Monday, April 27, 2015

Tokyo Japan Week 88

Hey everyone! It's been another waaaaaaaaay awesome, way too fast week, but I'm way happy to report on today's transfer call! I'm going to be staying in Urayasu for my last transfer, and my last companion is going to be a great young missionary named Elder Adachi! He is full Japanese, but actually was born and raised in Utah, haha, go figure. :) But! I'm so excited to go forward with faith and give every last effort into this last transfer. It was really so cool to get the transfer call this morning, and it brought a lot of great memories about the past two years of my mission. I'm definitely going to miss all of the anticipation and nerves that come into the transfer calls, but it's been so awesome, and I'm so thankful to be serving here in Urayasu. It's such an awesome ward with so many amazing people, and I'm so thankful for the chance to serve my last 6 weeks here in Tokyo Stake!

It sounds like everyone is doing so awesome! I'm getting so excited about attending Tyler's wedding, then Alexa's, and then Whitney's! I can't lie, I'm really so happy that I will be able to be able to attend all of my awesome sibling's weddings, and I really treasure that great gift. :) I love you guys so much, and thank you so much for waiting for me!! Haha. But really I just want to say thank you all so much for always cheering me on, urging me to give my best each day, and all of the continual love and kindness you always share with me. During this past week we had a couple of great experiences, and it really brought me back to remembering my amazing family, and all of the amazing things you all have taught me. I just want to say thank you so much, and I'm so thankful for all of you. I'm so excited to work with every effort in this transfer and then return with honor to my amazing family. Love you guys. :)

This week was so cool! Heavenly Father is really blessing us so much, and this week I just felt so thankful to be a missionary. One of my best friends Brother Han Bing was a guest speaker at the temple Chinese Night! They had a tour led by the Chinese missionaries for the recent Chinese converts, and investigators, and Brother Han was chosen as the closing speaker to tell everyone about his conversion and testimony! One of the elders in my apartment is from Taiwan so he went, and brought me back his testimony and translated it for me! It was so incredible to hear of his power and faith, and his incredible desire to share the gospel in China. He shared Jacob 2:21 and talked about how because we are all created by the same father in heaven, even if we are not a Christian country, we can change, and become true disciples of Christ. It left me with such a strong feeling of thankfulness to know Brother Han, to call him my friend, and have had the chance to share the gospel with him. He's a true brother, and I love him a lot. Then on Friday I received a call from Brother Shohei! He's going to be going in to receive his endowments on May 9th, and I received permission to go through with him! It's going to be such an amazing day, and I'm so thankful for my brother Shohei. Looking back in my time as a missionary, it's hard not to get teary eyed and just say thank you for all of the amazing friends Heavenly Father has allowed me to meet here in Tokyo. They haven't all been Japanese, but they have all been true brothers and sisters, and I'm so thankful to know them. :) Also lastly, Sister Chika in Narita is looking like she might serve a mission as well! Just so many amazing miracles, and it's really leaving me with such a peaceful feeling, and a feeling of excitement to give my all for these wonderful people. I love being a missionary with all of my heart!

As well this week we had an awesome music night, and I was able to join in with Brother Erick! He's a less active Filipino member, and it was his first time attending a church activity in years! We played and sang Ed Sheeran's A Team, and it went so so great! The members showed him so much love afterwards, and he had such a great time. Our investigator Tsukushi as well is going to institute in Shibuya, and is attending the mission prep class! Recently he reconfirmed that desire to be baptized as soon as he becomes an adult, and we're really so excited to keep working closely with him. He's an awesome brother as well, and we're so excited to keep working hard here in Urayasu!

Again I just want to say thank you all so much for everything, I love you guys more than anything, and I'm so excited to talk with you all in just a couple weeks now! Hopefully I'll be calling on the 11th here in Japan at 12 or 12:30. So I guess that will be the 10th at 8 pm? I hope that's okay! I'll try to do the best I can to beat out last year's performance, haha. ;) But anyways, I love you all so much, and I'll be sure to be fasting for Grandpa and Mike next week! I hope all goes well with them, please give them my best!

Again thank you guys so much, have an awesome week! Because the book is blue, the gospel is true, and God Loves you! See you!

