Sunday, July 19, 2015

I don't know what to call this.... - Letter to Dad - 28 June, 2015

Well, Dad, it has been a pretty normal week. :) haha

Oh! We got to visit this incredible family last night. Their names are the Shimo family. They are so great. I would probably have to say that they are a perfect family. I don't think they sin. haha They are super super nice. I love them so much. Brother Shimo is an international shipping company businessman, it would seem. And he is very successful. They have a great house, and he gets to travel to London a lot, which is actually where they lived for two years. So, he enjoys that a lot. Sister Shimo is an absolutely incredible cook. She gave us these shortbread cookies yesterday that literally looked and tasted like they were from a store. But she made them. So cool. And their daughters, ages 12 and 8, are super cute, and remind me a lot of Quinci and Britta. They are also very very tall. In Japan they are HUGE! But they are a way fun family. We got to visit with them and to share a message about the temple. How has your temple attendance been recently? I hope that you get to go a lot. Especially with Mom. :) It is an incredible opportunity to be able to go to so many different temples right next to our house. <3 Go as often as you can, because it is an incredible place and you are going to find answers every single time that you go with specific questions in mind. I can testify to that.

Well, like I said in my email to mom, Elder Leftwich is leaving and he is heading to Odawara, the same area where Elder Tolen was. (Elder Tolen is now going to an area called Tama). Because he is leaving, we have a ton of opportunities to visit with people that have been hard to meet with, including members. They really love him here, and I am really reaping the benefits. I hope that when I leave areas they have the same feeling towards me. How often do you get to see the missionaries in our area? I will be honest, it would be so incredibly hard to have so many wards to cover as a missionary. Here we have at least 6 missionaries, generally, for one ward. In Kichijoji we will
have 12 next transfer. :) haha It is super fun though!

How is everybody's health holding up? What are the new things that you have been trying recently to overcome the sickness? How is the running with Britta going?? I am so thrilled that she is working out more, and that she is enjoying it! That is such an important habit to have when you are young, and I wish that I would have had that more. I loved playing sports and all growing up, but I didn't really set a habit of working out. I am trying to do that now. :) Let her know that she is an inspiration to me, and that she is doing incredible things! :)

So I know that we are about half way through summer break now, but do you have any fun plans? I saw that you were at the Mormon Battalion Memorial Site. Where is that? Was it cool? What different things did you learn?

Well, I know that was a lot of questions, but I hope that you can answer at least some of them. I want you to know that I love you, and I love our family so much. I would not be the person I am today if it was not for the incredible influence of all of you, particularly you and mom, in my life. I am eternally grateful for that.

Do you know what I think is cool? Everyone in the world is part of the same family. We are all brothers and sisters. :) We got to have a PMG study class with some of the boys in our ward yesterday because they are studying and preparing to go on missions, and I got to tell them that. And it really hit me again just how important it was to share the gospel. These are our brothers and sisters. Think about if Curtis did not have the gospel, or Darin, or John, or Dianne. Any of your siblings. Wouldn't you want to share it with them? That is why we are sent on missions. Because this is our family. We need to help them. :) I testify that as we work as hard as we can to come closer to Christ and to lift other people up we will be able to share the gospel in such a way that they will allow it to enter into their hearts. Do not be afraid to share it. This is the truth, and they NEED it. It isn't just something nice and fun. It is absolutely essential. Share it with everyone that you can, because it is the truth, and it is God's plan. I love you, and I hope that you have a fantastic week! :) <3

Love, Elder Livingston

Transfers come and go....just like Elder Leftwich - Letter to Mom - 28 June, 2015

Dearest Mother,

I am penning this with heavy heart, and saddened with the burdens of my lonely existence. Not a fortnight ago, Elder Leftwich, my brave companion, and I set off on a journey. But alas, all good things must come to an end, (except eternal families) just like our companionship.

hahaha Anywho, we had transfer calls! It really will be sad to see Elder Leftwich leave, but I will always remember the days that we got to spend together with fondness. He is a great missionary and I learned a lot. He is a great leader, and someday will be a fantastic father. I am sure of it. But, I get a great new companion as well! :)

Let me introduce, through words, Elder Driscoll. The first time that I met Elder Driscoll was one of my first days at the MTC. He is my doki (the same group that came to Japan with me). He was not in my zone at the MTC so I did not know him that well, but there was one thing that I knew him for. And it was something that I learned during our exercise time......on the field.....the soccer field. :D He is an incredible soccer player!!! :D So, needless to say, he made a very good first impression on me. He is a great missionary, and is currently serving in an area just north of me. He will become my new companion on Thursday. I am a little bit nervous to become senior companion again, especially as zone leader, but at the same time I am really excited for the challenge. :)

I have been thinking a lot about how best to help my zone a lot recently, and I came to the conclusion that inspired goal setting was needed. Well, is still needed. I have thought about and learned a lot about goal setting recently, and I hope that you are continuing to set goals. Long term as well as short term. Both are so vital. If you do not have an end goal, a vision, in mind, then you aren't going to push yourself to do and be better. If you don't have short goals to help you reach that goal, then you aren't usually going to be able to make it. Thus, both are very important. I plead with you to make sure to set good, inspired goals and to follow through with them so that you can better grow in the gospel, as well as in personal hobbies, health, and things like that.

I would also like to talk a little bit about Ryosuke and Tommy. I may have mentioned when we found them just a little while ago. Like....last week or two weeks ago. But, anyway, we got to go to a family home evening in the Wada's home with Ryosuke last week. These two incredibly musically talented elders gave a really good lesson with a bunch of performances about feeling the spirit through music, and it really helped our investigator. He was able to recognize that Spirit and to have just a small taste of that fruit that Lehi talked about. And then on Thursday we were able to meet with both of them and have dinner, go to our Sport's night here in Kichijoji, and then give them a church tour. It was incredibly spiritual, and they said that they want to learn and study from the Book of Mormon. And today we get to meet at least Ryosuke as well! :) haha it is going to be way fun. We wanted it to be more relaxed today, so we are going to watch Meet the Mormons with him and just help him get a bit more introduced to
the Mormon Culture.

