Monday, April 30, 2012

So here's my week. The first day I got here I was pushed right into the Lake.

Hello Family! Today is P-day! Every monday I'll be able to email you at the Honbu. Emailing me is perfectly fine. I don't have a limit on p-day so I can read all that you want to send. As for dear elder, I don't know if they send them from the MTC to here because it's overseas. I think they just throw them away. And i ahven't gotten any mail as of yet, but emails are nice :)
Right now I don't really have much time to send mail to people, but tell the Henly's I will try and that I loved their cards! When I get the chance I will write everyone!
So here's my week. The first day I got here I was pushed right into the Lake. We went dendo-ing and my companion told me to do it like the first time ever while not knowing what to do! It was scary, but it's less scary now that I've done it lik 40 times. We've been talking to everyone who will listen and stopping them on the streets and handing out chirashi's and inviting to eikaiwa. So far, not really much success.
Actually two days ago, no one would listen to us at all. NO ONE! It was a long, rough, long day. I prayed a lot that people who were ready would find us the next day and that we would be able to find them, and yesterday was great :) Lots of people were listening and we made an appointment (sort of) with a Zambia-jin. He wanted to know what was different with our church and we told him about Joseph smith and the Spirit was there to testify. We told him we'd get him a book of Mormon and we'd shoot him an email and set up a time to meet and talk to him.
Something I've noticed, while I was in the General Conference choir the director said a girl came up to him a long time ago when they were singing the same song and said "some songs you can really feel the spirit in all the time and this song is one of them (speaking of Praise to the Man). I really felt the same way. I could feel the Spirit bearing testimony everytime I sang it and I felt it when I testified the other day and I felt it when i was reading this morning. The spirit is constantly bearing witness to me that God the Father and Jesus Christ appeared to Joseph Smith and that through him they established Their church. I have no doubt and never have had any.
Anyways, another interesting thing. We decided to sit down and eat some muffins yesterday around lunch time and a lady just walked up to us and started talking to us about who we were and Christ and all sorts of stuff. She came to us and wants to come to English class and hopefull we'll get a chance to share the gospel with her. She was a little odd, but everyone we talk to is a child of God and I'm excited to help them realize that.
You only did one day of housing your whole mission? wow. I did my first yesterday and it was only for a half hour or so, but every second we're traveling or anything my companion and I are stopping people and telling them about the Gospel. My companion doesn't like to waste a second. He is such a hard worker and very bold. Really nice but a little pushy, but thats just his personality haha. I love him. We get along well and are doing good work. We're really trying to focus on getting investigators through tthe ward members so we talk to them a lot (or are trying to). yesterday i did a jiko shokai in sacrament meeting and bore my testimony. it was great. I also set up some appointments with members and just buitl trust with them wehrer I could.
WE taught a member the other day that just started being active again and my companio0n told me right before we went in I was going to teach him the restoration. I was freaking out a little, but it ended up going pretty ok. Im glad it was a member.
We get up every morning and go on a 25 minute run around the city and a nice small park everyday. It's awesome...and big. REALLY big. I have no idea where I am most of the time, but I'll learn eventually. First I have to start recognizing kanji and stuff.
I'm sorry for the extra work dad! hang in there! I'm struggling here every once and a while too. It can be pretty hard when we don't accomplish most of our goals and no one will listen to us, but we try to keep big smiles on our face and find the elect who will hear about God. I loved the army phrases haha. Is that grandpa Sotto's?
I thought I learned the language fast in the MTC, it's coming way faster here as for speaking becasue that's what I'm doing all day every day. It's fun, but I miss being able to express myself.
Your hair is awesome mom! I love playing with your hair! All little kids will love it I'm sure haha. I'm glad to hear everything is going well. I'm praying for youall and I'm so excited that everyone is doing well. I show my family picture to a lot of people with my sisters and all the nieces and Aaron. It's fun stuff. Anyways, I think my cmpanion wants to go so I better get going! We have a couple appointments today (on P-Day! He likes to work hard) but I'm excited. I'll talk to you later!
Love you! Bye!!!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

I'm here in Japan!!!!!!

