Sunday, December 27, 2015

Merry Christmas Parents! - 25 December, 2015

To all the Parents of the missionaries of the Japan Tokyo South Mission

TokyoSouth shared a video with you on Dropbox
© 2015 Dropbox, PO Box 77767, San Francisco, CA 94107

FaceTime - 24 December, 2015

At 8pm on Christmas Eve (12noon, Christmas Day in Tokyo) we were able to FaceTime with Elder Livingston

Craziness - Letter to Dad - 18 December, 2015

Dear Dad,

How are you doing? I hope you are okay. It sounds like you had a hard week this past week, and I will be praying extra hard for you. You are so incredible, and I look up to you so so so much. Don't worry about things that don't work out perfectly in life, whether it is small or big. Follow the Lord and trust in Him. There will be nothing lost when you put everything into the hands of the Lord. :)

That is definitely something that I have been learning here in the Mission Office, and something that I want to continue learning more and more about. There is so so so much that we have to do. I guess I'll give you sort of a rundown of what we have done so far here. I got here on Thursday and immediately was with the new missionaries (the ones that had just barely gotten to Japan). That was super fun. I just got to be there for their last training, about using Mobile Devices, and then we saw them off with their trainers. After that we had to get everything ready for the returning missionaries (Yes, our
mission does send them home on Fridays for right now, and for as long as I can remember). We had to get all of the beds and things that we needed ready, and it took a while, but it was fun. Then we went and got some dinner, and then came back and had to do weekly planning and planning for some meetings that were coming up while we were in the office making sure that nobody went upstairs and interrupted the dinner that the missionaries have with President and Sister Wada. So, that went well, just a really busy day.

Friday we got up and had breakfast with the returning missionaries and the Wada's (that was SO good! I love food at the Mission Office, because it is so amazing). And then we needed to spend basically the rest of the time that the returning missionaries had here with them. We did that, and then we took them with President and Sister Wada to the bus stop. We walked there, and stood there for quite a while in the cold, but it was just so heart-wrenching. Watching the expressions
in the Wada's faces as well as those in the faces of the missionaries just tore the heartstrings of me and Elder Richardson (this is his first time sending missionaries home too). I definitely cried. Haha. I am not looking forward to that part of being an Assistant too much in the next however long I am AP. :) haha

After that we had some office work that we had to do, and all sorts of emails and things like that, so we were busy for a couple of hours, and then we just went out and talked to people! It was so good. We got to talk to a few people, came back and then set my bike back up after taking it apart for shipping, and then took the bikes out to meet a recent convert and a potential investigator. They didn't end up being home, which was really sad, but it was good to be out. We then went and knocked a couple of doors, and nobody was that interested. But it gave Elder Richardson and I a good chance to talk about our companionship, and what we want to become, and how we can be better missionaries. It is really strange to think about being an Assistant. I really don't feel like I am. I just feel like normal me. :) haha after that we booked it home, had District Meeting, and then we went to bed, and then today we have just done a little bit of shopping for pens/notes/things like that, and we are now sitting on our beds emailing (one of the perks of living in the office! Haha). It has overall been really busy but so good. Elder Richardson is absolutely incredible! I have loved working with him,and his love for the work is just so great. I am excited to work with him from here on out as well. We could very well end up being each other's longest companions. So, that has been really nice. He actually grew up in Orem, and his dad used to be in the Sunday School General Presidency. :)

I love being a missionary. I have just felt the drive to be a better missionary more this week than at any other time in my mission. I love serving the Lord and just getting out there and talking to as many people as I can. It is so so so so amazing to just serve others, and do all that you can to help them come closer to their Heavenly Father, someone who they have such a deep relationship with that they just don't realize. :) I love this work, and I know that the Church is true.

Christ lives. I bear my witness as a representative of Him.

Love you,

Elder Livingston

Extra P-Day! - Letter to Everyone - 18 December, 2015

Hey everyone!

So, it turns out I do have P-day today! And from here on out it will be on Saturday. So I will send you emails soon! Well, in a little while. :) I love you, and I hope I can hear from as many of you as I can! I love you so much!

Merry Christmas!

Elder Livingston

Pictures this week - 13 December, 2015

Before Running
Other buildings during the run

Landmark Tower - Yokohama (during run)

Something during the run

Old ship seen during the run

Landmark Tower - Yokohama (during run)

View during the run

Feelings about 1/3 of the way into the run

Joy during the run

More joy during the run

Surprises!!! - Letter to Mom - 13 December, 2015


How are you this week? I hope that things have been going well! I just received your message that your email will come in the morning. I look forward to reading it! :D I hope that you are still up, because there are some BIG surprises in this email!!! ;D

The first surprise is.....I have no idea when I can send your Christmas package!! haha I haven't found time to shop, and my life is just going to get busier. I am going to have to look for the time in the next couple of weeks to find things, package them, and ship them. Is that okay? I hope so! I love you so much and I look forward to sending things home for you!

Second surprise. I ran really far today. Like, really really far. Elder Cook and I woke up at 5:30 in the morning so that we could run further. It was great! I loved it! I definitely felt a part of the "runner's high" that everyone talks about. Plus we got to visit my favorite building in the world. ;) Landmark tower! It is just outside of our area, about 4.7 km away from our apartment, so we woke up an hour early to run there, take some pictures, and run back. :) I'll send the pictures later! It really was so much fun, though. Call me crazy. haha I did find out, though, that if I have some sort of goal in mind (running to Landmark Tower and back) it is a lot easier to run and not think about the running part of things. It really is just best to run with someone, so that I can talk with them. Good thing I have Jenna to run with when I go home!! ;) haha

Third and biggest surprise:

I received this message from the mission this past week concerning transfers:

December 12, 2015

Dear  Elder  Livingston,
Thank  you  for  the  service  you  have  provided  in  your  assigned area  this  transfer.  For  this  next transfer,  you  will  be assigned  to  _____________  in  the  _____________  Zone  as  a Surprise.  Your companion will be Elder _____________.

