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Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Thor's Hammer - 12 April, 2015

So, I sent a message called, Thor's Hammer. I really hope that it loads. If not, then it wasted a lot of my email time. :P Just in case it died, and doesn't actually show up as anything, here is a movie of me trying to lift Thor's hammer. It is so hard! haha You have to keep your wrist down, and lift it forward, not backward. It is super fun. :) I'll do it soon! haha


video

Meetings, Meetings, and more Meetings - Letter to Dad - 12 April, 2015

Hey dad!!

So, I already mentioned this in my email to Mom, but just in case that didn't load, guess how many hours of meetings I have had in the past 4 days? 16 hours....ish.... and then a lot of travel to and from all of the meetings. Oh, scratch that, I also had some conference calls this morning, probably more about 18! haha It probably doesn't even compare to the amount of meetings that you have in a week, but it seemed like a lot to me when I felt like I usually get out and just go to work!

I love the work. I love missions. They are so so hard. And so so rewarding. (speaking of which, please tell Braidon congrats for me!!! I look up to him so much. He has always been such an example to me and I love him so much!) Also, let David know how proud of him I am too! He is so cool. :) I love our ward (both here and there haha)! Time, especially, as a missionary is so weird. All of the days just kind of mesh together, and they either go insanely fast, or insanely slow. Usually insanely fast. Also, since I am thinking about it, this is super random, but is there anyway that you could get me the digital sheet music for glorious by David Archuleta (the one in Meet the Mormons). I would absolutely love that, and use it. We have opportunities for talent shows and stuff here, and I would love to have that in my arsenal of music as well. However, it is not a big need, so don't stress about it.

How has work been going? I hope that things are still going well. Do you have any business trips soon? Did you have anything this last week? I am so so so jealous that you got to go to the aerospace museum! I really love jets. They are incredible. Do you think that you will ever get your pilot's license? I think that you should. :)

Hey, will you two keep a special prayer in your heart for Jenna? I don't know how much she has told you, but she is pretty sick, and I would like you to pray for her. She could use all of the prayers that she can get.

It is really interesting how much effort the gospel takes and yet how simple it is. Crazy, huh? It is something that we constantly work on. We literally never finish the gospel. There is no, "Ahh, I'm so glad that I checked that gospel thing off of my list finally," moment. haha :) I love how much work it takes. Not because it is easy, but because I can come out here on a mission and learn so much, and grow, and still feel like there is so much to learn. I feel like my knowledge and my testimony of the gospel has grown so much, and I am so grateful for that. :) It is just like a muscle. If we ever stop working out a muscle, it instantly starts to get smaller and weaker. Our testimony is the same way. If we stop working it out, it starts to grow weaker. Do all that you can to have a strong testimony! :)

I love you, Dad!! I am sorry that the other email didn't work. Tell mom that I am super super sorry! I am doing great, and I love Kichijoji! I will make next week's extra special....somehow.... ;D haha I love you!!! <3


Love, Elder Livingston

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Pictures this week - 6 April, 2015

Member Appointment #1

Member Appointment #2

Have Fun! :) haha - Letter to Dad - 6 April, 2015

Hey Dad!! :) How is Superman??

So, if you are reading this, and haven't read Mom's yet then go and read Mom's email first, and then come back to this one. :) haha

So, now that you have read that other email, you know that I am going to be transferred to Kichijioji! :) I am so excited. From what I understand, Kichijoji is the biggest church building in Japan (as far as meeting houses go). It is three stories tall, and maybe about as big as a stake center over all. :) It is way cool. And the mission home is the building right next to it. (I am sure that you will google map it. Haha) The address that you are sending packages and letters to is the address for the church. My address is different though. I will send that to you next week. :)  Feel free to explore Kichijoji on Google Maps and on the internet! It is an incredible place. :)

I am so excited for this opportunity to become a zone leader. What are some suggestions that you have for me, Dad? I always looked up to you as a leader. Thank you for just being incredible. I remember some of the times that we went Home Teaching I would always think to myself, "Oh man, this might take a few hours." haha Thank you for taking a long time to talk to people. You did the right thing, and my young mind just didn't understand. I am still young now, but I am so glad
for the example that you sent.  You taught people as a home teacher, not lessons. There are too many people that teach lessons as home teachers, not people. If everyone in the church faithfully fulfilled their calling to fellowship and help those that they are assigned to serve as home and visiting teachers (and not just on the day that you visit to teach, but every day the whole month) there would be a lot less-actives.

