dinsdag 27 januari 2015

Food for thought

Hello there, everybody!
This week has been a blur. A lot of things happened in a very small amount of time. My dear companion had become a victim of the flu too. That forced me to go on splits with one of the other four elders in our apartment. One day, we were planning on visiting a lady we found a little while ago. She's a mother, who had been living by herself. She and her husband had divorced not too long ago and she became separated from her beloved little daughter. She suffered because of that and her hopelessness was clearly visible. We had knocked on her door before to see if we could maybe share our message about God,  only to find out about all of this and, on top of that, that she was moving out to Tokyo just later that week. So, when me and the other elder visited her, we talked with her about her concerns and we tried to support her a lot. We also talked to her about God and how He truly knows and loves each and everyone of us and how He wants us to become truly happy. We talked about eternal families and how she and her daughter can be together forever in eternal happiness, all thanks to our Lord, Jesus Christ. As we talked with her about these things, she told us that she felt comforted and happy. She said that for some reason, talking to us about God gave her this indescribable feeling in her heart; a good feeling, a feeling of peace. We talked to her about these feelings and how we can get this peace to be in our lives more abundantly through faith in our Heavenly Father. She felt that these things were great and it seemed like she wanted to learn more. We gave her the address to our webpage and told her that she could find missionaries just like us, who teach about these things as well and who will support her. She was really thankful she met us. As we walked away from that apartment, we had a sense of joy and fulfilment in our hearts. Whe knew that we did everything we could for her and that we were able to touch her heart with the wonderful message we're sharing. I really hope she found the missionaries in Tokyo.
That was but one of the many things that happened this week. We attended a Japanese funeral of a very good friend of ours, ate a lot of icecream at a less-active's icecream parlor (look at the pics) and had a pizza party with the Young Men. A lot of things. I am physically, emotionally and spiritually exhausted.
I hope you've been doing well, everyone. Thank you so much for reading this -- I really appreciate it! Have yet another wonderful week!!
Tons o' love,

woensdag 21 januari 2015


Greetings to you, my friends!
Last week has been super exhausting. We almost only did finding. We weren't able to use our bikes (our helmets were borrowed by some other missionaries), so we went walking all over the place. We also tried visiting all of our potential investigators, but to no avail. That doesn't mean that we didn't see any success, though, as we did find a few more people who seemed to have interest in our message and managed to get a hold of our investigators who were unable to get in touch with us previously due to being sick. Speaking of being sick, almost all of the missionaries here in Tokushima were. The sister missionaries are bedridden, two of our yonnin got the flu and I'm still recovering from a cold. My companion, Powell chourou, is the only one who's genki. I applaud his immunesystem.
I have a spiritual experience I would like to share with you. It happened yesterday, actually. Lately, I'd been feeling a bit weak in faith. I felt like my testimony was wavering and I felt a great desire to become stronger spiritually. As I had been reading about the prophets of old everyday in the Book of Mormon, I grew a desire to be as strong and unshakeable in the Lord as they were. So yesterday, when I was alone in my studyroom, I decided to open up to chapter 6 in Preach My Gospel about Christlike Attributes, specifically looking at the "Faith in Jesus Christ" part. I glanced over the scriptures listed in the blue "Scripture Study" box and decided I should start with a prayer, so that God would guide me in order to find faith. I prayed sincerely and with honest intent, because I really wanted to find an answer. As I prayed, I started to feel calm and somehow confident that I was going to find something in the scriptures that would help me. After finishing my prayer, I started going down the list. Then I opened up to Ether 12:6.
And now, I, Moroni, would speak somewhat concerning these things; I would show unto the world that faith‍ is things which are hoped‍ for and not‍ seen; wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness‍ until after the trial‍ of your faith.
Something that really caught my attention, was the final part of that scripture: "ye receive no witness‍ until after the trial‍ of your faith". There was a footnote about that "trial", referring to the Doctrine and Covenants. And so I opened up to D&C 121:7-8. 
My son, peace‍ be unto thy soul; thine adversity‍ and thine afflictions shall be but a small‍ moment; And then, if thou endure‍ it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes.
As soon as I read those words, I felt a really strong and powerful impression in my heart. It came in the blink of an eye, as if out of nothing, making me completely speechless after reading it. This impression... this feeling, it definitely wasn't anything normal. As soon as I could, I once again reached out to my Heavenly Father in prayer, confirming that what I felt was the Holy Spirit. I thanked Him with all my heart for answering my prayers and guiding me on that little quest to find out how to gain true faith.
I learned some really important things from that experience. I learned that as long as I have a desire to have faith and as long as I do my best to keep the Lord's commandments and endure in obedience, that I would receive an increasingly stronger testimony of Jesus Christ, becoming unshakeable in faith, just like the prophets in the scriptures. This is the answer I have found under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. I testify that God lives and He truly loves us. He reaches out to us in mercy. He hears our prayers. We just have to be patient and endure in faith and obedience. I'm so grateful for our loving Heavenly Father!
Thank you so much for reading this. I hope all of you have been genki and I hope you have a wonderful week!
Love you all a lot!


Hello everybody!

Not much time to mail, but let me tell you that we had an awesome week with a lot of companion exchanges and a lot of walking. It's been swell! Also, we're making mochi (japanese gooey ricecake) right now at the church ("Mochitsuki", an annual thing) by beating rice with big wooden hammers. Yes. Rice-abuse is a thing here. Take a look!