Dear Mom and Dad,
 AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!... ... ok, I feel better now.
I can't believe I'm here! I feel so good!!!!!!!!!!! We showed up last night and ate some miso soup in the air port with President Evans and the APs. I forgot how delicious it was! Then we rode a densha back into main Sapporo and I was so beat. Everyone was. I was feeling a little lost and confused, but that has all gone away today. I feel so inpired and excited right now. We are on a 12 week program called rthe Alma O. Taylor program to help us build our skills, and we got our new companions! I'm with Elder Davis from somewhere I can't remember in Utah. It's a small place, but he been here a year and so far he's awesome! We'll go out dendo-ing soon but they wanted us to send an email to make sure you know how we're doing.
So how am I doing. Well, I don't think I've ever been more excited in my life! I'm ready to go out and lose myself in the work. I'm ready to make friends and teach them the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. i'm ready for them to receive the full blessings of the Atonement through baptism and all of the doctrine of Christ. I'm so excited and I haven't even met anyone yet!!!!!!!!!!!!! I'm stationed right in Sapporo in an interesting mission. There are several areas in Sapporo to dendo and you usually stay in your area, but my companion and I are able to go into all the areas. We literally have the whole entire area of Sapporo to dendo in rather than just a small area. I'm so excited!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Did I mention that before? :P
The MTC was a wonderful experience, but being in my actual mission with an actual name tag specific to my mission and seeing the people i am called to love and serve for the next two years has really brought a love, joy, and excitement that the MTC didn't possess. I am about to fulfill my calling as a servant of the Lord and I can't wait. The langauge barrier doesn't even scare me anymore! It will be tough, but I will get it with the help of my companion, the people, and most importantly the Lord.  I'm staying in an apartment with a Japanese Elder from the MTC named Asai Choro and I'm so excited. We had a great time sitting next to each other on the way to the airport. We were teaching each other how to say phrases and things because we both speak a little of each others native language. I was showing him all the different temples on the way to the airport as well. I'm so excited to be serving with him. I've made great friends with lots of other Nihonjin Senkyoshi as well. Nanjo Shimai and I get along well (she speaks really good english so I ask her most of my Japanese questions). I loooooooooooooooooooveeeeeeeeeee Nihonjin!!!!!!!!!!!!...*sigh*...that was a good sigh :P I can't even begin to describe the joy I feel in the anticipation of fulfilling this wonderful calling from the Lord. I've never been more happy. Never. I'm sure I'll continue to say that as I actually get out and help people feel the Spirit and they become converted to the Lord, but the anticipation alone brings me more joy than I can describe. It's so wonderful. Thank you so much for the support you have given me and for raising me good and tall :P I feel so much support from everyone, but most especially the Lord. This is His greatest work, and this truly is His Gospel. I know that for a fact and I will testify of my Savior for as long as I live. I'm so excited to help people feel what I have felt and know to be true. Thank you so much for all that you have done and still do. I love you all sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo much!!!!!!!!!
Though I know you're my parents, you don't ever have to worry about me here. The Lord is truly guiding my path and will protect me. I am his servant. President and Sister Evans are wonderful and many other people are here to help us as well (Brother and Sister Ross are a couple missionary working in the Mission Home with us). I just am so happy :) and I don't know what more to say. Tell everyone I love them and let them know that the Lord lives. And I testify of that in His sacred name, Jesus Christ. Amen.

P.S. This is the mission home address to which all things must be mailed:

Elder Mitchell Sotto
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
Japan Sapporo Mission
Kita 2 Jo Nishi 24 Chome 1-25
Chuo Ku, Sapporo-Shi, Hokkaido, 064 Japan

Also, I got Yakinuku for lunch today and about died because it is sooooooo delicious!!!!!! Honto ni! I don't know why I ever worried about the food! I forgot how much I loved it! Love you! Bye!

