Sunday, March 15, 2015

Pictures this week - 9 March, 2015

Elder Suzuki

Elder Frischknecht (notice Timothy the bear in the background)

Happy Missionaries!

Way to go!! - Letter to Dad - 9 March, 2015

Hey Dad!

Sorry that I didn't have time to email you last week! That monstrous email to mom took up a ton of my time. Thank you so much for all that you do for me. I am so grateful that you are working on a P90X program. I am so excited to see it! Thank you Thank you Thank you!! <3 I love you! Also, thank you for all of your emails. They mean a lot. Just send Nortan san a normal email. Be his friend. Let him know that you care about him. Bear simple testimony about non-gospel gospel things (family, love, service, etc. Things that are eternally good and true, but are common values across all cultures). That is what he could use most right now.

Way to go on your German!!! I am so glad that you are working hard on it. I promise you that as you continue to work hard, and grow and remember, the Lord is going to place opportunities in your path so that you can use that German to help Him with this incredible work. I love you, Dad!! :) <3 I will be honest, one of the things that really scares me is thinking about going home, and worrying that I will not be 100% fluent by then. I really don't want that to happen. Is it normal to kind of get scared by that? I feel so inadequate, and I don't see my progress as much. I think that is normal, but at the same time, I feel like there are so many words that I still do not understand. I really want to improve, but I am not sure how to just magically poof and become better. Actually I know that is not how it works, but if you get a hold of the magic wand, it would be nice if you could bippity-boppity-boo me into a fluent speaker . . . but you might have to translate it into Japanese for it to work . . . oh well, I guess I'll just study hard. ;) haha

Dad, thanks for your example, and for always taking care of Mom and the family for me! :) Be safe in all of your travels, okay? I miss you, and I hope that you know that I love you!!

Love, Elder Livingston

Goals and Accountability - Letter to Mom - 9 March, 2015

Hey Mom!! :)

How are you? I love you so so so much. Just so that you know. :) Also, you said that you have been studying grace. I definitely agree with your statement that if you substitute divine power it becomes easier to understand. I also like the talk "His Grace is Sufficient" by Brad Wilcox. I believe that you can find it in the August Liahona for 2014.  Read that one, it is super super good. :) <3 <3

I am so glad that Britta's birthday party was so good! I love the museum of curiosity! It is so fun. It really looks like they had a good time, and that Emmett loves it! Ahh, I miss that guy. :) Tell him I said hi and that I love him! He sure is smart! Wow . . . how is it that our family is so sick? Don't you just love it? ;) haha It's okay. The refiners fire has to be hot. Otherwise there would not actually be any refining. We always need to make sure that we look with an eternal perspective. That is so so important, and something that Elder Frischknecht has helped me do a lot. He is an incredible missionary and he knows the scriptures so so well! We have a ton of fun. :) <3

Speaking of Eternal Perspective, that brings me to the title of this email! Goals and Accountability. I guess that I actually want to start with accountability. Accountability is an eternally important principle. I realized this morning in my personal study a bit more about just how important it is for us to be accountable for our actions. Accountability is eternally linked with agency. If you destroy accountability (which is what the world is telling us that we should do), you  essentially destroy agency. Agency's magnificent power to change the hearts of men gets destroyed. Consequences become null and void, destroying the opposition to our choices. There really must be opposition in all things. With that, we always need to improve and grow, because there will always be something telling us that we can just sit down and let things happen, not stress, etc. But that is not true. We are born to become heirs to the throne of God, and as such we need to act and grow in such a way that we can be worthy of that divine heritage. One very important way that we can do that is through goal setting. (I LOVE GOALS!!!!). Goals are checkpoints, things that we aim for so that we can improve. One missionary described it much like an archery target. If we want to hit the center of the target, then we aim a little bit high. The same is with our goals. If we put our goals right where we want them to be, they will be harder to reach than if we set them a little bit higher than we would like to hit. And then we work for that higher goal and inevitably achieve or surpass our originally desired goal. How are your goals, Mom? Do you have goals? Are they written down? Are you being accountable for them to yourself? Most importantly, are you being accountable to Heavenly Father for the goals that you have set? Do you account to Him in prayer? Again, if we are not accountable, then we are not going to improve as much. President Monson said that, "When performance is measured, performance improves. When performance is  measured and reported, the rate of improvement accelerates." That is so true. Make sure that you are reporting to yourself, and to the Lord. And maybe to
Dad too. That would be good. ;) haha Those were just some of the thoughts that I have had recently.

