because it's been a pretty big trial, but I'm so thankful Heavenly Father has blessed us with so many amazing miracles and this opportunity to more fully rely on Him, and make those adjustments needed to see this work go forward. It's definitely been pretty physically and spiritually exhausting, but I'm so thankful for this opportunity to more fully drop to my knees and offer prayer on how we can best help this great stake here in Saitama. To every trial there is a purpose, and I'm so excited for this chance to keep learning and growing, and I know that with Heavenly Father, anything is truly possible. :) I was reading recently through D&C 50:40-41 with Elder Shumway, and we realized that it's such a great opportunity to learn and grow, and we're so excited to go forward with faith! Although we can't fully understand every purpose for this trial, we know that it is only upward and onward from here! We told the story of Jonah and the Whale in our meeting, and explained that we've kind of been chewed up and spit out onto the beach, but we have the choice to rush towards Ninevah and teach the Gospel! It's been a way awesome experience learning and growing, and I'm sorry I never said anything about it before. I've never really been a fan of sharing the "hardships" but I just want you to know I'm determined and so excited to keep working hard out of this trial, and press into the smooth waters. :) It's going to be awesome!

The amazing night sky!

Well other than that I just want to say thank you so much for the amazing Nixon watch you sent me! I thought I mentioned it in the past email, but I love love love it! I wear it only at Zone Conferences and President interviews! I've received lots of compliments from it, and I always say MY BELOVED BROTHER PICKED IT OUT FOR ME. ;) Haha, but in all serious I really love it! It's a way nice watch and I'm way excited to make it last! Thank you so much again for that amazing birthday package, it really so awesome, and it made me feel so thankful to have to such an amazing family. :) I love you guys so much, and although I miss you a ton during the holidays, there's nowhere else I'd rather be than right here in Japan. :) I love serving as a missionary with all my heart, and I'm so thankful for the amazing blessings that this time has given me. It's taken my faith and testimony, at times tried it, but always left it stronger, and always a greater desire to do what is right and serve the Lord. I loved Elder Eyring's talk on continuing personal revelation, and I thought about experience after experience that has led me to this time as a missionary. I know that Heavenly Father truly has a plan for all of us, and is always so eager to have us have a happy, joyful life. It's such an amazing blessing to teach this awesome message to the Japanese people, and I'm so thankful to keep going forward with faith! I love guys so much, and I'm so thankful for all of your prayers and kindness. :) Hope you guys have an amazing week, love you!! The book
is blue, the message is true, and God loves you!!!

Elder Justesen

Monday, October 6, 2014

Tokyo Japan Week 60

Hey everyone! Okay, first things first, so there was a pretty sweet typhoon here in Tokyo, but I am completely fine, it actually didn't hit Saitama very hard, and by the time we finished study, the sky is starting to be blue, and I can actually see Mt. Fuji from my apartment! Haha, how sweet is that? :) But this was such an awesome week, and I'm so stoked to talk about some of the cool miracles we saw this week! Just want to say I love you guys so much, and I'm so thankful for the prayers you always share for me, they truly are felt over here in Tokyo. :)

Well Conference was amazing! We won't be watching the Sunday sessions until this coming Saturday, but the Saturday sessions were amazing! Another awesome treat was all of the Priesthood holders here in the Saitama Stake met up and we watched the Priesthood session live! It was Sunday morning, and it was so awesome to know I was watching it the same time as Dad and Tyler back in the states! I really loved priesthood session, especially Elder Cook's talk about the decisions that determine our destiny, and the paths of our future lives. It really caused me to think so much, and made me feel so grateful for the decision to serve a mission! I can't believe I only have one conference left here in Japan, but it really left me with a strong desire to start making these decisions and changes I've made here in Tokyo last forever, and hold onto every awesome moment. :) I love serving as a missionary so much, and I'm so thankful for all of the amazing miracles Heavenly Father has blessed me with. It's been the most awesome life changing experience, and I'm so excited for these eight months!

