I'll attach a couple pictures in some other emails with my bike (I remembered :D haha) and a random trail. To explain the title, let's rewind to last week, on Tuesday.
So last week on Tuesday we had a lesson with 桝田兄弟 or Morgan Kyodai, as I may have referred to him before! It was super good. I had to go on an emergency split and teach with Elder Kennedy instead of Elder Squire because he had a totsuzen (unexpected, all of the sudden) conference call he needed to attend to as district leader. So we went over to Morgan Kyodai's house and got to teach him and his wife. We read Alma 34 and talked all about prayer, and how prayer is a powerful tool in our lives. And then at the end of the lesson we mentioned that you could also pray in your heart and your emotions. He loved that. He seemed to really latch on to that, and for the rest of the lesson when we asked him how he could apply things to himself, he said that you can pray in your heart and mind. :) We committed him to start having personal prayers, as well as praying during work in his heart. He agreed to do that, and I know that as he does the Lord will bless him. We really decided with him that we needed to start at base one, even though he has technically been investigating the church for about 20 years. As he learns how to keep small commitments, the Lord will give him an added measure of the Spirit. As the Spirit comes and blesses his life, he will want to be baptized. It comes naturally as we follow Jesus Christ. After the lesson we were going to bike to this forest/park thing on our map that we didn't know what it was. Parks are amazing for talking to people, so we were hoping to find a new area to work! However, we were disappointed. We ended up hopelessly lost. :) haha It was very out of the way, and took a ton of time, but we got to bike through this gorgeous forest. It was absolutely incredible. It is such a testimony builder when I am completely surrounded by nature. God did create this world. I know that for a fact. And He also created us, His children. All things have a purpose. Ours is to return and become like Him.
So, biking through that forest (a tiny bit of super short mountain biking in there haha) was super fun! We also had the opportunity to have two Halloween parties! One was for our Eikaiwa (English Class) and one was a game night/ward activity. They were super fun, but what was so great was really just the fact that it got the members interacting with the investigators and potential investigators that we have! Member friendship is SOOO vital. Please reach out to new people. If they are members, awesome. They will love new friends. If they aren't members, then let me bear my witness to you as a missionary that it is absolutely essential that you reach out to them. They need you. They need friends. They need to have a connection to the church other than the missionaries. Reach out the way that Christ would, and you will see so many miracles. :) I promise.
Guess what!!! We had two investigators come to church this week!! :D Now, I know that is a super small number, but right now in our area, that is a lot. I don't think I had anyone come my entire first transfer here. But we had two last week! Technically one wasn't an investigator yet, (you have to teach a lesson and set up a return appointment), but we did get to teach him this week and now he is a new investigator! His name is Howard Scott (Scott San) and he is super cool. He is 22 years old, and we first met him at Eikaiwa about three or four weeks ago. Yesterday we got to give him a Book of Mormon and teach him about that and prayer, and he said that he will try reading it! He is so amazing, and came to church last week without really knowing anything. He had a good experience, but it was hard for him.
Now, you might ask why was it hard. Let me explain a bit about Japanese culture. They don't have a concept of God. If you ask any Japanese person what they believe in, they will tell you that they haven't thought about it. And that is the honest answer. They don't think the way that we do. Scott San explained to me after church that he has lived for 22 years, and never thought about Christ, or God, or anything the way we do, so it is hard. That is one of the big hurdles that we are learning to overcome. How to get someone who never believed in God to believe in Him, recognize who He is, and their divine nature. But the incredible thing is that we can do it. We can help them feel the Spirit, which in turn can testify of the truth. It can teach them that God is their loving Heavenly Father, Christ did sacrifice for them, and they can know with a surety it is true. I love that. It can definitely be challenging, but people are being prepared. Those are the ones that Christ has asked us to seek. Find those that are prepared, and teach them. Teach them the way that He would. :)
Speaking of prepared people, one last note! We were doing a Kubarikai (where we hand out flyers about our English class and talk to people about while we are here, it is a super good conversation starter) Elder Squire gave one to a lady and she said she spoke a little English, but brushed him off and kept walking pretty quickly. She did the same to me, and then left. A couple minutes later she came back, and said she had some questions. She asked if she could learn about writing in English, instead of speaking. We said if she came to Eikaiwa we would definitely help her with that. She then said she had some Mormon friends, and knew some, and wanted to learn more about the church. She said she had lived in the US but had always felt pushed and pressured into the church, and she didn't want to meet with us if we were going to push her into it. We told her we wouldn't do that, but we just want to teach and invite. We will be meeting with her this Thursday, and I am so excited to be able to teach her about the gospel! The Lord really does prepare people. She left with a copy of the Book of Mormon in 日本語 and I am so excited to talk with her more about it!
Well, this is super long, but I want you to know that I love you so so so so much!! :) You are amazing! Definitely the best mom the world has ever had. ;) haha Also, people in Japan always say you are super young, and look even younger when I show them our family pictures. Just thought you would like that. Love you, mom! <3
Love, your son, Elder Livingston :) <3
P.S. I hope that the preparations for your new health regime are coming along well. I promise the Lord will bless you! 愛しています！！
Note: Some names have been changed for privacy.