~Sotto Choro yori

Sunday, April 22, 2012

I got a lot of mail from my sisters so I won't have too much time to talk now. I have to prepare to leave in 2 days as well! I can't believe it's here!
Thank you so much for the package chichi! I loved the tree and the lolipop and the book. I'm excited to find out more about my family.
I'm only supposed to write immediate family through email so I can't email grandma and grandpa back but could you tell them I love them so much and it was so good to hear from them! Tell them I'd be gald to cut wood when I get back as well. For now I"ll be shoveling snow.
Thank you for the news a always and for your love and care!
As for calling you from the airport I will have very little time, but I will try to call and at least say hello so keep your phones on you all day and waiting! I go to LA, then Narita, then Sapporo.
So quickly for my week, Brother Mills (head of international MTC's) gave a special going away presentation fro the japanese missionaries because he was a mission president there. It was so inspiring and when the picture of Sapporo came up I swear I've never seen so much snow! It was up to the rooftops!
Also Elder Ballard came and spoke to us and David Archilletta sang the Spirit of God for us. It was so beautiful and there were a lot of tears in the room. Such a great devotional!!!!!!!!!! I've had such great experiences here. I've made Nihonjin friends and I'm in  a companionship on the plan with an english elder in my district and 1 japanese sister so that will be fun ha.
I want to testify really quick that the Lord qualifies his servants if they are humble and then act in faith even when they're scared. I had to talk to an elder in our district aobut an issue that arose in his companionship and I was scared to death to talk to him, but I did and I fel tthe strength of the Lord. I did nothing but show my faith by talking and he did the rest. It was a wonderflu talkand we came to love each other. It was like ammon wit the sheep. He saw a bad situation as an opportunity to show forth the Lords power. I will forever try to see that way now. When problems arise, they are simply ways to show the lords popwer that I hold as a missionary. He qualifies his servants and I testify of that in His Sacred name. Even Jesus Christ.
I have no time left, but I will post my address for Japan today hopefully when I get the cance and then I will email you again from mly new home in the land I"m called to love and labor for.
I love you so mluc haha to chichi!
REally quick, I translated D&C 18:15 the other day and it struck me (it's one of my favorite scriptures) harder than usual. It is so specific. It said "if you give kyour life's power in serving me and bring but one soul unto me, how great will be your joy together with that person in the kingdom of my father. I love the Japanese langauge and the people and I'm so excited to make Japan my home.
I love you all so very much and I will see you agian soon!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Mom dad! I have so much to say! This week was crazy!
First, I'm so excited to hear about all the mission calls! The work is really going forward and it's sooooooooooo exciting! I have no idea where Elder Millington is going :P but I would love to know!
I'm glad everyone enjoyed the choir during conference :P It was so much fun :)
I kind of understand what you mean by the saved by grace scripture. 2nd Nephi 25:23 right? It can be a little intimidating, but there are so many other scriptures that say many are called and the Lord strengtehns them to do whatever he needs. I'm feeling that but it's hard to keep in my mind sometimes. I can get frustrated when our lessons don't go as well as possible but I know that the Lord will guide me. Sometimes that's all that I'm holding on to, but it's a great promise. Thank  you for talkinga bout it though. I needed to hear that. I need to go to the Lord more often and stop trying to do everything myself.
OK!!!!!!! now for the week, get ready!
Satruday's TRC went awesome. I definetly felt the promitings of the spirit while I was teaching and it turned out great!
Sunday was amazing! For sacrament meeting we had Elder Packer (of the Seventy) and President Packer speak to us. It was amazing! They are awesome! David F. Evans also was there (he spoke in conference). But what comes next is the best part of my whole MTC stay I think (there have been a lot of good things).
The BYU Men's Chorus came for the sunday night devotional and sang for us! They had a lot of great spiritual songs (some that I sang last semester) and funny ones too. They sang la cucaracha and put fake mustaches on in the middle of the song! it was probably one of the funniest things I've ever seen. Man it made me miss being in choir, and if that's not enough, they invited all of the Men's chorus people who were missionaries to come up for the last song and sing during a video presentation so I got to go up to my normal spot and sing with everyone once again. We sang "Who is He in Yonder Stall" (and I guess they do that at they end of every MTC visit). Anyways, I didn't remember it until right when they began to sing it and it all flooded back to memory. It was so amazing :) I wanted to explode!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I saw so many of my old friends from BYU and it was great to see how they are doing. I haven't been so excited and Happy in forever. It was amazing.
Also for sunday I became the district leader. Crazy sauce!
So monday we signed up to host.
Tuesday Bishop McMullin (Presiding Bishop of church) spoke to us and really addressed my needs.
Tuesday was also quite exciting like sunday but for different reasons. So a bear came on the MTC campus and they were trying to catch it and couldn't, but I figured "I'm a missionary of the Lord! I can catch it!" So I went and wrestled it to the ground and got a black eye and 5 stictches out of it, but I held the bear down until they could take it away with a squat team...:P So fake story but the stitches are real! I was actually playing basketball and got mad at a guy so I attacked his elbow with my eye :P Don't ask what happened to his elbow ;) I'm fine though! Don't worry! I get my stictches out monday and everything will be fine :)
Wednesday: Because I  hurt my eye they banned me from sports in gym because they don't want me to rip my stitches open, so I did yoga and it was really hard but really refreshing.
Thursday! WE GOT OUR TRAVEL PLANS FOR JAPAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I leave early in the morning to go to the airport on the 23rd monday, but i don't leave until like 10:25. We'll stop in LA with a short 1 and 1/2 half hour lay over, but they told us we can call our family at the airport! So keep your phone ready on monday and I may call between 8-10 or like 12-3...mabye. we don't have much time but I may just call you to say I love you and just see how everything is. So be expecting something! I am in a group with one other elder and a nihonjin sister (we're a tripanionship for the trip there, kind of interesting) but I'm way excited!
And today I went to the temple and it was really refreshing and renewing beyond belief. I needed the temple.
I'm sooooooooooooooooooooooooooo ready to go to Japan! Nihon ni ikitai, Nihon ni ikitai, Okii hikoki de nihon ni ikitai! (sing to the tune of "The farmer in the del"). We leave in 10 days!!!!!!!! AAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Oh, also I saw elder Rigby yesterday and he looked good! He has a tall companion haha.
Tonikaku, I need to be heading off now. Jikan ga nai. gomennasai! choto Nihongo de
konshu choto muzukashii deshita ne. yori yoi senkyoshi ni naritai desu keredomo toki doki muzukashii desu ne. Kamasama ga watashi ni chikara o kudasaru to shinjitte imasu. Watashi no tame ni Advice ga arimasu ka. advice ga areba totemo kikitai desu. demo Shu o hooshi shimasu. Kamisama wa Seirei to Watashi o Michibiku to shitte imasu. Iesu Kirisuto no mina ni yotte o akashi shimasu. Amen.
Kazoku wa Ai shite imasu! Ganbarimasho!!!!!!!!
Mate ne
Anata no Musuko, Sotto Choro yori 