Keep reading to find out the blanks. ;D

I would love to tell you all of the blanks right away, but that would just be too easy. Yes, the fact that it was sent as a surprise was a part of the email. The people in the office are really funny, and know me well, and that I would be surprised, so they sent this. I am transferring, I will tell you that. It was such a short time here in Kanagawa. I loved it, and I love Yokohama. For sure my favorite city in Japan. But, I am headed out. I am so sad to see Elder Cook get a new companion (actually, Elder Nagano will be his companion! We already live together, so that was a surprise). I learned so so much from him. He is such an incredible missionary. I learned a lot about diligence, and the need to work hard and constantly strive for more obedience. It was great. So, are you ready? Are you ready?? I am transferring back to Kichijoji!! haha crazy, right? I came from there to here, and I am headed right back! I will be companions with Elder Richardson and I have been asked to Assistant to President Wada.

So, there it is. The biggest shock ever. haha Elder Richardson was just called in to be an assistant about two or three weeks ago, and has been getting training from the other two assistants since then, so I thought there was absolutely NO way that I was going to be an assistant on my mission. I was "safe" haha. it was a really strange moment for me. I opened the call and just kind of looked at it. The feelings inside of me were all over the place. I was nervous, excited,
scared, curious at what happened, confident, insecure, etc. etc. haha I got a call from Elder Richardson not too long after that saying that the day before he had been surprised too when President pulled up the transfer board and his companion Elder Murakami was gone. haha (Elder Murakami will be a traveling assistant with another elder, Elder Vandyken. They will go around the mission and train a bunch of people, mainly district leaders, and things like that). We shared our mutual
excitement, and that was that.

I spent the rest of the day in shock. I have felt very inadequate this week. I do not feel prepared to be an Assistant. There are a lot of responsibilities and assignments that come along with this, and I have felt the weight of that for sure. But, Saturday night I just knelt down and prayed. I really just opened my heart to the Lord and told Him I didn't feel ready, I didn't know what I was supposed to do, etc. And he just sent such a peaceful feeling. He basically just told me to be patient, and to let Him direct everything. He directed me to just continue being obedient, and to do everything that I could to have and show Charity. If I did that, there would be no problem, because of just how pure and all encompassing the attribute of charity is. So, I am going to work on that. Please pray for me to have the strength and the help that I need to fulfill this new assignment to the best of my ability.

I love you, and I hope that you have a fantastic week, Mom!! I can't wait to hear from you. :) I am grateful for you and all that you do. Remember, sometimes the Lord just needs to humble us. So if that is happening to you (that is definitely what this has done for me! haha) let Him do it. It's much easier that way. ;D I love you so much!! :D <3

Also, as a side note, I may get another P-day this week. The office staff (including the Assistants) get theirs on Saturday, so I may also have another one on Saturday. I don't know. But, if I don't, I probably won't have one until NEXT Saturday, so there would be a gap. So, if I don't happen to email next Monday, that is what happened. I love you!!


Elder Livingston

The Supporting Hand - Letter to Dad - 6 December, 2015

Hello my loving father!!

How are you doing? Things going well at home with the family and with the business? Any new apps that have come out that were amazing, or things that have jumped up a lot with the new apple products this year? I haven't heard anything that has come out, except for seeing a couple of posters for the iPad pro, or whatever it is called. :) haha Let me know what's going on! :) Oh, and how is the ward? How is bishop? Do you know if he ever got the letter that all of the priests in the ward circulated from mission to mission before getting it to him? :) If you haven't heard of that, don't ask him. Ask Jared and Brandon if it made it to them (it should. I started it and sent it to Jared).

So, one thing that I definitely felt this week was the supporting hand of the Lord in my life. Mostly on Thursday with the Mission Leadership Council. Elder Cook and I had done the best that we could to prepare for it, but there was a lot of things that got in the way (splits and things like that) so we didn't feel quite as prepared as we would have liked. We got to MLC and I really just prayed so so hard that the Lord would help us give the training that He and President Wada needed us to, and that everything would go well. And then we got up and we started to talk. We passed the conversation back and forth really well, and we covered the content that we needed to. Then we demonstrated. We got in the middle of the circle of everyone that was there and we just started to teach. We worked well together there, as well, and taught very simply. We were able to use the pamphlet that we were training on, and introduce baptism well. It was a really simple role play, but it went really well. We then had everybody plan and practice for themselves. It went really really well, and I definitely felt the supporting hand of the Lord.

With translating at MLC I have never felt the Lord work so powerfully through my language. I always seem to be able to speak a lot faster when I am translating, and my brain goes into this really weird phase of not thinking. haha You have to listen to what they are saying and be talking at the same time, so you have to not focus too much on one or the other. The middle ends up being this weird limbo where words just kind of come in your ear in one language and come out in another. It was good, though. :) haha I was able to really feel the Holy Ghost blessing me with the gift of tongues and even though I hadn't been able to prepare for that as much as I would have liked either, it went really well. I am so grateful for the Lord and for how he supports us.

Dad, I promise you that no matter what you have come up in your life, no matter what happens with the company, as long as you rely on the Lord you are going to be okay, and it is going to work out. That is just what happens. The Lord calls us, and then He qualifies us. I can testify to that, and I have felt it very powerfully this week. I have noticed over the course of my mission that I have sent countless emails home just telling how things were hard, or didn't work out, and then relying on the Lord made it all okay. It's true, you know. ;) That's why it keeps popping up. I know that the Lord is guiding each and every part of our lives, and I hope that you can see that. Rely on Him.

