Monday, June 8, 2015

Tokyo Japan Week 94

It's been the best ride of my life. :)

Hey everyone! Wow... I can't believe this will be my last email to you all before coming home on Friday! My heart is really full of all kind of emotions, but I'm really excited to send this little email today just saying how much I have loved my time serving here in Tokyo Japan. I love being a missionary with all of my heart, and I'm so thankful for all of the amazing things that happened this past week. This week was full of so many goodbyes, and saying thank you to so many amazing friends that have blessed and changed my whole life. I love this country and city with all of my heart, and I'm so thankful for the chance Heavenly Father has given me to come and serve here for this past two years. I feel like my heart has truly been changed, and I'm so excited to go forward now with faith into this next stage of life. There's many stories I'm going to save to tell you guys this Friday, but I wanted to share the coolest thing that happened this week.

So! This past weekend was actually Stake Conference, and Elder Aoyagi and his amazing wife attended, and so did President and Sister Budge! It was such an amazing last Sunday filled with many amazing memories, but this one will always stand out amongst the rest! So the other morning I received a message from my trainer Elder Hamada, who's now living in Shibuya in our Stake! He and his wife, and newborn baby Kizuru were heading home, and he said he wanted to come pick up Elder Adachi from the conference and take us home to Urayasu! I was so stoked, haha, and said for sure that would be great! So we are sitting in the meeting, and we feel we should go check outside to see if he's arrived, and perfect timing, he comes walking into the church right as we check outside the chapel. It was so funny to see him in jeans and a t-shirt, haha, but we both just got so stoked to see each other, and had a way big hug. From there we run to the car, where he introduced me to his awesome wife and baby! This being the second time Elder Hamada has picked me up from the mission home, haha, we start racing through the streets of Tokyo. We make a quick stop at Pizza Hut where he tells elder Adachi and I to pick up some pizzas, while they went and visited a less active recent convert Elder Hamada taught as a missionary! 

They came back and we took off to Urayasu. What was so cool though was while we are racing through Tokyo at night, we had such a great talk about the things learned as missionaries, and he just asked me all about what happened throughout these past 2 years, and the Spirit was just so strong in the car. We had so many great laughs, and what was just way too awesome was as we were pulling into Urayasu, it was right during the firework show at Disneyland! We could see it from the car, and it was such an amazing experience. Elder Hamada is really such a huge influence in my life, and such a great example to me. His family was so happy and awesome, and it just gave me such a strong vision of the man I hope to be one day. I'm forever thankful for the amazing companions I've been blessed to work with, and how much they really have blessed and changed my life. We talked about the importance of setting goals, following the Spirit at all times, and living close to the Lord. From there, Elder Hamada had a lot to say about the importance of marriage, haha, which was pretty great and way funny to hear from him. It was so amazing though to see how he was no longer the full time missionary I once knew, but he was now an incredible Priesthood holder, a father, and devoted husband. He still had an immensely strong love of the Gospel, and it was so awesome to meet with my brother one last time in Tokyo. :) As we got out of the car, he gave one last hang loose sign, said, "love you man!" And sped off with his family. Unfortunately there was no time for pictures, but I'll never forget the last ride with my brother, friend, and teacher in Tokyo Japan.

All I can really say is how happy I am that the Lord made it possible for me to serve here in the greatest city in the world, Tokyo. I love this city with all of my heart, and I wouldn't change these two years for anything in the world. I just showed Elder Adachi the video of me opening the call, and he said how different I am now, and that really meant so much to me! Haha. I know that with the Lord, it really has been a change for the better, and I'm so excited to keep this closeness to the Savior, and go forward with faith into the next stage of life. I just want to again say thank you all so much for everything these past years. Your prayers have kept me strong, and your love and kindness kept me devoted to this work each day. I felt your prayers so strongly, and I can especially feel them now. I love you guys all so much, and I'm so thankful for this chance the Lord has given me to serve. As much as it hurts my heart to say, I know it's now time to return home, take off the badge on my shirt, strengthen the one on my heart, and go forward with faith and love for the Lord. I love this gospel with all of my heart, and I'm so thankful to come home now with honor, knowing I gave my heart to the amazing people of Japan. Until we meet up again Friday afternoon in CA, this is Elder Justesen signing off. :)

Elder Justesen
The Gospel is True, the Book is Blue, and God Loves You

Monday, June 1, 2015

Tokyo Japan Week 93

Last hug with Shohei!

