dinsdag 28 juli 2015

The Ring

Hey, buddies!

This week has been exhausting! We've taught over 30 lessons --
something I would've never dreamed of accomplishing. We aren't
slacking off, see!

We've had  a couple meetings last week and one of the was about
understanding the Doctrine of Jesus Christ better and actively
applying it in our work, so that we can become more effective
missionaries. Also focused on rededicating ourselves by holding a
mission-wide fast next fast-Sunday, to renew our commitment to serve
and to see more success. It was really inspiring.

Not much time. We're going to Kyoto to do some sightseeing. I'll send
you some pictures later! Love you all a TON!!!

~聖徒長老, Elder Santos

P.S.: It was WAY fun!! There was a huge temple we visited, the Kyomizudera, and I got my own engraved ring (every missionary who serves in the Kyoto zone goes to get one): 愛持主幸 (Love, Hold/ Possess, Lord/ Master, Happiness/ Blessedness) is what it says on the ring, which is short for 愛の持ち主は幸い (Ai no mochinushi wa saiwai : "Blessed/ Happy is the possessor of love").

zondag 26 juli 2015

Typhoon & Summer Festival

Hey everybody!

Last week was pretty INTENSE. We were busy all the time! By becoming a
trio, all of our previous companionship's appointments (before
becoming a trio) and the other companionship's merged into one. Thus,
chaos was born. Not to mention the (not so) raging typhoon that
visited the beautiful city of Ootsu. Wet clothes for days.

Last week I once again experienced how awesome the Gospel is. It is
applicable to everything! I'd been studying about goal setting and
accountability, hoping to improve my ability to plan and to become
more accountable myself. But as I prayerfully studied and pondered
what I studied, I soon found myself studying about the Doctrine of
Christ. The five steps in the Doctrine of Christ taught often by the
missionaries connected perfectly to the way we should set goals and
achieve them. Faith in the Son of God... personal desire and hope to
achieve one's dreams, repentance being improvement and the refining of
one's stepping stones. Making a personal commitment, a promise with
yourself, to achieve your vision and covenanting with our Heavenly
Father go hand in hand. Asking for inspiration and guidance from our
Heavenly Father, given to us through the Holy Spirit and always
repeating this process until you're there. Did you recognize the
Doctrine of Christ in all of this? Heavenly Father is a God with a
vision. Through His Son He has laid down the foundation that, when
built upon, would bring eternal happiness and success to every one of
his children. Aren't I lucky! Aren't we all? The road of eternal
progression is open to everyone! All thanks to our Heavenly Father's
genius and our Lord, Jesus Christ's eternal sacrifice for us. I know
that the Gospel is true. I know it is applicable to all of us and that
it can make us better and transform us. I believe in Christ and His
enabling power. I also know that there is a Heavenly God, a loving
Father to all of us.

In other news, we just celebrated the 夏祭り (Summer Festival) here at
church. Kimonos involved!

Thank you so much for reading, everybody! Have an awesome... uh... summer.

~聖徒長老, Elder Santos

Sent from my iTomato

Short Term Trio

Hello there, mister reader!

No dull moment, last week. 

We visited many multitudes of people. Many. One of which was a member's daughter, who recently started receiving lessons from us in order to be baptized. We also had a marvelous Zone Training Meeting. I really felt motivated to improve and seek to be guided by the Spirit more. I have been neglecting personal scripture study and my prayers have been poor, lately. I need to work harder to have the Spirit with me. Another thing that I really liked is how we went deeper into the meaning of the Sacrament. It is the only way we can tap into the awesome power of Christ's eternal Atonement. If we partake worthily, we are also promised to have the Spirit. We should think about everything Christ did for us, not only on this earth, but also before it. We need to look at the bigger picture. This ZTM was just what I needed!

We had yet another Pizza Party last week and a lot of people came once again. The pizza was even better this time, hehehe. It was really wonderful seeing different people, members and non-members, getting along and having a great time together. Even our deaf investigator was having an awesome time just communicating with everybody through pen and paper. It was absolutely awesome!