I love you so so much, Dad! I hope that you were able to get everything done with the magazine that needed to so that you could send it in early. Did that work out? I am really really excited to see it! I love you!!


Elder Livingston

Teaching about God - Letter to Mom - 6 December 2015.

Hello my dear mother!!! :D

How are you? Sorry that emails are a bit earlier today than usual, so I didn't really give you much time to send emails to me first. :P haha But, if you need/want to chat, I'll be on for the next hour and a half. How has your week been? Anything crazy happening this past week? How has Christmas shopping gone this year? Anything exciting that you have done for the family that you can't tell them, but you can OBVIOUSLY tell me, since I am here? ;D haha Is there anything that you want for Christmas? I am sad to say that my Christmas presents for everyone will probably not make it on time for Christmas. :( Sorry! They should hopefully be there for New Years which is a lot bigger in Japan anyway! haha

So, what happened to Elder Livingston this past week? Well, a lot of things. I will have to type really fast to get all of this down, so it is a good thing that I have a keyboard with me today. :)

The first thing that happened was last Tuesday I went to Kichijoji! It was the best! I got to go on splits with Elder Bates, the Assistant right now, and there was SOOO much that happened in that one split concerning me. Very first of all, I was able to set up an appointment with the G family (they haven't been able to meet with them since I left, so it was good). They are the cutest family, and I can not wait for the day that they are sealed in the temple. I know that it will bring their family closer and closer and I just really really want to help them make it to the Celestial Kingdom together. We had a good time there and we were able to share a Christmas message with them, so that was good. Then we headed back to the Mission Office and had a good night's rest there.

The next day was actually a huge day for me. The very first thing that we had that morning was staff meeting, which is a meeting with everybody who works in the mission office. It was really good. One of the topics that they have to cover is people coming into the mission and people going home. And it just so happened that they were deciding on my group of missionaries going home this time. So, I officially know when I am going home! The day that we are scheduled to go home is July 15, 2016! So, that is that.

The next thing that happened was Elder Bates and I went in to President Wada's office to talk about scheduling for the interviews that he does for the missionaries going home. Then out of nowhere, President Wada looks at me and says, "What are we going to do with you for the rest of your mission?"
"Uh, I don't know," I said.
"Well, I need to leave either you or Elder Cook in Kanagawa to be the long person there, but I hate to not use your knowledge. I could also see you going around the mission and training other missionaries."
"I'll do whatever you need. I would love either of those, President."
Conversation ends. haha So, I have absolutely no idea what is going to happen to me! haha but, we will find out this Saturday! At least, I will. I guess you won't find out until next Monday. :) I'll let you know, though, okay?

And that was still only up until Wednesday. After that we ended splits and Elder Cook and I (with Elder Shurilla in tow for MLC the next day) went home and went to bed. :)

The next day we woke up really early, at about 4:30, did some exercise, and headed to MLC. This MLC was absolutely incredible, and there were some moments that made me feel so so good. The first one was in the morning. This MLC I had two assignments. The first one was that I was translating again, with some other Elders. We divvied out the responsibilities, and I got President Wada. haha He had about a 2 hour training block, and I was going to translate. He is also really hard to translate for. So I prayed in my heart, and just dove in. It felt so good. There were a lot of questions and things that he asked, and I was doing everything that I could to keep up, but there were sometimes after he paused that I had to keep going to catch up with everything that he had said. In one of the pauses I finished the question with basically everybody listening and then president just stops and says, "Elder Livingston is perfectly translating my questions." And continues. I have never felt so good about my Japanese in my entire life!!!!!! :D It helped so so so so much and I have definitely felt better and more confident in my ability to use the language since then. That being said, I have still felt that there is so much I need to learn with the language, and that I am still inadequate. I am working hard though!!

The other thing that went well was mine and Elder Cook's training. It was really good and simple. :) But, what President Wada taught that day really hit me, (while I was translating) and we have tried to apply it a lot more since then. He talked all about helping people learn about God, and how to use a pamphlet we have called, "Who is God?" It was incredible. There were four things that he talked about, but I want to just mention the first one. It is understanding them and their beliefs. Often as missionaries we think that we need to just tell them what we believe and help them understand that what we are saying is true. And to an extent, yes, that is right. But we have to understand them and their beliefs. It is so vital. I will tell you why. We met with K the night after MLC and decided to try it. We asked what he believed, really, and learned a few of the things. And they were completely related to the gospel. We took the time to learn more about him and what he believed, and it taught us the principles that he needed to hear that night. We then were able to talk about his beliefs and how Jesus Christ taught the same things. He was amazed. Everything that we taught that night was able to ring with him and resonate in his heart because he realized it was basically something that he already believed, just slightly different. The trick from here on out is to help him see that the difference there is what makes all of the difference. We are going to continue helping him progress, though, and we are excited!!

We haven't been able to get a hold of lots of the people who dropped out last week, which is sad, but we will keep trying. Please keep praying for Sh, N, and that they will answer their phones and communicate with us.

I know that this gospel is true. The Lord sends us curveballs sometimes, and it can be hard to adjust when trials hit. But I also know that the Lord will provide a way to get out of them. I have seen it and experienced it infinitely more times than I can say, and I can definitely not deny the power of the Atonement in lifting us out of the despair, hurt, sickness, and sadness that so frequently occurs in our lives. Trust Him. Rely on Him.

I love you so much, Mom! I hope that things are going well this week, and they continue to. Please take care of yourself! Don't push too hard even during the Christmas season. I know that it can be really crazy and busy, but take time for the Lord to help you. :) I know that He will. I love you to infinity and beyond!