To update you a bit on our investigators, Norton san (no longer an investigator) is actually sick right now, so he could use all of your prayers. I really hope that you are doing okay. We haven't talked to him in a couple of days. Tom is....good.  Keep him in your prayers. He is having a hard time being in Japan and not being able to understand Japanese. We love him so much, though, and we still meet with him a couple of times a week. Joseph, our new investigator, is good as far as I know. We are going to meet with him again tomorrow. We are excited to work with him and help him. Sanders Kyodai is doing great, and slowly progressing. He actually accepted the soft baptismal commitment yesterday! That was super good. :) Morgan Kyodai is super busy, so that has been hard, but hopefully we will be able to meet with him soon and help him get a baptismal date.

Mom, I love you so much! I miss you. A lottle. Thank you so so much for the pictures and the videos that you sent! They mean so much to me, and they aren't distracting, just heart-warming. I love all of your smiling faces, and the bloopers were perfect! haha :) さすが Livingston family! ;D haha I love you so so so much!!

Love, Elder Livingston

Note:  Some names may have changed to protect privacy.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Pictures this week - 3 March 2015

New Companions - Elders Livingston and Frischknecht

Elder Livingston and Elder Frischknecht at the Temple #1

Elder Livingston and Elder Frischknecht at the Temple #1

Good Food!!

...Words cannot explain - Letter to Mom - 3 March 2015

Hey mom!!

This week has been so hard. My new companion and I have barely spoken to each other. He has such a hard head, and it has been so humbling..... ;D hahaha Just kidding!!!! Like, completely. Elder Frischknecht is absolutely amazing, and this week has been the most insanely jam packed miracle week of my entire mission....and I've been with him for six days. :D ;) haha I love it!!!

Let me start with last week, just meeting Elder Frischknecht. We already knew each other because he was my kohai (group below me) in the MTC, so we already had a pretty good relationship. And then we got together Thursday and had a crazy transfer day, filled with lost missionaries, and going all over Yokohama to find them! haha so fun. We finished off the day with our weekly planning, and then we hit the streets super hard next day. It was so good, and he is so bold and good at getting people to stop. That day we also had one of the most incredible experiences of my whole mission! Morgan Kyodai, the man that has been investigating for 20 years, and his wife invited us over. (His wife is an active member). She recently fell on her moter-scooter and broke her leg. So she asked us to bring oil, and to give her a blessing. I don't know if you remember when I gave you a blessing, Mom, or when I gave Jenna my very first blessing, but those are definitely humbling moments. Moments that make you a little bit nervous. And then this week I had to go and give someone a blessing in Japanese. Needless to say I felt completely inadequate with my Japanese, but  I learned a lot and I just did the best that I could. It was such a special experience, and something that I will cherish forever. I feel more confident now. After that, we had a really good lesson on the priesthood and the fact that not only does Morgan Kyodai need to have it to lead his family more, but that he is ready. I have never been that bold with him before (we have all been on a pretty big spiritual high since Elder Ballard). We asked him to be baptized on the fourth of April, and he said that he still couldn't commit, but that he would pray about it. We will be praying for him so that he can have the courage to make a baptismal date and follow through with it. I know that it will bless him and his family more than he can even comprehend.

That was Friday. Saturday was good, and was a pretty normal day. And then Sunday came.

And the miracles went crazy.

