Sunday, December 27, 2015

Spiritual Boost - Letter to Mom - 13 October, 2015

Dear Mom,

It was nice to hear how things are going this week. I am so so relieved that Quinci is feeling a little bit better. I know that there is still a lot to go before she is perfectly better, but this is such a good place to start, and I am thrilled that she gets to go to Boston! That is so cool. Tell her to have fun, take care of herself, and keep getting better! She will definitely still be in my prayers.

I am so glad that Jenna got to go with you to Gardner village too! That place is a blast. It looks like you had some fun. I actually only got one picture so....I would always love more! ;D haha Did you find anything cool that you wanted to buy, or anything to scheme for the future with? I am curious! Just let me know.

I hope that the blood tests that you had come back with some answers. It is so Important that we figure out what it is. We can't have the best mom in the world sick forever, that just doesn't work. Haha are you continuing to exercise? That is super important! Recently (don't fall of your chair) Elder Loi-on and I had been running every morning. Nothing too strenuous, but it is so nice to get out and have some fresh air. I suggest a good amount of fresh air every single day. :) Do you get lots of fresh air, mom? You should. :)

Speaking of Elder Loi-on I guess I haven't told you all too much about him, huh? He is from Hawaii! :D He is a really nice elder, and one of the boldest missionaries that I know. I have been so grateful to be his companion. He has really taught me how to set correct expectations with people, and bring them step by step to Christ while they have their vision in Him and baptism the whole time. That is so important. He is very open and it is fun to be with him. We laugh a lot and have
a good time. Missionary work in Kanagawa is super fun.

It is strange how different things in every area just grab your heart. This is my favorite area for the location, just because it is close to Yokohama. For some reason my heart just feels right here. So great! I love Japan. I hope that I can bring you all back here someday! It is such an incredible place. :) you would like it a lot. And I speak Japanese (decently) so we could go and do anything that we want. I actually feel like I have figured out a new way to study Japanese that has been going really well, so that is good. I feel like I am improving and learning again, and that I am not in a plateau. Whew!! Hopefully I get a Japanese companion someday. That would be the absolute best. I actually think it would be super funny if I had him my last transfer, because I wouldn't really speak English at all, so I would probably go home with horrible English, but it would be funny. :) Anyway, that is just a little bit about the area. We have TONS of hills, if I didn't tell you that before. Biking is a lot harder here than most areas in the mission. But, that just makes it super fun. :)

This last weekend and today have all been spiritual boosts for me. I have loved it so so much. To try and choose a favorite talk would be absolutely impossible, because I just loved them all! I watched two of the sessions in Japanese, so I need to go back and read/listen to those ones in English so that I can pull the full meaning from it, but it was good. Interestingly enough, Elder Rasband and Elder Stevenson both came to my mission in March with Elder Ballard. So I have shaken both of their hands!! Aren't there Rasbands in our stake too? I swear some of his grandkids went to AF. However, there were a few things that I learned that I want to talk about. I will talk about one here, and a couple in my email to Dad, probably.

What I want to talk about today is actually some revelation that I received in the temple today. I was wondering super hard about what I could to do help this zone. I talked with President Wada about how to make the temple a more revelatory experience, and I definitely got some good answers! He said just to focus on the people that we want to help, and the Lord would help me out. Strangely enough it works! haha President Wada has been saying a lot recently that we can do better as a mission, and that we need to work just a little harder and have more faith in order to really find those people that will receive us. So, as a zone leader, I have been wondering for the past while what I can do to help those in my zone to develop that kind of faith. I was wondering what part of our work needs to be strengthened in order for us to really be lifted up to be Alma, Amulek, Ammon, etc. like missionaries. I have really not been able to find what we need to change. And then in the temple today I had a great discovery.

In the allegory of the olive tree we read about various parts of the tree being weak. There are points when the branches are week, points when the roots are weak, and parts where it is weak as a whole. Even if the ground isn't that great, the Lord of the vineyard does all that He can, and he does yield fruit. I realized today that we have strong branches in our mission. The organizations are there. The people are working hard. But. The roots aren't quite strong enough to support the tree. That is what President Wada has been talking about, I think. Now, I do not think that our mission is failing, not by any stretch of the imagination. We are actually doing really well. But, in order to go to the next level of being completely under the influence and direction of the spirit, we need to just strengthen our roots a little bit. And in order to do that, our roots, our foundation, must be centered on Christ.

Today what I realized at the temple was that we need to not focus on one particular part of the missionary work (at least in our zone) but on the faith and strength of the missionaries. A study of gospel doctrine will change behavior faster than a study of behavior will change behavior. That is just how it works. I am going to do all that I can to follow the words of the prophets, strengthen my faith, and keep working.

Mom, I want you to do the same. If you sometimes feel strained, like your branches are trying to produce just a little bit more fruit than you can, strengthen your roots. Remember why you do the things that you do. If you have that faith in christ, and you remember him as the center of everything that you do, you literally CAN NOT fall. That is so essential. I pray that you are doing well in your scripture study and that every day you are learning something new, that everyday you
are getting revelation.

I love you so much. I had a huge realization this past week of just how grateful I am for you, and how much I need to thank you. I wish that I could express it in a nice email, but that just doesn't cover how much I love you Mom. That just won't express how grateful I am that you did the things you did to help me while I was growing up. While I AM still growing up. :) haha I am so grateful for how you taught me that the scriptures have the power to answer our questions, and bring us comfort when things are hard. I am grateful that you taught me principles of truth and righteousness, and didn't just lay down a list of do's and dont's. You have eternally influenced me, and you definitely stand as one of the noble and great one's that Abraham saw, Mom. I love you, and I hope that this letter finds you well! Keep holding on!!

Elder Livingston

P.S. What scripture are you ponderizing? ;) haha Don't forget to do that! He challenged you to do it, and if you never try it you will never know if it works. Love ya! <3

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