A quick note for the trip to Japan. I think what you suggested is a super good idea! I will for sure ask President Wada. I am not 100% sure on what the brethren have asked, so I will ask President Wada what they have asked of us. Thank you for being understanding about Jenna. haha That means a lot. But, instead of scrapping the idea if we can't right at the end of my mission, I have a better idea. :) Keep saving, and the Spring of 2017 come back (this is all if we can't make the first idea work). The Cherry Blossoms are worth the wait, and not only would that give us time to save more money, but it will give us time to settle in, prepare, etc. Also, the U of U does have a spring break (I believe) and I would be willing to go for that and miss a little to to have a good nice trip here. I really want to come here sooner than later, or the plans will get delayed for too long until it is too late. It is absolutely incredible here. You will love it. :) It is also incredibly nice weather right now! So, that is always a plus. :) Just some ideas. What do you think?

Well, it seems that I have run out of time, but know that I love you, Dad!! Keep working hard, and loving mom and the girls for me! :) Tell them all hi! :) <3

Love, Elder Livingston

MLC...and other last week things - Letter to Mom - 6 April, 2015

Hey mommy! ;D haha <3 How are you? I figured I hadn't called you mommy in a while, and it would be funny for you to read. I love you!! <3

Well, let's dive right into last week with....MLC! Who knows what that stands for? Let's do a little multiple choice quiz:

A) Martin Luther .... Cing?
B) My Legs Cramped
C) Milk-Like Chocolate
D) Mission Leadership Council
E) Major Laxative Counsel

What do you think? That's right it is.....E! I was pretty sick this last week, but I am slowly getting better...... ;D haha no, the real answer is D. Mission Leadership Council is a group that comes together once a month to talk about the mission and to receive training, etc. It consists of: President and Sister Wada, their counselors (if they come), the Assistants to the President, the Zone Leaders, and the Sister Training Leaders. And guess what?? I got to go last week! :D It
was so fun. Now, before you jump the gun, I was a district leader, not a zone leader. ;) haha It was so insightful, and so amazing to feel the spirit of those incredible people. I learned a lot, and I hope to apply it into my missionary work. I also learned a bit about patriarchal blessings from Sister Wada. Did you know that you can request the patriarchal blessings of your deceased ancestors? You should do that, for someone that you felt pretty close to. I would love to get James Campbell Livingston's if possible. :) Also, thank you so so much for working so hard on getting those pictures to me, and to Dad for getting the P90X3 stuff all worked out for me so that I can do that! I am so grateful for that.

Oh, so this is completely random and off topic, but I wanted to throw in something that I learned today in personal study. Did you know that when you are humble, it is living in gratitude for the dependance that you have on the Lord. Interesting, huh? Read that again. Gratitude for the dependance that you have on the Lord. Cool, huh? I absolutely loved that. How many times are we not just acknowledging, or accepting of our dependance, but grateful? That really stuck out to me.

But, the big news for the week will wind back around to MLC. This week was ...... (trumpets playing)........(drums rolling).........(people dancing)..........(you guys cringing that I am still putting things in parentheses)........(me continuing to do it ;D haha).........Transfer Week!!!! Crazy huh? This past transfer practically flew, and I can not believe that it is already time for transfers again. Sadly, it is time for me to leave the nest that I grew up in here in Japan. :) I am very excited for my new area, and my new opportunities. I will be going to:

Kichijoji!!! :D and I will be a zone leader! :D (basically I'm freaking out right now haha) :)

So, a little bit about Kichijoji. That is where the mission home is located. My district (even though I am no longer district leader) consists of me and my companion (Elder Scott), the District Leader and his companion, the Assistants, the Office Elders, and a Sister Training Leader and her companion. Crazy, huh? I think that I will be seeing a lot more of President Wada. :) haha I am so excited, and just slightly overwhelmed at this opportunity. It has been really humbling to be assigned there. Recently I have been learning a lot about leadership and what it really means.