Sunday was a super rainy, cold day. It was also fast Sunday. We planned to go housing, and the Spirit told me to go and visit this one family that Elder Squire had known, and who had rejected him, but they once again said that they weren't interested. After that, we just decided to go housing and follow the Spirit. We went all over the place, and got a little bit lost, but decided to just go for it. It came close to time to head back for dinner, (about 4:30) and Elder Frischknecht and I decided to do just a few more houses. Nothing. After that, we started heading back. Elder Frischknecht felt like we needed to do a couple more, so we did! Nothing. We were walking, and I saw this tunnel and had this sudden urge to walk down the path. We followed it and decided that we needed to keep housing. So we did that. We just kept walking (we were completely soaked, and way hungry) and housing. Then we came this big street, and I told him we should probably head a certain way and get on the train station so that we could go home and eat (it was about 5:15 ish at this point). As we walked down this street we saw this one apartment  building and we felt like we needed to go and house it (there were only...10 apartments? I think). We did that, and the second to last house we knock on this man comes out, and says that he doesn't speak any Japanese. He is actually from Manila and speaks English. We introduced ourselves and asked if we could come back and teach him this Thursday at 6:30. He said yes. :) Thirty minutes past dinner time, soaking wet, super hungry, and full of hope to find someone we found a man that is willing to listen to the gospel. I know that he will see it change his life, and that he will continue to learn and to grow. It was so incredible. Then we went home and changed our soaked pants and socks, and had dinner, and headed back out. Except, we prayed about it and we felt like we needed to take the trains about three stops further than we had planned. We got on the train, and there wasn't that many people. Then this man walks in in a black and white hoody, and seems like he has had a rougher life. I decided that I had to talk to him, so I started a conversation across the train. He asked us what we were doing, so I took the opportunity to move over by him and show him my tag, and then we had a really good conversation about God. We asked him if we could meet again, and exchange numbers to set up an appointment, but he said that he was super busy, and even though he wanted to talk more he didn't want to give us his number. But it was such a good conversation. And then we just did a little more streeting and housing and we went home. It was a great day. And then we planned for Monday.

And then Monday happened. This was when the miracles really started to ramp up. (You thought that last paragraph was good ;) hahaha) We started by going to the church, but on the hill we saw these two boys looking like they were about to start playing on their DS's. We talked to them, and invited them to church, and then Elder Frischknecht pulled out the Book of Mormon, and introduced it to them. We ended up exchanging phone numbers with both of these 15 year old boys, and they both had a copy of the Book of Mormon. It was so great! And then we went to the church. We got some of the more administrative parts of missionary work done, and then we headed back outside, where we met a man who had just lost his wallet (we didn't understand him until after he left and we looked up some words). I really wish that we could've helped him more. It was a humbling experience about following the Spirit in what to say, and helping and loving those who need help and love. Sometimes we are just called to mourn with those that mourn and comfort those that stand in need of comfort. That doesn't always mean that we shove gospel down their throat. (We shouldn't be shoving it anyway. :) haha). We went to the park after that, and met this super nice old couple on the way. They were really nice, but said that they weren't interested. We went to the park (which, by the way Mom, I am in the area with the biggest park in all of Yokohama from what I have heard, and they have a place called Cherry Blossom Hill. ;D haha I will definitely be able to send some of the best pictures of Cherry blossoms in all of Japan. I am so excited. It is an absolutely incredible park.) and didn't get to talk to as many people as we would have liked, but we did get to see a king fisher (look them up! They are in that little predator book that I was obsessed with as a kid, if you remember. They are way cute). We left the park and started walking towards Tsurugamine when who do we run into....Tom!!! haha He is in the station with a Japanese 18 year old that works at the 7-11 where he shops. They were waiting for one other young man and then they were going to go and get ramen. They invite us to go, and I will be honest that I was a bit hesitant at first, but then I realized that this was a really good opportunity to make some new friends. One of the funniest parts of this whole situation....Tom speaks no Japanese. The boys speak almost no English. They try and communicate through a phone's translation app most of the time. hahaha :D so funny. The boys were thrilled to have us there because we could translate everything for them and talk to them easily. haha We went out to ramen, and I decided that we could introduce the Book of Mormon with Tom's help! So we asked Tom if he had been reading it recently, and he said that he had, and pulled it out (he always has it with him). That made the other boys ask what it was, and we pulled out copies for each of them, and while Elder Frischknecht talked to Tom, I taught them both most of the first lesson (focusing more on the Book of Mormon). It was so good! We gave them those copies of the Book of Mormon, and we exchanged numbers! One of them actually said that he was coming to Eikaiwa, and that he would be interested in learning more. It was so great! Then we went out to eat again for Elder Suzuki's birthday and had some really good food! Then we got a birthday surprise ready for Elder Suzuki, and set everything up at home. And then we felt like we needed to get on the train, but we didn't know where to stop. So we got on. And after one or two stops. Someone walked up to us. I would have recognized him anywhere. It was the man with the black and white hoody, and he sat down and started talking to us again. We told him that it was destiny that we met again, and he agreed. Our conversation was all over the place, but centered mostly on repentance and forgiveness. And then we talked about baptism as well. :) It was so good. We gave him a copy of the Book of Mormon, and he said that he loved it and really wanted to read it, and then we also gave him the Gospel of Jesus Christ pamphlet. Again, he said that we couldn't exchange numbers, but that if it really was destiny we would meet again. Please please pray for us to meet him again! We started a fast last night, and focused on that today at the temple. We know very particularly that this man needs the gospel right now, and we need help to have the Spirit guide us to meet him again. I can not wait to see him again. I know that I will.