Elder Livingston

Pictures this week - 29 November, 2015

English Class
Boys from the train with Elders Cook and Livingston

Kawasaki District - Sister Handy's last week.

Up - Letter to Mom - 29 November, 2015

Dear Mom,

How are you doing? I was really happy to get the emails from you this past week as thanksgiving and our favorite holiday (after Christmas) happened. Man, I really wish that I could have been with you for that one! I love the day after thanksgiving so so much! I was really really happy to hear that Jenna got to spend the day with you in my place,
though. :) I love you, Mom! :) I hope that your health and the health of everyone else is holding up. :) I know that with the holidays coming there can be more stress along with the excitement and the fun. :) keep the happiness and the love that you feel spread to everyone you know!

So, This past week was so so so up and down. Such a good week though! I believe I told you about my day with Elder Nagano (my old MTC companion) right? As a quick recap, we found two new investigators that day, and taught a whole bunch of lessons. It was really good. :) I loved it! Then we had the temple! But, to jump back into the part of the week that you haven't heard….

First on Tuesday night we had a lesson with a man by the name of N! He is one of the people that I found with Elder Nagano. It was great to see him, even though he ended up coming a half an hour late or so. While we were waiting for him we saw this man on the ground, who looked like he had fallen, and then we looked closer and he as bleeding all over the back of his head! It was a lot of blood, and definitely something I haven't seen in person before. Anyway, we met with him and were able to teach the third lesson, or the Doctrine of Jesus Christ. It was good, and he accepted the soft baptismal commitment. We loved meeting with him and invited him to meet again on Friday night, but to bring his wife! He said yes!! We were so stoked. Then Friday rolled around. We called him about five minutes before the appointment to confirm and he said that everything was still okay, and that his wife said that she was coming too! We waited for them at the church....and waited....and waited. Sadly, they didn't show up. We don't know what happened yet, because they haven't answered our phone call or any of our messages. Hopefully we can contact him and his wife soon. They seemed really prepared.

Then, on Wednesday we had a good day as well, going to a district meeting and then coming back for Boy Scouts English class! That was really fun, and we talked all about thanksgiving. And then Thursday happened. :) haha

Thursday was crazy. We had a REALLY long weekly and monthly planning, that went super well. Sadly, it also took longer than we wanted, which really took down some of our opportunity to get out and find people. Then, we went to the church for a lesson with K, who I had taught at Questions of the Soul with Elder Shurilla. This was a really intense, but really good lesson. We talked about the restoration, and then asked him what he would feel if he got an answer like Joseph Smith. He said that he doesn't want an answer from God, because he doesn't want God to be real. We found out again that he has had some really close people pass away, and he feels that if God is real, he would not let that happen. We listened and did all that we could to help him understand his need for prayer, and he finally committed to pray once. We also asked him to come to church, and he came! Sunday was a huge miracle! He came to church, and then ended up spending about 8 hours with us from church, to lunch at the church, and then going to a members house. It was so good, and I really felt the power of members in that lesson. They helped him a lot with his concerns, and as we talked about the Plan of Salvation he loved to hear that he could meet his loved ones again. I am excited to continue working with him.

Elder Cook and Elder Philips were also able to teach S in bible class is week! Also, after they taught, Elder Cook introduced some of the commandments. S seemed to be worried about some of them, and actually mailed us this weekend to tell us he doesn't want to take lessons anymore. :P We haven't give up hope yet, and are just going to do all that we can to help him. Please continue to pray for him and for his heart it be softened. :)

That was the biggest part of our week this last week! We had a lot of fun times, and I was able to go on splits with Elder Clark again. :) I love working in Japan. It is the best! I hope that things continue to go well at home. :) I also love hearing from you throughout the week.

I know the church is true. I love you so much, Mom, and I pray for you and our family. Please take care of everyone for me! I look up to you so much, and I hope that you can feel just how much I love you. I love you infinity!! :) <3


Elder Livingston

Trust in God - Letter to Dad - 29 November, 2015

Hey Dad!

How are you doing this week? Was it nice to have some days off and do stuff with the family? I am sure you were still really busy, but I hope you found some sort of time to relax. :)

I don't have quite as much time this week to write, probably, because we are bowling while doing emails (turns out bowling is okay! Haha) :) But, I do have some things that I want to share.

Trust the Lord.

Be still and know that He is God.

I have definitely felt that this week. As you read the email that I sent to Mom, you probably noticed that things were pretty up and down. Elder Cook and I have been thinking as hard as we could trying to figure out what we could do better to help people continue to progress, and trying to examine if we were doing anything wrong. I have felt strangely peaceful throughout the entire thing, which is good, and I know that the Lord is in charge. I have felt that so much.

Dad, I want you to know that I know this church is the church set up by our Savior, Jesus Christ. He put it in this earth for us to become more perfect, so that we could come closer and closer to God. This is the way He established for us to make it back to the presence of our Heavenly Father. I know that we can make it back and live together in the presence of our Father forever, and I am so so so excited for that. I love you so much, Dad! I am sorry that this is so much shorter
than most weeks. :P I hope and pray that you have a good week and that you are safe. Take care of the family, especially the sick people, okay?? :) haha I love you!!


Elder Livingston

Pictures this week - 23 November, 2015

Elders Cook and Livingston at the Temple.  "I love
Elder Cook. He is such a good companion." 

Funny Photo

Elder Livingston sharing the gospel

Elder Livingston sharing the gospel

Temples and Raised Vision - Letter to Dad - 23 November, 2015

Hey, Dad!

Thanks for your email, yesterday! I loved it. It is good to hear that things are still going well at home. :) I hope that the business continues to go well. I know that the Lord will continue to guide you, so don't worry. :) I want to talk a little bit this week about the temple experience that I had today, and about raising our vision.