Thanks so much for reading! I hope you all have a wonderful week!


dinsdag 20 januari 2015

Climbing Mountains

Hey, hello! 
How has 2015 been so far? It's been pretty good for me!!
I had a really fun shogatsu (new years). We have done a lot of mountain climbing this week with some members. Also, because it was shogatsu every member wanted to have us over for lunch and dinner. We have been able to bond with the members and lift up each other spiritually. We had a very good time. The only thing that weighs on my mind is that we haven't had time to actually go out and find and teach. Nevertheless, we found a couple of potential investigators (and even a return appointment!) in the short amount of time we actually did have to dendo.
I have improved spiritually and mentally over the past week. I have always had a problem with setting goals: I never really had a set guideline for my own progress and improvement (no language goals, spiritual goals, etc). For me the issue's always been that I keep making goals in my head, stacking them up really quickly until it becomes impossible to handle, losing courage and then finally becoming spiritually, emotionally and physically overloaded. This week I have finally decided to stop messing around and get three solid goals down (I even wrote them down in big letters and put it in a spot that's very easy for me to see).
It's been going really good so far! I feel GREAT! It's just like what it says in Preach My Gospel. As you make goals and start completing them bit by bit, you will become more confident. I don't feel as worried anymore because I now have a goal I'm working towards. I don't have to worry about a million things at the same time anymore, because I have set three solid goals that I am going to focus on for now. It works miracles! Hurray for PMG!!
Thank you so much for reading! I hope you've all been doing great and I hope you have an awesome week! See you next monday!!
~Santos chourou

zondag 4 januari 2015

...and a Happy New Year!!

Hello there, beautiful peoples!
As the year draws to a close, we are often prompted to look back on all he events and happenings of last year. We think about the highlights of the year and we set personal goals to make the following year even better than the last. So! Let's think about it for a second. What's the highlight of 2014? What is the best thing that has happened?
For me the highlight of this year was that day when I received an envelope. It wasn't just any kind of envelope, too. This envelope contained a calling from the First Presidency. An amazing opportunity for me to grow and come unto Christ and for me to help those around me come unto Him as well. I'm grateful to be part of this marvelous work, to be one of the Lord's servants and workers in establishing His Kingdom in Japan. I'm grateful for all the times I have had the privilege to witness the tender mercies of our Lord and to see our brothers and sisters around being touched by His outreaching arm. The fact that someone like me can be part of something so incredible just makes me feel honoured and blessed. Truly the highlight of my year!
I wish you all an incredible  2015...
...and I hope you have a wonderful week! Thank you so much for all the love and encouragement you have given me -- it has truly been a blessing.


Hello there, everybody!

I don't have much time, so let me tell you this:

*Merry Christmas!*

I hope you all have a wonderful christmas! In the midst of giving presents, caroling, and enjoying each other's company in the winter season, let us allways keep the birth of our Savior and Redeemer in our hearts -- for He is the real Christmas Gift to us all.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
John 3:16

I'm really grateful for our Lord and His love for us and I'm grateful for every single one of you. Thank you for all your support, encouragement and love. I hope you all have a wonderful week!

~Elder Santos

Found in Translation

to Adam, me, Allison, +37
Dec 15, 2014
Hello there, my beloved friends and family!
Last week felt like a grind. Our days were packed with every kind of finding activities. We did streeting, housing, visiting less active members, former investigators and potential investigators... Nothing came out of it. And I know why. I haven't been the missionary I should have been. I didn't give it my 100% last week. I didn't open my mouth and speak to people as I should have, I didn't help out my companion as I should have, I didn't fellowship investigators and members as I should have... There are many things I did wrong last week. But as a fellow missionary once taught me: "The past is the past. Learn from it and move on."
There is at least one thing that stood last week, though. One fateful day, in the midst of our routine dendo activities, the Tokushima branchpresident called us and wanted to speak with me. He asked me to give a 10-minute talk about "the love of Christ" the next Sunday during sacrament meeting (this was on a Thursday). "Sure", I said. "How hard can it be?" I think that at that time, I didn't realize I'd have to do it in Japanese. So as the days went on, my stress and anxiety started piling up. I didn't retire to bed on time. I'm really glad I have an amazing yonnin here in Tokushima. They knew what I was going through, so they wanted to help me -- and they did. A lot. Not only with the translation to Japanese, but they also pitched in a few ideas for the main structure of my talk. And you know what? All the hassle and worry? And the help the wonderful elders have given me? It payed off. It turned out to be a good speech. Many members seemed to be impressed and congratulated me for various reasons (mostly the length of the speech). But that's not the reason why it payed off. That Sunday, a member brought a friend with her to church. He seemed to be really impressed by the funiki of our church: everyone came out to greet him and shake his hand, for instance. Such an outward expression of love was foreign to him. But he really liked it! He really felt the members' love and caring for him. Not only that, but the other elders went over and sat next to him during the sacrament meeting. He had picked up a Book of Mormon before and started reading it. As the elders talked with him about what he was reading, he seemed to have been really impressed and eager to read this wonderful book! And to finish it off: he had his mind blown by the talk I gave. He had his mind blown because of Christ's selflessness and charity and infinite love for us -- His brothers and sisters -- manifested through His acts and teachings in the scriptures I shared during the talk. The member's friend loved every single bit of that Sunday and is looking forward to next week!!
I'm happy to say that I have learned a lot through preparing  that talk. I totally love the scriptures. They are applicable to our lives, even in this generation. Christ's acts of love and charity really inspired me to become a better missionary. He is the perfect example of love and He wants us to follow His example through service and charity, so that our brethren may recognize the light of our Lord in our works and know for sure that we are true representatives and disciples of Him.
"A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love‍ one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love‍ one another. By this shall all men‍ know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love‍ one to another."
-John 13:34-35
Oh, yeah -- We also had a Christmas Devotional on Sunday as well. The talks were touching and heartwarming and the music offered to us by the Mormon Tabernacle was splendid. What better way is there to boost the Christmas spirit, than by having our beloved general authorities speak to us?
Thank you so much for reading!! I hope you've had a wonderful week and I wish you another one!