Thursday, August 14, 2014

Letter to Mom - 14 August, 2014

Well, I am still trying to figure out how to attach photos . . .so hopefully I can get that by the end of today!! :) haha Thank you so so so much for your package! That was very sweet of you to send and I absolutely loved it. I will be using that card reader to get my pictures to you very soon! I love you so so much!

So, to answer your questions, my companion is amazing, and I love him. He really pushes me to know the language and it is really nice to have him  there to help me when I am not sure what to say. It is really strange, because the spirit can do amazing things and really give you the gift of tongues. I have an incredible experience that I have to share. Yesterday we were teaching our investigator, a girl named Taira Shimai (shimai means sister, and I'm not sure if I have mentioned her before.) Anyway, we started of normally just asking how she was and how she had been doing recently. She said good . . .actually not that good. We asked her why, and she said that when she had gone to college she had to take out loans and she was worried about her money situation. Right when she said that the Spirit told me, "You need to talk about tithing today." I kind of shrugged it off for a minute while my mind was going a million miles an hour trying to think if we could talk about tithing (had the vocabulary for it), how I could tell Elder Nagano, and if I really should. We said the opening prayer after going over what we had assigned her in the scriptures last time we had talked to her, and during the prayer again the spirit said, "You need to talk about tithing." So after the prayer, I just dove in and said, "Today we are going to talk about tithing. Is that okay?" And then turned to Elder Nagano and asked him the same thing. haha While I had him give a super short explanation right on the spot, I looked up the Malachi 3 reference in the Book of Mormon, so that we could still get our normal lesson across a little (We had planned on talking about effective studying the Book of Mormon that day . . .a little difference there. ;) haha). I shared that scripture and she asked, "Well, how is spending more money going to help with my financial situation?" I wasn't sure how to answer that, so I decided to tell a story. I had told earlier a little bit about Ammon and his sickness, so I asked her if she remembered. She said she did, and so I started to tell how when he was sick his treatment had cost a lot of money (another little tender mercy: I didn't know how to say spend, so I said used money. I found out later that the word for spend money is the same as the word for use, so I had actually been saying the right word the entire time! haha). I told her how we had always paid our tithing, and even though it may have been hard, we always had enough to take care of our needs. After telling the story, she said thanks and then said something incredible. She said that when we had explained it to her, her head didn't understand how that would help her. She really couldn't comprehend how it would be a good thing. But when I had told that story, she said her heart understood it, and knew that it was right. I was so so so grateful for the Spirit, because it taught her something that I never could have explained with my broken Japanese. The spirit really is so powerful. I didn't know exactly what was going to happen when I started to talk about tithing. In fact, if I had thought about it, it would have been so counterintuitive to talk about tithing because she was worried about money. But because I was willing to trust in the prompting that I felt I had received, the Lord blessed me infinitely more than I could have known. She committed to pay her tithing after she got baptized, and then after the lesson I had another testimony builder given to me. We finished the closing prayer and she looked at us right in the eyes and with disbelief said, "How do you always know what I need to hear?" I wasn't sure how to answer that, but I knew that the story of Ammon talked about it, so next time we are going to talk about Ammon and prophets!! It was such an incredible experience. :)

Japanese is coming along so well!! Do I know a lot? No, not even. But I do know how to talk about the gospel pretty well! haha :) I love learning it, and I feel like I make a ton of progress so much faster than I should. It is hard, and sometimes I honestly feel like my brain is going to explode, but I survive and keep pushing through, and it is always great!! Sometimes you just have to take a break and read the scriptures :) haha The scriptures are so incredible. They are powerful tools, and it is really through them that we need to work. Preach My Gospel (PMG) says that the Book of Mormon coupled with the Spirit are the most powerful tools that we can have. I know that they are the word of God, and we need to read them so that we can come closer to Him. Keep reading well, every day!! It is so worth it. :)

Thank you for everything. I love it here, even if it is hard. I miss you all so much, and I love you more than I could say!! Keep writing me when you can. I love you all with my whole heart! I'll be back on later to send pictures and finish my email time, so for now, just know how much I love you!! You're the best! <3

Love, Elder Livingston

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