All growing up (and all three of you can attest to this, but particularly you, mom) I have loved leadership. I have always wanted to be the captain of the team, the leader of the group, the top,
whatever you may want to call it. I am not sure why. I think it started out as a prideful, boastful thing, but the more I have grown up, the more I think that it has moved from that to wanting to do the best that I can. However, I do think that there is, as Elder Uchtdorf puts it, "a casual if  not intimate relationship" with pride. haha I don't think I am super prideful, but there is that part of me that wants to be the best. Always. :) haha But, recently I have learned so much more how that is not the case, and how being the best is something that should be measured in your heart, not by the chain of command. In fact it is something that I have been trying to change. Changing my thinking from, "higher is better" to "my best is my best, whether as Junior Companion or Assistant to the President". It has been such a good experience, but quite interesting that as soon as I started to really desire to shift my thinking, I was thrown into the Zone Leader position. It has given me lots to think and ponder about, and I am grateful for Christ and His Atonement. I could not overcome my weakness without Him, but with Him by my side, I will always be strong. I love Him, and I testify that He lives. He loves each and every one of us. I love you, Mom, and I hope that you recognize how present the Lord is in your life. I am so glad that you got your question answered at conference. I challenge you to ponder that answer, and pray to know if that is all the Lord needed you to know. Then ponder again. Then pray again. By doing this, you can find out other things that the Lord is dying to give to you, but is requisite on your seeking for them. Ask, and I promise you will receive. Knock, and I promise it will be opened unto you. Thank you for your example, Mom. I love you so so so so much!!! <3 <3 :) <3

Love, Your Son, Your Favorite Child, Your Only Tanner, Your Brown-Eyed Boy, Elder Livingston

;D <3 Love ya!! Don't forget to laugh a healthy amount! (which means you can laugh until your stomach hurts.....and then some. ;D Love ya!)
<3

Letter to Dad - 6 April, 2015

Yep, I am on right now! I love you! :) <3 I hope that you sleep well! And thanks for all of the work on the P90X3 stuff. It means a lot. The problem isn't the text descriptions or the videos, but the fact that our iPads are extremely restricted, particularly where we can search on the internet, and I would not be able to even access the site. (as far as I know).Love you!! <3

Elder Livingston

Pictures this week - 30 March, 2015

Blossoms

Sakura - cherry blossoms 
Elders Frischknecht and Livingston

Making gyoza

Making gyoza

Elder Livingston and the blossoms

Elder Livingston's serious side :-)

At the park

New iPads and Other First World Problems - Letter to Mom - 30 March, 2015

Dear Mother,

Have you ever heard rants about first world problems? It is kind of sad, but it really opens your eyes to how weak and meaningless our complaining is. Are you ready for some of the first world problems that I have experienced in Japan? (Read this in as whiny of a voice as possible, and it will be really funny....I hope ;) or just read in my voice.....or perhaps Kronk's voice....something you enjoy. ;) haha)

First world Problem: We finished the testing program for our iPads being the only missions (Tokyo as well) internationally. And had to get NEW iPads! Can you believe it? We had to set them up, and take time, and it even has more storage. But, I lost all of my pictures to the cloud and am not sure how to get them (help dad!! haha).

First world Problem: I went on splits with a traveling AP and used the other one's bike. His is an American bike with disc brakes, so I almost died because Japanese bikes have their brakes switched (I pulled sharply on the front tire....with disc brakes....don't worry, nobody was seriously injured. :) haha)

First World Problem: We were using too many electrical devices so the breaker flipped and I had to wait to turn back on the shower to exactly 40 degress celsius (We choose to the degree how hot our showers are! Crazy huh?)

First World Problem: We ran out of rice so we had to eat the bread that ward members give to us.

