vrijdag 3 juni 2016

Not Particularly Famous Last Words - May 30 2016


It's been a while since I've updated you on how everything is doing. I've been doing awesome! Me and my companion have been working our tails off. We've been setting high goals and accomplishing them step by step.

Unfortunately, this might very well be my very last message to all of you before they take the black tag off my chest. Let me share with you my experience. 

A little less than two years ago, I dreamed that one day people would look me in the eyes and see Christ. I wanted to shine that light that my leaders shone and be as Christlike as them. I wanted to be an example of confidence and spirituality. I wanted to be this ideal, awesome and amazing elder Santos, an example to those around me. At the end of my two years, I can tell you that I didn't completely become the way I wanted to become... but I became what I needed to become. And I'm really happy with what I have. One of the things that we might forget as we serve the Lord is to forget ourselves. The arrows point inward really easily, but as soon as they point outward... that's when you shine the light. That's when you become a tool in the Lord's hands; a true disciple of Jesus Christ. I'm not claiming that I'm a selfless person... but I think about myself less often now. The Atonement helps us change he direction of the arrows. It has helped me.

There are millions of things that I could share with you right now, but let me just end with a scripture (that I've already shared before):

"And if there were miracles wrought then, why has God ceased to be a God of miracles and yet be an unchangeable Being? And behold, I say unto you he changeth not; if so he would cease to be God; and he ceaseth not to be God, and is a God of miracles."
—Mormon 9:19

God exists. Miracles are real. I can promise you that the Atonement of our Savior Jesus Christ brought forth a miraculous power that changes one's heart and changes one's countenance. It can reach to our very core and work a mighty change in us. I'm grateful for the undying love of Christ. I'm grateful for the two years that I have been able to spend here in Japan. I will never forget the things that I've experienced here.

See you all on the other side (in other words: Facebook). Love ya times infinity!



Sakura Matata - april 4th

Hello everybody!

We went to see the sakura trees in Sannomiya today. There was only
one. But it was pretty!
It's been a good week. My bike recently broke, so I inherited a
"mamachari" (like a mama's bike) from one of the sisters that left a
little while back. It's super heavy and has the loudest brakes in the
entire universe, but oh well, I'll just have to endure these last 7
weeks I suppose.

Here's a really cool quote I found recently:

“Conversion means consecrating your life to caring for and serving
others who need your help and sharing your gifts and blessings. …

“Every unselfish act of kindness and service increases your
spirituality. God would use you to bless others. Your continued
spiritual growth and eternal progress are very much wrapped up in your
relationships--in how you treat others. Do you indeed love others and
become a blessing in their lives? Isn’t the measure of the level of
your conversion how you treat others? The person who does only those
things in the Church that concern himself alone will never reach the
goal of perfection. Service to others is what the gospel and exalted
life are all about.”

— Elder Robert J. Whetten, "Strengthen Thy Brethren" (April 2005
General Conference)

Love is something we should seek not to get, but to give. I love all of you!


zondag 3 april 2016

Lesson for a Lifetime

Hello everyone! A lot happened last week, so let me just send you a
copy of my letter to the mission president. Luvya! <3 font="">

"Hello, president!

Another good week has passed. We had TTTM, a wonderful District
Meeting, lots of finding and service opportunities and a wonderful
Family Home Evening activity with some members! This has definitely
been one of the better weeks on my mission.

I think I finally figured out how to help Takatsuki ward grow and
become stronger and also how to find and help investigators come unto
Christ. I talked about it last week and the very same topic was
addressed at the TTTM. It's love, of course! This week has confirmed
that what I've been learning my entire mission is true; love is the
motive. Faith, hope and charity, but the greatest is charity, right?
Hope is the fruits of charity, faith is the fruits of hope, but
without charity there is no hope, without hope there is no faith. All
the law and the prophets hang on charity, which is the pure love of

I want to share an experience. We were speeding home on our bikes one
night after a long day of finding, when we passed a man on his way
home not too far from the apartment. I noticed how he looked like he
wasn't doing well and decided to make a U-turn and help the fellow
out. He was in a very sorry state, but lit up when we reached out to
help him. We said a prayer together and he shed tears of gratitude and
said that he really felt like we were a blessing and that he was lucky
for someone to reach out to him. He said he'd been looking forward to
meeting with us again... and that was the last of him, we thought.
This all happened last transfer, by the way. It would be nearly
impossible to get a hold of him (we had his phone number) and when we
did, he didn't really have too much time or that much of a desire to
learn about the Gospel. We lost contact for the rest of that transfer
and we assumed he wouldn't show up again...