Anyway, that is a little update on me! :) How are things going at home? Oh! I remembered one other thing that I really want to share with you. Yesterday in church a man by the name of Akamatsu Kyodai gave a really really good talk about praying. And the point that he emphasized was giving thanks. It made me think a lot about my prayers, and how much thanks that I give in relation to how much I ask for. I really want to make sure that my prayers are full of thanks, and that is something that I am going to work on from here on out. I want you to do the same. Make sure that your prayers are full of thanks. The Lord has blessed you so so so much, mom, and I hope that you recognize that and regularly tell that to him. Mom, you are incredible. Thank you so much for all that you do for me, and for our family. I hope that you know you are an example to so many people. More than you could know. You have touched a lot of lives here in Japan with your example, and they have never even met you before. I love you so much, and I hope that you have a fantastic day! :) <3 And Happy Fourth of July this week! :) <3

I love you!!

Love, Elder Livingston

Hi from Dad - Email chat - 21 June, 2015

On Father's Day I happened to be on email when one from Elder Livingston came through.  I quickly fired a "Hi" email his way and the following email thread happened.


Hi Tan,

I see that you are on.  Just saying Hi !!


Hey Dad!! :) Happy Father's Day!!!! :) :) <3 <3 How has your day been?

It has been good.  We had everyone over for dinner.  Ammon and Audrey gave me "A Short History of Nearly Everything."  They also gave me an iTunes card as Mom will be giving me some new headphones / ear buds (haven't decided which I want).  We played a game, Avalon, which is a fancier version of moffia with cards and stuff.

That sounds way cool! :D Have you read "A Short History of Nearly  Everything" before? :) It is such a good book, and I know that you will find it very fascinating. :) That game sounds way fun. Man, I do miss board games. Although at the same time it is exciting that when I get back there will be so many new ones for me to play that we can play quite a few without me replaying anything! haha :) 

Thanks for saying Hi.  I didn't mean to take your writing time with back-and-forth emails.  But it has been nice to know you are on the other end.  I love you.  Have a nice and relaxed p-day.

You're welcome. :) It really doesn't take that much time. I have an hour and a half to email, and I can type pretty dang fast, so feel free to chat. :) It is nice to talk to people on the other end, huh? I really like it. I love you too! Have a great night, Dad! :) <3 If you want to keep chatting just shoot me another response. :) 

So if I wanted to get a jersey, which one would you suggest and how much money would I need to give you to get me one?  Sounds like the trains and busses in Japan are like those in Germany.

Um, it depends on what one you wanted. If you want one of the Japanese teams, like the Yokohama Marinos, or Tokyo FC, there are ones like that. There are also the Japan National Team jerseys that they used in the world cup (those are probably my favorite jerseys). They would be about......100 American Dollars. That includes a number and a name on the back, most of the time. If not, then it would be 20 dollars more. And then shipping it back would not be that expensive, as long as I can get a little box. Another 15-20 dollars. Probably 140 ish in total. And yeah, the train system here is like none other in the world, and the busses are good too, we just don't use them as much. 

Hey guess what!  This Friday and Saturday is my 30 year high school class reunion.  We are planning on going but things may change a bit if Quinci is still hurting.

Really?! That is so cool! Where is it being held? That would be a fun event to go to. I hope that you can make it! It is crazy to me that I have already been graduated for a year. At the same time I can barely believe it has ONLY been a year. :) haha 

Yah, it's interesting how time feels slow and fast at the same time.  I still feel like the same person as I did waaaay back then, but in other ways I am completely different and can feel that I am older.  Hopefully this new working out will remove some of the old I am experiencing.

It was nice to see how the workers in the temple helped Braidon.  Due to his inability to hear, the words of the ceremony were displayed throughout the session and the man helping him at the end had a large card to help Braidon follow what was being said (he couldn't see the man's lips to read them) and so he could reply with the correct information.  It was really special.

hahaha I definitely agree. Speaking of working out, I really want to work out better. I have improved a lot this transfer with one of the Elders in our apartment, but I was wondering if you have come closer at all to the P90X3 for me or not. If not it is okay, I will continue to do my best. I would just love to make all of the meat on my body muscle. :) haha 

That is incredible. :) Man, I wish that I could have been there. I love Braidon so much. Make sure that he knows that. He has always been such an incredible example to me. :) In fact, what is his email? And what day does he head to the MTC? I want to email him when he heads out. :) 

Thanks for the kind letter! :-)  I will continue to finish the P90X3 stuff for you.  The last few months have been difficult but I can buckle down and get it to you.  I'll find out the information about Braidon so you can write him.  Speaking of working out Ammon said he is going to try 25 pushups and 15 pull-ups for his challenge this week.  He is crazy strong.  Unbelievable.  He has been doing the P90X3 Mass workout and just finished block 2. It kills him to workout but he does it.

Mom wants to know if you got a video of Emmett asking for meatballs.

You are welcome! :) And thanks so much! I really want to try it too. Especially in Kichijoji, because we have more weights than most of the mission does. :) That is so crazy!!! :D Wow. He is a monster. And thanks, I really do want to write Braidon. :) And yep, I got the video! Kaitlyn sends videos of him too. :) I am so happy when I get his videos, because he is so cool! I love that little boy. :) I can not believe how much he has grown! Does he just talk all of the time that he is home with you guys? 

Yes.  He jabbers all the time.  He was so funny tonight when we were starting the game.  Ammon gave him his own tokens after he helped Ammon by giving everyone else their tokens.  He was copying everything Ammon was saying as he began to explain the game.  We were all laughing.  He also knows how to put on a crying fit when he doesn't like something.  Quite the manipulator!  So fun.

He does? hahaha He is a funny guy. Man, I wish that I could see him! I'll be honest, that is one of the only things that I am super super sad about missing at him. He is growing so much and I wish that I could be there at this stage. :) Well, I am sure the Lord will compensate. :) I can't wait to see just where his personality is when he is two and a half when I get home. :) 

So what will you be doing this afternoon on your p-day?