Friday, April 6, 2012

April 1

Dear Familia! (Spango wa nigate dese ne :P)

I think I will respond to your writings and then I'll tell how my week went.

First of all, Could I have the addresses of dad's family? I want to start writing them every month and showing my love for them. I want to get to know them and encourage them. That would be great! Thankyou! You could just send those through dear elder and that would be great! also I would like to have Laural Larsen's boise address if I could. Thank you very much!
I love Breeanna haha(she is 4 and when she saw Mitchell sing in conference she ran around hugging everyone and said to her mom,”His mom must be so proud”) (everytime I put haha I think mother now because that's what it is in nihongo). I love hearing about the kids and the family. It makes my days so much brighter so please keep sending me things about that. Singing was a lot of fun :)
Yes! Sister Christensen and I see each other all the time (sorry if my typing is bad it is snowing a humongous snow storm outside and we just got back from the temple and my hands are a little frozen, but on the plus side I got to use my winter gear!). She's actually going to Denmark, but we still see eafch other at meals and stuff. Blake was my blonde headed choir friend from Boise High that I went free running with a lot. I can't remember if he was on my soccer team though...desho.
Whenever you start to miss me just remember how blessed I am to be able to be out here! If it makes you feel better I don't get homesick very easily. I think college and moving around a lot have given me a different view on change and time. This 2 years is really going to go by so fast. I keep thinking (not too long and I'm going to be with my family and friends again...choto hen desu...better get to work!).

I love the blog idea! definitely do it if you would like!
Oh! and I got the easter package! Thank you so much! It may take a while to eat the candy because my doryo gets more junk food from his grandparents than I've seen in any numver of halloween nights, so candy isn't my fondest food right now :P haha. I love the 10 commandments thing by the way! I'll have to figure out how to say that in nihongo!

