Sunday, September 28, 2014

Letter from President Wada - 24 September, 2014

Dear Brother and Sister Livingston:

Elder Tanner Campbell Livingston arrived in the Japan Tokyo South Mission on September 9, 2014 in good spirits and ready to commence his proselyting assignment. We had a wonderful time with him.

Elder Livingston has been assigned to work with Elder Squire, and they will serve in an area called Hodogaya A. Elder Livingston can receive his mail at the following address:

Elder Tanner Campbell Livingston

Japan Tokyo South Mission

1-7-7 Kichijoji, Higashi-cho

Musashino-shi, Tokyo 180-0002


Enclosed is a picture of Elder Livingston, as well as with Sister Wada and me, his companion, and a group picture. We have also included a map showing the locations of the various areas in the mission. You can use it as a personal record of his assignments.

By the time you receive this letter, Elder Livingston should be adjusted to his new proselyting area. The positive sustaining support he receives from you at home will be a great blessing to him. May the Lord bless you and your family as you share in your missionary's mission experience.


President Takashi Wada

Japan Tokyo South Mission Areas and Stakes - Tanner is serving in Hodogaya #14

Elder Livingston at the Mission Home

President Wada, Elder Livingston, Sister Wada

Elder Livingston and Elder Squire

New missionaries and their trainers with President and Sister Wada

New Missionaries with President and Sister Wada

Photos - 22 September, 2014

Book cover?

Tanner couldn't resist buying Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone and Eragon.  Can't even read them until he gets home.  Actually that is probably about the time his Japanese skills will be ready to read them. haha

City street and buildings

Costco in Japan - Looks familiar doesn't it.

Sign for a local dentist.  I was surprised that it was in English.

Here is a path through a local park area. 
Nintendo 64 - ONLY $36.50!!

Letter to Mom - 22 September, 2014

Well, I'm not sure if the sun rises yet . . .our windows are always covered when it comes up! haha (it comes up super early right now). But, that is beside the point. Thank you for your emails. I love hearing from everyone.

Well, how should I sum up this week? I think the best way to state this week is to say that I am starting to get a hang of things and figure out the schedule. There is a surprising amount of study, and sometimes that can be a little frustrating because you don't even get out of the house until around 1 or 2 o'clock. But, that is okay! I am learning so so so much from study and I love it. Also, one goal that I have is to read the entire Book of Mormon in Japanese by the end of the second transfer at the latest. I really want to have it done by the end of the first transfer, but we will have to see how that goes.

How about we start with some miracles? haha First of all, this past weekend I had the opportunity to go on splits with Elder Kerr (the Hawaiian Elder that is in a couple of my pictures) He is a transfer 3 Elder, so we are both pretty young. It really gave me an opportunity to just step up to the plate and do  my very best to speak Japanese. I surprised myself with how much I knew, and understood, but there is still so much I need to learn. I really am trying to differentiate words and phrases that I can learn, because sometimes I really just can't even figure out where the words break up! haha But, it was a fun miracle to see that I am doing a good job, and I am going to be able to be fluent, I just need to give myself time. Also, one other huge miracle is the relationship that we are building with Nelson Kasper. Nelson is a 15 year old boy who is the son of two less active members. He plays video games a lot, and likes to read light novels, and his dream is to have a job where he never has to leave his house. We have had a hard time really reaching out to him and getting him to connect with us. However, earlier this week we dropped off a daily message for him. They were just simple little notes that we wrote for him. Since then, he has really opened up to us more, which has been so cool to see, and I am so grateful that slowly we are getting to really be his friend. He doesn't have a huge interest in the church right now, but we are working on that, and working on getting him interested in the cool stories that the Book of Mormon has about right and wrong (He loves to think about the moral difference between right and wrong, so we are trying to work with that interest). So that was super cool to see this week!!

Also, you said that you had some questions about my companion? Elder Squire is actually from Eagle Mountain! He is 25 years old, and he is so great. He is a transfer 15 (I think that I mentioned that) and comes from a very different family background. He has three little sisters, and he loves them a lot. His older sister is actually on a mission, and returns home in just a few weeks! I am learning so much from his example, and really how to love people.

Speaking of which, did you know that is what missionary work is all about? Loving people. Our mission motto (we have a mission logo and motto and logo and they are awesome) is: Obedience is the price, Faith is the Power, Love is the Motive, the Spirit is the Key, and Christ is the Reason. It has been the theme for many missions for years, and it is awesome. I love it so much. It is so true though. When we really love the people that we serve, we are able to reach out to them in the way that the Lord needs us to, and to really show them why the gospel is important for them.