I am just hanging out in the office today because some of the Elders in our zone wanted to go down to Kamakura (including Elder Leftwich) and I felt like I should stay here. So I will be relaxing, maybe writing some letters, and then planning things to help the zone improve. :) Nothing strenuous. :) 

Sounds like a nice day.  It sure has been nice to chat with you.  It's nice that your president allows this.  I know that from time to time it is nice to be in "closer" contact and to hear your voice, even if it is through written text.  Thanks for wishing me a Happy Father's day.  It has been a good day and this has been icing on the cake.  You said that you had about 1 1/2 hours.  Are we close to the end of your time?

It has been nice to talk with you too! And yeah, it is going to be a great day. :) Yep, it is nice that he allows this. :) And I definitely agree! You are welcome. :) Yeah, I have probably.....10-15 minutes left. :) Thanks for talking! What is your plan for the rest of the night? I guess it is like.....11 there? 

It is 11:30pm here and I am watching something with Quinci.  She is in too much pain to sleep.  I'm on duty tonight as Mom is not up to it.  I hate using entertainment as a sick / pain distraction but sometimes I don't have anything else to help.  For tonight it will have to be enough.

Have a great week.  Serve with love.

Okay, I will! Have a good time with Quinci. Don't forget just how much this time probably means to her. :) I love you two! 

A couple of guys we met in the park

First zone (minus the 5 office staff and 3 Assistants)

Happy Father's Day!!! :) - Letter to Dad - 21 June, 2015

Hey Dad!

Well, what to write to my dear, beloved father on this wonderful Father's Day...... ;D haha I want to say thanks. For all of the little moments.

I have realized a lot on my mission how missionary work is really just a work of love. This work isn't about fancy speaking, or being the best teacher in the world. It isn't about being perfect at a language, or never making mistakes. It isn't about rushing around so fast that you drive yourself into the ground. It isn't about numbers. It is
about people. It is about love. It is about giving up some of the things that you love so that you can help the Lord with the things that He loves. It is about selflessly helping and lifting others up. It is about being humble. I have learned so many of those things from your example in one way or another throughout my life. It has always been the little moments, too, that stick out to me so clearly.

I remember one day years ago, when we were at a Father's and Son's campout. We were laying in our great big tent on our stomachs, staring at the small screen of your computer as we watched "The Greatest Game Ever Played." I remember how just before the last putt, the computer died. And then we talked a little and called it a night. Later that night you woke me up and we had to go call the police because of the crazy people with the lights and stuff. Do you remember that? I felt your love so much that campout. I felt it because you took the time to be with me, and to do something fun with me. I felt it because we had our own tradition of watching a movie on the campout. I felt it because I remember how you woke me up to take me with you. I remember knowing that you would protect me. You showed me that you cared. You showed me that you loved me.

One of the things that I admire most about you, Dad, is that you know how to love people. You showed it so much as a bishop. I remember when what's-his-bucket would call all day every day, there would be times that someone in the family would ask you to not answer, because they wanted your attention. And you would just smile and say that you had to answer. And then you would help him. That was a little bit of a pain growing up, but from the perspective that I have now, it was an incredible act of love. I know some of the missionaries in our zone who have the same problem now with a new member, and they are struggling with it. It was cool to see your example and be able to share it with them. :)

I remember the times that we woke up super early in the morning to go and play basketball at the Church. That meant a lot to me. It has come in handy on my mission! :D haha I get to play sports at least once a week, and it is so helpful to be able to actually play. If you can't play sports then you can't really connect with the people that are
playing, so I am very glad that you taught me how to play a variety of sports, from t-ball to basketball to soccer. :)

Dad, you love the scriptures. And it shows. I wish that I knew how to consistently drink from the scriptures the way that you do. I am so excited for all of you to start that new scripture study challenge with the Book of Mormon! I can testify of it's power. I am currently at the beginning of Ether with the study topic of "How to Gain Faith, Hope and Charity." It has been an incredible journey. :) I actually had one of the best scripture studies that I have ever had today. I got to read Alma chapter 8. I read it first in Japanese with English by the side, and then just in English while marking and annotating a bunch of parts. It took me about an hour in total to read it and mark it the way that I wanted to. But I have never felt so rejuvenated at the end of a study session! I love reading the scriptures in Japanese. When I finish the Book of Mormon that I am working on right now I will probably switch to mainly studying my scriptures in Japanese, so that is going to be an adventure! :D haha But thank you so much for teaching me the importance of the scriptures. :) That means so much to me. :) <3 <3 I truly owe a lot to you.

Well, I know that this wasn't about what I did with my investigators or my zone or my companion this week, but that is because yesterday (or today for you) is all about you. Thanks for all that you have taught me, and for all that you mean to me, Dad. :) You are an incredible man, and the Lord is working miracles through you. Continue to be sensitive to the promptings of the Spirit and I promise you that you are going to be amazed by the miracles that the Lord will perform through you. :) You are the best!! I love you! <3 :)

Love, Elder Livingston

I miss fruit! - Letter to Mom - 21 June, 2015

Hey mom! :) How are you doing? Dad said that you aren't doing so well, and you said that this last week was kind of a bear too, so I hope that things start to look a little bit better in the very near future. :)

Well, since that is a pretty strange title for the beginning of an email, I am going to explain it right now! haha :) You remember how you were describing to me the things that  you were going to have for Father's Day? Well, the one that honestly stuck out to me the most was the fruit. I miss fruit, Mom. So so much. :) In Japan fruit is INSANELY expensive. Bananas are the cheapest thing (thank heavens! haha) so I probably get to eat about five every week. However, that still costs about one dollar, and each banana is probably about half as big as the ones that we eat at home. :/ Yep. Life is rough here. ;D But, I am surviving! Luckily, when I go home it will be summer, which
means lots of the fruit will be super delicious. My meal when I get home should have some fruit, okay? :) <3

