Monday, November 24, 2014

Tokyo Japan Week 66

Whoa Happy Thanksgiving Everyone! Hey Amazing Family! So today starts the Thanksgiving week, and I wanted to start off today saying one of the things I'm most thankful for... All of you guys!! It's been the most amazing experience of my life serving here in the Tokyo Japan mission, and I just want to say that I'm most thankful for my amazing family! Here in Japan and in the States, there's family everywhere for me, but I just wanted to pop a quick list saying why I'm so thankful for you guys. Here we go! 

Reasons why I'm thankful for my gnarly family:

1: First and foremost because they show an incredible amount of love to me! Whether I was in the hospital with a broken arm, playing video games like crazy, or jamming on the guitar, my family is always showing me so much incredible love. Thanks guys. 

2: They're always in the kitchen making me sandwiches. ;) Haha, but really my family is super chill with my weird humor! I'm really thankful for the peace and comfort I know in the home that being myself was perfectly right. I'll forever be thankful for the incredible mother and father who urged me to pursue what made me happy in life, and awesome siblings that kept me from doing anything drastic, but always urged me to be my own self. Thanks, you guys. 

3: My family is a family that is patterned after the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I'm really so thankful for the immense amount of gospel lessons and learning experiences that my family helped me recognize, apply, and learn from in my life. I'll always be so thankful for the times Mom and Dad would say, "this will really help you on your mission!" Because those moments all truly have, and I'm so thankful for the family I was raised in that taught me to love the gospel. Especially for the amazing missionary examples in my family, thanks so much.

4: My family is always sending care packages!! Haha, I'm so excited to receive these next two! Thanks so much Mom, the last one I received was the conference package, but I'm so excited for the next two! The second half of my mission there have been so many packages, and I really just want to say thank you so much, I really do appreciate it. You take so much time to show that extra love for me over here in Japan, and I just want to say I'm really really so thankful. Those packages truly helped so much those couple months back, and I just want to say thank you so much! I love you Mamma! :)

5: My family is from California. That about says it. 

6: My family always urged me to improve and become more of the person Heavenly Father wants me to be. I'm so thankful for the incredible love and support you all always give to me in serving as a missionary of this great gospel. I'm so thankful for that support, and it's truly carried me throughout this time serving as a missionary of this restored Gospel. It's truly changed and blessed my life in so many incredible ways, and I'm so thankful for the counsel and urges you gave me to serve as a missionary. 

But anyways, I just want to say thank you so much for everything you guys have done for me! Always during these holiday seasons, it's hard not to think a little bit about the family, but I'm so thankful for this incredible chance to be serving as a missionary of this great gospel. Check out your Gospel Library Apps for the new He is the Gift video! It's really amazing, and it's getting me so excited to give every effort in this Christmas season. I'm so thankful for this chance to be serving as a missionary in this special time of Christmas. I'm thankful to wear His sacred name on my badge, and I'm just way stoked to completely lose myself in this Christmas season. It's going to be so awesome!

So a report quick on the week of tons of miracles! Our investigator Han is looking so great, and he's so excited for his baptism on the28th of December! He read the introduction of the Book of Mormon, and he felt it is true! He is probably one of the most prepared people I have been really blessed to teach as a missionary, and he's looking so great. I have a very strong testimony that the people of China are truly prepared to receive this Gospel, and it's been so evident with Han. We taught the plan of salvation on Sunday, and he felt so strongly it was true, and he's so excited to keep learning! He's been such an incredible blessing in my life, and I'm so thankful to have met him, and to be teaching him at this time. He's a true eternal friend, and I'm so thankful for this Christmas season for Han. As well Futoshi is looking so great for his baptism on the 20th of December! He recently told his two closest friends who are recent converts in the Urawa Ward, and they're so pumped for him! He's really excited, and he's feeling so strongly that receiving baptism will be the change he's been searching for in his life. As well we have another really amazing miracle this week! We met our next door neighbor named Kou, and it turns out he met with missionaries a few years back as an 18 year old! They hung out a lot, but he never went to church or anything, but he was really excited to meet us! We had a great church tour with him, and he's truly so prepared, and he feels like a true brother. He moved to Saitama due to his heart being pretty broken by a girl he loved a lot, and he said he's looking for that second chance. We discussed the gospel of Jesus Christ, and he said he'd really like to learn more about baptism and the second chance it gives us in life. He's awesome. His only concern was if the water was cold! We're so excited for him, and it's been such an awesome blessing to be meeting with him. 