We will now stop the first world problems. I want you to think about the times that maybe you have complained about similar things. For example, how many times did we complain about our broken Air Conditioning, forcing us to go downstairs and use fans? How many times do we complain that we don't have food, when in reality what we mean is we don't have the food that we want? How many times do we complain that the chord to our computer is all the way across the room, and we have to stand up and get it, and then move positions to get close enough to the outlet in the wall so that we can charge it while we are using it? How many times do we complain that we have to wash the hand dishes or clean the kitchen?

When we look at the blessings instead, we get quite a change in perspective: When our air conditioner broke, I was so grateful that we could go to our cool basement. I was also grateful that we had extra fans that we could blow. I was also grateful that we even have
electricity. I was so grateful that we had enough wheat to make bread. It was so fun to get closer to mom while we made it, and it was delicious to eat after! I also loved eating those vegetables and salad that Ammon prepared for dinner. I am so grateful that Dad has a nice job, supplying us with all that we could ever want as far as technology goes. I am so grateful we have electricity to supply our home with light and warmth. I am so grateful that we have nice couches and seats to sit on while I use the computer, and I am grateful that we have food that makes our kitchen dirty, as well as the appliances that need cleaning, and all of those things.

So, what happened there? What takes a "first world problem" to a blessing? The answer is a change in perspective. Particularly in this case, living in gratitude as opposed to living in greed. I encourage you to live in gratitude all of your life.

This week was way good. Like I mentioned before, I got to go on splits with one of the traveling AP's and it was so good. He is an incredible missionary.

Overall it was so good! I love you, mom! (This is where my iPad died. Haha) Take care! Love ya! <3 <3

Love, Elder Livingston

Letter to Dad - 30 March, 2015

Hey Dad!

I am so sorry, I actually have about no time either, haha, but I wanted to thank you for the little update. :) It was so good to hear from you. I am sure that the format is great, however I am not allowed to access the site. The sites that we have access to are extremely limited. The best way would be if you could PDF the pages that you have there, and I could open them in iBooks. Also, how do you access the cloud better? I have access to it a bit but the things that I stored in there from my last iPad are not coming down onto my new one (were you able to access it?? :) ) But, I will trust you. Thank you so so so much for all of the hard work that you have put into this. I am so grateful. <3

I would love a shirt! haha :) You don't need to get me anything, though. Honestly, just saving so that you can come would be great. Speaking of which, how is that plan looking? When I have more time I would like to talk more about that, and to try and see how things will work logistically. It will be super interesting for a few reasons. 1. The time of the year that I end my mission is a lot of people in Japan's least favorite time of the year because of how hot and humid it is. Maybe mom would love that haha 2. Probably more important is the switch in mission presidents. Because of the way that mission presidents switch, I believe that there will be a new mission president right before I finish, and I do not know how coordinating that will all go with him 3. Talking about Jenna coming. haha so those are some things I would like to talk to you more about in the future. I am not super worried about it right now, and it all looks like it should work out, just things that I want you to be aware of. Also, when are you planning on buying tickets (just so that I can talk to President Wada and see what his counsel is before you do that)?

I love you so much, Dad!! Have a fantastic week!! <3 :)

愛しています!
リビングストン長老

Um... - Letter to Mom - 30 March, 2015

Hey Mom!!

So, I had this huge email written to you and ready to send and!....my iPad died haha :) So, what I am going to do is try and send it when I get home tonight (It probably won't actually get to you until tomorrow). If it is deleted then I am so so so sorry. I will attach a testimony that I wrote just in case you don't get the other one. I really hope that it wasn't deleted.

To try to sum up a testimony about some of the most deeply soul-touching subjects in the universe in a couple paragraphs is so hard. But, as a missionary, I try to do it everyday. It all starts with my Heavenly Father. I know that He is there. :) I know that He is my God, and my literal Father in Heaven. As such, I am a son of God. There is nothing quite as empowering as knowing that you are a child of the most omnipotent being in the universe. I love Him, and I know that He loves me.