So, today at the temple I was doing all that I could to think about the people that we are working with, as well as the things that I could do for the zone. I wasn't sure what to do, and so I just thought about that as I went through the endowment session. It was a good session, but the best, as usual, was in the Celestial Room. I sat there and prayed, asking God what I could do to help the investigators that we had, and the zone that we have here. And he asked me to think about SH for a minute. He asked me to picture him in the temple clothing, in the Celestial Room. I did everything that I could to picture it, which wasn't too hard, but then the Lord expanded my vision a little more. He taught me what SH would feel like when he made it to that room for the first time. He then took me through the same process with another of our investigators, K. It was incredible to feel what the Lord wanted me too. My vision for them as a person and their possibility definitely got higher. I was allowed to see a glimpse into the heavenly love and view of potential that the Lord sees in each and every one of us. :) I loved it so so so much. :)

So, then I asked about the zone. And he took me through the same process. :) haha Except, this time instead of them walking into the Celestial Room I was able to picture them on the streets, talking to people and inviting them to come unto Christ. I was able to see them finding new investigators and really helping those people come to God by promising to him through the covenant of baptism. He told me, once again, to raise my vision. That has definitely been the theme for this
week. Raising our vision is so important.

What are some of the goals that you have made recently? Is there anything that you could do to raise those goals? Do those goals make you stretch? Are they goals that you can keep track of? I hope that you have lots of good goals. I feel like you do. :) when I think of the man that you are and have become, I definitely have realized that you must have had goals to help you become like that. I hope that you continue to set good goals. :) I love you so much!

Dad, you are such an incredible example, and I pray for you and Mom and the family. :) Know that I love you. Give lots of thanks to lots of people this week, and more than that do all that you can to live in a Spirit of Thanksgiving!! :) <3 I love you!! To the Moon and Back!!


Elder Livingston

Meetings! - Letter to Mom - 23 November, 2015

Hello, Mom!!

I hope that you are feeling fantastic and ready to go, because this is going to be a really good email. We have had quite the week, and there is a ton that I want to say, and definitely not enough time to say it.

Sorry that this is a day late, we got to go to the temple today which means that we had P-day a day later than usual. But, I had such a good time. I will write more about that in my email to Dad. This week, though, we had a lot of meetings, like I mentioned in my email last week. It was quite overwhelming making sure that everyone was prepared for everything, and we have to get our training for tomorrow at district meeting ready still, but it turned out so so so good, and I have more miracles to share than I will be able to in this email! haha :)

First meeting: Zone Meeting November 17, 2015
This meeting went sooooo well!!! Since it was zone meeting, not zone conference, we were in charge of putting it all together. We had to make sure that everybody knew about it, and that the trainings were ready, etc. It was particularly stressful this time because of all of the other meetings that we also needed to have throughout the week, but it was good. In this meeting Elder Cook and I got to train on a RPLA (Read, Ponder, Liken, Apply) training that President Wada had
presented to us in the previous MLC. It went perfectly. We got to read together with our zone from Mosiah 3. What a powerful chapter. If you ever want to learn about the Savior, just go through and read that really slowly, verse by verse. One thing that we did with our zone (Elder Cook's was golden!) was to start reading this chapter under the context that you have never heard that much about Christ, just His name and a little of what He did. It really opens up just how much it teaches us about Christ.

Meeting two: District Meeting November 18, 2015
Elder Larkin, the district leader in Kawasaki, did a good job. The hardest part of this training was that we needed him to take 15 minutes at most for his part of the training (all about housing/knocking doors) and we needed about 45 to do our training on creating lesson plans/teaching the Restoration effectively. Well, we got that just about backwards. He took 45 for his housing training, and we had to scramble through our part. But, it ended up working out all right.

Meeting three: Zone Conference November 20, 2015
This was absolutely incredible. This is where President came and shared some time with our zone. It was amazing. He talked about the things that he learned at a Mission President's Seminar in Korea where he had been the week before. It was so good. Basically the entire theme for the conference was having higher faith to find those that are prepared to receive us and helping them receive baptism. It was so so so so so good. We also were able to give a training on extending the baptismal invitation in three different ways. It was really good. I loved the entire day, and I just left with so much fire in my little heart. :) haha It was great. After that we had Questions of the Soul, which is where President showed "It's a Wonderful Life" and talked about the worth of souls. It was good. And....we got to invite the person with us to take lessons, and we are meeting this next week! So, that was a great miracle.

Meetings four and five: District Meetings for Kanagawa and Kohoku
November 21, 2015
This was a great meeting/meetings. We do it all kind of combined together, so in total it feels like one meeting, but it has three parts. In this meeting we decided to do the housing training ourself, and let Elder Gammon (the district leader for Kohoku) do the training on planning and teaching the Restoration. It turned out really well, and I was pleased with the whole meeting. I was also blessed to be on splits with Elder Shurilla, who is in Kawasaki, that day. We talked to some really cool people.

One of the biggest things that President Wada has changed in the mission is a larger focus on actually teaching when we find people. Which is already written in PMG, but President Wada taught us how to do it better. Needless to say it has been much better. Last week we had two new investigators. We already have two this week. :) haha I am hoping that all of those come to their return appointments, and don't forget about them. I know, I have absolutely no doubt, that those who are prepared to be baptized are being found. Everyday, all around the world. I love this work so so so much.