This week we were blessed to set a Christmas baptismal date with our great friend Naoto! He's such an awesome guy, and he's actually 19 so the ward is really pumped to help him learn more concerning the gospel, and really feel that confirmation to be baptized by that date! He's become such a great eternal friend, and I'm really thankful for the chance to be sharing this awesome message with him. It was such an awesome miracle, and we're way excited to start working more closely with him! As well our great Chinese friend Chen has really been enjoying prayer, and he's really pumped to learn more concerning the true meaning of Christmas! It's going to be such an awesome time here in
Saitama. :)

As well it sounds like you all are doing so well! It seems like Mom and Dad are always heading to Utah, which will be way cool once I get down to Provo and we can see each other all the time! Just want to say thank you so much for all of your love and support you share with me, I'm so thankful for all of the prayers, and kindness you always share with me. I have the most awesome family ever! It's always so much fun to show the people we teach our family photos and they always say, "they're all models! How old is your mother, she looks so young! Your dad looks like a famous actor! Your brother looks like a Uni-Qlo model! Your sisters are so beautiful!" I patiently anticipate the recognition that I am in the photo, wearing a strapping blazer, perhaps a very handsome knitted tie, but alas, the praise primarily lands upon the heads of the rest of my model-esque family. ;) Just kidding, haha, but it's always such an awesome opportunity to share that this incredible gospel message has brought our family so close together, and explain that the fun loving attitude in our home came from being based on those principles taught in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I love being a missionary!

As well during this conference I really loved the talk by Elder Jörg! His straightforward message hit me so strong, and I was really thankful for such a great talk! It definitely led me to some deep reflection, and some much needed repentance at the end of the night. "You better get really really good at repenting!" It was really so funny, but the message rang loud and clear, and I really enjoyed it! My favorite talk so far though has definitely been President Uchtdorf's during the priesthood session. It definitely left me with a strong determination to stay focused on this great work, and never become disengaged, and always stay connected to my purpose as a missionary and child of God. Such an awesome day of conference!

What was so great as well was two of our great investigator friends were able to come and attend, and they had such a great time! Brother Hashimoto was so awesome and fellowshipped our one friend so great, and invited him to come sit with his family, and they had a great time. The Urawa ward members are so awesome, and I feel so blessed to be serving here in such an awesome ward. It has such a different feeling than any ward I've served in so far in my mission, and it's just such an awesome opportunity serving here as a missionary. :) I hope to just keep showing the love for this ward by working hard, and staying always focused on the most important things! I love serving in Tokyo Japan so much, and I'm so excited to keep going forward with faith.

To answer some questions! I think I'm all good on the garments for now, I can purchase them through the temple here in Tokyo, and I think that'll be fine instead of making you guys go through all of that trouble! Thank you though so much for sending those pairs, it's always so awesome receiving new anything! Thanks so much for always being so kind to send so many awesome packages, and sharing that love, it really means so much to me! Other than that, I'm doing really good! There's always those little challenges here and there, but being a missionary for 16 months has taught that when those heavy times come in, there's always a bright miracle right behind it as we continue to do what is right, and hold onto the promises Heavenly Father has told us. We definitely saw that this week, and it was so cool! Friday was such a lame day, I don't really need to go into all the details, but Dad and Tyler know it was just one of those days where it all seems to not go through right. But Elder Shumway and I were committed that the next day would be much better, and we actually met an amazing young family the next day that had so much interest in learning more about the gospel! We're so excited for them, and it just really reaffirmed that testimony that Heavenly Father truly listens to and answers our prayers. I'm so thankful for all of the amazing lessons I've been learning as a missionary, and the changes it is bringing into my life. I'm so thankful for the atonement of Jesus Christ which allows me to learn and grow from my mistakes, and strive to be more of the son Heavenly Father wants me to be. I love this work so much, and I'm so excited to keep going forward with faith and continue to give this work my whole effort! Now more than ever, with these last 8 months, I just want to give the most solid effort, and do all I can to make every day count. I love being a missionary so much, and I'm so thankful to be serving somewhere as amazing as Japan. The Japanese people are so amazing, and they've really stolen my heart in these past months. I love you guys so much, hope you have an amazing week! Life is Good, The Book is True, and God Loves you Through and Through! Have an amazing week!!

Elder Justesen