One day, during a Weekly Planning session, we were planning how to
help each of our investigators and his name came up. We looked at each
other and decided that maybe it would be better to just drop him from
the list, but my companion felt that I should try giving him a call
just one more time. And I did. And it rang for a long while, just as
usual... when suddenly a "Hai" came from the other side of the phone.
It was him! We talked for a while and we expressed our desire to meet
with him again. He agreed to come to church and said he was excited to
see us again. We finally met him once again yesterday and he looked
really happy to be there. He showed reverence and respect during the
ordinance of the Sacrament, payed close attention to the Easter-themed
talks given during the Sacrament meeting and to the Sunday School
lesson and he was very open to and accepting of what was being said.
We took him aside for the third hour and taught him together with our
ward mission leader. It was a little bit of a long lesson (at some
point they wanted to use the room we were in, so we moved back to the
chapel), but we found out that he wants to learn more... but he
wouldn't meet with us, he said. At that moment I was afraid that
maybe, in the end, he didn't really have a desire to learn about and
come closer to our Heavenly Father. But he had a reason.

He would soon die.

Apparently, he had been coping with terminal cancer and he knew that
time was cut short, so in this last bit of time, he wanted to see his
friends and his family one more time before he would pass on to the
hereafter. We were all shocked — of course, how could you not be? The
moment we found out, we felt an even greater sense of urgency to make
the Gospel known to this man and begged him that he would try to reach
out to our Heavenly Father in earnest prayer, to know for himself the
importance of what we were saying and, above all, the joy the Gospel
would bring in this life and the life to come. When asked to pray, he
asked in return: "Is it alright if I ask God for only one thing?" Of
course, we replied, after which he prayed as follows:

"Dear Heavenly Father,

I pray that everyone may be happy

in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen."

Our ward mission leader exclaimed, turned around and hid his face. The
man looked down and began to sniffle, tears rolling down his cheeks.
In unbelief for what he had just asked, I couldn't hold back my own
tears. O, how pure and innocent the desire of this man! How selfless
and loving his wish! I have never before heard a prayer so precious
and met a man so humble. We were all crying in the chapel. After we
regained our strength, we went with him to the main entrance of the
building, to bid him a safe journey and a speedy return. He said he
would return. His name is Koichi.

Just typing out that experience made my hands tremble. I will never
forget what happened yesterday. I now know with a perfect knowledge
that without charity, we are nothing. I now know what I must always do
and never forget. I hope this is a lesson that will last me a
lifetime. I'm really grateful to be a missionary and to learn and
teach every day. I'm grateful for being a beloved child of a Loving
and Living God. This church is true and the way to eternal happiness
is unlocked. In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen."


maandag 21 maart 2016

Alive and Happy

Hullo, uvrybuddy

Takatsuki has seen another week and we're all alive and happy. I have an inflamed knee from running and playing basketball (half-court, following the handbook). President and Sister Welch dropped by to give me some Real American Drugs™ (just regular Ibuprofen) to help me get better. That's how awesome my mission president is.

We did a lot of service this week as well. We normally help some devoted volunteers clean up a special garden, supposed to be part of an ancient Christian samurai's castle. This week, however, we also went to a care center for old people. Playing with old people is a lot more fun than you'd think. Other than that, we had a pretty good District Meeting and just good old talking to a whole lot of people on the streets. Just truckin' along.

That's all for this week. Thanks so much for reading! I hope you all have a splendid week!

Arigatou ne.


...endure to the End!

Blargh. It's cold, wet weather right now. It makes me want to just go home and sleep for the rest of my life.


Eh, sleep is overrated. 

I hope you have all had a wonderful week. Things are moving along slowly here in Takatsuki. As we've been trying new ideas and creative finding techniques (like making a survey about happiness on your iPad and use it to stop people on the street) we have been able to ramp up a little bit — more people are willing to talk to us. We just need to keep trying and trying.

There is an awesome scripture that I've probably already shared...

"Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life."
— 2 Nephi 31:20

Steadfastness (or faith) in Christ, a perfect brightness of hope and a love of God and of all men is all we need. We can develop these attributes by feasting upon the word of Christ and applying His example in our lives. It's pretty darn easy, right?

Sometimes it's really hard to keep up a positive attitude when we don't see much success in the work we do. But as we keep filling our hearts with the aiding words of our Counsellor, we will not run out of fuel to keep hope's bright flame alight, even in dark and night.

I love all of you! See you next week!


maandag 7 maart 2016

Spring Coming

Hey, everybody!

It finally started getting warmer last week! Spring is coming! Yay!

We had a really nice week. We've been able to pinpoint a lot of things
that we want to focus on this transfer. My trainee has grown a whole
lot throughout these past six weeks and I'm super happy to be his
trainer. He's gonna be a leader soon!

Went to Kiyomizudera again, today. Lots of fun!

No time! Have a good one!