And then, after a long Sunday, all four of us get home, exhausted from going up and down hills, and we get a surprise phone call from the Assistants, informing us that one of the four of us would leave and we would become 三人 (trio). For some reason I got excited to the point I couldn't sleep last night. This will be the very first time I'll actually be in a trio, something spoken of in many legends and myths. We also found out that I will be moving out next transfer and that my companion would have to take over. I feel kind of weird now that I know for sure I'll be going away in 4 weeks... I need to make sure Griffitts長老 knows as much as possible by the end of this transfer.

Thank you so much for reading, everyone!Have a marvelous week! 

Lots of love,
~聖徒長老, Elder Santos

zondag 12 juli 2015

Leading in 3D

Hello, friends!

This week has been super! A new transfer has begun and I'm happy to say that I enjoy the new "Ootsu Team" a lot! We just connect and get along really well with each other. My new companion, Griffitts長老, is so awesome! He is like a super nice, friendly giant! The two of us are like brothers! (By the way, he's in one of the Mormon Messages for Youth: clicky!)

Even though this week has been hectic due to transfers, we still managed to get a lot done. We came super close to reaching all of our goals. Maybe we haven't met our expectations completely, but I'm still super happy. Excited for what this week will bring!

I've noticed that my ability to lead has grown a lot since I've become a senior companion, three transfers ago. I always considered myself to be more of a servant, rather than a leader (which is still a little true), but as my mission went on over here in the Shiga prefecture, I've been able to handle things on my own better, so that I could also help those around me better. You can't help others until you've helped yourself. It's crucial to find the right balance in handling things yourself and relying on others to help you as well (especially the Lord).

I found out that a huge part of handling yourself and being a leader is being humble and teachable. I learned that a lot this week. Being a leader gives you more opportunities to learn -- even more than not being one, I feel. You just get put in the front in every situation and you have to make sure everything turns out okay and goes smoothly. When you are put in the front (instead of always walking behind someone), you experience everything like a 3D movie: everything is more impressive and direct -- right in your face. When we mess up, we mess up in 3D too. Such an experience can shake you to the core and crush your confidence, but we must not be defeated when that happens. It is actually an excellent opportunity to learn and grow. It doesn't feel good messing up, but there is no shame in being wrong and making mistakes. Be happy and positive! You now know how to become even better! Through humility we are better able to receive feedback from others and ourselves. It is key! I learned that I need to keep brushing up on my humility, so I can be positive about myself, knowing that I can improve. I'm so grateful for the blessing of being a senior companion and for the ability we have been given by our Heavenly Father and our Savior, Jesus Christ, to improve and become better every day.

Thanks so much for reading, everybody! I hope you have an awesome week! Until next time!

~聖徒長老, Elder Santos33

zondag 5 juli 2015

Tech Elder & Staying in Otsu

Good day to you, sirs and madams!

Last week has been yet another good one! We've been out and about, doing much good among the people of Ootsu. Even though we didn't get the chance to visit a lot of people last week, we made the visits we did have count. Questions were answered, souls put on the right path, the spiritually hungry fed and other exaggerated remarks about last week! It was great!

This week's District Meeting was nice! The discussion we had about priesthood keys and responsibilities was awesome and gave us some extra motivation to work with our leaders more and to become more responsible ourselves! Another thing we talked about was transfers, as they were right around the corner and we were all convinced great changes would happen in our district. Our District Leader related transfers to a reset button. He taught us that this new transfer is a chance for all of us to set goals that will stretch us and make us grow, changing our current mindset and stance on missionary work in our areas. Starting anew... something that makes me really excited for this transfer! Time to become a better missionary. Alright!

Speaking of transfers; I'm staying in Ootsu once again, making Ootsu the area I've been in the longest on my mission so far. I'll stay as a senior companion, but my current companion (Elder Kiki) will be moving out and Elder Griffitts (a very young missionary) will come in his place. They also assigned me to be the Tech Elder for the Kyoto zone, which means that everyone in our zone will come to me with their iPad-related problems, even though I know nothing about iPads. It's going to be a fun transfer!