As for conference, I got so much out of it, and I think the reason is becasue I'm really trying to focus on how to help others. I have goals. It's so helpful. I dind't realize how much parenting is like missionary work. It's insane. Our purpose as missionaries is to help people build a relationship based on revelation with God...parenting is the same! You HELP them come closer to Christ! You don't force them! It's amazing what the Lord can help us to know.

ja chichi, watashi mo omoimasu. nihongo de takusan kaitara motto jozu ni naranakereba narimasen kedo choto muzukashi. email ni yotte Jikan ga arimasen. tabun nihongo de tegami o kakimasu. chichi no nihongo wa yomu koto ga suki desu. chichi wa Arigato gozaimasu yo. Ai shite iru yo

So as for this week, Choir was awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Leaving the MTC made me feel so ready to go to japan! And we also got 30 Nihonjin with us this monday in the MTC and 30 new kohai this wednesday so our zone is 105 people! That's huge! Talking to the nihonjin senkyoshitachi makes me want to go to Japan so bad! They are so funny and fun and cool and spiritual! We had a testimony meeting that I couldn't really understand, but you could tell how much love they have for the gospel. They are so ready to do this work and will be wonderful senkyoshitachi to tomodachi. There are a bunch of thejm going to Sapporo too so I'm probably going to be companions with them. I try to talk to them everyday and I'm trying my best to understand and have fun with them. Do you know any conversational japanese that's useful chichi? I could use some. asking the same questions over and over can get old :P haha.

So conference was just amazing. Listening and singing. I got so much out of it and was sad when the 10th hour was over. They were amazing talks. ONe thing I noticed, the spirit speaks to our understanding. I think one of my greatest understandings is with mus\ic. That is when I feel the spirit very strongly and desire to change and improve. That happened quite a few times. I have been so spiritually uplifted here and have been trying to develop Christlike attributes. Especially patience. Waiting on the Lord to fulfill his promises without complaning or getting frustrated. It's been so helpful. I love it here!

I love hearing about home, but mostly family. I love my friends and they can send me letters but I love to hear about you during the emails. I have to go now! I love you all! Ja mata ne!

Sotto Choro yori

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Mar 28's amazing how much is going on in the world. The problems with people we love and all the hard times. It sure is a good thing that we know that God will guide us to where we need to be. I can't imagine going through life without that knowledge. And I'm excited to share it!

  So this week was really good! I was a little more tired because i had to wake up for choir practice a little early. Oh! By the way, I will be singing in the Saturday afternoon session for conference! I'll probably be way at the top because I'm so incredibly tall! However there is an elder here that is 6'11" and I feel dwarfed by him. It's a weird feeling (sorry for the past 7 years mom :P).

   Something interesting that happened this week, somebody said David Archulletta was sitting at the table behind us and i thought it was a joke, but sure as can be, there he was! So I went over and asked him if he remembered the Jonatakis family and he did! So I told him how I knew them and welcomed him to the MTC and shook his hand. It was awesome! I've seen him just around here and there now and he looks kind of sad to tell you the truth. They try and keep his experience here very private so people aren't supposed to freak out and go up to him and stuff. It seems like he wants a normal mission experience and I don't feel like he's going to get your average MTC experience at least. i feel kind of bad for him but things will probably get better. He's only been here since wednesday. I'm not sure where he's going, but i think somewhere in Chile.

   Don't worry mother! The weather will warm up! It's been warming up here and it feels so nice! Except when the sun is out and my companion goes from a dark place to a light place he sneezes because the light sensor and sneeze sensor in his nose are crossed I guess and they zap each other when he steps into sunlight (pretty funny in my opinion :P)

    oh OH OH! Guess what! This week was Nihongo Dake no Shu! (only japanese week) It's been so crazy hard. I'm really learning a lot though. We have a group of Nihonjin coming in Monday and we're going to have a conference with the whole zone. At that conference a translator will not be provided like usual so our president is going to have us sit next to a nihonjin and translate the meeting for them...AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I'm so scared, but so excited!!! It's going to be AWESOME!!!!!!!!! We've been practicing (my doryo and I) translating testimonies from english to japanese on the spot and it's so hard! But I'm getting better and i'm so waku waku for the Nihonjin! I'm going to talk to them as much as I can! Know any funny jokes dad?

    I understood that all by that way! =D Thank you for the testimony! I'd bear mine in Japanese but I have no time! I have to Go, but Here is a super short version!
   Kamisama wa Ikite imasu! Kamisama wa watashitachi o ai shite imasu! Iesu Kirisuto no mina ni yotte o akashi shimasu Aamen!

  Ai shite Imasu Kazoku!

       Sotto Choro


You've found Mitchell's blog where we post all of his mission letters.  Follow us to keep up with him while he is on his mission in Sapporo, Japan.