Wow. That was super long. I am so sorry. hahaha I hope that you can tell this last week has been the best week EVER! I love my companion so so much, and I love the Lord. I have felt the love that He has for his children so strongly this week. I know that this church is true. Always trust the Lord, and do all that you can to follow the Spirit. I love you!

Love, Elder Livingston

Note:  Some names may have changed to protect privacy.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Pictures this week - 24 February, 2015

The new jersey!!

Selfie #1

Selfie #2

Jersey! - Letter to Dad - 24 February, 2015

Hey Dad!

First off, thanks for giving me the go ahead for the Yokohama Marinos
Jersey. :) I got a nice one. I took out 150 dollars today for it, and
only spend 114 ish, so that was nice! Just so that you know. I'll send
a picture of me wearing it later. :)

How are you doing?? I haven't heard from you yet this week, but I am
going to bet it is because you are on a business trip. Mom told me
that you had to head out to San Diego! How is it? Is this part of your
new position? What does that all entail? I am curious to learn more
and to know what this means for your work positioning at the moment.

Wow. General Authorities are so incredible. And Elder Ballard's hands
are super soft, just in case you were wondering. ;D haha He is so
great. I feel bad for people that do not get to see General
Authorities outside of General Conference. They are so incredible.
They deliver messages just as good as the ones in General Conference,
but for a longer time, and they open up their personalities a lot.
There is a lot more joking and/or a much more bold seriousness when
they are not in conference. It is so cool to see them and their
personalities, instead of just hear the talks that they prepare for
that very special meeting, (Do not get me wrong, I love them in
Conference too.) Do all that you can to listen to the General
Authorities and to follow their words. Pray for the Spirit to guide
you as to where to go. He will point to them, because they point an
undeviating course to Christ. Also, never doubt the Spirit. Trust Him.
And listen to the soft, little promptings. One thing that I loved that
Elder Ballard said is that if you are truly converted to the Church
your missionary work does not end, even after death. He actually said,
"You know, I figure if you can't escape missionary work by might as well get good at it!" haha It was super
funny. :) But it is so true. We will be missionaries forever. We have
so much to share, and with so many people. And some of those people
speak English. Some speak Japanese. Some speak German. How is your
German, Dad? Is it where you wish that it was? I challenge you to get
it to where you want it to be. Elder Holland said, "We would hope
that every missionary learning a new proselyting language would master
it in every way possible.  And as you do so, your proselyting and
testifying skills will improve. You will be better received by and
more spiritually impressive to your investigators.  Don't be
satisfied with what we call a missionary vocabulary only. Stretch
yourself in the language, and you will gain greater access to the
hearts of the people." There are people that could really use your
testimony, Dad. And that testimony might need to be in German. I
challenge you to study the PMG Lessons, first in English, and then in
German. Go and get a German PMG. Study it. Make sure that you
understand everything in it. And then stretch yourself just a little
farther. Do not let a lack of opportunities now stop you from
improving. I testify that the Lord is not going to give you
opportunities all over the place if you aren't ready. It's the same
way here. That was another thing that I really learned with Elder
Ballard. If we don't know how to teach the lessons here in Japan, why
in the world would we be given investigators? The Lord will not give
us prepared people if we are not prepared for people. Prepare yourself
and then wait and watch the Lord work miracles for you, Dad. He is not
done with your German, I feel strongly impressed to tell you that.
There is much that you still need to do with that incredible language.

