Sunday, February 8, 2015

Pictures this week - 2 February, 2015

Elder Livingston and Elder Tolen being happy
Tom at the zoo
At the zoo

In case you were wondering... this is a lion

And these are penguins

Here is a photo of a Polar Bear
And a Tapir


Hey! - Letter to Dad - 2 February, 2015

Hey, Dad!! I am so so so sorry, but I do not have as much time to write today! I love you so so so much, and I promise that you will be the first one that I write to next week! I need to send some pictures though, before the time is up! I am so sorry! I love you! <3

Love, Elder Livingston

Keep reading your scriptures, and don't be afraid to ask again if the Book of Mormon is true! It will strengthen your witness that it is true! <3 Share that witness, because it is powerful and the Lord needs you to share it with everyone that you can. I love you!

Splits! - Letter to Mom - 2 February, 2015

Hey mom!! :)

How are you doing? I am glad that you were feeling well enough to go to all of church this past week! That is so good. Keep me posted on how you are feeling, okay? I really want to know. You are so incredible, and you are able to go through so much hardship. It is so inspiring. Thank you for always being a good example to me. I love you so so so much, Mom!

So, this week I had splits with the Traveling AP's as well as with the Zone Leaders, so this has been a super busy week! I will start with the splits with the AP. His name is Elder McCarty. Oh, and a traveling AP is basically an assistant to the president whose sole purpose is to go around the entire mission and help train leaders. It was so cool. Second incredible thing about Elder McCarty. He is transfer 16 (the last transfer you get if you are foreign speaking) and his first area was Hodogaya! He loves it here. He was here for six transfers, but hasn't set foot here since the last time he was here, over a year a go. It was so good for him to come back and to kind of bid farewell to his first area. He loved it. He also got some of the ward members to come to English Class to see him, and they got to meet the people there, so that was super good. He also introduced me to some potential investigators, and then we got to go and do some service with Naoi shimai. We went and sang at an old folks home, and it was so cool! Guess how old the oldest person was? 103 years old!! Crazy, huh? And she was still healthy. There was also a 101 year old there too. We got a picture with them. So, in total, that picture had 243 years of age, and only four people. Oh, and two of them were below 20. So crazy!! It was super cool, and I got to play A Poor Wayfairing Man of Grief, which was so good. I love that song, and I am grateful that you sent it to me. If you find any more good music that is fairly simple and churchy, send it to me! I have way more opportunities to play piano here than I thought that I would get. I love it. And then the other miracle that we had was that we met a man named David Choi! (that is not his real name, just what he calls himself when speaking English). He is a Korean. (You would think I would eventually actually find Japanese people to teach here, but no! Only Canadians and Koreans haha). :) He is super cool, and is Baptist. He is actually studying and trying to become a Baptist missionary....found that out today! haha but he really really wants to know what we believe, and when we shared the Plan of Salvation today, particularly the Kingdoms of Glory, it shocked him, and he said he had never heard of that before. So we showed him where Paul talks about it in Corinthians, and he said that he would pray about it. One thing that is super funny is his wife is a bit scared of us. She said that she was worried that we would "capture us." haha. But, we haven't captured him yet. In fact, Elder Tolen thinks he might be trying to convert us. ;)

Um, I just had a moment of inspiration with Elder Tolen here. David has studied the Bible for four years. We have had two formal years of study for the Bible. And yet, I know what I teach is true. I have prayed about it. I have felt the confirmation of what I am teaching. And it made me stop and think, (I have thought about this a bunch for missionary work in general), missionary work doesn't make sense. I am 19 years old. That is it. I come out here and find everyone that I can, everywhere from 14 and under, to 80 and over!! And I teach them what the Spirit has taught me. And I do everything that I can to help them recognize the Spirit (because it is the Spirit, not the missionary that converts). It is kind of crazy to think about. Missionary work is weird when you think about it too hard. haha I stop people on the street....randomly....and I ask them what their hobbies are, if they have family, and then if they want to come to church. That isn't normal. But it is for missionaries!! I love missionary life haha. :) So great. <3

So, today we went to the zoo again. We took Tom!  He is great.  He is so incredible, and I really do love him. it is exciting to see him progress. and grow closer to God. He actually had an incredible experience! He needed his parents to call him, and to talk to them, and so he started praying to Heavenly Father and telling Him how badly he needed it. And as soon as the prayer was over, he got an call on the phone from his parents!! He said it was a miracle, and a really good experience for him. I am so grateful that the Lord answers prayers. Please pray for Tom that he can get a testimony of the prophet Joseph Smith. It is so important for him!!

Mom, I know that this church is true. I am so grateful that the email that I sent last week helped. All of the emails that you send mean so so much to me! :) Thank you for being the best mom in the entire universe. I am so so so grateful for all that you have taught me and for the spirit that you have always set in our home. You really do set the tone for the entire home, and it has always been one of love and the Spirit. :) Thank you for teaching me to love and turn to the Scriptures all of those years ago. 2 Timothy 1:7 has been a strength for me my entire life since you showed it to me when I was worrying a lot. Remember that scripture. God has not given us a Spirit of fear. Never be afraid, mom. The Lord will always take care of those whom He has called. I love you!!

