Monday, December 31, 2012

Thank you so much for your birthday wishes! it warmed my heart to hear all the wonderful wishes from people I love.

Hello again familia! kazoku! Family!

Thank you so much for your birthday wishes! It was weird to read teh names of a lot of people I haven`t thought about in a long time, but it warmed my heart to hear all the wonderful wishes from people I love. I did open my presents and I love them! I wore the white shirt from Grandma and Grandpa the day I opened it and we`ve been listening to the CD every meal haha. I hope it doesn`t get old too fast haha. I love that CD though. It so beautifully portrays the feelings of everyone associated with Christ. My birthday was very wonderful. I really enjoyed it here in wonderful little old Kitami :) Thank you so much!

Wow...I can`t believe it`s already the new year. I woke up and said Happy New Year to my companion in a really big voice and he graciously said "uuumnggg" and rolled over in his bed :P haha. It`s great to hear all the new years resolutions Dad :). We`ve been asking the ward members as well what their Rainen no Houfu (Next years aspirations or goals) are. I haven`t thought too much about it honestly. Time isn`t quite the same in the mission. It doesnt seem real, but this morning during personal study I was reading a talk called The 4th Missionary and it gave me a couple ideas of how I can become a more devoted disciple of Christ. God has truly given us everything. When we serve Him with all our might and strength we are giving back to him things that he blesses us with each day. A beating heart, working lungs, a healthy body. But when we serve him with our Mind and might we are giving to him "us." We have agency and our own thoughts, but when we give those all up to Christ we really become instruments in His Hands and come to enjoy the work we`re doing. It goes from a thing of duty to a desire of our own and we are changed through the Atonement of Christ. God can`t mold us into the best us if we don`t give ourselves to Him. That is the way of the 4th missionary. Becoming a Disciple of Christ instead of a good missionary. So this morning I wrote down thoughts that keep me from being happy and focused (like--I`m cold--) and I wrote them in thankful form (like---I`m grateful that God gave me a body that can feel things like coldness and warmth). I`m excited to train my thoughts even more.

I think it`s inevitable to think about family and home during Christmas, but I`m so glad to be here. It was strange being me (the only English person in Kitami) and my companion during my birthday and new years and the Christmas season, but I was very grateful for it :)

That`s fun that you got to be with the sister missionaries! I didn`t really see the missionaries much in Boise, but I wish I had gotten to work with them some more.

thank you so much for your thoughts mom and dad. Mom`s thought has been on my mind a lot lately. I think of raising kids in teh future and how I`m so glad I`m making mistakes iwth my companions so I don`t make them with my kids haha. But I really do have to rely on the Lord and he will make everything right. Thank you so much for relying onthe Lord and being the wonderful parents you are. Your example is one of the greatest things I had I think. I never saw momand dad fighting even when there are plenty of reasons to fight, so I understand unity a lot better now with my companion. There`s a lot of things I`ve learned from your example and a lot of things I`m learning now.

My fingers are freezing to the keyboard as I`m typing, so I`m going to hurry up and tell one last experience.

Yesterday was "A Day with the Book of Mormon" day for the Sapporo mission. We fasted and woke up, got ready and read the Book of Mormon from 8-6. I was a little scared I would get really tired or a head ache or something, but I was fine! Definitely a blessing of the Lord. I read 9:50 minutes straight and only got through Jacob haha. Your eyes get a little tired, but I learned a lot. Just little bits of hope came to me about the future the more I read. And it seems all the members inthe branch were prompted by the Spirit to bring us some sort of food. They came throughout the day and brought us little snacks and o-bento`s periodically throughout the day. It was a great yuuwaku (tempation) during fasting throughout the day, but dinner was great :) It was a testimony to me that God watches out for His servants and those whom they love and pray for as well.

Well, my hands are very cold now, so I`m going to get going :P but Happy New Years!!! Yoi O-Toshi Yo! I`ll talk to you again in may! I love you all so much! 

Bye Bye!
P.S. I`m listening to my companion play the piano right now and it reminded me of the beautiful melodies Jill always played. Let her know that I miss her and I`m thinking about her! Thank you!

Monday, December 24, 2012

best time in my life up until now.