Elder Justesen

Monday, April 20, 2015

Tokyo Japan Week 87

Hello amazing family, it's been another really awesome week, I'm so sorry this email will be kind of short today! We had our temple P-day, and we're running a little short on time, and I actually caught a cold! Haha, pretty funny because it's finally really warm, and then I got sick. :P Oh well, what can you do, right?

This week was seriously so amazing though, and the temple was an amazing experience today! I can't believe it's my second to last time attending the Tokyo Temple as a missionary, but the feeling was so incredible today, and the Spirit as well was so strong. I was doing a lot of deep prayer, and pondering about going forward into this last transfer, and I received such a strong confirmation that coming to Tokyo Japan and serving as a missionary for these past two years will bless my life forever. I love this incredible city and country, and I'm so thankful to be here. It's going to be an amazing last few weeks, and I'm so excited to get to work!

As well this week was my last Zone Conference! It was so crazy to bear my closing testimony with so many of my best friends, but it left me with such a strong desire to continue to serve with all my heart in these last couple months. I talked a lot about my companions, how much they have blessed and strengthened my life, and from there I talked about how Heavenly Father does not ever give up on anyone. It's something I've truly felt so strongly as a missionary, and I'm so thankful to have learned that amazing truth here in Tokyo, Japan. The really awesome heavenly hug though, was when President and Sister Budge came up afterwards to shake all of our hands. President Budge said, "It was so great to hear about all of those great missionaries like Elder Burgin, Elder Hamada, Elder Howard!" And I said, "Yeah! They really were the great teachers to me!" And then he smiled and said, "Very true, you definitely are one of them, Elder Justesen." And that really touched my heart so much. I've always admired and looked up to those great missionaries so much, and it really meant so much to me to hear President Budge say that. President and Sister Budge have truly been such amazing mission presidents, and I'm so so thankful I have the chance to serve with them all the way through my mission. Their incredible love and kindness has really influenced me so much, and really is helping me to have that desire to become a better person.

Also, I'm so thankful to my amazing family!! All throughout the temple today, I just felt such a strong feeling of thankfulness to my incredible family, and I want to say I love you guys all so much! I'm so thankful for all of the kindness and love you always share with me, and I'm so excited to talk to you all in just a few weeks! It'll be such an awesome reunion, and a great prep for the reunion in June! I'm so excited to work with every last effort here in Tokyo, and then return with honor to my awesome family. I love you guys so much! Also Dad, Alexa, and everyone that helped set up my apartments and classes, thank you so so so much! It's been such a blessing not having to stress too much about it, and I'm so thankful for all the time you took to help me be all set up! Much love!

All in all the work is amazing, I love it so much! Transfer calls will be next week, and I'll know where I'm heading for my last transfer, but to this point I've just been feeling so thankful to this chance to be serving at this time. Being a missionary has been far from easy, but it has been in all senses of the word WORTH IT. I wouldn't trade these past two years, the friends, the brothers, the trials, the miracles, and the eternal lessons for anything. I love this work so much, and I'm so excited to keep forward with faith, and continually strive to be a servant in the hands of the Lord. To anyone wondering or questioning, serve a missionary! It will require your very best, but it will truly change, and bless your life in so many amazing ways. I love my mission so much, and I'm so excited to take out all the stops, and go for it this last transfer! Again thank you all again so much, I hope you have an amazing week! Love you all, the gospel is true, the book is blue, God loves you, and I LOVE TOKYO!

Elder Justesen

Monday, April 13, 2015

Tokyo Japan Week 86

Hello amazing family, it's been another really awesome week, as well as watching Conference, which was so amazing! I was so sad only to hear President Monson speak twice, but the messages of Conference truly spoke to me, and filled me with so much faith and confidence in the future, and the person I continually hope to become. I'm so thankful to the fact that we have a living prophet, and as well as all of the church leaders that continually lead and guide us. Also! Just a side note, but Elder Aoyagi, the man that said the closing prayer for conference, was the one I had a one on one interview with a few months back! I was so happy to see him on the screen, and I felt so thankful to have had that chance to sit down one on one with one of Heavenly Father's called servants. I love being a missionary so much, and I'm so thankful to be serving here in Tokyo Japan. I love this amazing city so much, and I'm so excited to continue to press forward with faith.