Because He loves me, He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to come and suffer for my sins. I make mistakes every single day of my life, but because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, I can overcome those sins. Because of the Atonement, I can live with my family forever. That is the most incredible thing ever. I am so grateful for the sacrifice that Christ made for me, personally, because He loves me. I know that He lives, that He loves each and every person on this Earth, and that He will always be there for us. He and the Father appeared to a young boy in a small grove of trees. His name was Joseph Smith. Through Joseph Smith the church was restored, and saving-ordinances were brought back to the Earth. It was an incredible miracle. The Book of Mormon was provided as evidence of its truthfulness, and I have read the entire book. I know that it is true. I know that when we read it, we can find answers to the questions that we all have in life. It is applicable, simple, and divinely written for our day, and each of us.

I am so grateful for this gospel. I know that through the teachings of our Savior Jesus Christ we can live together with our families in a Celestial Glory for time and all eternity. Heavenly Father loves us, and He and Christ do all that they can for us. We can communicate with them through prayer every single day of our lives. It is real, and it is powerful. And they communicate back. I know that this is true. I have tested it, and I invite all of you to test it.

これは本当に真実だと知っています。この知識は普通な知識じゃないんで、すごい聖なる天から知識ですね。自分で理解できません。だけど、聖霊によって全ての真理を知ることができると知っています。神様は私たちの天のお父様として一人一人で愛しておられると約束します。この証は全てイエスキリストの御名によってお書きいたしますアメン。

Mom, I love you so so much. And I can feel your love from here. :) I also want to eternally thank you for making me stick with piano for so long! haha You know how you always told me that I would use it on my mission? I always believed you....but I had no idea how much you meant it. I have not played it at tons of conferences, I play every week in church, and I use it at people's houses if they have a piano. It brings the spirit so powerfully. :) Thank you so so so much!

I have some things that I need. This stuff is all digital though, so no worries. :) haha I need some pictures. I would love a few of the whole family, and then 2-3 of each of the couples (You and Dad, Ammon and Audge, etc.). I also want a ton of good ones of Emmett. :) I also would love some of my hobbies (soccer, playing board games, the quartet, rock climbing, graduation, etc.. Make sure that Lads in Plaid is in there! It is so useful to introduce missionary work since we are all over the world. :) ) And then I need some of Jenna too. :) Some of her alone and us together. If you could send those it would help so so so much! I got a new iPad (explained a little in the other email) and I need some pictures. My other ones are locked up in the cloud and I am not sure how to get them off. :) haha If you could get these to me in the next few days that would help heaps! Thanks mom! :) I love you!! Also, I will send the pictures I took from this last week when I get home, so they will probably get there tomorrow (they send as soon as I get wifi again since we don't have it at the apartments). Thanks so much! I love you Mom!!!!!!!! <3 <3 <3 <3 Never forget that. :) I miss you so much, mom!

Love, your loving son, Elder Livingston

Pictures this week - 22 March, 2015

More Green Lights

Elder Christensen, Elder Livingston, and a politician

Companionship Unity - Letter to Dad - 22 March, 2015

Hey Dad! :)

I am sorry that you have to go on another business trip. I know that these are not easy. I hope that you are able to have a good time. Get some good souvenirs for the girls and mom (even though she can read this). It means more than you know. I remember when you would bring home stuff for us, and it always meant so so so much to me. :)

So, on the subject of companionship unity, Elder Frischknecht and I are so so so unified. It is way cool. He is like Brandan Glazier and Jack Carlisle smashed into one person, so needless to say we get along super super well. We can tell what the other is thinking a lot of the time, and we know how to teach pretty well together. We continue to grow closer, and it is so fun to see how our personalities work together. We are super similar, but just different enough that we do not kill each other. :) haha I love it. But, on that subject, how is your companionship unity? haha It seems like a silly question to me, seeing as how you and mom are always so incredible, and how you support each other is amazing, but it is never bad to evaluate it and see where you could do better. :) when you are completely unified you can work better. There is a promise in D&C 6 that says when two or three of the Lord's servants are gathered touching one thing then the Lord is there. I may have talked about this before in the context of missionaries and their investigators, but this works perfectly for you and mom and our family. Our family is the one thing that you are touching on, and you can receive powerful revelation for our family. :) Trust that promise.