As far as Japanese culture, I know some people were wondering in what specific ways does it differ. Here are just a few examples: they drive on the opposite side of the road, the garbage truck plays music, not the ice cream truck (I thought that was ironic and that you would get a kick out of that, Mom ;) haha) You have to sort your garbage, there are hardly any garbage cans, but basically no garbage in the streets, and things like that. The picture of the spider that I sent you? Not only is it the neighborhood spider, they are EVERYWHERE. Except for in the houses. haha I see so so many of those spiders, but I have yet to see anything but tiny flies every once in a while in the apartment. It is very different here, but it is great here. I am still learning all of the culture, but I will learn little by little.

As far as emails go, I love getting them mid week! Getting emails is awesome every day, and I can read them at night, so it is really just something that I get to look forward to. :) So, anytime that you want to send emails, feel free to send them!! Also, I still haven't received your letter. I'm not sure why, but I will be keeping an eye out for it.

I love you all so so so much! Don't you ever forget it. You are the best family in the universe, and I am so glad that I get to share some of my adventures with you. :) Thank you all for your examples to me, and for writing me so consistently. Emails are incredible to get, and I love them so so so much! I love you all. Thank you for being the best family ever, ;) Keep it up! haha I love you.

Love, Elder Livingston

P.S. let me know if there is anything that I forgot in this email! I will send pictures in other emails. Thanks! :)

Letter to Dad - 22 September, 2014

The names in this email have been changed for privacy reasons.

Hey Dad!
I don't have a ton of time, but I wanted to let you have a short email to know that I love you so much, and I am so grateful for your emails and the pictures that you sent! The temple looks gorgeous, and it sounds like you all had a super good time. I wrote Ammon a big letter today because it is his birthday, so I don't really have a lot of time left. I am going to send some emails with pictures, but I just had to let you know that I am doing great, and it is a blast here. Thank you for your emails, and for all that you do for me! You asked about specific names for some of the people that we are teaching. I would say our best "Investigators" (none of them are progressing right now) are Nathan Kasper, Morgan Kyodai, Sanders Kyodai, Nelson Shimai and Kyodai, (Kyodai means Brother, and Shimai is Sister), and that is about it right now! If you could keep them in your thoughts and prayers that would mean a lot. Thank you so much. I love you!!
Love, Elder Livingston

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Letter to Mom - 16 September 2014

Subject from the email - Wow . . .this place called Japan actually exists!

Well, this place called Japan is insane and completely different from America in almost every single way! haha For example, I am using the computer at the church by our apartment and even the keyboard here is a little bit different. Luckily it isn't too different, or it would be really hard to efficiently write any letters. :) I love it though, and I am doing great.

Wow, where do you want me to start? I guess a good place to start would be with my companion, huh? (I will be sending emails full of pictures in a minute, so just be patient with me ;) haha ) So his name is Elder Squire, and we are totally different. I am transfer one, he is transfer 15 (There are a total of 17 transfers on a mission). He is a little quieter, and I am . . .well, you know me ;) haha however, it is really fun to learn from him and to grow together in ways that we are both weak. For example, yesterday night we went housing for the first time. It is hard here because a lot of people (most people) have intercom boxes and so they can just tell you to go away before they even heard your message. Elder Squire hasn't had success with it in the past, and so I could tell that he was discouraged going into it. We said a prayer though, and I really tried to get him and me to focus on what the Lord would want us to say. And we started up again. It was only a few houses later (and interestingly the last house that we knocked on for the night) that a man came out and we had a 20 minute conversation about church and what we are doing in Japan and how Elder Squire wants to come back to Japan to study and all sorts of good stuff like that! It was incredible, and I hope that it built up Elder Squire's faith as much as it did mine, because it was such a testimony builder to me that if we do our best and really just trust in the Lord then He will make it so that our work is enough.

Well, what else to talk about. Oh! A couple logistical things. So, today was temple Tuesday (we get to go to the temple in Tokyo once a transfer, and on those days we actually have P-day on Tuesday, so I am so so so sorry that this is a day late. I promise that I am not dead or neglectful <3 ). It was so great to go to the temple and see a bunch of kids from my doki (the group that came out to the mission at the same time as me). So, everyone that went to the temple today was all of the missionaries in the Fujisawa stake, and I am in that stake! I am in the Hodogaya area, and it is an absolute blast. I love it here. We actually don't have any progressing investigators right now, but we have a couple of potential ones, as well as people that we are finding on the streets every day. We are really working to get a baptism because my area has not actually had one in a few years. Which I think is going to change. ;) Also, today I bought a bike!! I forgot to take pictures, so I will have to take some and send them next week. Sorry!