Dad, I love you. I love you so much, and the example that you have
always been for me. You taught me what real work was, what real
sacrifice was, and how to really love people. That makes all the
difference as a missionary, and I want to thank you for that. I love
you!! <3 Also, if you want a jersey, as you alluded when you told me I
could get one, just let me know. ;) haha  I love you!! <3 <3

Love, Elder Livingston

Elder Ballard - Letter to Mom - 24 February, 2015

Hey Mom!!

So, to answer your questions about where I am going to be transferred,
I am going.........maybe you should scroll to the bottom of the email
for this. ;)

Anyway, the biggest news of the week was definitely getting to learn
at the hands of three general authorities. Elder M. Russel Ballard,
Elder Ronald A. Rasband, and Bishop Gary E. Stevenson came to do a
combined mission conference with us and the Tokyo mission. We went to
a place called Nakano for that in the North Mission, and it was
absolutely incredible! The spirit was so so so strong, and I learned
so much. A few things that I want to share:

First, never ever underestimate the power that PMG holds. It is
absolutely magnificent. Elder Ballard talked a lot about being master
teachers, and how we really can not move on and teach the other
lessons if we have not been able to really communicate who God is to
our investigators. That is something that we have to work with a lot
here in Japan, since they have virtually no idea who God is. it is
pretty different here. I love it though, and I would not want to have
been called to any other mission. He talked a lot about how we have to
really know the doctrine in order to teach with the converting power
of the Spirit. That really stuck out to me. I know the doctrine that
it has in PMG, but I am not nearly the teacher that I wish that I
could be. And then during the conference I really realized that I need
to know the lessons so much better than I do right now, so I have some
goals to change my study so that it can be more effective and more
inclusive of the PMG lessons. I love PMG. I also learned this week
that reading PMG in our mission language and really studying the
lessons from that can help our language increase so so so immensely.
So, I went out and bought a PMG today at the temple in Japanese! So,
now I have two Japanese ones. If you ask why, it is because I can't
read the one that I bought today! haha at least, all of the way. I can
read a bit of it, and depending on how well I know the English I can
figure out quite a bit of kanji. The other one I have is a Romaji
(english lettering, and it is such a pain to try and read! It's weird,
but reading Japanese spelled the English way is so so so hard, and
just wrong. haha). I will be using them side by side to increase my
usage of PMG in Japanese. I am excited to see how these changes
increase my ability to teach through the Spirit, and really invite it
into my life.

Also, I got to go to the temple today!!! I loved it so so so much. The
Temple is such an incredible place, and the Tokyo temple is definitely
one of my favorites. For your information, I will also be going to the
temple next week because of the way that transfers line up with my
area! :D So, next week I will also be emailing on Tuesday. Which
brings me to the big announcement. I have been called to serve with a
new companion named Elder Frischknecht in this incredible area! It has
so many parks, and this one is actually the biggest park in Yokohama,
from what I have heard. The ward is great and has about 80 ish
members, and there are tons of hills. It is.......Hodogaya!!!! ;D ;D
haha <3 But, seriously, I am staying in Hodogaya. Elder Frischknecht
is one transfer below me, and I am so excited to work with him. He was
in my branch at the MTC and he is such a spiritual Elder. He has a
super fun personality, and I think we will get along really well. He
is super cool. I am staying district leader here, and I really hope
that I can help Hodogaya see a baptism in this next transfer. I know
that we can do it if we trust the Lord and do all that we can to be
perfectly and exactly obedient, teach with the Spirit, etc.