I am so glad that you are continuing to grow in your German. It is an incredible tool, and I am excited to see the miracles that you see because of knowing German. :) Thanks for being my example in all things, Dad. You really have always been there for me. You taught me how to be a man, not by sitting me down and teaching me the things step by step, but by showing me an example every single day for the entire time that I have been alive. You have always treated mom and the other girls, as well as me and Ammon, with such love and kindness, and it really showed me how I needed to treat them as well. You showed me throughout your service as bishop how to really give of your own time to other people so that you could serve and love them, and that is exactly what a missionary must do. :) Thanks for that, Dad.

Dad, did you have any companions that you were super close to on your mission? I feel like I don't really know that much about your mission, and being out here and knowing what it is really like makes me so curious. Were you ever District Leader? Zone Leader? Assistant to the President? Did you train anyone? What were some of those experiences like? Is there anything that you learned from them that you wish you would have known before, that I could apply now? I would love to hear all about your other stories. :) Thanks for everything, Dad. :) I hope that you know how much I love you, and how much I miss you!! <3 have a great week!

Love, Elder Livingston

Elder Nelson and Quantum Physics - Letter to Mom - 22 March, 2015

Dear Mom,

How are you!! This last week was absolutely insane! So much fun, and so much spiritual growth. I will start with last Wednesday.

We had the privilege and opportunity of having Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and Elder Evans of the Seventy come and talk to us. It was absolutely incredible. The focus of his talk was on fulfilling our potential, and repenting. It was so great. He also said one thing in specific for us to do on P-day. And that was to thank our families. And mom, what better place to start than to thank you. :) I love you so much, mom. You have affected my life in so many ways. I don't know if you remember this as well as I do, but one day when I was younger, and had anxiety about cleaning the sink and making sure that every single surface had soap suds on it-remember that?-you shared something with me that changed my life. You talked to me about how satan has no power over us, and about how we don't have to be afraid. You shared with me a scripture in Timothy (I don't have the reference right now) that says, "For God hath not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind." And that scripture has shaped my life in so many ways. Thank you so much, mom. :) Also, with the conference with Elder Nelson, we learned a bit more about the new iPads that we are getting. Yep, we get new iPads!! :) haha Starting this Thursday we will have iPad mini 2's, 32 GB, Space Grey. I am so stoked. It will hold more than the 16 GB ones that we have now. Also, we are kind of restarting the "test" period so that we can more fully use iPads to fulfill our purpose. Along with that will be the opportunity to take a break from Facebook for 3 months (something that will actually be a little hard for me and Elder Frischknecht because we were going to use it to help one of our investigators. :P haha). It is so great. The new program will be called, Disciples of Christ in the Digital Age, I believe. It is so cool. Also, I synced my photos and things to the iCloud so that I can get them simply on the new iPad. You could possibly hop on there and get some of the photos that I have not sent home! :) haha That conference was so great, and we left feeling so spiritually fed. The men that are called and that we sustain as prophets, seers, and revelators truly are holy men, called by God to fulfill a calling that they alone could never do. But always remember that who the Lord calls, He qualifies for that calling.

Back up a day before that, and I got to go on splits with Elder Christensen. He is an Elder in my district who loves to work as hard as he can. He is great. But the experience that I really want to share was that the little things mean the most. We were going home, and we came out of the train station where we ran into....a politician. :) I had said hi to him a few times, enough that we knew who each other were, so I stopped and started talking to him. I found out that not only had he gone and lived in Brazil (which means he is fluent in Japanese, Portuguese, and English) but that he had gone to church as a child. This is super rare in Japan. We talked to him for a few minutes, and invited him to church. He said that he would not be able to come until after elections (April 12) but that after that he definitely wanted to come! He gave us his flyers, and we left. Then we decided to get a treat for the other Elders just to say thanks for being awesome. So we got that, and then Elder Christensen said that he really wanted to take a picture with the politician. I wasn't sure at first, but then I had a thought come to my mind. So we dove back into the store, because I felt like we should go back, but that we should take him something. We got him a drink, and we went back. We took a picture, and then we left. He gave me his contact information so that
I could email him the picture. I was so happy. I will include the picture at the end of this email. It was such a tender mercy to finally be able to talk to this man, and to know that he will come to
church. Because I truly feel that he will. I just hope that I can still be in Hodogaya when that happens.