I really do miss your cooking. I wish that I could cook as well as I do at home. Most of the things that we eat are pretty healthy, basically just a cup of rice per person and then some sort of vegetable stir fry and some meat with it. That is about it for lunch and dinner every day. :) haha Morning is, without a doubt, two eggs and two pieces of toast every single morning. :) I always did love eggs and toast! :) What are some things that I could do to eat healthier with the limited amount of money that I have to spend on food? What are some simple things that you know that I could do to be healthier as far as diet goes? You really are a pro at that, so I am just curious as to what you think. :)

Let's see, what are some updates on the people that we met this last week......OH!! Last Monday night we had such a miracle night. :) It was absolutely incredible. I loved it. We planned to visit this less-active family and just street proselyte on the way there. We had to ride the trains (which, I know that I have mentioned before, but I absolutely LOVE the train systems here! They are so so so so so convenient, you wouldn't even believe it) and then walk about 45 minutes to an hour to their house. At least, that was the plan. But then we talked to a ton of people on the way there! Two of the people that we met on the way there were Ryosuke (Ree-yo-sue-kay....and then just make it sound Japanese. In fact, you should make videos of you guys saying that name and send them to me. The person closest to the actual pronunciation will extra hug when I get home! haha ;D ) and his friend Tomita Kennichi. They are my age, and are super good at English. They are going to a Christian college right now, and so they know a little bit about Christianity and have read some of the Bible. I got to introduce Gospel Library through my iPad to Ryosuke, and then him and Tommy (his friend's nickname) downloaded it right there. I thought that was so cool. And then today they are going to come to this family home evening event that the Wada's have at their own home once a month. And we are also meeting him Thursday to go out to dinner, talk about the gospel, and then go to a sport's night that we have at our church! It is going to be a packed week, but I am way excited. It is really interesting. I am trying so hard to learn Japanese, and the Lord just keeps placing the people who speak English in my path! haha :) Oh well. I will do what He wants me too. :)

This last week was good. It was a pretty normal week. But, that is sometimes just what you need. :) Today is a pretty relaxed P-Day for me, which I am way happy about. I pray that your health starts to improve. Quinci and Jenna as well. I love you all so much, and I know that the Lord has a plan for you. Do not forget to thank HIm. Every day. Every time that you kneel down to prayer becomes an open conduit to heaven, IF you allow it to do so with your faith and attention. I challenge you to make your prayers even more meaningful this week, and to do all that you can to come closer to the Lord. Remember, He is your best friend. I love you so much, Mom!! I am cheering for you, and I know that you are doing amazing things. Thanks for being the best mom the world has ever known! :) <3

Love you!!!

Love, Elder Livingston

Pictures this week - 15 June, 2015

Cooking with Sister Wada for Ward Curry Party

Elder Livingston doesn't know what he is doing

Nice Apron!!

Sister Wada and missionaries

The Small Plates of Tanner - Letter to Dad - 15 June, 2015

And it cam to pass that in the 2nd year of the reign of President Wada in the southernmost parts of the Kanto Area, that there was a young man by the name of Elder Livingston. And he was....humble, and steadfast in all things. ;D haha

Do you know my small plates? All of the areas and things that I have had? I'll just do a quick review: 3 months with Elder Squire, 3 months with Elder Tolen, 1.5 months with Elder Frischknecht, and then I transferred to Kichijoji. (I was District Leader after 3 months). 1.5 months with Elder Scott, and almost 1.5 months with Elder Leftwich, aszone leader. Nice recap.

Well, this last week we had Zone Conference! Guess what? I didn't even have to give any trainings there. haha I haven't given a training in a while. I wouldn't be surprised if they gave me something to do at MLC soon though. Guess what? I can not believe it, but the next MLC is my one year really is baffling just how fast this has gone. Sometimes it definitely seems slow, too, but most of the time I just can't believe how fast this goes. I love it. Missionary work is so much fun. I love talking to all sorts of different people as I go around on the streets of Kichijoji. I love hearing about their background. For example, this one wasn't as much on the streets, but yesterday in Church we had Ward Conference, and I got to talk to the Stake President personally for about 5 minutes. It was super fun. He is such a nice guy, and I know that having a better relationship with him will definitely help in SPM (Stake Presidency Meeting.....?) It is a meeting with all of the zone leaders in the stake (us and two others) as well as President Wada and the sister training leaders for the stake. It is super super great, and we get cream puffs. :) haha guess what? Nobody knows what metallurgy is in Japanese either. :) I get to talk about what I will do in college all of the time. Nobody knows what it is. :)

Let's see......Oh! I got to do my first baptismal interview alone! :) haha It was super fun. It was all in Japanese too. I loved it. I love speaking Japanese so so so much. What am I going to do when I go home and I don't have anyone to talk to in Japanese? Can I talk to you guys in Japanese? haha I am super afraid that I will get a Japanese companion as my last companion, and just not know how to speak English anymore. Are there any words that you want to know the equivalent of in Japanese?

I am so glad that you are already working with the kids in your Sunday School Class about how to run an effective meeting. That is super super important, and something that I realized I didn't really know how to do before I came on a mission. I am still not perfect at it, for sure, but I am learning little by little every single day, and every time that I go to meetings.

I want to let you know the importance of goal setting. It is something that I feel I wasn't good at before I came on my mission, and something that I have been thinking a lot about lately. If we do not set goals and work to achieve those goals, then we will only achieve a glimmer of the potential that we have. I testify that is true. I have a lot of different goals right now from spiritual goals like finishing the Book of Mormon by the end of the month to physical goals like working out better, things like that. But they all play a role in my development. And it is the same with the people that we teach the gospel too. When we commit them to do something, we are essentially inviting them to make a goal, and to work to achieve that goal. Dad, I invite you to make some new goals in your life. Short term goals, long term goals, personal goals, couple goals, family goals, etc. :) Write them down, too!!! :D And stick to it. Hold yourself accountable. I know that as you do so, you will be blessed to know how to improve more, and to fulfill the will of the Lord more. I love you, Dad!!! :) <3 <3

Love, Elder Livingston

A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief - Letter to Mom - 15 June, 2015

Hey Mom!! :)

So, I know that I have said this a lot, but thank you so much for putting me into piano lessons. I will go over really quick just what happened this week, and what has happened my entire mission so far with piano.