That's probably been one of my favorite things serving as a missionary. I've met so many amazing people that the love just comes so naturally. You can genuinely feel like you were brothers in the pre-existence, and I'm so thankful for the many times I have felt that as serving as a missionary. I'm so thankful for the incredible outpouring of blessings Heavenly Father has given me and Elder Shumway in these past couple weeks. Just like Dad was saying in his letter, the blessings have just begun to flow as we've been fasting and praying as a zone. We've been meeting in the conference call every morning, and it's been such an immense amount of blessings. Our zone is looking pretty awesome! We're so excited for this Christmas season, and it's going to be so great. I love being a missionary with all my heart, and I'm so so so thankful to be serving in Japan Tokyo. This country has changed my life, and the people here have truly changed my heart and perspective. I love this Japanese people so much, and I'm so thankful to be serving amongst them. 

Some people may say that serving in Japan is hard, but I say not at all. Serving in Japan is the most incredible blessing, and a true privilege.

Sorry to get a little intense, haha, I've just been feeling that so strongly lately, and I'm so thankful for the amazing 6 months a few weeks I've got ahead of me! It's going to be so awesome, and I'm so thankful to keep going forward with faith. The time is truly flying by, but I'm so excited to give every moment my whole effort and focus, I love being a missionary!

It sounds you guys are all doing so great though! It sounds like thanksgiving is going to be so awesome this year, and I'm really so happy for all of the great things going on in the Fam! I'm praying for you guys everyday by name, and I'm so thankful for all the cool blessings. :) just to let Dad know, we copied your zone activity today! It was a smash hit! We had mashed potatoes, pan cakes, pumpkin spice cakes, French toast, sushi, pasta (made by me), huge salad, Japanese style rice, and tons of soda! It was so awesome to meet as a zone and have a cool thanksgiving feast, and talk about all of the cool things we're thankful for as a zone. Thanks so much for the awesome idea, it went so great! 

So lastly I just want to let you know of one really awesome thing I'm looking forward to in the next couple weeks! In the mission home there's going to be a big Christmas concert, and I've overcome my fear of performing and an investigator up here and I are playing Silent Night on the guitars! It's gonna be so awesome, and I wish you guys could see it! I'll make sure to get a video, and it's going to be so cool! Anyways, just wanted to let you know! It was such a cool miracle, and I'm really thankful to have this cool experience with this great college student investigator!  

Thank you guys again so much for everything, I hope you have an amazing thanksgiving, it's gonna be so awesome, and I'm so excited to talk to you guys on Skype again in just about a month! I love you all so much, have an awesome week! The gospel is true, the book is blue, and God loves you!

Elder Justesen

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Tokyo Japan Week 65

Hello Awesome Family!

Well it's been another seriously awesome week here in Saitama, and I'm so stoked to talk about some of the cool miracles! I just wrote Tyler asking him about the dream I had the other night, hope to hear from him soon! It was so weird, I felt really strongly that something had happened, but it was a totally good feeling! But anyways, it sounds like everyone is doing pretty awesome this week!

I'm really so sorry to hear about the Hansen family this week, that's really such a sad thing. I don't know them too well, but I'll make sure to keep them in my prayers, and I hope that they'll continue to feel the love of the Lord in their home at this heavy time.