Looking back on my mission so far, I realized that I have grown so much. I've grown in faith, in knowledge, in independence and dependence on the Lord, in self-discipline and in so many other ways... I still have a long way to go, but I'm happy to see that my past struggles have shaped me into something better. Looking forward to many more strengthening struggles!

Thanks for reading, everyone! See ya next week!

Loads of love,
~聖徒長老, Elder Santos

Full-Purpose Missionary

Hola, mis amigos!

It's been a nice week! We've just been working in the metaphorical gardens of Ootsu and I'm glad to say that the metaphorical trees of our labor are starting to bear more metaphorical fruit again (hint: this is a metaphor). One of our investigators, for instance, is making some amazing progress and accepted to be baptized in August. He said that he still didn't know for sure if this is the right thing to do, but that he's willing to put in the effort to find out if it's true. Therefore, maybe not quite metaphorically ripe metaphorical fruits... but still metaphorical fruits, am I metaphorically right? I'm just happy to see some visible outcome of our work. Gotta keep working hard to get more metaphorical fruit (so I can finally get to making that metaphorical fruit salad).

We've had a companion exchange as well. This time, I went to Oumihachiman to work with elder Funaki (half Japanese, half Brazilian). It was a lot of fun and we got along really well. However... we could've worked harder during that time, even though our planned schedule ended up not going as planned. We must be things that act instead of things that are acted upon, like a wise man once said about 2600 years ago. I'm planning on following these words of advice and working to the best of my ability next time.

We then had a wonderful District Meeting, which consisted of a good discussion about an article from the November 2010 Liahona by elder Richard G. Scott called: "The Transforming Power of Faith and Character" (Clicky!) One of the principles that came across while discussing that I really liked was that "we become what we want to be by consistently being what we want to become each day". When we do this, we exercise faith, which leads to building our character, which in turn increases our capacity to exercise our faith and keep building our character -- an upward spiral. So, applying this, instead of thinking: "I'll be a Full-Purpose Missionary later", I should BE the Full-Purpose Missionary I want to become. THEN will the upward spiral be initiated and metaphorically snowball into greatness. Sweet! We also received some training on asking good questions when teaching, which is exactly what I needed (something I had been trying to fix on my own before, but without a whole lot of success). It was just awesome! I learn so much from all the advice my leaders give me!

It has been a great week! Thank you so much for reading my mail, camaradas! Muchas gracias! I hope you have a wonderful week! Hasta la proxima semana!

Lots of amor,

P.S.: I made pizza again. 'T was good pizza.

Ice Shaving

Hey-ho! How are all of you??

This week has been exhausting as heck! We journeyed north and south, west and east (but mostly east) on our little bikes in order to meet up with as many people as possible. We've been able to meet with more investigators than previous weeks and we found some new investigators as well! Hooray!! 

Also, not only did we get the opportunity to have interviews with the Mission President to get some useful hints about the work in our area, but we also had a wonderful District Meeting the day after about effective study and finding. Having a vision and setting goals was stressed a lot throughout the meeting and we got some really good insight on how to be concise teachers, so that we can teach while we find and find while we teach! It was a really good District Meeting! Props to elder Roylance (and the Spirit, of course) for that!

We also had a ward activity, just like the "Pizza Party" last time... It was a "欠き氷(Kakigoori) Party". They brought over an old ice shaving machine (with a crankable crank and all), oversized ice cubes, a whole variety of syrups and goodies to top your ice with... it was amazing! A lot of people (including non-members) came, too! Members got along with non-members, everyone was having a good time and it was great!

'T was a good week! Thank you so much for reading this short update. I hope you have a fantastic week, filled with our Lord's blessings and tender mercies.

Hardly measurable amounts of love,

(P.S.: I attached a video showcasing the Ice-Shaver 3000; a contraption designed for cool shaving)
(P.P.S: It does not, however, produce "shaved ice cream", as claimed in the video. False advertising, I know.)