1. I play piano every single week in Priesthood, Ward Choir, and if the Choir performs then in Sacrament meeting as well.
2. I have played in all but my first zone conference, and this last one (last Tuesday) I got to play A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief for the musical number.
3. I have played for two different members recently, for about an hour, to help lift them up and build them up in the church.
4. I got to play for a man that we found on the street. More on that later. :)
5. People always think it is so cool that I play piano. Also, they can never guess my age right.....haha

Needless to say, piano did not stop at the Quartet. It has continued to be a huge blessing in my life. Thank you so much. :)

You asked some questions so I will go ahead and answer those before anything else. Let's see....I feel like the area and the investigators are doing good. We are slowly building up our investigator pool, because it was really suffering. Everyone that we had before was just too busy to meet up, so that was no good. We still don't have that
many people, and we are averaging about two lessons a week.... :P Which is no fun. But it's okay. We are working on it. We have a bit of time to find, and a lot of time in meetings haha. :) The weather here is getting hotter, and we are in what is called Tsuyu :) It is the rainy season! haha the rain here is so different from the rain in Utah. it just doesn't stop here. It rains and it rains and it rains.

And it is super hot. It gets about 80 degrees, but then it is super humid. And it will only get worse after Tsuyu ends. So, we will have to wait and see how bad it is. I have never sweat so much in my entire life! haha

Oh, I just remembered. Mom. My clothes are dying. Both of my pairs of slacks are pretty thin, my socks are getting holes in them, I DESTROYED my shoes (do they have a warranty?) and my athletic shorts are getting super threadbare may have to go shopping soon. haha Is that okay? :) <3 I love you! Remember how hard I was on clothes back home? Well, especially with shoes, it has stayed pretty similar. My black shoes look like I have HUGE bunions because of cutting while playing sports, and just destroying the seams. :) haha It is way funny, but I need some knew ones, and I know that Ecco might have some sort of return system. :)

So this week one of the miracles that we saw was that we met a man by the name of Eshita. We were just walking down the street super close to the church, and started talking to him. He said that he had never been to a Christian church before (most people haven't ever entered one here) and that he would like to. We asked him if he had time, and he said yeah, about an hour! :) hahaha So we took him into the church, gave him on a tour, and then ended in the chapel. It was super good. We got to explain our belief about Christ and His role super super simply, and then we talked about the Book of Mormon after I played a Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief to show him what some of the hymns were like. He took the Book of Mormon, gave us his email, and said he wanted to come to church. He apologized because he said that he couldn't come to church every week, but only once or twice a month (which is sometimes hard for some of the members due to the work schedules here). We were floored. We are excited to keep working with him and to help him come closer to Christ. :)

I am amazed with Britta's progress!! :) I am so thrilled! :) <3 Let her know that I am so excited for her!! I hope that her health just continues to improve. I have a question. How is her scripture reading doing? Quinci's too. I am just curious. :) I pray that you and Quinci and Ammon will get answers to your health problems. I know that things will come together. Jenna too. :) Keep taking care of her. I didn't even see any pictures or hear anything about your girl's nights! :) haha

Well, always know that I love you, Mom. I had a little bit of a moment of missing you super badly this week, but it was a good miss you. Elder Leftwich and I went to help Sister Wada clean her kitchen after a ward party, and we just got to talk with her and it was just like I was home talking to you. :) <3 I miss you! I can't wait for the day that you meet Sister Wada, too. You two are so similar. She is a health freak too. ;D haha

I love you!!!!! <3

Love, Elder Livingston

Full Purpose Missionary - Letter to Dad - 7 June, 2015

Hey Dad! :)

I will pray for you so that you feel the guidance that you need. Don't worry, the Lord will make sure that you do exactly what He needs you to. I know that you will make the right decision. Your watch might even help you make it. ;D haha I really am jealous of that watch, even though I know absolutely nothing about it. haha So, can you make a legitimate phone call with it? Ooh, here is a question. Do you think that someday we will get to the point with watch technology that phones will essentially become obsolete? If the watch can essentially do everything that the phone can (obviously it is not at that level right now) what is the point of the phone? I am just curious. :)

So, becoming a Full-Purpose Missionary is very important. It deals with the five parts of the work of salvation, as well as the doctrine of Christ. Do you remember both of those? If you don't just let me know and I can fill you in. That would also be a good thing to study. :) haha Missionaries have to do all that they can to work with members, use all of their tools, teach with power and authority, use the Spirit, work through revelation, etc. in order to fully magnify their calling. This was one of the main topics of the Mission Leadership Council that we had last week. It really is such a blessing to go to those. I will say that in the church, while having leadership does mean obtaining more responsibilities and more things that you have to do, it definitely gives you some opportunities that other people just don't get. Like going to more meetings! haha Not something that you particularly want to do in the normal world, but when it comes to church is just means more opportunities to come closer to Christ. I am so grateful for that. I hope that I can apply the things that I am learning and really magnify my calling more as a missionary.

One other cool miracle is that we met a boy named Rick! At least, that is what he tells foreigners his name is. I can't remember his Japanese name. :) haha But, we were handing out flyers for our free English Class and he came up to me and instead of taking one he just started speaking to me in fluent English. I will admit that I was a little
shocked. :) haha He is super cool though, and we ended up talking for about 30 min. He said that he grew up in Guam and then in Taiwan, so he doesn't actually know that much about Japan and Japanese culture. He is a high school student, and he is actually doing all that he can to become a DJ. He is so fun to talk to, and we are going to meet up with him soon and go out for lunch, and then talk about the Gospel. He is actually Christian and was super happy that we had a church! He said that he hasn't gone to church since he came to Japan, and he really wants to so he is going to try and switch his work schedule so that he can come. :)

Also, we got to visit this family for Family Home Evening this past Monday named the Hotta's! They actually lived in Traverse Mountain for 15 years (they are still super young too!) after meeting at BYU so I have lived by them for most of my life! haha Crazy how small the world is, huh? But they have the cutest little kids, and I was so grateful for the opportunity to share that night with them. :)

I love Japan. I love the people that I meet here. :) I love the opportunity that I have to share the gospel with the people that live here and who need it so desperately. They need the help and the guidance that comes from a loving Heavenly Father so much, and I will be grateful for forever for the opportunity that I have to be here and to share it with these people. Remember the people of Germany often. They will always have a special place in your heart. Thanks for all that you do, Dad! Love you!!