I just want to say thank you so much for the prayers and kindness you guys always share with me, I've definitely been feeling it so strongly this whole week! It's been such an amazing first week of the transfer, starting with our new investigator Han! Han is from China, and he came to our English class this past week! He said it was his first time ever coming to a church, but he felt such a good feeling inside the building! After that he came to church the following Sunday, and really amazingly he set a goal to receive baptism on the 28th of December! It was our first lesson with him, but he kept saying he's been looking for something like this in his life, and he really wants all of China to learn about Jesus Christ! He's an awesome humble guy, and I feel really so blessed to have met, and now be teaching him with Elder Shumway. As well this past week we met with so many great new college student investigators, and it's looking so amazing for this Christmas season in Urawa! One of the bigger miracles this week as well was the young Thai family Elder Shumway and I found a couple weeks back came to church this week! It was their first time, but their 4 year old daughter loved Primary, and the mother actually remembers learning about Jesus Christ when she was little! As well Elder Shumway and I strategically placed a Thai Book of Mormon on the front table in the church, and she noticed it, and was way interested to learn about what it was! We're so excited for their awesome family, and we're really praying to see an amazing Christmas miracle with them. :)

It's been so cool to see Heavenly Father's hand this week, and I'm so  thankful for all of the amazing miracles that have been happening recently. I was reading the points of the blessing I received before becoming a missionary, and I felt such a strong feeling of peace and comfort when I read over the blessing of being able to feel the prayers that are in my behalf, and I've definitely felt that so strongly this week. I know that in our adversities, Heavenly Father truly hears and answers our prayers, and even in times when we feel like we're not in his line of love, I know that he is always preparing amazing miracles to come our way. It hasn't just been our area that has been seeing this miracles, it's been all throughout the zone, and it's been so amazing to see the the love and blessings that can be felt in the zone. I feel really so blessed to be serving as a Zone Leader right now here in Urawa, and I'm so thankful for this chance to keep serving, and going forward with faith! I love serving as a missionary with all of my heart, and I'm so thankful for this chance to be serving Heavenly Father's children out here in Japan! I love this country with all of my heart, and I'm so thankful for all of the amazing blessings Heavenly Father  has given me in this short amount of time, I love this Gospel! :)

I just want to say thank you guys so much for all of the love and kindness, and just being the most awesome family ever. I love you guys so much, and I'm so thankful for this time to be serving as a missionary. It's been truly the most life changing experience of my life, and it's blessed my life in a innumerable amount of ways. As well I haven't got the latest package yet, but I'm so stoked to receive it! Thank you so much Mom for always sending such amazing care packages! I really appreciate them so much, and I'm so thankful for all of the kindness and love you share in them! I have the most awesome Mamma ever! :) thank you so much! For Christmas, anything would be so appreciated! Thank you so much!

Well I guess I better get signing off for now, but I just want to say I love you guys so much and I'm so thankful for all of the prayers, and the love! I definitely miss you guys a ton, but I'm so thankful for this chance to be serving as a missionary, and I'm so thankful for the chance to be serving during this awesome Christmas season! I love you guys so much, I hope you have an amazing week! The gospel is true, the book is blue, and God loves you!!

Elder Justesen

Monday, November 17, 2014

Tokyo Japan Week 66

Awesome Family! Wow, what an awesome week!

Hey everyone! Wow I can't believe it's P-Day again, it was such an amazing week! Starting on Monday, we received a call from our great investigator Futoshi, and he told us he wanted to meet up at the church! We ran down to meet him, and it turns out he said he really received the answer that this church is good and true, and he set his own date to be baptized on December 20th! It was such an amazing miracle, and one of the coolest things I have seen on my mission. We've been praying so hard and long for him to have that spark in knowing this Gospel is true, and Heavenly Father truly worked an awesome Christmas miracle! As well the rest of the week of was just really awesome, and Heavenly Father is truly blessing us so much as a zone. The zone is really starting to pick up this Christmas, and I feel so blessed to be serving here in Saitama, and especially in the Urawa ward! It's such an amazing place, and it's really looking so great for this Christmas season. I can't believe my last Thanksgiving is coming up, that seems so crazy! I remember the last one so vividly, and it seems so crazy to see it's already been another year. Heavenly Father has truly been so kind to me these past months, and I feel so thankful to be serving as a missionary at this really special Christmas season. It's a true honor to wear the name of Christ, and share the message concerning His life.