This last week has been really crazy. I went to Obihiro for a Zone Training Meeting, Abashiri the next day so Elder Sasaki could teach a friend living up there, and I`m going to Kushiro this morning early (its about 5:53 AM here) so I may or may not get to read your email, but I`m excited to get your call tomorrow! I will be in Kushiro when I get it. But I`ll try to check there and see what news you had!
I love you! Merry Christmas!
Bye Bye!!! :DDDD
 Ya sorry it was so early haha. I`ll see if I can`t get anything off later today. but thanks for replying! I`m glad to hear everyone is doing well and tell Will to get excited for his mission. It really is the best time in my life up until now. It`s tough but fulfilling. 
I never got to sing for the ward but I`ve still had plenty of opportunities to sing on the fly wherever I go. I love Christmas music :)
I also opened my presents this morning because I won`t be able to tomorrow, but you can open the box whenever you like! Christmas morning is good!
Alright, I love you and I`ll try and check again later! 
Bye Bye!
Thanks for the Email! I`m in Kushiro now and we`re going to have our Christmas party, so I`ll save all the talking for tomorrow. I just want you to know that I love you and that the Lord is truly guiding our steps. He leads us to those who need us most and we have such a great opportunity to change peoples lives. That`s a role I want to play for the rest of my life :) 
Excited for tomorrow! Talk to you later! Love you!!
Bye Bye!!!

Elder Mitchell Perry Sotto

Sunday, December 16, 2012

If we are patient and cheerful in doing his work, we will surely find the hidden treasures and joys and peace of this gospel.`s all I can say right now. It`s so weird to hear about everyone going out on missions...It`s unbelievable! I`m so excited!!! AHHHHH!!! What a great work this is :) I can`t help but smile as I think of that. What a great work this is!! Good gracious. I am the happiest little boy right now :P
I have a lot of things to do today to prepare for the upcoming week so I`ll keep this message a little shorter. I`ll start with the questions.

I haven`t tried the cake because the zone is getting together for an activity on the 24th and they want to make cake, so I decided I`d make it then with everyone! I`ll try to get lots of pictures! (and yes we have a microwave, toaster oven and stove top :D)

We can listen to any church music including EFY and Tabernacle Choir and anything with a spiritual theme (like Handel`s Messiah). Right now we have 2 CD`s that we`ve pretty well exhausted and I`m excited to open one present that happens to be wrapped like a CD full of Joy and Joyness :P 

I don`t think I`m allowed to skype...but that`s probably because I don`t have skype here haha. I`Ll ask the mission president when I get the chance. Maybe Next year! But this Christmas is a nice phone call :)

Now for my week. I have one experience that I wanted to share.

This week has been really great and we`ve been focusing a lot more on investigators and less active members than finding because that is what the ward wants help with. It`s opened my eyes a lot more to the fact that we as missionaries aren`t just going around looking for "baptisms." It is a very important ordinance in the gospel and central to our purpose, but our job is to build up the kingdom of God and help others come unto Christ in Repentance. That goes for church members as well. We are all living the Gospel and Doctrine of Christ, not just those who haven`t been baptized. We all should be Showing Faith, Repenting, Renewing our Covenants and receiving more fully the Holy Ghost, and Endure to the end. I`m noticing how the Lord can use us more now. I`ve been trying to see things from the Lord`s eyes more lately.
But my experience was in church. Because of all the snow that`s been falling (much more than usual at this time of year) it`s harder for people to get to church, so when we got to the church early for our meeting with the Missionary helper guy...Dendo Shunin in japanese...anyways, we didn`t have our meeting and we just shoveled snow to prepare for church. It was pretty fun :) But during church they didn`t have enough young men to pass the sacrament so they asked the missionaries to help. I got a very humbling feeling when they asked me to help. The only way I can describe it is, "oh...I`m so lucky the Lord counts me worthy to participate in such a sacred ordinance." I felt very humbled and very grateful and I realized all the more how much I need to continue to repent and come unto God. It was a very wonderful experience for helping me realize the power and importance of the Holy Priesthood in our lives. 
Just an interesting thought I had this week :)

I know that the Lord truly is helping us get through this. If we are patient and cheerful in doing his work, we will surely find the hidden treasures and joys and peace of this gospel. Thank you so much for your words and love Mom and Dad. I love you!
Also let my sisters know how much I love them. I spoke with a less active member about being grateful and we got into a conversation about people we respect who were good examples to us, and I brought up my sisters. They have been such a light in my life, and if you could I want you to let them know that I love them with all my heart and I`m so incredibly grateful for their example to me. I`ve been so blessed and prepared throughout my life so that I can give all I can to the Lord. We are his witnesses (Mosiah 24:13-16) and are so blessed to be so.
I have also realized lately the importance of doing things in the Name of Christ would do. so all I say and do, I do in the Name of Jesus Christ. 