Um, Japan. It is so humid here. And if you have not been somewhere that is as humid as Japan you do not really understand what I mean. I thought that the west coast was pretty humid, and it was really different than Utah. hahaha wow . . .how wrong I was!! This is real humidity. It is super moist, and the smell here is so . . completely different than anything that I have smelled in America! But I like it, and I am growing to love the area and the people. They are so kind. I have loved getting to know the people here, and the missionaries here are great. The Japanese people are so polite, and it has been fun to start immersing myself in the culture, although I know that I will always be American, because that is just what is inside my bones. haha

So, a little bit about the language. People here speak Japanese all the time, it is crazy! ;) Who would have known, right? But honestly, I do not understand a lot of what people are saying. My trainer is a lot better than me at Japanese, but he has told me that he still does not feel super confident, so it is fun and interesting to get around sometimes! haha But it is coming slowly, and I am glad that I can testify about the gospel, because that is what I am really here to do. Also, there are quite a few people who know English, are learning English, or want to learn English! So, I am always grateful for when I can speak English. I am so grateful for that language. It is beautiful, and it makes so much sense in my head, even if the principles behind its grammar are horribly awry. Haha

Well, let me see . . .oh!!! This is super important. Because we have iPads, Wada Kaicho said that we can look at our emails any day of the week, so if you ever want to send me a letter you can just email me, and I will get it that day! I can read them any day just like they were paper letters, I just have to wait to respond to them until Monday (our usual P-day) Also, I have an hour and a half to write emails instead of just an hour now, so that is cool. :)

Well, the food here is amazing, just like everyone said. I had real ramen today, and it was absolutely amazing. Just in case you were wondering ;) haha I would love to hear from all of you soon, and I will try to respond to as many emails as I can!! :) I love you all so so so much, and I miss you tons! But, don't be sad. I am only an email away. :) These two years are going to be incredible, and I am so glad that technology allows me to share it with you faster. I will keep sending you stories, and feel free to ask questions! I love you!! <3

Love, Elder Livingston

P.S. Sorry if I missed any questions! Send them again and I will try to remember them for next time.

Photos - 16 September 2014

Tokyo, Japan Temple
City photo

Elert Tanner Livingston and two additional elders (I think they live in the same apartment).

City photo

City park

Elder Livingston's desk

Sleeping quarters

A neighborhood spider

Local lake

Elder Livingston and his companion, Elder Squire, with their district

Elder Livingston and Elder Squire at the Tokyo, Japan Temple

Letter to Dad - 16 September 2014

Hey, dad!!

I love you. Thank you so so so so so so so so much for surprising me at the airport. :) I promise that it was a good thing, even though you left me in happy tears. ;) haha I am glad to hear that your trips went well! And I am especially glad that you made it home safe. I want you to know that you are such a good example to me and that I love you so much. <3 Thanks for everything!

Wow, the new apple products sound SO amazing!!! Do you have any pictures of them? Send me some when they get home, or if you could pull some off of the internet, okay? I would love to see how they work. Also, that watch sounds so so cool! I hope that you can have success on it. This could be a really good opportunity for your company to become one of the cutting edge, leading developers for that specific platform! You can do it, I know you can. :)

In response to your question, yes I did find my raincoat! No, I have not actually used it yet haha. It has not actually been that rainy except for the first couple of days that I was here, and honestly we were just walking then, so all we needed to use were umbrellas. The rain here is awesome. It pours super hard, but it is still warm outside because of the humidity and everything. I love it. :)

Oh, today I bought my bike. If you have mom check, I think that my personal fund is basically empty. I need to get a 100 dollar emergency fund, but I don't think that I can actually pull from my personal money anymore, because I believe that my card is out. Could you maybe have her put a couple hundred in, and send me an email when she has done that? That would be super super helpful!!