This week is my last Zone Conference as a missionary! I received the email this week to prepare my closing testimony, and although it made me feel so blown away that now I was one of those bearing testimony, it really caused me to reflect so much on my time here in the Tokyo mission. It has been far from easy, but it is the greatest experience I've ever had in my life so far, and it's completely changed my life. There are many things I want to talk about in my testimony, but I'm hoping just to focus on that. :) I'm so thankful I still have 2 months as a missionary, and I'm so excited to go forward with faith and love! As well, they've asked me to translate the meeting, which I feel so honored about! Heavenly Father has truly sent the gift of tongues while I've been serving as a missionary, and I'm so excited to do my best during the conference! I love being a missionary so much!

It sounds like everyone is doing so great! I always love hearing of all of the cool things that are happening in your guys' lives, and I'm so thankful for all the blessings Heavenly Father is sending down. Again I just want to say thank you guys so much for all of the love and the kindness you share with me. I'm so thankful for the amazing family I was sent to, and especially for all of the wonderful examples you have set before me. While watching Conference, I can't lie, I felt pretty excited to know that the next one there's that chance I'll be with my amazing family again, and once again continue to learn from all of your examples. I'll forever remember attending Priesthood session with Dad and Tyler, and just feeling united with them as priesthood holders. I really hope to become a Priesthood holder like you guys in my life! As well I always remember Mom's incredible cinnamon rolls! Haha, but that's just a little plus to hearing the words of the Prophets. ;)

This week as well Heavenly Father sent down so many amazing heavenly hugs, and it was so wonderful to feel of His goodness and grace this week. I especially loved President Uchtdorf's talk on grace, and it's something I'm going to do all I can to apply more in my life. But this week, I received such an awesome visit from Shohei! He came to our zone meeting, and we were able to have an amazing lunch together. He talked to his parents, and although they aren't thrilled about it, they've accepted the fact that he is going to serve a mission! So, in May he's invited me to come attend the temple with him to take out his endowments, and then in the next year he will be heading out on his own mission. :) Such an awesome blessing to know Shohei. He's been my best buddy since my second transfer, and I feel so thankful that the Lord has worked His hand in this way with Shohei. I know he's going to be such an amazing missionary, and I feel so thankful to be attending the temple with him. Being a missionary is the best!

Other than that our area is doing pretty well, but the Tokyo Stake is facing some hard trials at the moment. Please keep us in your prayers! Baptisms have been pretty slow, and the stake is really starting to focus in and putting a little bit more pressure on the missionary work, but we're really excited to work! It definitely helps in keeping me focused and not slowing down. I know that if we unite in sincere prayer, and actively seek to be prepared for those that will join the church, the lord will bless us to have eyes to see and hearts to love those that will receive the Gospel. Many of our wonderful investigators are so close, so we're really so excited to keep going forward with faith!

Again I just want to say thank you so much for all of the love and faith you show me. I'm so thankful for all of you so much, and I love you guys. :) I hope you all have an amazing week! The gospel is true, the book of blue, and God loves you!

Elder Justesen

Monday, April 6, 2015

Tokyo Japan Week 85

Hello amazing family! Wow I can't believe it's been another week, it went by way too fast! Although I can't lie, I'm so excited to watch Conference this coming weekend, I heard it was really amazing! Many of the members in Urayasu are all very good at speaking English, and many actually watched the Saturday session at 5 in the morning here in Japan! Way awesome members! I've heard that Elder Ringwood's talk was amazing as well, as he's very well known amongst the Japanese members. I've had the opportunity to shake his hand! He was in attendance at the Elder Nelson conference we had last month, and he's such a great man. We actually have many investigators that should be coming as well, they're very excited! What's really so amazing though is how this is going to be my last general conference as a missionary. It seems so incredible that 2 years ago we were all gathered in Utah getting the missionary clothes, and just anticipating entering the field. I'll never forget that last Conference as a family, and looking back now I'm so thankful for the incredible changes that Heavenly Father has brought into my life in this time serving as a missionary. I love this work with all of my heart and soul, and I'm so thankful that Heavenly Father has given me this chance to come to the incredible country of Japan. Maybe it's the Sakura season, maybe it's the language, maybe it's the amazing Japanese people, but I love this country with all my heart. It hurts so much that I'll have to be leaving in the near future, but I'm so thankful to just work with every effort, and take in everything about this incredible country. I know that one day I'll be able to come back, but only one time as 18-20 year old missionary. :) I love Japan!