Thank you so much for your love and everything!!! I truly am the most blessed person in the world I feel :) 
Well, talk you next week! For real! :D

Love you! Bye Bye!

Monday, December 10, 2012

"worrying probably means our expectations & will are off from what God wants. "

Hello again! I got the Christmas package and we set up the tree and put the presents around (and under it :P). It makes the room so much more festive and exciting! Except lately we`ve had a lot of tempation. We have 2 CD`s that we`ve listened to about 18 million times now and they get really old really that present that is nicely wrapped in the shape of a CD is quite companion told me to give into the tempation this morning after listening to the same soundtrack again like every morning haha. I told him NO! Get thee Hence Satan! he laughed :P
I love my companion. I`m his first American companion and he`s my first Japanese companion so we`re really learning communication skills. The biggest and best communication you can have though is your actions. They really do speak much louder than words. You can tell when someone loves you by their actions. I love my companion :)

I love that song! (Brightley beams our fathers mercy)One of my FHE sisters at college sent me a picture with the words of the song on it and I keep it on my wall and love seeing it. It`s one of my favorite songs in the hymnbook...although I have about 342 favorites in the hymnbook :P ok not that many, but a lot. The Japanese Hymn book has only 200 and Brightly Beams is number 200.

I read the articles!(Dad sends) I promise! I may not always remember them, but I like reading them :)
I did feel the earthquake. I was washing dishes and my companion was cooking and I probably wouldn`t have noticed it, but he stopped me and we both were like...woah...It was really weird because you can`t always tell when it stops. You still feel like you`re shaking for a while. It was only a little shaky in our apartment though. Nothing too big. Nothing falling off the walls or anything.

My interview with Elder Ringwood was very nice, but my questions were all answered during his workshop so we just talked a little. It was very short. He asked me about my family, where I`m from (really Boise or the outskirts like Eagle and Meridian. I told him I was definitely Boise :)). Then lastly he asked me what he could do for me and I presented a question that he had already answered. Ultimately, he just raised my spirits. It`s quite easy to get down after days and days of finding with no results. But we`re laying the foundation of great work to be done here in Hokkaido. I`ve also found that when you`re a little unhappy, change something and get happy. When we are worrying a lot it probably means our expectations and will are a little off from what God wants. We all have worries, but if we trust in the Lord things will turn out the best way they can :)
P.S. His workshop was on the Promise and Requirments of the promise in Alma 26:22. If we do what it says we will do amazing things for God`s kingdom. I love that whole chapter so much. Verse 30 really explains why I`m doing what I`m doing, and more importantly why Christ did the Atonement. It really strikes a cord with me.

Tell Grandpa that I love him too! And tell those in the ward that I`m doing great and I`m grateful for their prayers. I find Elder Ringwood`s talk interesting。 He said that we are the answers to our parents prayers (praying for his success). We could have an elect person walking back and forth outside our house all day and we wouldn`t be blessed if we weren`t obedient and go out and dendo(japanese for approach). I have to do my part to be the answer to your prayers and the Lord will take it from there :) I`m so glad to be a missionary. I wish I could do everything perfectly pretty much all the time, but then I wouldn`t get all the growing experiences. They are tough but are what this life is all about and I`m trying everyday to be more and more grateful for them haha. But know that the Lord lives. If you know that and His character then you know how I`m doing everyday :) I`ll do my best to be the answer to your prayers Mom and Dad :) I love you :)