Love, Elder Livingston

Pictures for this week - 25 January, 2015

Ward meal after sacrament meeting

Elders Tolen and Livingston

Elder Suzuki

Letter to Dad - 25 January 2015

Hey Dad!!

Thank you so so so much for sending the keyboard and the hair stuff!! That is going to be so so helpful, and I am grateful that you just got me a wireless keyboard to use in the apartment too. That will help with creating notes and training during personal study. 

How are you doing dad? How is your scripture study? Are you taking time for the Lord every single day of your life? Is that time sacred, or just quickly pushed into a busy schedule? I have no idea, I haven't been with you recently. Do not forget Him in the cramped schedule that you have. Always remember him!!

Also, fun little experience this week! We ran into one of our English students on the street, and he took us to his work and we met a lot of his family! I felt the gift of tongues so strongly, and understood about 90-95% of what they were saying. By the time that I didn't need it anymore, I was back to understanding a lot less, (still quite a bit! I am so grateful for the help that the Lord gives me with learning this language). I know that as I learn the language, the Lord will help me to know exactly what I need to study so that I can get more out of it, and be prepared for the people that I am going to teach. I love the Japanese language. It is so beautifully structured, and the writing system is so incredible. I love it. 

Thanks for all of your support and love! Do not forget that I love you so much, and that you are doing the Lord's work, every day, by being an incredible dad! I love you! :)

Love, Elder Livingston

The Return of the Awesome Canadian - Letter to Mom - 25 January, 2015

Hey mom!! <3

Hey, are you alright? You hanging in there? I know that it is really hard with this surgery, and your lyme, and life sometimes seems to fall down on top of us. It makes me think of the titan Atlas. He had the weight of the world on his shoulders. I know what it feels like to feel the pressure of the world on your shoulders. But more than that, there is Someone who knows exactly how you feel. His name is Jesus Christ. He didn't just suffer for your sins, mom. He suffered your sickness, your pain, your sorrow. He knows perfectly how to comfort you. I challenge you this week to try to come closer to Him and your Father in Heaven. I want you to try and make your prayers more meaningful. This is one thing that I have really been trying this past week, and it has helped SOO much! Open the prayer, and then talk like you are talking to a normal person. Put pauses to listen to what He says. Phrase your sentences exactly the same as you would if you were venting your problems to me (with the exception of thee, thou, etc.) and I promise you that you will see a huge increase in the amount of Spirit that you feel. It is absolutely incredible. I love the Lord and all that He does for us. The miracles that He performs on our behalf each and every day are absolutely astounding and I hope that you can take time to notice those.

Tom, is absolutely incredible!! I love him so much. He is the best. So, two weeks ago we gave him a Book of Mormon, right? Last week we called him on Thursday to see how he was doing, and he said that he was in Nephi, I thought he meant the second chapter of 1 Nephi. Nope!! He was on pg. 63 (ish) and was in 2 Nephi!!! Incredible, huh? He is so cool, and we talked with him again last night. He said that he is really open to learning, and he has such a sincere desire. It is incredible to see how good people come from all over the world. Tom isn't Mormon. He drinks, he smokes, he swears, and he is one of the best people in the world. He is so positive, and wants to help people. If you look at his heart, you would see gold. He isn't perfect. But I'm not either. I would never judge him for his faults, and I know he wouldn't judge me. He is without guile, which I think is amazing. He is always so sincere, and loves to talk about religion, movies, anything and everything. And he can feel the spirit. I know it, and he is starting to recognize it too. He said that every time he reads the Book of Mormon he feels calmer, which I think is amazing. The Book of Mormon really does that for people. It can help you come closer to God, and feel His love. Indeed, Joseph Smith said that it would bring a man closer to God than any other book on the planet. I testify that is true. I have read the entire book, and I know for a fact that it is true. I love it. I love the power that it brings into my life when I read it. Make sure that you take time to read it every day.

Another miracle that we saw this week was a man named Yuki Dou. He showed up to the church after District Meeting and started talking to the zone leaders that were here for district meeting. He then came inside, and we got to teach him a lesson about English, as well as a lot about the gospel. We went in depth about repentance, and challenged him to pray and repent this week. He said that he would, and that he has interest in learning the gospel. He really wants to change his life around. He is so incredible. Elder Suzuki (the Japanese Elder in our district) called the person that first contacted him and found out more about him, and then told me that this man was much more prepared than we even knew. The Spirit hit me so strongly, and told me that Yuki needed to be taught by Elder Suzuki and Elder Kerr, not by me and Elder Tolen. It was hard for us, especially Elder Tolen, because it was the first real first lesson that we got to teach together. I am grateful that the Spirit was the one guiding that decision, because I don't know if I could have made it otherwise. I know that he will progress, and be able to see incredible changes in his life. The Lord is so incredible, and infinitely merciful. It is on that fact that I rely for strength every single day of my life. I love this gospel so much.

I love you, mom!! So much. I hope that you know that. You are such an example to me. It is okay if you don't know what to say in your emails, any email from the family makes me smile. :) <3 I love you all, and I am so grateful to have this opportunity and trial to serve a mission, even if it means I have to be away from you. It will be over much too quickly. Cherish the time we have apart. Really think about that sentence. Cherish the time we have apart. And before you know it I will give you a huge hug, and tell you all about how my day went!! ;D haha Love you, mom!!

Love, Elder Livingston