Mom, I'm sorry that Dad has to be away on a business trip this week.
:P That is no fun at all. I want you to know that I am praying for
you, and I will be praying for the whole family that this new
medication starts working! I am so excited that we might be making
some really good progress. I am so excited. I love you, mom. <3 <3 :)
So so much!! I am going to apologize right now, we didn't really get
any good pictures this week, and so I will probably just take one with
my new jersey that I bought (It is SOOO incredibly awesome!!!) and
send that! I will be better with pictures this next week! I love you,
Mom!! <3 <3

Love, Elder Livingston

Pictures this week - 16 February, 2015

Hodogaya Elders and Sisters

Hodogaya FC - Letter to Dad - 16 February, 2015

Hey Dad!! :D

So, sadly, there is not a real team called Hodogaya FC...that I know
of. But, I have been able to play soccer a lot this past week! We have
gone a couple times for our exercise in the morning, and been able to
actually do it as part of missionary work, reaching out to some high
schoolers. It has been such a good release for me, since you know how
much I don't really like just structured, weights and such, exercise.
I love soccer! I think that our family should make an indoor team
(co-ed) when I get back, and just have a lot of fun. :) Deal? Also, I
have one request....can I get a soccer jersey? Not you send me one,
but do I have permission to buy that on a P-day? They are 40-60
dollars depending on the jersey (I wouldn't go crazy. They can get to
be a lot higher than 60 haha), but it would be really nice to have one
so I do not have to borrow one of Elder Suzuki's all of the time haha.
:) Also, if it would be possible, I want to kind of get one thing of
the same kind (like cups, pins, shirts, etc.) from each of my area,
and if I could get a soccer jersey that would make me so so happy! :)
haha Let me know what you think. ;)

Dad, how is your personal scripture study? What do you like to do for
it? When do you do it? What do you usually read? I am curious. :) I am
so eternally grateful for the treasured hour that I have out here on
my mission, every single day. It is so incredible, and it brings so
much power into my life. I think that is definitely part of the reason
that some missionaries just shine. (ultimately, even the missionaries
have to choose to allow the Spirit into their hearts. It doesn't come
automatically with the calling). We are so blessed to study the gospel
for an hour a day. It is something that I really want to do when I get
home, and I will have to make sure that I introduce structure back
into my life when I get home so that I do not lose that precious
study. Dad, always let the Lord know that you love Him. I think that
we focus a lot on trying to feel His love, and trying to be worthy of
His love, but how often do you honestly and sincerely tell Heavenly
Father that you love Him? I love you, dad. I love my Heavenly Father.

Sorry I have been a bit scattered in this email. I will probably just
continue to be scattered though, haha ;) How was Valentine's day? What
did you do for mom? Oh! So, just so that you know a little about
Japanese culture, on valentines day, all of the girls give chocolate
to the guys that they like. The guys do not give anything. And then on
March 14, it is called white day, the guys get chocolate for the
girls! (particularly white chocolate, and particularly to the girl
that gave it to them). Kind of strange....haha And you don't give
flowers. haha. It is starting to get warmer here, I feel like, which
is strange because people have been telling me for a long time that
February is the coldest month, and that it is going to get colder and
colder! However, I believe that it will snow tomorrow. :P Dad, how did
you do missionary work in the rain, and in the snow? I would really
like to know! That is one thing that I am constantly trying to
improve, and trying to get better at.

Well, I love you, Dad. So So So much!!! I hope that you know that, and
that you know the Lord loves you. You are an incredible man. :) Have a
great week!

Love, Elder Livingston

True Conversion - Letter to Mom - 16 February, 2015

Hey Mom!! <3 :)

How are you,  my mother? It sounds like you are doing incredible as
the YW president! I bet that they all love you! At least
like.....1/100000 that I do! ;D haha Okay, you are right....maybe not
quite that much. ;) I love you, mom!! How is your health doing? Are
you doing okay? I heard that you taught Emmett to throw coins into the
fountain today! And you somehow pulled out and won being called Nana,
huh? At least it is not Mimi ;D haha I bet that you are the best Nana
Ever!! :) I miss that little guy.

So, this week has had some pretty hard parts. Last Tuesday we had a
lesson with Norton san, and he said that he did not want to take lessons
anymore, and that he was not going to come to church anymore. It was
super sad, and way hard emotionally. He has progressed and learned so
much, but for whatever reason he still has some concerns (which he
actually won't tell us...makes it really hard to resolve them :P ). I
hope that as we continue to reach out to him and befriend him that he
will be okay. I talked to one of the people that would come and be
there for our lessons and she said that she is really worried that if
I transfer, it will be really hard on Norton san.

