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!


maandag 29 februari 2016

Little Zoo & Spitting Image

Hey! I'm so sorry! Last week we had an activity as a district on Prep
Day, but we ended up not having time afterwards to mail. We went to a
nice little zoo in Ibaraki, our neighboring area. Fun fun fun!

This week has been awesome! We went to Kobe twice; once for a District
Leader Council and once for the Trainer Trainee Training meeting (try
saying that as fast as you can, three times in a row). It was super
inspirational and me and elder Taguchi got a good idea on how we can
work even harder and be even happier as a result. We also had a few
opportunities to go on exchanges with a few elders in our district. I
forgo to tell you, but there is this elder in our district that just
looks like a tinier version of me.

Spitting image, am I right? He's a lot of fun. We have the same interests, hobbies and way of thinking too! Everyone thinks it's creepy, but I think it's super funny! His name is elder Van Cleave, by the by (Dutch descent... creeped out yet?)

Also! We visited my companion's family. He has a couple family members who live here in Takatsuki, pretty close to the apartment and church! I wish I could meet my family while being a full-time missionary... This is definitely the reason why elder Taguchi was called to serve here. I'm really happy to be a part of the work and to experience cool things like this!

I hope you all have a wonderful week! Thank you for reading! Luvya!


zondag 14 februari 2016


Pedro Santos
to me, Amy, Amy, +43
7 days ago
Hey, hello! How's everyone doing?

When one does his part and then trusts the Lord to do the rest, miracles happen. This is what I learned through experience last week. We just work our heads off, planning to visit as many people as possible, talking to people we come across on the street and working with the members and helping them do missionary work as much as possible. As we were tracting one day, we bumped into someone who'd been looking for us for a long time. It seems like one of the previous missionaries helped him out in a moment of need in his life, and that he's been wanting to repay him ever since (now that things are looking a lot better for him). He said that it was a miracle that he found us and he really felt like we were guided to each other by God. We talked a bit, got his phone number and we're meeting him today at church. Whoa. We didn't even do anything! This is the work of the Lord! It's His!! We're just tools in His hands. So what do we do as tools? We prepare ourselves. We sharpen and enhance ourselves. We keep showing faith and hard work in word, deed and in prayer. And then BAM! Miracles!

Mormon 6:19,21

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.

Behold, I say unto you that whoso believeth in Christ, doubting nothing, whatsoever he shall ask the Father in the name of Christ it shall be granted him; and this promise is unto all, even unto the ends of the earth.

I'm super tired! But it was a super good week. I hope you all had and will have a wonderful week! See ya next time! LUVYA!


maandag 1 februari 2016


Hello everybody! Short update!

We had a tough first couple of days here in Takatsuki. Me and my trainee are both newcomers, so we had no idea what to do. We just got lost a whole bunch and talked to people on the way. Yep. When life gives you lemons you just eat 'em and deal with it.

My companion is a brand new, fresh out of the oven (which is symbolic for the heat of California, his hometown) half Japanese stud called elder Taguchi. That's right. Elder rice field-mouth. He's made of AwesomeSauceTM ! He's really nice and has guts (he's not afraid of speaking Japanese -- no matter how little he knows)! This is going to be a really good transfer!

The ward members are super nice and they seem to be best buds with the missionaries! I hope we can do a lot of good stuff over here, this transfer. And you know what else? I also hope you all have a nice week! LOVE YOU!!


maandag 25 januari 2016

Leaving to Takatsuki (Osaka North zone)


OSAKA?! Blargh

A lot of stuff happened this week. First, we had a worldwide
missionary broadcast in which members of the Twelve and the Missionary
Executive Council gave training on applying the fundamental principles
from the PMG to become more effective and efficient in our work. It
emphasized a lot on working with the members, introducing the Doctrine
of Christ and even the PMG to members so that they can develop
stronger testimonies about missionary work and desires to help the
missionaries and work together to hasten the work. As I was watching
the broadcast, nothing was really "new" to me, but it was super
refreshing and really helped me to remember the basics; it's really
important to keep up small and simple things. In the end it's through
small and simple things that great things are brought to pass (Alma
37:6), right? As soon as you don't, you'll just be going through the
motions and whatever you do will have less... worth and meaning. Don't
drop the small and simple things! I learned a lot from the broadcast
and was inspired to change and do better �\ BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE!!
One of the Seventy, Elder Choi (from Korea), did a mission tour and
visited us and called us all to repentance. And very handsomely so (he
kept turning to his wife, Sister Choi, asking her if he's handsome.
He's hilarious!). We were reminded of our potential (we're God's kids
for crying out loud!) and boldly invited to step up our game and work
more with the members and rely on the PMG. A whole lot of fun!

Went to Nara today, by the way. I really like Nara. It has waaaay more
green than Abeno does. Plus, they have deer! They're smelly. We also
went to visit the Todaiji temple, with world's biggest Buddha statue!
It was quite big a little kid would fit in one of the nostrils (fun
fact). Got myself a cheap flute to annoy my companion with, too! 'T
was a good day!

Oh yeah! Transfer announcements came. I'm going to train a brand new
missionary over in Takatsuki (Osaka North zone). EXCITEMENT!


maandag 18 januari 2016

I Am Who I Am

Hey everybody!