It sounds like you guys are all doing so great! I'm so stoked to always hear of all of the great things that are going on in your life, and I can truly feel Heavenly Father sending those blessings to our family. Sometimes I wish I could be there to be super stoked with you guys, but it's all good! I know that this is where Heavenly Father wants me at this time, and I'm so thankful for the opportunity to be serving in the amazing country of Japan. :) Those photos from San Diego were so pretty, Whit! I looks like you had a way awesome time, that makes me so happy. As well Alexa it sounds like Texas is awesome and full of barbecue, way jealous. Haha, and the iPhone 6 is actually everywhere in Japan, haha. They love the plus addition, even though it's seriously massive! Also Mom and Dad I'm way excited to hear how great things are going in your lives as well! I'm always praying for the success of all of the stores you're running, and I'm so happy to hear of all of the blessings. :) I just want to say especially thank you so much for always teaching me the power of prayer and the fact that Heavenly Father truly does answer and hear our prayers. I truly felt that amazing truth this week, with a really awesome experience I want to share! So yesterday Elder Shumway got out of church and began doing some work around the church, and it had just been a seriously amazing week, but we were still 2 lessons short of the goal we set that week in weekly planning. We tried calling all of our investigators to see if they could meet, but no one could, and it was looking pretty impossible. We had been praying all morning that we'd see this great miracle, and then out of no where our investigator Teshi calls us! He says he's coming to the church, and would like to meet up. So we had a great lesson with him concerning Jesus Christ, and the importance of thankfulness. After that our other new investigator Tuan from Vietnam says he's coming by the church later that night, and so we just needed to meet with one more person to achieve our goal! We decided to pray, and we felt we needed to visit a small family we recently found on the bus named the Matsuhashi's. We ran by their house, and they were so pumped to see us! They invited us in, and we were able to make real Thai green curry (Son Pon the Mother is from Thailand, and is a really famous chef in Tokyo!) and it was awesome! We were able to share a message of Jesus Christ, and how has blessed and strengthened our families, and invited them to learn more about him with us. It went so great, the we rushed back to the church, met with Tuan, and just had a seriously awesome ending to the week. It really strengthened my testimony that as we make a solid effort, and stay focused on the goals we desire to achieve, Heavenly Father will truly answer our prayers, and if the goal is right, he will help us to achieve it. I know he's so aware of our desires, and His love truly is infinite. I felt really so blessed to feel that this week, and I'm really so thankful to be serving in Japan. Although it's not the easiest country to be a missionary, it has truly been the most awesome rewarding experiences of my life, and one I'm really so thankful for. I love being a missionary! :)

As for the amazing care packages! Thank you again so much Mom. :) I received the conference package, and am happy to report the M&Ms are all gone, and the beef jerky was so good! Haha. I'm really so thankful for those packages, thank you so much! It really means so much to me, and I'm so thankful for all of the time and effort you put in them to send them to me. You and Dad are the best, I'm so sorry I never seem to send anything home! Just know I'm so thankful every time I head home and see the white envelope in the box. :) As for the Christmas package! Some deodorant would be greatly appreciated! I've run out actually, and it turns out Japan only has spray! Haha, it's not bad, but just one roll of deodorant will be perfect! Thanks so much. Other than that I think I'm doing pretty good! Just some homemade cookies would be way cool! Clothes I'm doing good, and recycle shops here sell anything I could need at a way cheap price. Today I bought an awesome peacoat since the Guess one broke last year, and it only cost about 7 dollars! Pretty awesome huh? But yeah! Just some photos, cookies, letters, and some Christmas CDs? The Lower Lights have a Christmas album I heard! Anything would be absolutely perfect. But for the members! I really love this idea! Maybe some American candy I could give to the Primary kids or youth in the ward? That would be so cool! As well maybe a Christmas card of our family? I don't know if we'll have that this year, but it would be cool to give to some of the ward members here! Thanks so much though, I'm so excited to give out some presents this season. Okay... This is just one last thing that would be so cool. I haven't had American cereal in such a long time, and it would be pretty awesome to have a bowl of Coco Puffs or Reese's Puffs. Nuff said. ;) Sorry I know that's so much, but I just want to say thank you so much for being so great and sending this packages! They really mean so much to me, and I'm so thankful to have such an awesome family that sends these packages all the time.