Hey everyone! So today was the temple P-day, and so sad because it was my last! It's so crazy to think that was my last time entering the Tokyo temple as a full time missionary, but I'm so so so thankful for the wonderful blessing I had as a missionary to have the temple so close by, and to be able to attend so often during my time here in Tokyo. It was such an awesome last time though, and it was so cool to feel so much love from so many missionaries I love and admire so much. There were many old companions that came up to me and expressed how much they loved serving together, and it really made me feel so thankful for all of the amazing people Heavenly Father has allowed me to come to know serving here in Tokyo. I love this work with all of my heart, and I'm so thankful for the chance to be serving here at this time! This past Sunday I was able to give my last testimony in Urayasu ward as this week will be stake conference, and it was as well such an amazing spiritual experience. The Spirit was so strong, and really touched my heart so much. I love this country so much, and I'm so thankful for this chance to be serving in the greatest city in the world.

Elder Cheng being thug

Sister Yuri, and Kei!

It sounds like everyone is doing so amazing though, and that really makes me so happy! I'm so sorry to say this email is going to be much shorter than usual, but there's quite a lot of packing to do, as well as saying goodbye to so many amazing friends. However I did just want to first off say thank you all so much for all of the amazing love and kindness you always share with me, and especially all of the kind words in your emails each week. They really do inspire me to work so much harder, and to more fully strive to be a better son, brother, and friend. I love you guys! Also! I just wanted to send my prayers out to Kaitlin. I'm sure it's been such an intense trial to lose someone she loves so much, and I'm praying that everything goes okay with her and her family! I'm really so humbled to hear of how she and Tyler will be forgoing the parties to remember the family. I think that's such an awesome thing, and I know that Heavenly Father will bless you guys so much for what you're doing.

Goodbye party at Eikaiwa!

But this past week was really so amazing, with so many awesome miracles. This week I said goodbye to my friend and brother Shohei here in Japan as a full time missionary, but he's so so excited to come to my homecoming next weekend! How incredible is that? Also! I was going to ask, but could you guys possibly set up a Facebook event for my homecoming, and put in the address of the church and time? There a few people that have emailed me and asked about it, and it would be awesome start inviting good friends! Also, Elder Howard and Shohei are going to be driving up, so they're going to need the address and stuff! Thank you so much! It's so crazy how fast it's how coming up, but I'm really excited to get these other things squared away so I can focus completely on the people during this week. :)

Sister Ikeguchi and Sister Mayama

Brother Sakita and I taking it easy.

Tsukushi and me.

Japanese BBQ birthday party!

But things are going so amazing! We have such a busy week planned, and then next week will be visiting other areas saying goodbye, and then heading home on Friday! It's definitely a mix of so many different feelings, but today at the temple really did give me the peace and comfort I really needed to go into this week. After the session I sat down in the Celestial room, and decided to offer a prayer just giving a report on the two years I've been blessed to have in Tokyo. As soon as I started to pray, I felt such a strong warm feeling enter my heart, and just the strongest feeling of, "you did it!" I felt such a strong feeling of thanks for all of the amazing life changing things that have happened as I have been serving here in Tokyo, and I'm so thankful for all of the eternal brothers and sisters I've been blessed to meet. I love serving a missionary with all of my heart, and I'm so thankful for this chance to be a missionary at this time. I'm so thankful that the Lord allowed me to come all the way to Tokyo Japan to gain a testimony of His love, and the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I love this work with all of my heart, and I'm so thankful to be here! I love you guys so much, and I'm so so excited to see you all next week! It sounds so crazy to say that... But I'm so thankful to be able to say that. It's been the most incredible experience of my life, and I'm so excited to tell you guys all about it face to face! I'm so sad to leave all of my brothers and sisters in Japan, but I know that we will all for sure meet again, and as well I'm going to do all I can to come back to Japan again soon. I love this city so much, and I'm so thankful to be a missionary! Just again want to again say thank you all so much for all of the incredible love and kindness, I'm so excited to just keep working hard with faith this last week! Have an amazing week, I love you guys!!!

Elder Devin Justesen