Sunday, December 7, 2014

I finish my time as a newbie - Letter to Mom - 1 December, 2014

Hey mom!!! :)

Guess what? I am officially not a trainee anymore. :) Woohoo!!! I am transfer 3! So, today we had transfer calls. :) And guess what? I am staying with Elder Squire in Hodogaya!!! Yeah! However, there is a catch. . .we are training. :) I am so so so excited! We go to the mission home on Thursday to pick up our new companion, and we will be a threesome for two weeks, and then Elder Squire heads home. (He has a weird extension schedule). And then I will train, on my own. :) Mom. . .I've been here for three months. I definitely feel inadequate, but I am so so excited to train. It is already a humbling experience to think that the Lord is trusting me with the opportunity to train another missionary. I don't feel ready, but at the same time I do, because I know that through the Lord I can do anything. I am excited for this new growing experience, and I will be praying for the ability to trust in the Lord more fully, because I need His help.

Let's see, this week . . .well, first of all, Dunkley san couldn't meet this week, so we may actually have to push his baptismal date back. However, I know that he will be baptized, and that as he continues to follow the Spirit and do the things that he needs to, he will feel confident that everything is going to be okay. One thing that is hard is that he needs parental permission (you are not an adult in Japan until you are 20, so I get to become an adult twice in my life!! haha) but doesn't have the best relationship with his parents. Pray for him that he will have the courage to ask his parents, and that their hearts will be softened. However, I am not worried. The Lord wants Dunkley san to be baptized way more than we do, and I know that He will provide a way. Just like with Nephi and the Brass Plates. It really is incredible how much we can learn from the Scriptures and apply to our lives. :) I love them so so much. I actually really like making documents/organized-thinger-dingers that help me focus more in study. I know that is super vague, but in a week I will send you this big lesson/talk thing that I am writing on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It really helps me to apply the scriptures more, and find talks and things that connect with the gospel principles that we talk about with people.

I also want to say, whatever your calling is, just love the people. Love them with all that you are. I want to talk about Norton san right here. Norton san is really amazing. He doesn't have a huge interest in church, but is always willing to talk about it, so we are going super slow and teaching at his pace. He has a hard time understanding a lot of the things we talk to him about, so we teach him the same thing multiple times. But I can honestly say that he is one of my best friends. I love him so so much. I am going to be super sad when I have to transfer away from here, and away from him. He is someone that I will definitely do my best to stay in contact with for the rest of my life. I love him. Love is the motive. It is the reason why I am here serving. I love the people of Japan. They are so nice, and have such an interesting culture. It is completely different from America, but I love both of them. Love the people that are even slow to listen to you, or have a hard time talking about the church. Just love them. When they feel your love their hearts will begin to open and you will be able to share with them just how much you love the gospel. I may have told you this before, but my MTC teacher said that, "They won't care how much you know until they know how much you care." And that is so true. Love people. Love them like Christ loved them.

Christmas details! Okay, so I do not actually know. I know that the honbu (Mission home) asked us to confirm your email information and they would be sending stuff to you, so if they haven't yet then they will. They said that our email times will be sometime the week of the 22-25 (Monday through Thursday). The call will be for 30-40 minutes like it says in the Missionary Handbook (Some missions are different depending on the Mission President, like how I get an hour and a half to email). That is about all that I know right now. :) I am sending the package this week! Everything is squared away and I just need to take it to the post office, finish sealing it all up, and send it! I am so excited, I think that you will really really like what you are all getting. :) I tried to get something small for each of you. Also, today I bought heat tech (the underarmour-like stuff to keep you warm) so I am excited to try that out soon.

Well, I love you so so so much, Mom. You are such a great example to me, and some things that you said in your email really helped me today. Just the fact that we should trust the Lord and continue to feel peace going forward because He will qualify us for what he calls us to do. I definitely know that is true, and I will be praying for his strength as I train. Thank you for everything, and for being the most incredible mom in the entire world!! I love you! <3 <3

Love, Elder Livingston

P.S. I miss you! <3 Love ya to infinity infinities and beyond!!

Note:  Some names may have changed for privacy.

Pictures for this week - 1 December, 2014

Elder Livingston selfie

Some beautiful Japanese English on a poster! Haha

Time flies - Letter to Dad - 1 December, 2014

Hey Dad,

Wow, time flies on a mission. I can hardly believe that today is December. In fact, I totally didn't really register that until I typed it. haha I am glad to hear that you are doing well, and that you got to work from home this week! Also, thank you so much for sending all of those pictures!! <3 :) They were perfect. Also tell mom that I am super grateful for the videos that she took. :) Oh, and tell Ben that I am glad the Thanksgiving was Happy (the video of him with Google translate translates literally to thanksgiving (the noun) was happy. haha).

Oh! Also, I know that you mentioned working out in your email. Is there anyway that I could get PDF's of the P90X 3 workouts? They are short enough that I could do them. I love the Ab Ripper X that I came with, but want something more to get in better shape. haha That would be super good. :) And good luck with your endeavors as well with working out! I will be cheering for you here in Japan! :)

You know, you said in your email that this is youre only line of communication with me, and it really is true, so I just wanted to say thanks. Thanks for all of those nights going to random places to get food so that we could share some time eating and talking in the car. Thanks for being there for me when I needed you, and for being the perfect example of a Father. You never raise your voice and you are always so gentle. You truly are an example of Christ.

So, do you know what I think is crazy? How you can progress in something without even realizing that you are progressing. :) haha That is how it happened with me and Japanese. I am still learning, and have SOO far to go, but I know that as I continue to trust in the Lord I will be able to continue to grow. I look back on where I was when I came here to Japan three months ago, and I didn't understand anything that people were saying. I can now understand quite a bit, although there are still so many things that I have to learn. One of the coolest, hardest parts of Japanese is the writing. They use a lot of kanji, which makes it super hard to read anything, but also really cool when you learn some. I knew a bit from Japanese in High School, but I am learning more (not too much. Lots of missionaries take it to an extreme, and focus all of their time on that. Speaking is the most important, not writing, so that is really where the focus should be). It is cool when you read in the Book of Mormon and you see a word you have never read before, but the kanji says 聖見者. The first one means holy/saint, the second one is the kanji for seeing, and the third one marks that it is a person. So while the word seikensha (the pronunciation for it) meant absolutely nothing to me, I knew that it was talking about a seer. That aspect of the language is so cool. How was it learning German? Was it hard? Oh, also, Norton san, my investigator, would like to email you in German. Is that okay? I will send you an introduction email from him. He is doing it with Sam in Portugeuse as well. He is so cool.

Dad, I hope you know that I love you. I look up to you so much. Is there any advice that you can give me as I start to train this new companion with Elder Squire, and as I continue that training on my own? Thanks for always helping me out and sending me advice. I absolutely love it.

Thanks for everything!! I love you so much, and I miss you a lot. <3 Love ya!

Love, Elder Livingston

Note:  Some names may have changed for privacy