Love, Elder Livingston

Lost, but now is found - Letter to Mom - 7 June, 2015

Hey mom!! :)

How was your camp with all of the Young Women this past week? I was praying for you, and I hope that everything went well. :) <3 Let me know all about it, okay? Is there anything else that I can do for you? You are the best mom ever, just so that you know. :) <3

This last week was pretty normal, but with a lot of really cool little miracles. One of the best parts was that I got to go on splits with Elder Blanchard, one of the assistants. He is super super cool! He and I have become really really good friends since I have moved to Kichijoji, so it was just so great to spend splits with him. :) He is super humble, and so nice. He is from Idaho, and we had a blast. We got to go and teach a guy from Vietnam. He was really cool, but talking to him was a little bit of a struggle. He is studying Japanese right now, but his Japanese level is a little bit lower than ours, and as far as church words go he knows absolutely nothing. So, that was hard. But it was a really cool experience, and thanks to google translate we were even able to teach a little bit about church. :) haha

One of the highlights this last week was talking to this man named Akihiro. :) He is super cool. He speaks fluent English. I don't know if I talked about him last week, but he grew up for about 5 years in London. I will say, it is really strange to hear a Japanese man speak English fluently......with a British accent. :) haha Kind of an interesting experience. But he really really wants to know what we believe, on all sorts of subjects. :) So much fun. We are working on meeting up with him actually, because the last two lessons have been.....wait for it.....over the phone! Or on FaceTime, for one of the times. Crazy, huh? I love how the Lord is using technology to move the work forward. It is such an incredible opportunity to be here and using it.

The other highlight of the week was for sure talking to and meeting up with Ryojiro. I believe that I mentioned him over a month ago. He is super great. But we lost contact with him completely. We have not been able to call him for about a month. But, we know where he works, so we went and asked them when he was going to work next, and then met up with him yesterday while he was working! haha (As a random side note, I feel that the world's most professional stalkers are and will forever be missionaries. We do everything that we can to know everything that we can about people. Crazy huh? :) haha so funny when you stop and think about it). He was lost! But now he is found again. I am amazed by his faith. He is still reading from the Book of Mormon! Usually it is just a little bit here and there, not super consistently all the way through yet, but we were able to set up an appointment to meet with him on this coming Wednesday and to read 2 Nephi 31 with him. We are hopefully going to be able to set a baptismal date with him and help him to understand what needs to be done in order for him to progress towards baptism. He is super open though, so I am not too worried. :)

Another person that we are helping right now (he is technically the other Elder's investigator) is a man named Yutaro. He is so cool. He is 23....? I think. haha Right now he is working super super hard to study for a test that he has this coming Saturday and Sunday. Please please pray for him. He is so stressed, because it is the test that decides his entire future. So, obviously no pressure there, right? haha he is one of about 10,000 people that are going to take this test to enter the program that enables you to someday become the ambassador for Japan. Only 44 of those people gets to do it. So, please, pray for him. He is super nervous. We are doing all that we can to help and support him. And he really wants to be baptized! The only reason that he hasn't been baptized yet is his test. After he finishes it he will be able to focus more, and not have to take practice tests on Sunday. He is also really good at English, though.

One thing that I have definitely learned on my mission that I believe is true for all callings in the church is that it is always about people. We are not called on missions to become really good teachers, or really good proselyters, etc. We are called on missions to help other people. We are called to help them come unto Christ, who ultimately is the only one that can help them return to their Father in Heaven. We are called here to be converted so deeply unto Christ that nothing can tear us away from that. I honestly believe that is one of the main purposes of a mission. The Lord needs people who are converted, not just have a testimony (for interesting study, study the difference between the two of those. I believe you already know it, but it is always good to learn things again). I want you to know that i know this church is true. I know that Christ is our Savior. God is our loving Heavenly Father. He loves us so much that He sent us to earth and gave us trials. He loves us so much that He provided a way for us to overcome our trials. He loves us so much that when we falter and fall, He is always there to pick us back up. He loves us so much. I testify that what I wrote is true. Never forget that.

I do have one thing I need to apologize for. This past week was really bad with pictures and videos, and we totally forgot to take I will try to remember and send a ton next week, okay??! I love you so much, Mom! I hope that things are going well with everyone there at home. Let me know how your health, the girls' health, etc. are doing as well. Take care of the girls, Ammon and Audge, Kaitlyn and Sam and their little rugrat, and Jenna for me. And Dad. He needs taking care of too. ;D haha I love you!!!

Love, Elder Livingston

But we have more videos!! - 2 June, 2015

Remember the pillow case with little suggestions?  Here are more videos based on those phrases.

Be Happy!

Cover your mouth

Don't talk with your mouth full

Don't jaywalk

Lock your door

Take your vitamins

Pictures this week - 2 June, 2015

The Hotta Family (they lived in Traverse Mountain)

Elder Livingston and Elder Leftwich at the Temple

Elders Leftwich and Livingston by a dinosaur statue

Onward! The work must move forward!