It sounds like everyone is doing so great! Whitney I was so stoked by all of those great photos that you sent me! It looked like you had a really amazing time in Hawaii, and the pictures were absolutely beautiful! I'm glad you had so many opportunities to share the gospel with Sarah! I know that through your incredible brightness and love of the Lord, you will continue to be a powerful influence for good in the lives of others. Way proud of you! :) Also Alexa I'm so excited to hear about how much fun you're having in the Bay Area, and especially how great things are going with Alex! He seems like such a cool guy, and I'm praying for you guys every day! He's a super lucky dude to be with you, make sure he remembers that! ;) And Tyler! Again I just want to say thanks so much for always being such an awesome example to me of the Priesthood holder I want to be someday. Your missionary service in Brazil really left such a powerful impact in my life, and filled me with a desire to serve. I'll always remember when you got home and told us all of the amazing stories, and I felt so excited to go. You're the man, and I love you so much dude! Kaitlin is marrying one awesome returned missionary!

And Mom and Dad! Especially around this time of year, I'm remembering those last couple months we had together before I left for my mission, and I just feel so thankful for all of the kindness and how special you made those last couple months together. I'm so thankful for the incredible examples you have set for me, and the love that always was in our relationship in the home. I love you guys so much, and I can't lie, I'm so excited to see you both soon. :) I was so blessed to be sent to such an awesome family. I'll continue to pray for you all by name daily!

Things are going pretty awesome here in Urayasu! The Mikami kids were all able to come to church, and although it was pretty sad, we referred one of the little girls, Yuria, to the sisters. We felt really strongly that they could help her much more than we could, and we're really praying hard for a miracle! I'm not sure if I'll see them receive baptism while I'm here, but I know that they will one day. They really have found a second home in the church, and although they may not fully realize it being children, as they grow, I know they'll remember the visits from the missionaries, the ward supplying an incredible Christmas for them, and just attending church each Sunday. I love sitting beside them, and sharing small messages of the Savior each week. They're an amazing little family, and one I've been so touched by as a missionary. Their apartment would make most people cover their mouths, but those little kids' eyes shine with the light of Christ, and despite their circumstances, they feel the love of God, and I'm so thankful to have met them, and to be teaching them. As a missionary you see certain things that you wish were different, but I'm just thankful to know them, and I know that Heavenly Father is preparing incredible blessings for them, as long as no one ever gives up on them. I've realized that despite how bad we may want to see them receive baptism soon, what is most important is showing that love, and helping them continue to develop a loving relationship with God and Jesus Christ. I'm thankful to be apart of that great work. :)

As well we had such a cool miracle to meet with Brother Suita again this week, and he's looking so awesome! We had a great lunch with him, and he said that our visits always remind him of his time in seminary with his mother and father as teachers, and just the love of the gospel that he still has. He says he's going to work hard, and hopefully around summer he should be able to return to church, and he's doing great at reading the scriptures again! With brother Suita it's been so cool to feel and see how much love God has for us, and how much He will do to answer the prayers of those that pray for us. I know that so many loving siblings and a mother and father are praying for brother Suita to come back to church, and it's been so awesome to be a little bit apart of this amazing evidence of God's love for us. I love working with him, and I'm so thankful for the chance to have become friends with him. He's a true brother, and I'm way excited to see what Heavenly Father has in store for him!

But all in all, it's been another amazing week, and I'm so thankful to be a missionary at this time! This past Sunday I was doing some deep reflecting on the Conference 2 years ago, and I'm so thankful for all of the amazing love Heavenly Father has shown me. :) I'm so thankful to go forward with faith! Thank you guys so much for everything, and for all of the love you always show me, I'm so excited to keep loving the Japanese people, and serve with all my heart till the finish. Love you guys so much, have an amazing week!

Elder Justesen

P.S. This coming May, I'm going to go through the temple with Brother Shohei Yoshida for his endowment! How awesome is that? The work goes on forever!!

PP.S. Congratulations to Cally on being called to Brazil!!! That is so awesome! She's gonna be so amazing done there, she'll be a powerful missionary! Make sure to let her know I say congratulations, and welcome to the most AMAZING work in the world! :)