Thirdly, I had one of the craziest conversations of my life this week. I like to call it Japanese 2.0 If you think of the jump between systems that upgrade from 1.0 to 2.0 it is usually pretty big. This week I went from trying to just talk about church stuff and normal conversation to the next level. Quantum Physics. You might say I should slow down and try to take Japanese a little bit at a time. But, uh.....nah. That's way too simple. ;) hahah Plus, I had no choice! We were over at a member's house and they started talking about how she had been sick, but had gotten better. Apparently it is connected to quantum physics somehow. I am not 100% sure on how that all fit, since this is the first time I have even contemplated quantum physics in Japanese. Now, before you go thinking that my Japanese was good enough to really handle this situation, I really just read the atmosphere as hard as I could, as well as the gestures, and then whatever words I could pick out. That all together pretty much gave me enough to be a participant in the conversation. It was pretty intense, but way fun. I can not wait for the day when I can legitimately communicate on that level of Japanese. Because that is my goal. To be there. :)

The Lord is so mindful of His missionaries. He is watching out for me, and I am so grateful for all that I get to see and learn. I wish that you could see what missionaries do, Mom. :) It is crazy. I think of all of the meetings, all of the organization, all of the contacting, etc. that we do and it baffles me that this organization, at the core, is run by a bunch of 18-21 year olds (some older than that too). It is so cool. I love it. :) I hope that you know how much I love this, and how much I love you! I love you so much, Mom. <3 :) I hope that you have a fantastic week! Stay strong! I know that the weeks when Dad is gone are hard, so you can....send me an email and vent about it! haha :) Actually, I do have a real favor to ask. Could you send me a package? :) haha now, before you go accusing me of being all greedy and needy, There is a legitimate reason. I am starting to run low on toothpaste. So if you could send me one or two tubes of toothpaste that would be awesome. And some floss. :) haha But, I believe that I am doing great with everything else. Thank you so much, Mom!! I love you!!! <3 <3

Love, Elder Livingston

Pictures this week - 16 March, 2015

Cool Lights

Green Lights

Japanese ID Card

Mt. Fuji in the distance

Yokohama Soccer Jerseys

Tomohiro Saito with Elder Frischknecht and Elder Livingston

To My War Budd Dad - Letter to Dad - 16 March, 2015

Hey Dad :)

This title is slightly....morbid....hilarious...and has a lot of background. Also, probably don't put this part on my blog. Or the title of this letter haha

To explain it, first you need to remember history. I am in the country that attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7th. I am from the country, that, as Tom would put it, opened two quantum singularities on Japan (He has loudly proclaimed that multiple times....on trains....full of Japanese people. I have learned a lot on my mission that beer takes away all filters). You would think that World War Two is kind of a taboo subject.

You would be so wrong. :) hahaha

You would be surprised how many times it comes up. It always takes me off guard, and leaves me at a loss for words, which you know is hard to do. :) haha To explain the title, I was over at the Tsutsumi's house, they are members, and we were talking about the world. One of the sisters asked, "Hey, don't Japanese people love French people?" Tsutsumi Shimai said, "Well, Japanese people like the French, but we love Germans! Japanese people and Germans are really good friends. It's because of the war, you know?" And I was floored. I couldn't believe she just said that. Hence, since you went to German, apparently we are war buddies, still....awkward. ;) haha I have had it come up a couple of other times, and I never know what to do. It is way funny to talk about afterward though. haha

It sounds like you have been super busy recently with all of your business trips and stuff! I hope that you are enjoying (as much as you can away from home) it, and doing all that you can to come closer to the Lord. I am also so excited that you got a knew device to use for the company! Are you going to get any of the watches? That would be way cool if you get some! You will have to let me know how it is. :) I am a little bit jealous. However, we get to get new iPads soon!!

Dad, I feel like I am leaving Hodogaya next transfer. I think that Elder Frischknecht is trying to take over my responsibility, no matter where it is. ;) haha He followed me in the MTC, and became zone leader after me there, he is here and could very well be the next district leader. He is way ready and I am glad that I will be able to leave the area in his hands if I leave. I am excited for the new adventures that are out there for me. :) Thanks for all that you do for me, dad! I love you so so so much, and I am grateful for your emails! Keep going strong! Remember, just two weeks until 桜 season! I am so stoked! I can't wait!