I ALMOST Become a Model - Letter to Mom - 2 June, 2015

Dear Mom,

How are you?? I don't know if you will get this before or after you leave for Young Women's camp, but if it is before then please know that I love you and I will be praying for you. Do not worry. The Lord has a better plan than any of us could have. :) So, whatever happens at camp will be exactly what needs to happen. I honestly actually thing that if you do end up getting sick there that it will be a huge defining moment in a lot of the girl's lives as they get to see the grace and poise that a queen like you has in spite of the trials that buffet around every side of you. (That was probably the most complex, beautiful English that I have written in a long time! hahaha)  Also, it will give them an opportunity to serve you. So, don't worry. :) :)

I was so glad to get all of your emails and such. I love it when those come in before I email, so it was really really nice to have Temple P-day and get all of those! That is the best. :) I also had an absolutely incredible time at the temple!! it is such a spiritually refreshing place, and I realized today again how much I love the Spirit, and how empty it feels when it is gone. Always live worthy of the Spirit. It is worth any sacrifice in the entire world. :) I know that you have it though. Because you always made sure that it was in our home. That is one of the most incredible things to see as a look back on growing up, just how much you had the Spirit in our home. It definitely set the mood for everything, and it is something that I want to establish in my home as well some day. Thanks for that amazing example, Mom!! <3

So, we have this really cool Eikaiwa student (English Class) who is named Asato. He is so great. He is about 19 years old and is design!! Actually not uncommon, even for guys in Japan. One of our ward members is a really good fashion designer and actually makes all of his wife's clothes. He is super cool. But, anyway, we got to go out to dinner with him last night, and to talk about his life and his dreams, and we talked about another English program that we do that is half English, one on one, and half about the gospel! He said that he had tons of interest!! We are so excited to start those lessons with him. I also think that it will really help him come closer to his dreams and to religion. He is non-religious, and he really really wants to study fashion in England, so he has to know English. We are going to help him with both! He doesn't have a huge interest in religion right now, so we have to help him along slowly. He also asked us to do some modeling for him.....we decided it might not be the most appropriate missionary activity. ;D haha

Let me explain a little bit about helping Japanese people become converted, in the way that President Wada would. First, you have most Japanese people. They are non-religious. Most of them will tell you that they are Buddhist, but that is more of a cultural thing to 99% of people than an actual religion. And then there is the 1% that are religious with it. Haha. But anyway, there are about 3-4 steps that they have to go through. This is part of why Japan is not just booming with baptisms yet....yet. ;D haha They have to first become religious. That entails thinking about deeper things like God and life after death, etc. This is the first step, and probably one of the hardest. It is hard to explain why God is important to someone who believes in only their own self, and in money and things like that. The next step that they have to go through is going from just religious to becoming Christian. That is another big step, because it involves belief in Jesus Christ specifically, and starting to act a little bit on the things that they believe. And then lastly they have to take the step from just Christian to being members of the Church. That is one of the harder ones too. It is fairly simple to just be Christian. You don't have to do much with it. You just proclaim that you are Christian in much of the world. But to really be an active Latter-Day Saint, you have to work, and you have to serve, and you have to DO things. That is a big change. But, we are helping them move slowly towards Christ, which is really what missions are all about.

But it is not impossible. I love Alma chapter 5. It is a very good check on whether or not we are converted. If you ever want to go through and get your conversion to "level up" then I suggest you go through and read that. I love that conversion is a never-ending process. That makes it so much more fun. :) I challenge you to make sure that your personal conversion does not go stagnant. I love you so much, Mom!! :) :) <3 Make this week at camp one of the best weeks ever, okay?! I love you!!!

Love, Elder Livingston :)

Throwing in the Towel - Letter to Dad - 2 June, 2015

Hey Dad!

I am so proud of you for all of the hard work that you have been doing! Don't worry, the Lord will direct your paths for good, and He will always make sure to help you. Just remember, if you don't feel like you are hearing His voice guide you as to where you need to go 1) either repent and try again (repent anyway, we all need to! haha) or 2) He trusts you to make this decision, and He will stop you before you do anything wrong if He leaves it up to you. So don't worry. i will completely back you up and support you in anything that you choose, and I know that Mom and the girls are the same way. Don't worry, and don't stress. :)

I am way jealous that you get to start using the Apple Watch!! I really wish that I could see what it does and to have one of my own.....someday. :) haha I am excited to see just how powerful of machines they are, and how well they will be integrated into normal life. Also, how fragile are they? I feel like often Apple products are notorious for how fragile they are, and the watch seemed to be no exception in the pictures that you sent. I am curious. Send me some of your personal thoughts and specs and pictures when you get it!!

I need to throw away my towels! haha You know the microfiber ones that you got me? They are incredible as far as packing and drying goes, but they STINK so so badly! So, I will be throwing those in and getting new ones soon. :) That is all I meant by the title hahaha :) Don't worry, I am definitely not going to throw in the towel. :)

I loved going to the temple today. I had a really cool experience when I was in the Celestial Room. I think that all I should share about it is that I felt, very strongly, that Grandma LuJean was with me. I love her so much. Remember to thank Heavenly Father in your prayers for her with me tonight, okay? It was really cool. :) Make sure that you go to the temple often, okay?! How often are you going to the temple right now? I feel so blessed that we live so so close to so many temples. Make sure you don't take it for granted. Go as much as you can! I can't wait to go with you again, and to go with you someday in the Tokyo temple. That should be on our bucket lists, okay? I think so. :)

I hope that Mom's health improves soon! I am so sorry that things are still rough as far as health goes. I really hope that everyone gets feeling better soon. We really can not catch a break, huh? haha I know that as we continue to learn and to grow, though, we will come closer and closer to the answer, even if the answer is just, "Be patient and wait for the second coming." haha I don't like that answer as much as actually finding a way to help them, but it is okay. We just need to trust the Lord.

Cherish the time that you get to be with Britta this week. Let her know that I love her a lot! Is she reading her Book of Mormon? If she isn't have her email me. I have some really cool ideas and things that I could do to help her. I just want her to know how important that is, as well as how much I love her! I am actually really really jealous that she is going to take tennis lessons. There are SO many people in Japan who love to play tennis. It is such an incredibly graceful sport, and at the same time so brutal, due to length and things like that. It is also quite a workout, as well as a very mental game. So, I think she will do fantastic. She is super athletic, and has a very very smart mind. Let her know she is the bomb. :)

I hope that things continue to go well with all of the developing of the game that you are making. When do you think that you will be able to release? Is there anything that I can do to help? Send inspiring quotes, and things like that? haha

Oh, in regards to Mom's question about the CD that Carmen is going to give you, it would be best if I could get it digitally, even if it is broken up into segments. Then I can use it with my iPad as I go throughout the day to let people know some of the things that I did, as well as listen to it in the apartment when we are working out, eating, and doing things like that.