Speaking of which, next week is transfers! Ahh!! I can not believe
that it has come this fast. The transfers fly out here. You only get
16, and I am finishing up my 4th already...crazy huh? I can not
believe it. I feel like my Japanese is not quite where I wish it would
be...but I guess I can't demand myself to be fluent after 6 months,
huh? haha I am so grateful for the Japanese that I took in High
School. It has helped leaps and bounds out here. Elder Suzuki said
that he feels like my Japanese is more where a transfer 8 or 9
missionary is, so that is good! My goal is to sound like a Japanese
person by the end of my mission. :D And with the Lord, All things are
possible!! Also, next week we have Temple P-day, so I will not be able
to email until Tuesday, just so that you do not worry when my emails
do not come the same day.

One thing that I want to challenge you to do is something that Elder
Bednar challenged all of the missionaries to do when he gave the
Character of Christ talk. He said to go out and buy a cheap paperback
copy of the Book of Mormon and then just start reading it with one
question in mind, and then mark it up a ton. And then at the end of
the Book of Mormon, write a small half sheet summary of the answer
that you found to your question. It is incredible. I have been doing
that with the question, "How can I best obtain faith, hope, and
charity?" And it has been incredible to see how much more powerful the
scriptures have been. Try it. I promise you that you will not regret
it. :) Also, if you are right in the middle of some other scripture
reading program (that is just one way to study them) then try it with
my question and just Jacob 5. It is the most incredible chapter ever
if you look for all that you can about those three things. :)

True Conversion. (Shout out to Kaitlyn for the email she sent me
during the week! It really helped me out, and really helped me to
focus on being better). True conversion is absolutely incredible. True
conversion is not a point, but a journey. True conversion is never
easy. True conversion always requires sacrifice. In the Book of Mormon
we read, "And as sure as the Lord liveth, so sure as many as believed,
or as many as were brought to the knowledge of the truth, through the
preaching of Ammon and his brethren, according to the spirit of
revelation and of prophecy, and the power of God working miracles in
them--yea, I say unto you, as the Lord liveth, as many of the
Lamanites as believed in their preaching, and were converted unto the
Lord, never did fall away." This is Alma 23:6. There is a very
important part of this verse. It says that as many of the Lamanites as
believed in their preaching. That is all of those that gained a
testimony. But then it adds, and were converted unto the Lord. Those
were the ones that never did fall away. Become converted. A testimony
is incredible, and so powerful, but conversion works miracles. I
testify that this is true.

Mom, never stop your conversion. I know that you are converted, but
always continue to grow in the gospel. You will work even more
miracles as you try to become more and more converted. I love you so
so much, and I miss you lots, but know that I am praying for you, and
thinking of you from over here in Yokohama, Japan!! <3

Love you!

Love, Elder Livingston

Pictures this week - 9 February, 2015

Elder Suzuki and the Koyamagishi boys
Starting the hike up Takao!
The whole crew at the top!

Elders Livingston and Suzuki

Elder Suzuki teaching a Buddhist Tengu haha

10:4 - Letter to Dad - 9 February, 2015

Hey Dad!!

First of, 10:4 good buddy. :) I also want to talk about 10:4
just a little bit more.

In the military (I believe) you say 10:4 to tell someone that you
understand. But there is another 10:4 that helps us to understand the
most important principle we can know. It is Moroni 10:4, and it reads,
"And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye
would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these
things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with
real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it
unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost." Elder Tolen and I
discovered that beautiful "coincidence" a few days ago. Our Father in
Heaven provided for us a way to understand His commands, a way to find
out if what He wanted us to do, if this gospel, was true. And it comes
in Moroni 10:4. Dad, I don't know where you are reading right now, but
I want you to make sure that you read the Book of Mormon every day. It
is so vital. If you are not any where in it specifically, and maybe if
you are, I want you to start from the beginning and go to the end. I
challenged Britta very specifically to read the entire book, and she
may need a buddy to do it with her. This is an opportunity for you to
grow closer to her, and for you to grow closer to the Lord. But,
whatever you feel is right, make sure that you are reading the Book of

This past week we had the opportunity to hike Mt. Takao, an incredible
mountain here. It was super fun, and we got to go with some ward
members and an investigator from another area. It was so amazing to
see the beautiful things that our Heavenly Father has created, and to
just feel the Spirit. I know that Our Heavenly Father is such an
incredible creator, artist, architect, etc. and He does it for us. I
think that is incredible. I know that He loves us, and He loves the
people that we get to work with in our lives.