Dad, thank you for your spiritual messages. :) They are always so perfect. The message that Elder Scott spoke about in regional conference is so true. And it was actually just what I needed to hear today, so thank you so so so so much. I will try to make my prayers even better. :)

Honestly, dad, missionary work is hard. Sometimes (like, basically the entire time I have been here . . .a whopping one week! haha) you just feel like you are not even making an impact on people, and that can be really hard. I will keep pressing forward though, because I know that the gospel is true, and I know that I will be able to help people. The language is hard too. I feel like I can not really communicate with people, and that is particularly frustrating when I really want to just sit down and talk to someone, but I know that as soon as they tell me where they are going I will just shut down, because I won't know where that is, or what job they are doing. But, again, I know that the Lord blesses us when we just open our mouths, so I will continue to do my best. I have a great companion, and the most amazing tool (the Spirit and the Book of Mormon) that I could ever ask for. Thank you for always being an example to me, and for the man that you are. I hope that the letter I send to you personally next week can be a little longer, but at least know that I love you. Thanks, dad

Love, your son, Elder Livingston

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Elder Livingston Arrives in Japan - 9 September, 2014

We received the following email from Tanner's mission (along with a photo of the missionaries on a bus)...

Dear Parents,

We just want to send you a quick note to let you know that your missionary arrived safely in Japan on Tuesday, September 9, 2014.

President and Sister Wada fed the missionaries dinner, visited shortly, and then sent them to bed for a much needed rest.

Today is orientation and training day. On Thursday they will meet their new companion who has been chosen to be their trainer. In the afternoon they are off to their new areas to begin their missionary work. Pictures will be taken and within a few days you will receive another email with these pictures attached.

Our Mission’s preparation day is on Mondays. This is the day missionaries can email family and friends. When your missionary’s Zone has a temple day, which is normally on a Tuesday, this will become the preparation day. Please have your missionary let you know when the temple day is so you will know when preparation day will change.

Thank you for entrusting your missionary to us in the Japan Tokyo South Mission. We so appreciate all you have done to get your missionary to this point in his life!


Sister Yamashita
Japan Tokyo South Mission Secretary

Elder Livingston... third row from the front on the right.

Elder Livingston Leaves for Japan - 8 September, 2014

Elder Livingston left the MTC on the morning of September 8, 2014.  Look who he bumped into at the airport !!

Tanner leaving for Japan.  Dad leaving for Phoenix, Arizona.

Knowing that I was going on a business trip to Arizona the same time Tanner was leaving for Japan, I couldn't resist the chance to see him.  I arrived at the airport early to await his arrival.  I finally saw him about to enter the security area and waited for him around the corner.  When his group of missionaries stopped just after security I snuck up behind him, put my right arm around his shoulder and said, "Hey Elder, how are you doing?"  He turned around, smiled in shock, and in a surprised voice asked, "Hey, what are you doing here?"  I explained my reason for being at the airport and spent the next 45 minutes with him before my flight began boarding.

It was so exciting to see him!  Before he arrived I couldn't believe how my heart was pounding when I came around corners.  I might bump into him if he was already at the airport.  I was giddy as a school boy trying to get his nerve up to talk with a girl he likes.  At any rate, he looked so good and so did his companion and the other missionaries he was traveling with.

Tanner spoke a little Japanese while speaking with Jenna on the phone and it was fun to hear how far he has come.  One elder spoke with me briefly and complimented Tanner saying what a good missionary he is.  This elder said that Tanner had helped his testimony grow and he was thankful for him.  These are the moments that parents hope for.  Thank you Tanner for being who you are.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Photos - 4 September 2014

Elder Livingston and Elder Chris Stephenson

MTC district with Professor Goro Tajiri, professor of English at the Kansai Gaidai University in Tokyo, and his daughter

Letter to Mom - 4 September 2014

Hey Mom!!!

Wow, this week has been crazy! And actually, I didn't get your letter! So I should get it today. I think everything is behind one day because of Labor Day, but that is okay. That's so exciting! I think that you are going to have an awesome day. 

Let's see, where to start this week. First off, We got travel plans last Friday, and that was SOOO exciting!! So the plan is that I will be at the travel office at 6 in the morning on Monday, and then we will get our passports and information there, and then we will head off to the airport!! :) That is super exciting! So, my flight will take off at 11:15 and we will land at 3:55 or 4:55 ish in Japan, the next day! haha It is a 15 ish hour flight, and we lose 15 hours, so we will land approximately 30 hours after we take off haha. :) I am so so so excited, and it has just been a week full of anticipation of leaving!! Also, I would love to make a call home at the airport, but I am not entirely sure how that works or what time it would be, so just make sure that you have the phone with you that day before 11:15 (My guess is it would be somewhere around 9-10 that I would call) so that I can call okay?? I would love to hear from anyone who is there!! :)  I can't wait to talk to all of you!! :) 