I hope that you have a fantastic week, and that Mom and Quinci return home safely! Speaking of which, we actually had a pretty big earthquake here the other day. I have felt quite a few since being here in Japan, but yesterday was definitely the biggest one that I have felt in my whole life. The whole entire house shook. It originated in the ocean as an 8.5 earthquake or so, and we definitely felt it's waves! Anyway, I love you so much, and wish you the best!! :) :)

Love ya!

Love, Elder Livingston

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Pictures this week - 25 May, 2015

An old brick building in Yokohama that survived the Kanto earthquake

Very busy and famous crosswalk

Elders Livingston and Leftwich with a unique perspective of the ceiling

A dog statue

Elders Livingston and Leftwich selfie

Elders in front of the old brick building

Ferris wheel in Yokohama

Kichijoji missionaries and Elma (who was baptized 23 May, 2015)

Leftwich and Livingston again

Nissan showroom (Nissan GTR)

WWII Ship in Yokohama Bay

Yokohama Bridge

Selfie in front of Yokohama Bridge

Yokohama Skyline

Yokohama Skyline with elder Livingston

But we have videos! - 25 May, 2015

So, we were looking at the pillowcase that you sent me and decided that all of the items, if read with different intonation, create humorous orders, or ironic things due to the Japanese culture. So we decided to make a video series based off of their alternate meanings. 

"Read your scriptures."

This one is also important "Button your coat."

A trip to Yokohama by way of Memory Lane - Letter to Mom - 25 May, 2015

Hey mom!!

How are you doing? Sorry that this is coming a little bit later than it usually does. This whole transfer will probably be a little more like this. There is an Elder Young in our apartment who is on his last transfer and wants to travel to his previous areas and see some cool sights so we are going to do that. Also, heads up, next week is the temple! We had to get our day moved do due construction so it is earlier than usual. So I will write a day later next week. :)

So the first place that Elder Young wanted to go was to Yokohama! :D He served in the area that had Yokohama proper for about 8 months, so it was so good for him too and see a bunch of cool places. He showed us some INCREDIBLE things, and we got some super good pictures. (Speaking of which, I have taken a TON of pictures since last Monday. I think you'll be happy :) ). It was also very nostalgic for me since I loved to go and visit Yokohama when I was in Hodogaya. Today was very busy, but also a very good day. We have walked about 5 Kilometers since we have been here. :) haha We got to see things like Yokohama Bay, really good views, and the Nissan car center. It was way cool. But, I also need to recap this week!

I went to a BYU symphony while I was on my mission. Haha the Area presidency approved it so we got to go outside of the mission (by about 5 minutes) and get home past normal curfew. The show was absolutely incredible, and our friend (he doesn't want to learn about gospel stuff yet, but wants to be our friends and just ask his sister about the gospel) had a super good time. His name is Yodai. It was super fun, and just a good experience. After that, we got doughnuts on the way home! There is a doughnut factory that is only open after 10, so his was the absolute only time on our missions that we could get it
without breaking the rules. Because it was totally open when we were on our way home. So we got those and they were way good!

After that Elder Leftwich and I have had a pretty normal week. We got to go to the district meetings of all of the districts in our zone, like normal, but it was fun to see how the new groups of Elders and Sisters were jelling together. It was great. I love working with Elder Leftwich. He is a great man, and is a super good leader. He is actually a part of the Air Force! Which I think is way cool. He is a bold, friendly guy who loves talking to everybody on the streets, in parks, and on trains as much as you can. Which is so good.

One of the people that I want to share about is Yutaro. He is an investigator that is in Kichijoji B (the other Kichijoji Elders) area, but Elder Leftwich is his best friend because he used to teach him. So we may get his records soon so that we can continue to help him progress. He is having a really hard time getting baptized because of friends and a girlfriend that are opposed to the church. It has been really hard for him. They basically said, "The church or us." And that
has been so hard for him. It has made me think a lot about how easy I have had it in my life. I have never had to worry about having support in following the gospel. I thank you so so so much for your example, Mom. :) <3 you always did what was right, not what was popular. Which I think is so cool. It can often be hard to stand out and up for the things that you believe in, but I have a firm testimony that when we please God, not man, we will always be okay. I have also realized just how common the sin of fearing man more than God is. All of us do it in one way or another. It is linked directly with pride. And as such, it completely dies when we have charity. If we feel a prompting to call someone and invite them to church, but worry that they will think we are weird, we are fearing man more than God. But with charity, we invite them because we love them. When we don't leave the movie theater, or ask our friends to switch the movie/music/conversation, we are fearing man more than God. But with charity, we ask them because we know it will bless them. I plead with you to always fear God more than man. When we do, we receive more blessings than we could ever know. :)

And with that note, I have one request. Do all that you can to take Quinci on Trek with you. Those are precious memories and experiences that she will never forget. Of course, follow the Spirit with this, but don't just rule her out because it might be hard. It wasn't easy for them either. I promise that as you pray you will know what to do. :) <3

I hope that the medicine is helping! I am sorry that you have continued to be sick, along with the girls. That is no fun at all. :P I wish that I could be there to help you, but I know that the Lord will take care of you.

Lastly, don't worry about me, or about me focusing. :) you have seemed particularly worried about that in your last emails, and I want you to know that I will always do what the Lord wants me to. I will be focused on His work, and help Him as much as I can. :) And part of that work is not forgetting you guys. Don't worry, I am doing the things and fulfilling the work that I need to do here. I actually just had the Spirit confirm that to me again today.

I love you so much, Mom, and I hope that you get feeling even better soon! I love you infinity infinities!

Love, Elder Livingston