Also for Dad! I showed Elder Shumway what you did in your zone, and we decided we're going to attempt the same thing! We can't make a turkey dinner, but Elder Shumway and I have become pretty great at make indian curry and nan! It's kind of a Tokyo missionary staple food, and we're planning to do a Zone P-day and make Indian curry! It should be way awesome, thanks so much for the solid idea! I'm always so stoked to hear the stories from your mission, you should send some more! I always learn so much from your awesome example, and I'm so thankful to have you to look up to! Thanks Dad, you're the man.

Well it sounds like everyone is doing way great, and that makes me so happy! I was reading Elder Jörg's talk again today, and I know that as we utilize the power of the atonement in every aspect of our lives, we can truly become the sons and daughters Heavenly Father wants us to be, and he can truly guide and bless our lives so much. I've definitely felt this so strongly since becoming a missionary, and I'm so thankful for the amazing blessings this short time has given me. It's so crazy to realize that the Sisters of my district will be heading home next transfer! It gives me such a strong desire to work hard with every effort, and always strive to be the servant and missionary the Lord wants me to be. I'm so thankful for the immense change that this time has brought to me as a missionary, and I'm so thankful to make every change last, and strive to become the person the lord wants me to be. I know that Heavenly Father lives, and the through His son Jesus Christ, all the worries, doubts, fears, and trials of life can be made right. He will always show us the path we must walk to gain happiness in this life, and eternal life in the world to come. I love serving as a missionary with all of my heart, and I'm so stoked to keep going forward with faith into the Christmas season! As Elder Hamada used to always tell me, "頑張ろう日本!" It's gonna be such an amazing time, and I'm so thankful for this chance to be serving as a missionary in the amazing country of Japan. Thank you guys so much for all of the prayers and kind words, I love you guys so much! Have an amazing week!



Haha, it sounds way different in Japanese! The gospel is true, the book is blue, and God loves you!


Elder Justesen

Monday, November 3, 2014

Tokyo Japan Week 64

Happy Halloween!
Hello Awesome Family! Wow... I can't believe it's been another month gone by, and now it's November! Elder Shumway and I bought some small Christmas decorations today for P-day, and it's really starting to feel like Fall here in Urawa! Speaking of Urawa, we received transfer calls today and I'm staying for another with Elder Shumway! He's now my longest companion, and we're so stoked for this coming transfer! This one will bring us right up until Christmas, so we're so pumped to work way hard this transfer to see the Christmas Miracle! The cranes and everything are looking so amazing, and it's gotten everyone so excited for Christmas, it's gonna be so awesome!

As well this week was the Halloween party! I'm way glad you guys got to see some of those photos on Facebook, it was really such an awesome party! There was about 40+ non members that attended, including a small family Elder Shumway and I had the opportunity to meet a couple of weeks back, they're so awesome! It was such an awesome time, and so many members brought their friends to introduce to us, and it was really so great. Elder Hansen and I decided to go as Nerds, which actually is a word in Japanese! Haha, it went pretty awesome, and overall such a memorable Halloween in Japan! Candy isn't super big in Japan actually besides gummy candies, so I didn't eat too much, haha, but it was such a blast handing out candy to all of the little kids! During the party I just felt way thankful to be serving in an area as awesome as Urawa, and overall it was such a great time!