Last week was really cold. It was pretty intense. And guess what? It wasn't even freezing yet! Humid winters are the worst. No matter how many layers you have on, you'll always be cold to the very core! And don't get me started on my poor toes! GOODNESS!!

Anywho, it was a really good week. We did some companion exchanges with a few of our District Leaders. The Missionary Executive Committee over in Utah has set up a new exchanging system to make it so that we can, essentially, have more effective and productive exchanges with our Elders. I like it. We saw miracles last week, we taught a lot of people and we were able to focus our efforts more on our area too. Awesomesauce!™®

We are getting more support from our ward, too! It's been going really slow before and we wouldn't get a whole lot of help from the ward, but we've been able to communicate with them better and find out what needs to happen in order to strengthen Abeno and make it grow. We can't do this alone! We need each other — members and missionaries. One can't work without the other. Creating a strong bond of trust and friendship between the two is essential. And we're steadily figuring out how!

One of the things I learned last week is that we should not be ashamed of the Gospel. When we're sharing what we believe with people around us, we get laughed at, made fun of or are not taken seriously. When we practice what we believe in our daily lives, we get funny looks and piercing gazes. People think we're stupid, weird or superstitious. But what does what they think matter? The Gospel of Jesus Christ is a part of me. It is my life. If people cannot accept that part of me, they cannot accept me. It's their choice. And if they persecute me for who I am, it's their choice. I am who I am and I will not change myself for them, because the Lord is more important than them. We need not be afraid of shining the Light of Christ in us. We don't put a lit candle under a bushel, but on a place where everyone can see it. And not even the houses set on hills should remain in the dark. I fervently invite all who read this to not hide the Gospel away. Don't store it away in your closet, or put it on a shelf until Sunday comes. Have it with you every day. Have it be you. I can promise you that you will stand taller and that no amount of hate, badmouthing, lying or gossip will bring you down.

Helaman 5:12

I love you all so much! Have a wonderful week!



Some Pictures - 11 January

Hey everyone! I'm super tired, so I'll just send you last week's pictures instead! Have a nice week! Love you!


zondag 10 januari 2016


Hello, everybody!

Last week was pretty low-key, consisting of sickness. Been stuck in
the apartment for a couple of days (as strongly advised by my leaders,
as I had contracted something super contagious, apparently) and had
nothing to do but to sleep, eat and read the New Testament (I even
dreamt of scriptural passages... kind of).  Felt really weak (both
physically and spiritually — as I had time to meditate and
self-reflect on my efforts so far this transfer), but realized that by
accepting our weaknesses and trying to involve the Lord in our
endeavors to improve is the way to go. You've heard that before. And
so have I. I learn through reminders; I already "know" the stuff I
learn, but through reminders I learn to "understand" them.

So anyway, I was getting sick (lots of irony) of being confined in our
darkened, incense-filled apartment ('cause my companion and I love the
smell of Japanese funeral in the morning) and I had personally decided
that it was time for me to break out of jail and to finally start
applying what I'd learned during my personal pondering and actually
WORK. And it was good! We absolutely did not reach standards or goals,
but I'm glad I got to actually do something and prove myself I am not
too shabby of a missionary at all. That, and the delicious,
heart-and-soul-fattening food some amazing members brought us made us
satisfied little missionaries. My futon could not have been any
softer, hehe.

Also! Today we're going up a reaaaally tall building here in Abeno.
It's pretty darn tall. You might think that that's its only merit, but
I have also heard that the restrooms up on top are to kill for. I'm

I hope you all have a great week! Don't get sick! Also, don't kill
anyone for any restrooms. Love you all a whole lot!


Positive about 2016

Hello everyone!

Just dropping by to let you know that we're almost out of 2015. Isn't that crazy? Time is probably made of a thinner substance here in Japan, as it just seems to slip through my fingers without me even noticing.

So! What will you do? I mean, 2016 is coming. A new year means a new opportunity, right? What is something you want to commit yourself to do in the coming year?

I know what I'm going to do. I want to be bolder in my decision to do what is right. Oftentimes I find myself being influenced by what happens around me, to the point that I can't really accomplish what I have in mind. I've decided to stop being acted upon and from now on being the one who acts.

But that's easier said than done, right? The busiest day in the gym is January 1st, but unfortunately, there will be a significantly smaller group of sweaty people by the end of February. So what will I do to make sure I can move on?

First! I'll let my Father in Heaven know what I'm doing! Well, He perfectly knows what our desires and goals are even before we tell him, but we need to keep Him involved in everything we do! As we do so, we will be able to become more righteous in our desires and goals and we will have an incredible force propelling our actions as we move along!

Second! I'll let my closest friends and family know: those with whom I associate most often, those who play a more significant role in my life. Right now, I have a companion with me, who's striving to do what is right and to support my in my righteous decisions and actions. If I let him know what I'm trying to do, he will be my back-up strength and will-power for me to accomplish my goals!

Third! Just keep trucking along and don't let anything get in the way! Endure to the end!

I'm really positive about 2016 and I'm looking forward to becoming an even stronger disciple, friend and representative of our Lord Jesus Christ! It's gonna take work, but it can't fail with my God backing me up!

I hope you all have a wonderful 2016 full of joy, satisfaction and personal progress! See you next year! Love you all a ton!!