So, we have this one investigator by the name of SH. He is great! Two days ago we had a lesson with him and we set a baptismal date for the 19 of December!!! Please pray for him! We are going to work as hard as we can to get him prepared. He has quite a bit of time before then, so we should be okay, but just pray that he will accept and apply the principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

I love you so so so much, Mom. I hope that you have the most fantastic Thanksgiving day! We don't really do anything for Thanksgiving....I guess we'll probably find a new investigator!! :D haha but there will be no feasting for me! I don't have that kind of money. I am just a poor little missionary. :) I love it though. I have learned a lot more about budgeting here. I hope that I can get even better too. As a random side note, I fixed my pants! That was a miracle last week. They work like a charm again. Thanks for giving me that nice little sewing kit. :) It works miracles.

You are the best, Mom! I am so grateful for you and for all that you have done for me and continue to do for me all day every single day of my life. :) I love you!! <3 Have a great week, and say hello to santa for me! I can't wait to be back with you again on the day after Thanksgiving. That is definitely the best day! Send lots of pictures!! :) <3 I love you!!


Elder Livingston

Preparation for the Storm - Letter to Dad - 15 November, 2015

Hello, Dad!

Thanks for your email! It was great to hear from you. Thanks so much for saying that you are going to look into those scholarships! That would be so helpful. I know that some of them may be time sensitive as well, so that would do a lot for me. I definitely can't just get on and do them all of the time. But, I know that the Lord will provide a way for me to pay for the education that I need! :) Thanks for your help! 

So, if you read the title of this email, that has been what I felt like this last week was. This week is the "storm" of meetings, if you will, that we will be having. Today is Preparation Day, so we have a ton of things that we need to do here to prepare for the week. Tomorrow we have a zone meeting, that is completely run by us. So, that will take some preparation. We then are going on splits with the some other elders in Kawasaki, and then ending those spits on Wednesday, where we  have District Meeting in Kawasaki. :) We will also be in charge of an hour of trainings there. We then have to rush home to an appointments, and then finish off the night with a scouts english program we are starting! (Random request: Can you send me my uniform? That would be really nice. Being an Eagle Scout is helpful even in Japan. Their equivalent is a Fuji Scout, but not many people get it, so they look up to Eagle Scouts a lot). haha Thursday we will have weekly planning as well as normal English Class. Then Friday we have a zone conference run by President Wada and the assistants. That will take up basically all of the day. But, when that ends we will be having splits with the last companionship of elders in Kawasaki. That night we have Questions of the Soul put on by President Wada, and it is going to be great! Then, on Saturday we will have the district meetings for the Kanagawa and the Kohoku districts, and we will be in charge of another one hour training segment in the middle of those two things. So, that is our week, in a wrap. It is going to be really really busy, but there will be lots of time to receive revelation, and to learn from the fantastic people that I am surrounded with, so that will be good.

You know, when life hits and it is really hard, and there seems to be endless trials all around us, it can sometimes be hard to keep going. Sometimes I feel like I am in a swamp. I am standing, trying to move forward, but my boots are stuck too deep in the mud to keep going. When those times hit, whether here on a mission or at home, I have definitely learned that the solution is to get out of the mud. But how? We obviously need someone who is already above the mud to help lift us out. Sometimes that means that our boots will get stuck there and sucked in. That person is Christ, though. I love the beautify of the gospel. If there is something that we have, that we are holding on to, and can't let go, then we will be stuck in the mud. That mud has a lot of names. Anger, jealousy, lust, bitterness, sadness, etc. And we just need to get out of it. I challenge you to let go of anything that is keeping you from being the absolute best person that you can be. No matter how hard it is, just let it go. I don't think you have any of those things, by the way, Dad. :) This was just what came out while I was trying to think of what to write to you. But, if there is something that you want to improve about yourself, whether it be your scripture study, lesson preparation, workouts, sleep schedule, etc. I have no idea! But just decide to be better, and have faith the Lord will help you. Just trust Him. :) I think that sometimes we complicate things. There are definitely some things I need to let go of! Everybody does. :) There is only one person who is perfect. :) I am so grateful that the Savior is there to lift us up and to help us, any time, all the time. :) I love you, and I bear my witness that Christ lives.

This gospel is true. Live it and love it! :) I love you so so so much, Dad! I hope that you have a great day! Also, if you have any tips and trick to gain just a little more muscle with just your own bodyweight as a tool, I would love to hear them. ;) Thanks for everything!! I love you to infinity and beyond!


Elder Livingston

Relief and Other Miracles - Letter to Mom - 15 November, 2015

Hey, Mom!!

How are you? First things first, thank you so so much for sending me that information to the University of Utah information. I will definitely be looking into scholarships and things like that in the weeks to come. The relief that I mentioned in the title of this email was the relief of knowing that my deferment went through and that my deferment of my Metallurgical Engineering Scholarship went through (I am not sure if the other one went through or not, but I will keep looking). So, that was huge. Thank you so much. Now, the email that I received telling me that my deferment went through said that they would mail me and inform me of how to keep it eligible/how to get in again, but I have no idea how to do that. Could you send me that information? I am not sure how would be the best way (scan/mail it to me/things like that), but that would be really helpful! Thank you so much, Mom. :) I love you!!

As for miracles that happened this week, we had a few! One of the best ones happened today, so I will hopefully be able to share all of them. But first, thank you so much for your emails! It was great to hear from you. I am sorry that the little girls continue to be sick. :( that is so sad. I wish that I could help them. Someday it will all be made right. I just wish that day was today! haha Keep hanging in there. I know that there is a reason that the Lord is requiring them to go through this kind of refinement right now. That is definitely true. The Lord will put us through what we need to become the people that we need to become. Sometimes that just doesn't match up with the image of what we think we should have happening. But that is okay. It is all in the Master's hands.

I am so happy that you got a new couch!! :D I expect pictures! ;D haha It would be great to see that. I hope that it is comfortable, and that it lasts all the way until I get home! ;D haha We'll see. How are the downstairs couches doing? Just as good as ever? haha Any other home improvements lately?

