Saturday, October 11, 2014

Letter to the Family - 29 September, 2014

I don't know if miracles happen in Japan because of the candy-man or not (the candy-man can! . .just think of the song haha), but they definitely can because of sushi chefs!! But more on that later. ;)

How is everyone?! It sounds like this week has been great, and I am so happy for Dad and Ammon that they got the new phones! That is so cool, and I will say that I am a bit envious. I'll just have to live with my iPad mini for now. ;) And the pumpkins look awesome!! Thanksgiving Point is so so cool. That is one thing that they don't have any of here in Japan. Space. There really is no space. People don't have yards like we do. They don't have houses like we do. Everything is very tall, and you build up instead of out. Honestly, the rooms in our house are huge and spacious compared to anything here. Also, the streets are super super narrow! It is crazy. You walk and ride your bike right past cars all of the time. At first I was nervous here, but it is so normal now. You watch out for cars, and they watch out for you. :)

Well, let's see. I will start by answering questions. Piano seems to pop up a lot, and I have definitely forgotten that in the past, so I will start there! haha Here in Japan, I don't play a whole ton. The Nelson couple actually has a piano, so I played there today! We had the music for If You Could Hie to Kolob, so I played that. We actually went today with Sister Nelson to an old folks home and me and Elder Squire sang that song, as well as Come Thou Fount in Japanese. And then we sang Israel Israel God is Calling in English. It was funny, one of the old ladies we talked to a tiny bit afterwards was like, "Wait, you are speaking Japanese?" haha I think that sometimes people are surprised that we can speak Japanese. Elder Squire said that he has been housing before and people have seen him and said, "I'm sorry, I don't speak English," and he just thinks, "Well, we were just speaking Japanese . . .not English." haha But, there is a surprising amount of English here, and quite a few people know a tiny bit of English.  Lots of people enjoy speaking in English, so strangely enough I speak quite a bit of English even with Japanese people. It is great. But, back to piano! Today was the first time I have really played here, but in the MTC I would play pretty much every week. It is so great, and I am so grateful that I know how. I actually have a favor to ask of you. Will you scan some of my music and send it to me in an email so that I can play it? I tell people I play, but I don't have anything memorized right now. So I need music. Specifically I was thinking: A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief, Consider the Lilies, maybe In Dreams, maybe You Raise Me Up, stuff like that, that sounds really nice. And if you find any spiritual or just beautiful, spirit inviting songs (which is why I think those other two are still good) please send them! I can play from my iPad as long as I have pictures of them. That would be super helpful.

Well mom, in answer to your question, I usually eat granola for breakfast. And toast ;) haha we actually have a family in our ward that buys us a ton of bread and bread products (like rolls and stuff) every week! They are so kind. That is one thing about Japanese people. Everyone is nice. It is so cool. I will admit though, we also get ignored a lot. People just ignore you when you say hello to them, or try to talk to them. And if you are already sitting on the train they generally don't sit down next to you. But, it's okay. :) The Lord will lead us to those that are prepared to hear His word. That's what we are really here to do. :) As far as other food here, we eat a lot of curry, stew, and yakisoba (noodle stuff). The food is all better than the MTC, and I love it. We actually went to an Endo curry (Himalayan style curry) place my first or second day in Hodogaya, and it has all you can eat Na'an!! It is so so so good.

Oh, Dad, in our area we have four Elders and two Sisters. The picture that you have on my blog that says "Elder Livingston with some other missionaries at the temple" is actually my entire district, I just forgot to include a subscript thing at that time. Those are all of the people in my area. And yes, we are the only Hodogaya area/ward.

But, what I really want to send to you is a couple experiences that we had with a sushi chef. ;) haha Morgan Kyodai, our investigator, is a part time sushi chef. It is his old full time job, and he still does it because he loves it. However, it is that job, not really his normal one, that makes him work on Saturday and Sunday. We first met with Morgan Kyodai my first week here, I believe. He has been investigating the church for about 20 years. His wife and daughter are both active members but he is not. When we met with him, he said that he actually believed that the church was true, but that he didn't want to join until after he retired so that he could go to church. We have been praying for him. This last week we had a training in Zone meeting about housing. So we decided to house. Originally we were going to go somewhere else, but Elder Squire said that he wanted to drop off a thank you note with a little message to Morgan Kyodai (He had brought some sashimi to our ward party and then left super fast. I'll send pictures of that later). We dropped it off, about 45 minutes to an hour before he usually gets home, so we didn't expect to see him. And then he pulled up. That was the first miracle. His wife said that it was the first time that he has ever come home that early, and she was so shocked. We talked to him and shared a little message about charity, and thanked him. We also asked if we could start meeting with him every week and he said that usually he had Friday off, and to just please call!! We were so happy! It truly was a miracle.

I'd stop there, but the Lord had more in store for Morgan Kyodai. This Sunday we finished sacrament meeting and looked down at our phone, and the Sisters had messaged us saying that they had seen him walk in the back for sacrament meeting. We booked it to the back of the chapel, and saw him before he left. He was wearing a suit and looked great. It was the biggest miracle in the world. He said that he had an unexpected break from work and wanted to come, so he did. He still left pretty quick, but he came. He came to church. It was something that we never thought would happen last week, but he came. The Lord really is working in the lives of our investigators. I know that to be true.

Well, I could drone on for hours (and make Ammon jealous by showing him how we played on a Go board ;) haha we didn't actually play go this time, but some other games that Nelson Kyodai showed us. I'll send pictures.) But I want you to know that this work can not be done by missionaries alone. We need the help of members. I have seen that so much more out here on a mission than I ever thought about in Utah. Please, help the missionaries. Give them people that they can teach (as directed by the Spirit) and just always support them. They have such a big job. Go with them to lessons, befriend their investigators. And if you don't have any in the ward, find less-actives that they can teach. The Lord doesn't want just a bunch of missionaries in His vineyard, He wants everyone. I like to think of the missionary force as a flagship. We are there to pave the way, find a bunch of people, and really dive into teaching people full time. But the flagship can not do it alone. It needs the support of the entire nation behind it in order to succeed. We need your help. Dad referenced this in his email to me without knowing it, but here in Tokyo South there are what we call three levels of consecration: First, work hard. Second, work smart. Third, work inspired. When we can move from just working hard to working smart, and then from working smart to inspired (completely following the Holy Ghost being the goal), then we will be able to accomplish what the Lord needs us to do. Always look to Him. He will guide you. I promise.

I love you all so so much, and I hope that you have a fantastic week! Be safe, and don't forget how much I love you!!

Love, Elder Livingston

Note: Some names changed for privacy.

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