Ahh, mom, I am so excited to be in Japan. It is kind of scary, but most of the time I am just thrilled and so so so so excited to get there. :) It is going to be such an adventure, and it has been super fun to hear all sorts of stories from the teachers that we have here. The people in Japan are absolutely incredible. We have had the opportunity to skype two ladies in Japan (members) and it has always been so so fun and just super happy to talk to them! And the best part is that I could actually understand them! :) haha They are amazing, and I can't wait to be serving among them. Also, I love the language. It is so hard, but it is also so so so rewarding. And it is such a cool language! It is (or at least can be and most of the time is) so so respectful. For example, I could say "Nihongo de hansu" And leave it there which would mean I speak Japanese, but in an informal and kind of impolite form, or I could say "Nihongo de hanashimasu" which would make it polite and show respect to the person that I am speaking. How cool is that?! They are all about respect, and it has been so so so fun to learn. 

So, to explain the picture that I forwarded home this week, that was a Japanese business man who teaches English in Japan that wanted to come here and see how we learned Japanese, and once again my district was chosen to represent the Japanese speakers! It was such an honor, and I am so so so grateful that the people in my district are so amazing. I really love them, and they are some of my best friends. It is going to be so weird to have to say goodbye to 6 of the 10 in our district, because they are going to the Fukuoka mission, instead of Tokyo South. 

Ahh, this gospel is true. I just want to leave you my testimony that I know this church is true. Christ did live, and does live, and He really did pay the price for our sins so that we could come back and live with Him again. The Book of Mormon is the word of God and we really can learn anything through the Book of Mormon, especially the truth of all things. I know that President Monson is God's representative on the Earth today, and it is so exciting that General Conference is so soon. I know that this gospel is how our family will be able to live together forever, and I know that we really will be able to live together forever. I love you all so so so much. Dont ever forget it. I can't wait to talk to you on Monday, and to send you my next email from Japan!! :) I love you and miss you all!!

Love, Elder Livingston

P.S. I may not have time to write you a written letter back today because I have a lot to do and to write, so I will send you one from Japan as soon as I can, okay? :) I love you!! <3

Letter to Dad - 4 September 2014

Hey Dad! :) 

How are you doing this week? How is work going? :) Also, how is that mother of mine doing? Is she getting the rest and relaxation that she actually needs, or is she being the stubborn Jennifer that I love so much and making sure to serve others even when she is sick and down? haha Dad, thank you for your example. I don't think that I told you this enough at home, and I definitely didn't convey how much I mean it, but I love you. I have realized more and more here just how incredible of a man you are, and just how much I look up to you. I love you so so much, and I thank you for your example and your weekly inspiration thoughts. They have meant so much to me and they have really helped me every week. Thank you, Dad. I just want you to know that you are the most amazing man that I have ever met, and the most true, kind, gentle, perfect father that I could have ever hoped for. Thank you. :)

So, I ship out soon! Crazy, huh? I can't believe how fast it went, and it seems like the group that left 6 weeks before us (our senpai or higher ups) seems like they left just a week or two ago. At the same time, I often wonder if I was born in the real world, or in the MTC haha :) It has been so good here, and I feel like I have grown so so so much. It has been so hard at times, and the most amazingly peaceful thing in the world other times. The times that I particularly love are the ones that I get to spend one on one with the Lord. He is so amazing. If you ever need anything, turn to Him. He will never let the call for help or comfort go unanswered. I can testify of that. 

Dad, as I go to Japan I want you to know that I am going to serve as hard as I can, and that I am going to baptize more people than anyone thinks possible. It's not that baptisms are what really matter, or that I will be an incredible missionary, but I will follow the promptings of the Lord, and I will be what he needs me to be so that I can work in the way that He needs me to work. People believe that Japan is a low baptizing country. I don't believe that is true. People said that about England and there is an Elder who went there and baptized 100 people. President Hinckley asked in 1999 if we would double baptisms, and that we could do it. But the baptism rate hasn't doubled. It has actually stayed about the same. I am going to step up to his call, and more importantly to His call, my Father in Heaven's call. I will be what He needs me to be, I will go where He needs me to go, and I will serve in the way that He needs me to serve. I love you so so much, and I thank you for your example and all that you do for me. I am sorry that I didn't get to send a lot of pictures this week (just the one with the Japanese business man) but I will send more as soon as I can, and they will be pictures of Japan!! :) I love you so much!!

Love, Elder Livingston

P.S. Our family is definitely psycho . . .at least that is what it would sound like in English!! Saiko (pronounced psycho) is the Japanese word for highest, or best. So, there is the fun Japanese fact for the day!! :) haha