Meiji Jingu shrine
This week was pretty awesome! We had the temple on Tuesday, and then on Thursday we had mission leadership council! Except this one was really so special, as we took a tour of Meiji Jingu, one of the most famous shrines in Japan right in the heart of Tokyo! We walked around the shrine, received a tour from a Shinto Priest who had lived in Provo for multiple years, and actually participated in a few traditional ordinances of Shinto! It was such an amazing experience, and it was so cool to see some of those core beliefs of Shinto-ism, and feel of how much it really is apart of the culture. As well we checked out Yoyogi Park, which is always so gorgeous, and overall it was just a way great day. Japanese culture is really so awesome, and I'm really so excited to learn more about it in the future! There really was such a awesome feeling around the shrine, and it made me feel so thankful to be teaching this great gospel message to the people here in Japan. It's such an amazing country, with really amazing people, and I'm so thankful to be serving here at this great time! With Christmas coming forward, I know there are so many amazing miracles ahead, and it's gonna be such an awesome holiday season here in Tokyo!

There really were so many amazing miracles this week, and it's really made me feel so thankful to be serving in Tokyo Japan, and to be a Zone Leader here in Urawa! This will be my 7th transfer in a row as a Zone Leader, and I feel so blessed to be serving with so many amazing missionaries, they've all blessed and changed my life so much, and I'm so thankful to be able to give it my best effort into this next transfer! Really sad but Elder Dunbar heads back home this coming week, and his family is heading down this week to pick him up, but it was such an awesome blessing serving with him in Tsukuba, and then here in Urawa for the last couple transfers, he's really taught me so much, and is such an awesome friend. The last week at the temple, I really felt so strongly again the amazing blessing of brotherhood that serving as a missionary gives you. I feel like Heavenly Father has been so kind to me with the missionaries he's allowed me to serve alongside. They've all shaped my life so much, and have taught me so much about what it really means to serve as a missionary. I received an email from Elder Howard this week, and it turns out he's going to be proposing soon to his girlfriend! This would mean that all three of my trainers will be married, or engaged to be married! That's so intense, haha. They all feel so much like older brothers, and I'm just way thankful for the chance to have served with such awesome examples. :)

It sounds like you guys all had an awesome Halloween! I definitely miss the American culture with Halloween, but Japan was pretty gnarly. :) I was on exchanges with Kasukabe area on Halloween, and we actually set a baptismal date on the exchange! Then the next morning, I went to a baptismal service in Yachiyo, which is right next to Narita, my first area, so overall it was a pretty awesome Halloween! Whit as well I'm so excited to share some of these pictures around and see how many photography students have seen your work before! Lexa, I'm always rocking the Giants jersey, haha, but I'll now be wearing it with more pride, way awesome! Also Mom! I'm so sorry I forgot to mention the two shirts... I'm so lame! I seriously seriously love them! Especially the thin sweatshirt, it's so cool! I feel bad cause you're sending me so many awesome clothes that I just wear in the apartment and zone sports activities, haha. But I always look way good ;) So thank you so much! I really love them, and I appreciate the packages so much. They really brighten my day so much, and it really means so much to me that you take all that time to send me those packages, love you! Dad, I just want to say thanks for always being so kind and loving in your emails, and always talking about the things you're studying most in the gospel recently. I'm so excited to sit down and talk more about the Book of Mormon and Bible with you, and all of the many things I've been learning about this incredible gospel here as a missionary. :) Tyler, I love you! Just want to say thanks so much for always being so kind, and being such an awesome example to me of the missionary I hope to be like. You're the man!

Well it's been such an amazing week, and I'm so excited to go forward into this next transfer! I love serving as a missionary with all of my heart, and I'm so excited and thankful to be serving in a country as awesome as Japan. This coming transfer is actually the last transfer for all of the sister missionaries in my group, which reminds me that time is going quick! I'm so excited to keep giving my best effort and whole heart to this great work, and I'm so excited for this coming Christmas season here in Japan. I love being a missionary, and I'm so thankful to be apart of such an amazing family! I love you guys so much, and although I miss you so much during this time of the year, I know this is where I'm supposed to be, and the next year will be all the better, and it's going to be such a great reunion! I love you guys so much, have an amazing week!

Elder Justesen