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!