But, here are some of the miracles. One of my favorites was on splits this past week. I went up to Kawasaki with an Elder named Elder Gonzales. He is a really nice elder who has been in Kawasaki for about a year now. He is fluent in Tagalog and has been helping a lot of Filipino people who are living up in the Kawasaki area. But, anyway, I knew that we were going on splits and I really really wanted to see a miracle with him, to help him see just how much the Lord is doing for
us, and preparing people for him. So I met him at a train station called Mizonokuchi. From there we needed to go to the church to send some people messages, and try to set up a couple of appointments. But, on the way we ran into a boy! I can't quite remember his name, but we started talking to him, and he said that he would love to do a church tour! So, we took him right then to do a church tour. It was great. We took him up to the chapel (on the fourth floor) and talked about the Restoration, and then we were able to pray with him. It was a really spiritual event, and I was astounded at how quickly the Lord answered my prayer to see a miracle.

Well, as for an update about N, he is still very up and down. Right now he does not want to come to church, but he still wants us to go over every once in a while and see how he is/share things with him. He is really at the critical point where he needs to decide to act on everything he is learning and feeling, or just leave it and let it go. We are praying and doing all that we can to help him see that he needs to act, but sometimes people can be really stubborn. :P haha Keep praying for him.

Another miracle was today. Elder Cook and I finished the Mission Leadership Council conference call at about 10:30, and then had a really good discussion about what we could do to become better missionaries. We felt like we are being as obedient as possible, we are working hard, choosing to use our time wisely, and following the Spirit the best we could, but we have struggled to find new investigators/people that are ready to receive the gospel. We prayed and shared our feelings with each other. One of the things that he shared was a better determination to talk with absolutely everyone.
One that I shared was to focus on sharing the First Vision more on the street (something that some members here actually suggest not to, since there is no Christian background). So we did it. We have tried to talk to as many people as we could today, and we ran into a young man named K. He was really nice. As we talked with him he said he thought it would be cool if he could meet God. Elder Cook then talked about how people called prophets (remember, they have no concept really of what a prophet is. To them it is someone who predicts the future (something with the language I will explain in just a minute)) actually do meet God sometimes. We then shared the Joseph Smith experience, and asked him how he felt. He said, "Well, I feel like things like that actually do happen." And we were able to testify of how the Spirit was teaching him something that most people don't feel right away. He loved that, and loved feeling the Spirit, and agreed to meet again to talk more on Wednesday. It was amazing to see how the Lord immediately blessed us for following what He had directed us to do. I am excited to see more how He continues to bless us in the next days as we do all we can to follow His counsel closer than ever before.

Now the explanation about prophets! There are two words that mean prophet in Japanese. They are 予言者 and 預言者 I promise that they are actually different. haha But! You pronounce them exactly the same. The first character in the first one means to predict or do something before hand. This is the prophet they usually think about. The second word first character means to gather or be entrusted with. This is the prophet that we have in the church. :) Cool, huh? The word (broken down into the parts) means person who is entrusted with words. I love Japanese sometimes! haha

I hope that you have a fantastic day, Mom! I love you so so so so much, and I pray that things go a little bit better for you this week than they have last week. :) I can't think of anything that I really need, except maybe running gloves for the winter. :)

I love you to infinity and beyond, Mom!!

Love, Elder Livingston

Quick! - Letter to Mom & Dad - 15 November, 2015

Hey, if you are still up I need the username and password to my U of U account, so that I can work on stuff. President Wada just gave me permission to begin making sure that all of the school stuff is read so I can transition again. I realized recently that I wasn't sure the deferment application and such that I sent finished going all the way through (I left) and I wanted to make sure, and if it didn't then re-apply to get the better scholarships. I am going to look into that anyway, though. Thanks so much! As soon as you can get this to me the better!! Love you!!

Elder Livingston

The Power of Scriptures - Letter to Dad - 8 November, 2015

Hey Dad!!

I feel like I talk about this with you all of the time, but I would love to just again emphasize the importance of the scriptures, and I have a great experience to go with it!

First, last Monday, late afternoon, we called N to invite him to come to FHE at the church, and he told us he was done. He was never going to join the church, or come to church, and he didn't want us to come back. I hung up the phone more than a little bit shaken up, but at the same time really peaceful. The Spirit was definitely there to help me. At the same time, I knew that he had done this before, and there was a possibility he was just having a bad day. :) The more that I thought about it and the other factors that could've played into why he would call us and say that, the more convinced I was that it was just a drunk N in the heat of the moment. So, Elder Cook and I went on Friday to check it out!

I was right. ;D haha

He welcomed us in with open arms and said, "I knew that you would come back! I said not, but I knew that you would come. I have missed you a lot! It's been over a week, right?" It had been about four days since we had talked with him. haha As I had thought, he had been drunk and had just bought some new alcohol, so he was feeling particularly guilty and didn't want us to come over and see that. We were able to introduce Elder Cook to him, and we gave him a triple combination. I have never seen any one person so excited to receive scriptures in my entire life!! He was blown away, and saying over and over that this was the only present that he had ever wanted, and he loved it. He was waving it around in the air, and kissed it once. :) haha It was cool to see him get excited to read the Doctrine and Covenants, though. He already finished the Book of Mormon, so this is his next step. He thinks that he can do it in a month. I don't doubt him. :) haha he came to church again on Sunday, but we feel like he is still struggling a lot, and we aren't sure with what. Please pray for him to open up to us just a little bit more.

