Sunday, December 27, 2015

Lessons Learned on a Storm Tossed Sea - Letter to Mom - 19 October, 2015

Dear Mom,

How are things going at home?! I hope it has been a good week! Has Quinci made it home safely? How long is she gone? Did she have a good time? I hope and pray that her and your health is holding up. :)

Hey, random question. Did Britta quit Tennis? Haha

Anyway, this was an absolutely incredible week, with some pretty crazy days, crazy lessons, heartbreaking experiences, and many, many life lessons learned. I will start with a super tiny miracle. Which is today. :) haha

Today we went to.....the dentist! Haha crazy huh? Elder Loi-on had some tooth problems a year ago, and wanted to have a check up on that do we decided to go. :) it is in a place called Azabajuban or 麻布十番 in Japanese. :) And guess what?....I have 5 cavities! :P Classic me, right? Actually, that was just a joke. ;) haha I have none! The doctor said that it actually looks really healthy, and I was a bit shocked and more than just a bit relieved. I didn't want to have to take the time, money, etc. to have to fix cavities. :) luckily the Japanese National Insurance that we use covers quite a bit, so it probably wouldn't have been too much anyway, but I'm glad I don't have to do it. :) So that was a tiny miracle! We will have to come back next week though, as Elder Loi-on still has a couple of teeth things that he needs to figure out.

But, the biggest event of the week was when Elder Yamashita of the Area Seventy came! It has been weeks in the planning, and it was so good. I was in charge of coordinating and getting two musical number groups prepared for it, and I also played piano for prelude and things like that. I really can not emphasize just how glad I am that I play piano. It has brought infinitely more blessings and opportunities than I thought that it would. Anyway, he taught us a lot of really amazing things. I am always floored at just how powerful the spirit is with men like him, as well as their wives. He talked quite a bit about having a view like God, as well as becoming a full-purpose missionary. What that means is understanding the bigger scope of things and working for that (basically teaching with an eternal perspective, or God's eye view). I learned so much, and then had some pretty good experiences learning about it in real life. I have felt so much of God's love for His children. I am so grateful for Elder Yamashita and all that he taught us.

We also were blessed to have a huge internet connected conference with him and the four other Japanese stakes that are in our mission. It was just the missionaries and Ward council that attended, and it was incredible. He talked about how we need to coordinate all five of the different parts of the work of salvation (if you don't know the five parts, that is your homework for the week! ;D haha) in Ward council between the missionaries and the Ward. It was a great meeting, and Ward council yesterday was fantastic.

For sure the hardest but most incredible experience this week was with N. There are too many lessons and crazy ups and downs with him to try and describe all of it, so I will just talk about one of them here. It was Sunday morning, and he didn't come to church. Since sacrament meeting is last in our Ward, we decided to go and get him.  When we arrived we peeked through his little window, and saw him talking to this xx year old who always comes over to drink with him. That was when we knew it might be rough. The funniest part was that we knocked, he let us in, and then the xx year old was half hiding under the tiny table, pretending to be asleep. I couldn't believe it. Part of me wanted to laugh so so hard. He very quickly woke up and got out of the house (he isn't much inclined to learning about the gospel). Then we basically got torn apart by N. Nothing that he said made too much sense, and he couldn't actually say us or the church was wrong, he just said he hated all of the principles and scriptures we always talked about and used, and that he decided he was going to continue to study the scriptures on his own. It was heartbreaking. Here he was, with a witness of the truth in his heart, clearly choosing a different path because it was hard to follow Christ. It was a very eye opening experience. He still wants us to continue to go back, so we will, just once or twice a week, slowly helping him to
overcome his concerns.

You know, I should be really sad. He is the only investigator that I have been able to teach here. He is about all we have right now. And he just chewed us out and told us he wouldn't follow Christ. I should be broken. But for some strange reason the entire lesson I only felt peace. It was a really great experience. I only felt good for some reason. When we left his house I knew clearer than I knew I was standing there that God had a bigger plan for all of this. In fact, I expected to see miracles yesterday because of the hardness of the experience. I don't know why. I haven't ever felt quite like that. But
we did see miracles.

A potential investigator set up a lesson with us for Saturday A 15 year old kid on the street agreed to meet and hear our message on Thursday

In an area where I had literally only had one new investigator for the entire transfer up to that point, I knew these two opportunities were sent from God.

Now, what do I take from all of this? First, God loves us, and it breaks His heart when we make conscious decisions to go against His will. I know that. I felt that very clearly when N said he didn't want to continue. Second, the Lord truly does know that we are going to have hardships. He knows that the days on a stormy sea will come, and that it is only Him who can calm that storm. So when we yield our heart to His, He calms it. In His timing, and in His way. I testify as a representative of Christ that these things are true.

I love you so much, Mom. I am so grateful for all that you do for me on a weekly basis. I have felt the strength of your prayers, and I want you to know that they are not in vain. I know the Lord is doing more for our family than we can see. Look from His view, as much as you can, and the way in which you need to go will be clear. I pray for you, our family, and the success and health you need to continue pressing forward. Thanks, mom! I love you! :)


Elder Livingston

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