Love, Elder Livingston

Splits with an Aussie - Letter to Mom - 16 March, 2015

Dearest Mother,

Thank you so much for all that you said in your email. It meant a lot to me, and I am so grateful for you too. I think that if I were to try and make a list of 10 things that I loved about you it would be pretty hard. But I will share one thing. Thank you for your testimony, and your knowledge of the gospel. You taught me that learning the gospel is fun, and that knowing it helps you in your life. Application. That is what it is really all about. :D <3 <3

Speaking of which, I want to share one of the things that we do in our mission. It is called RPLA. I do not know if I have explained it before, but it is super good and can be super helpful if you do not know what to do for scripture study. It stands for:

R: Read. Read a section of the scriptures (not too hard, right?)
P: Ponder. We have to ponder the scriptures. In Japanese the words for ponder (it isn't one word) is to think deeply. Think deeply about the subject.
L: Liken. We need to liken the scriptures to ourselves. We have to see how we can use it in our lives. The Book of Mormon was written for our day. Why? Why would they write this for us? If we do not liken it, then we are not using the tool to it's full potential. It would be like having an iPhone 6 and using it for only calls.
A: Apply. Now, if we liken the scriptures then it is like buying a lot of Apps for that iPhone. Applying is using the apps that you bought. If you buy a lot of apps and do nothing with them....what good do they do you? If you use them, then they enhance your life.

Mom, I challenge you in some of your studies, some of your family scripture studies, maybe even in a lesson with the young women, etc. I promise that it works. I have such a testimony of that. I love the scriptures. Especially the Book of Mormon. It is so powerful. Read it every day, and pray about it often to know if it is true. Even if you already know. I remember one day that Elder Squire asked me why he would need to ask again if it was true if he already knew that it was true. And I thought about that a lot. It is a good question. I told him this. If I had something in my hands, and you couldn't see it, but studied about it and asked me if you could see if it was real or not, and I opened my hands, would you know it was real? He said yes. I then said, Well, if you asked me again and I showed you again, wouldn't your knowledge about that thing just increase? Wouldn't things that you hadn't noticed the first time stand out? Wouldn't it just increase your faith in that thing? And he said yes, and that made sense. Maybe that helps if you or someone you know has ever wondered why we need to frequently pray about the Book of Mormon. I like that book. It's a keeper. ;) haha

Well, some things that happened last week. I did get to go on splits with an Australian! He is so incredible. His name is Elder Van Dyken, and I love him so much. He is two transfers older than me (in mission age) and is a zone leader in our zone. He is an incredible leader, with really good insights, and I learned a lot of things from him this week. He helped me to recognize how to plan better, and how to be a bit more bold in my teaching. He has a way cool accent. And it is way fun to hear him speak in an American accent. :) haha

I also started teaching . . . .wait for it . . . .an American from Kansas! I have knack for finding everyone that doesn't speak Japanese in Hodogaya. :) haha He was actually a referral from some other sisters in Fujisawa Area. He is super cool. Being an American who doesn't speak Japanese is hard in Japan. I feel really bad for him and people like them. They just aren't happy. They get depressed a lot of the time, and I really wish that I could just help them instantly. But, that is why we are taking the gospel to them slowly. :) He is a really nice guy, and just talked our ears off. I am looking forward to meeting with him more.

So, lastly, this week we get to meet . . . . Elder Nelson!! He is coming to our mission. :D Cool, huh? I will let you know how it went next week! We also get new iPads soon! :) haha We are no longer just a pilot mission, but we will get the official iPads now. I am excited for the new iPads! They will have more data space and allow me to more freely download things from Gospel Library without feeling like my space is gone. However, I made need to buy a USB or Hard-drive of some sort to save the notes that I have and the pictures that I have. I will let you know. Thanks! I love you so so so much, mom. You are incredible, and you have influenced my life so much. I love you! <3 <3

Love, Your Son, Elder Livingston