But, that brings me to talking about the scriptures again. This has for sure always been the strongest point in N’s conversion. :) I ran across a couple of verses that I would love to share with you. :) The first one is the scripture that I am ponderizing this week. It is 3 Nephi 7:16-18. This is the kind of missionary that I want to become. :) My favorite part is in verse 18 where it says that people could not disbelieve the things that he was saying. That for sure did not mean that everybody got baptized. But he was that good of a teacher. Can you believe that? I guess you can't not believe it, right. ;D haha But I have been thinking a lot about what it means to become that kind of a teacher. How can you be so good at teaching that people can not disbelieve your words? But, there was a reason why he was so good. If you continue to read it says that because of his faith in Christ, he was ministered to every single day by angels. Every single day. That is incredible faith.

Dad, I want to bear my testimony of something to you, something that struck me. It does not say that he saw angels everyday. Now, that is very likely as well, but it says he was ministered to. I know that angels are ministering to you daily. I hope that you can feel that. I know that they are helping you in every single aspect of the work to which you are dedicated right now. That means that they are helping you with your scripture study. They are helping you in your prayers. They are protecting you from temptations that you don't know are even there. They are lifting you up when your knees feel too feeble to stand. Remember them. As a holder of the Aaronic priesthood you have the right to the ministering of angels. That is pretty cool. :)

The scriptures have power. Lots of it. I challenge you to find a new way this week to incorporate scripture more in your life. Maybe set the background of your screen at work, or your phone, to some sort of scripture. Without even realizing it, the power of the Atonement will flow more powerfully into your life, and you will recognize how the Savior is helping you in your everyday life. :) What a blessing it is to be able to yield our hearts unto Him.

I love you so much, Dad! I hope that things continue to look up for the business, and that you will continue to receive daily guidance! Are you still praying with Ammon?? I hope that you are enjoying that still. :) That is precious time, too. Thanks for all that I have learned from your example! I love you, Dad!!


Elder Livingston

As You Wish - Letter to Mom - 8 November, 2015

Dearest Mother,

Here in the land of the rising sun, well....I haven't seen the sun rise in a little while. :) haha It is pretty cloudy most days, but has been surprisingly not rainy, so that is good! I really enjoyed getting the survey, and I will respond to that soon. :) I am glad that you are working on the magazine, and I am super excited to see it this Christmas season. Are you getting ready for Christmas? Can you believe that it is already getting to be time for Christmas?? What an incredible time to share the gospel, right? Most people in Japan don't even know why Christmas exists! haha they think it is just a time to be with your girlfriend/boyfriend/spouse and go on dates and eat fried chicken and Christmas cake.....don't ask me why they believe that, it doesn't make sense to me either.

So, as for the title of this email, I just thought it was funny because Elder Cook's name is Westly, you wish just happens to be something that is connected to that name! haha :) It has been a really good week with him. He is such a good missionary, exactly obedient, and I have loved working with him. I would love to share a couple of the miracles that are happening in our companionship and zone.

The first one is actually related to this past transfer a lot. We have struggled a lot recently to find new investigators, so Elder Cook and I have definitely been praying for that and doing all that we could to find people. This week at Eikaiwa Elder Cook and Elder Philips were assigned to teach bible class (a class that typically no one had attended). And someone showed up! His name is HS. He came in and started talking about how he had already read the bible, but that he was interested in learning about the mormon bible. He said that he wasn't Christian, because he wasn't baptized yet. Yet. That was the key word. Elder Cook had a great lesson with him and they got to read from 3 Nephi 11. In the end Elder Cook extended the baptismal invitation, and he said yes! We did not set a date with him yet, but he will be coming back into bible class next week, and I would not be surprised if he progressed very very quickly. :) It was one of the biggest miracles.

That was a great start to the transfer (that was our first day together), and since then we have just been doing all that we can to be super obedient and just work really hard. It has been really fun. :) It can be exhausting, for sure, to just come home at the end of the day and need to plan, and then call a ton of people, but it has been good. I was doing all of those things before, but for some reason now it all seems more rushed. That is something that I really want to get better at in the coming days and weeks. What have you done to keep it so that life does not feel rushed, even when it is busy? I know that can be really hard, but I know there is a way to do it, and I just want to figure it out. :) Also, we have been running! And a lot further and faster than I did with Elder Loi-on. We went on a 45 minute run the other day! haha well....a 30 minute run and then we got lost and it turned into a 45 minute run. :) haha It was really good though, and I feel so much better in the mornings if I run. i definitely want to run/workout in the morning when I get home.

One of the craziest miracles that I have heard about, though, is what has happened in Kawasaki. So, two of the Kawasaki Elders went and were knocking on doors. They happened to find this one Filipino girl by the name of M. They referred her to the sisters in Kawasaki, and ended up all going to visit her last week. And it was incredible. They had a really good lesson, and at the end of the lesson she prayed that she would be able to become a part of our church.......something that we can definitely help with. :) haha Then, they invited her to church and she said maybe. They didn't really know if she would come. And then she showed up....and brought her dad! It was an amazing miracle.  And then as they were leaving she came up and expressed how she wanted to start meeting with the sisters every Tuesday and Friday, if that was okay with them. They just stood there in awe and said that would for sure be okay for them!

I know that the Lord is putting people in our path who are prepared. I know that there are those who are waiting, with bated breath, to hear of the Plan of Salvation and what it means for them and their families. These were just two of the examples. Never forget that Christ is a miracle worker. I hope that you can see that everyday in your life.

I love you so much and I pray for your health. I pray that as you are sensitive to the promptings of the Holy Spirit you will know how to help the young women in the ward. Listen for the Holy Ghost. It is Him, not you, that will get in and change their hearts to become the women that they need to be in this world of upheaval and sin. I love you, Mom!!! I hope you are feeling a bit better than you were last week. :) Keep working hard and doing all that you can to listen to the Spirit, okay?? :)


Elder Livingston