So as for the weather, in the past 3 days it hasn`t stopped snowing and its shoveled everyday, so the snow right now is up past my ankles and their are piles high over my head on the sides of the streets. While we were walking to the church this morning I actually had a great experience. an older lady was shoveling her walk and we asked if we could help and of course she was humble and turned us down (Japanese people are very humble people). I expected that reply, but I saw another shovel against her house and told her that I would just use the other shovel :P I`ve gotten pretty stubborn haha. So I started shoveling and my companion just picked up big blocks and moved them, so she gave him the other shovel and we finished shoveling her walk. She was very grateful and so she went inside and brought us out some cans of coffee haha. We said we didn`t drink it so she asked about tea and we said that too, so in the end she ran inside and got us some Mikan`s. I just ate mine :) It was one of the few times I`ve ever been able to do service here. A wonderful blessing :)

Will Got His Mission Call!!!!!!!!!!!! AAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I`m so excited for him! Tell him how much I love my mission and it`s the best thing in the world. I`ve never grown so much in my life.
Also all the other mission calls...haha...I think I`ve gone on a date with every single one of those people(ie.Kristy Rich, Kristie Hinckley,Amber Leigh Spradlin,Hannah Lutz, Rachael Fuller ??, Bonnie Anderson, Alyssa Harkness ) :P All college friends, mostly from my social dance class and some from my ward :P Good for them!
  Thank you so much Mom!

Tell Jessica( my cousin) I miss her and a mission is the best thing of my life! And I expect to go on adventures with her in the future :) And tell Derick and Tiffany congratulations! I`m so excited to meet her...( baby Jada) when I come back! She`s going to be big along with all the rest of the kids.

Lastly, the ward is great. They all live pretty far away though so they are troopers for coming to church so faithfully. They are strong. It`s actually a branch, not a ward. Little smaller. The music got cancelled until later because of a problem at the old folks home we were going to sing at, but we may sing at the Christmas party this saturday. 

Also I may send some pants back because missionary mall should give me a new pair if mine I need a new pair :P But I should be sending a package today with things I don`t need and some Christmas presents. 

Alright, well, I love you so much!!!!!!! Bye Bye! Talk to you Christmas!!!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

it`s been a tough week of realizing my weaknesses) and it helped me remember the blessings I have and that the Lord knows me and helped build up my drive

Hello again! Ya, sorry about the picture. There is no usb port for SD cards so I can`t actually send pictures from here haha. I guess the next time I transfer I`ll see what I can do about that :P

Kitami has a couple pretty graveyards I guess. We may go see those sometimes if we have time. Today we`re going to a returned missionaries house for an Okonomiyaki party ( a pancake with anything you want in it) and I`m excited :)

It is freezing cold though haha. My hands and feet want to fall off every night. There`s no snow so I`m not wearing boots yet, but maybe I will start. It`s a little mendokusai (obnoxious) to take boots on and off so I haven`t used them yet. Apparently it keeps getting colder till february though.

Thank you so much for the insights dad. I printed it out so I can think about it more. There is a lot on my mind lately and I`m having trouble thinking deeply, so I`ll keep thinking about it haha. It`s nice to have extra inspiration :)

It must be fun having your sister over a lot. I often think of my sisters and family and I`m amazed at how grown up everything has become. It`s very strange even though I`m not even 20 yet :P We are very lucky to have the blessing we do especially from the gospel in our family. Especially the knowledge of things after this life.

Well, a little bit from here. I have a lot of Christmas music to memorize and I`m singing at the Zone Taikai (conference) coming up on wednesday (in an octet). We`re singing Brightly Beams our Father`s Mercy for Elder Ringwood (a member of the 70 that`s coming to visit us). He`s asked us to study Moroni 7 and I didn`t know it was so packed with Doctrine and such. Wow. I`m excited for Wednesday. I`ve also been informed last night that I will be interviewed by Elder Ringwood after the Workshop by him. Evans Kaicho picked some missionaries to be interviewed by him and I`m just lucky enough to be one! It was funny because I got the call after  a really hard day (it`s been a tough week of realizing my weaknesses) and it helped me remember the blessings I have and that the Lord knows me and helped build up my drive :) It`s a tough, fulfilling life out here(in Japanese じゅうじつ Juujitsu) and I love it. 

Well, that`s about it! I`m really excited to call you this Christmas! I love you! Tell everyone I love them! and Mr. Lapp if you see him that I`m so glad he helped me learn how to sight read (lot`s of Japanese music I`m learning) haha. I love you soooooooooooooooo much!

Bye Bye!