I am excited for you in your new position at work! I hope that
everything goes well, and that you enjoy it. :) Keep me updated! I
want to hear all of the little details. Also, keep me updated on how
Spyderbyte is doing! I can't wait to be home and be able to help you
develop and or test the things that you are creating. It is so
exciting that you get to work at the cutting edge of the technology in
the world. Never forget to lift other people up through the things
that you create. Try and almost create an uplifting, spiritual
experience for them, even through the games that you create. People
will notice that, and it will draw them to you, and to want to know
why your developments are different. Maybe I am just talking crazy
nonsense, haha but I feel like we can help wherever we are in life,
and right now you are an app developer.

Thank you so much for the keyboard, it is absolutely perfect! I am so
glad that it is full size, and it is nice and portable. Thank you. :)
Also, tell Bridger and everyone that wrote notes to me thanks so much!
They really lifted me up. :) I love you, Dad!! <3 <3 So So much! Never
forget that!! :) :)

Love, Elder Livingston

Baptist Missionary - Letter to Mom - 9 February, 2015

Hey Mom!! :)

So how are things going at home? Thank you so so so much for the
keyboard and the hair stuff! It has helped a ton, and makes it so
convenient to make better notes in MyLDS account. It is also really
nice for typing emails! I will admit, though, that it has taken some
time to get used to the American Keyboard again haha :) haha What is a
normal day like back at the Livingston Residence like these days? It
sounds like things are still pretty crazy busy! We never were people
to just sit down and relax, were we? We always have to be doing some
sort of activity for someone in the family! :) haha I really like it.
<3 I also am so jealous of the new bouldering gym! Actually, a better
word would be 羨ましい pronounced oo-ya-ra-ma-she and means jealous, but
has absolutely no negative connotation like the word jealous carries.
Cool, huh? I love Japanese! It is so helpful sometimes. I'll share
more on that later. ;) haha It looks way fun, and I can not wait to
come and try it out with my loving family! <3

So, as a quick side note, there is one thing I absolutely love about
the Japanese scriptures (I hope I haven't shared this before). In the
scriptures it says that God and Christ and the Holy Ghost are one, and
that is a hard thing for some people to overcome in English, that they
are one in purpose, but not really one (like it kind of sounds). But
the Japanese COMPLETELY clears it up! In Japanese there are very
specific counters for things (the way that you ask for two pieces of
paper is different than saying two people, and two balls, etc.). In
the Japanese scriptures, it says that they are one. But the one that
it specifies is one thing, not one person. It shows that they are one
in purpose, and clearly says they are not one person. Cool, huh? <3 :)
I love Japanese!!

As for the title of this email, things have been going really good
with David! He is so cool, and we have been able to meet with him a
few more times to talk. He really likes talking with us. One thing
that really stuck out to me today, that I don't really realize is when
he turned to us and said, "I am very impressed with you two. When we
talk, you talk about God and you have so much faith, and you are so
young, but you are so much wiser than I feel like I am, and I have
studied the Bible" (not an exact quote, but that was the general gist
of the conversation). It made me stop and think and be so so so
grateful for all that the Lord has blessed me with, particularly with
my knowledge of the Gospel. I know that it is true. I have prayed
about it, and I feel that it is true. I know it with everything that I
am. It is such a powerful piece of knowledge, and I wouldn't trade it
for anything. It has been so incredible to talk with so many people,
and see so many beliefs. And none of them compare with the
light and happiness that the Gospel brings into my life.

Thank you so much for teaching me how to live, Mom. Thank you for
showing me that when we follow the commandments we are happy, and that
we can come to know for ourselves (indeed it is absolutely vital that
we do find out for ourselves) if this gospel is true. Thank you, Mom.
I miss you!! <3 I love you so so much. To infinity infinities. :)
Never forget that!

Love, Elder Livingston

P.S. I remembered why I pulled out money a while ago! I bought the
next level of Japanese grammar book from the honbu (mission office). I
got that, and it is so helpful! It was about 40 dollars. Thanks for
everything! Love ya!