Tuesday, January 29, 2013

It`s those moments that make all the hard times worth it.

Hello Mother and Father! I hope you`re enjoying your sunday! I had to wake up early this morning because we`re catching an early bus to Kushiro for a district activity and District training meeting from the Zone Leaders in Obihiro. So I probably won`t get to read your email but that`s ok. I`ll just let you know how things are going down here in Kitami :)

First of all, It`s 6:15 AM and it`s freezing cold! The weather tricked us for one day where it went up to the positive degrees and we had hope for a lot of snow and ice melt, but then it exploded into a huge snow storm! It`s been snowing for the past 3 days and there`s about 80 centimeters of new snow. But I`m keeping nice and warm with my winter gear and I`m always using houkairou (hand warmers--sounds a lot like Hokkaido :P).

As for news, Our investigator has finished all the lessons and he is going to get an interview from the District leader this thursday for baptism! His testimony is still in the growing stages, but his intentions seem right :) Yay! Actually he`s perty shy and such, but he came to church yesterday and he was a completely different person. People would come up to talk to him and he would talk back and tell them stories and really got into some good conversations with the ward. After church he ran around with some or the most adorable little kids in the world and played with them in the church :D Ureshii!!! (happy!) It is so amazing to see the change he`s gone through until now. He used to be a person that doesn`t really leave the house at all, but now he`s coming to SA (single adult) activities and church and leaves the house a lot. He`s just become a lot more of an open person and he seems a lot more happy when he meets with us now :) It`s so amazing to see the changes in his life and see him become more happy :) It`s those moments that make all the hard times worth it. More often than not there are a lot of hard times and some disappointments in missionary work, but those things all pass from your mind when moments like this come along. You truly do only remember the good times.I love being a missionary!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :DDDDDDDDD

By the way, my ward is awesome! I love the Kitami Branch! They are small, but strong :) Our most frequent team up just became our Dendo Shunin (the person who helps the missionaries and meets with us to chosei (...plan?) Dendo (missionary activities)). Wow, my english is going fast haha. He is my trainer`s first convert and he`s become such a solid member. He`s going to do great things for the church in Japan I can tell. He`s going to go on a mission soon, and I`m really excited for him!

As for awkward moments or funny stories I`ll see what I can say.

The awkward moment when you knock on a door and a person comes and starts to talk to you through the door saying "Who is it?" Then you say "Hello! I`m El..." and they cut you off by saying "what business do you have?" and I say "Yes, well I`m a..." and then they cut you off by saying again "who is it?!" and so you say "A missionary!!!!" as fast as you can before they can cut you off again :P haha.

The Awkward moment where you have a dream and sit up in bed and turn to your companion and ask him in a loud voice "Dou omoimasuka? (what do you think?)" and your voice is so loud that you wake both you and him up at 1:00 in the morning. Then you feel embarrassed so you try to explain to him still half asleep in a different language that it was a dream and he should just go to bed, but he just stares back at you because he has no idea what you`re saying because you`re both still half asleep, so to avoid further awkwardness you just turn the other way, lay back down and go to bed. :P

The funny moment when you`re walking to the church after that same night is over and your companion turns to you and says, "Why on earth did you wake me up at 1 in the morning and what were you saying to me?" :P

These were my experiences in just the past two days actually :P haha. It`s been an interesting week ;)

Alright, lastly I have a request. The food we make as missionaries isn`t really 5 star stuff if you know what I mean, so I was wondering if you could send me some easy recipes and instructions of how to make some easy things that would only take about 30 minutes or so. As for specifics, our fried rice is terrible and I miss my mother`s fried rice, so could you tell me how to make it :D thank you! 3 or 4 recipes would be nice :) And also easy to make cookies or snacks or something for us and investigators and ward members would be nice if you have time. 
P.S. The Cake was delicious and I loved it! Thank you so much for the birthday cake!!! :D

Tell Jill I love her and am praying for her and let everyone else know I love them as well!
And lastly, I LOVE MY MOM AND DAD SO MUCH!!! THEY ARE THE BEST PARENTS IN THE WORLD!!! I was reading in D&C 121:36-46 and in the last verse it talks about posterity and joy flowing unto you forever if you preside in righteousness, and I got a new insight. I have a strong desire to bring love and honor to my parents "without compulsory means" forever because of the love with which Mom and Dad presided with. I saw in my minds eye my mother and father as glorified beings, even now just upon the earth I was able to remember the glory and love radiating from both of you :) so thank you. I had another deep thought that I won`t go into to much detail in, but God has trusted you to nourish the body and spirit of his children while on this earth, and because of how lovingly you presided God will have no problem trusting you with the power to create your own literal Spirit children when the time comes. I`m sure he will be there to give you advice as well :) 
Anyways, thank you both for the love you`ve always shown. I can feel it even all the way over here in freezing cold Kitami :P haha.

Ok, well I better be off! Love you so much! See you!!!
Bye Bye!!!

Elder Mitchell Perry Sotto

Monday, January 21, 2013

Christ truly is the light and life of the world. He is Hope.The grasp of fear and hopelessness has no power where Christ is.

Date: Mon, 21 Jan 2013 19:21:44 +0900
Subject: Re: Jan 20
From: mitchell.sotto@myldsmail.net
To: reckdjm@hotmail.com

Wait What! Chotto matte kudusai! Jill is what?!?! Nobody told me she was pregnant! She`s having a baby?! Is it a boy or girl? Ahh!!!...wow. Really? I had no idea. None whatsoever. I will definitely pray for her though! That`s so exciting!!! Send pictures if you can!
Also I did get the SD card in the mail :) Thank you! 

I can`t believe how different everything will be when I get home! The house, my sisters, the kids, everything! Time really does fly out here. 
I`m glad to hear about the campout :) I loved that camp out. It was a great tradition that really builds a lot of unity and bonds among the boys and the leaders. I see the importance of it and Boy Scouts and such for young men a lot more now. They don`t have this kind of thing in most of the wards in Japan so the youth have it a lot harder. I was very blessed in all the places I grew up in.
Tell everyone I love and miss them and that I`m really loving the mission! It truly is the best experience of and for my life.
 I think missionaries understand a lot more the worries their parents have gone through now that they are looking after investigators. It gives you a lot of gratitude for the things your parents have done up until now. by the way if I havent said it before I will say it now. Thank you so much!! I love you so much for being the best parents in the world!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :DDDDDDDDDDDD

Honestly this week has been one of the hardest of my mission I think. I`ve really noticed a lot of my weaknesses and it`s been a little hard to overcome. That as well as a lot of stress with an investigator that should be receiving baptism next week on Saturday. It`s been a real tester of faith and patience and it`s been a little hard to find the silver lining, the hope that things will become easier or I will be able to change to handle them. Communicating well with a Japanese companion is also a test, but I`m lucky to have the companion I have. He`s very understanding and patient with me in my shortcomings. 
This week there has been a lot of tears and a lot of really heavy feelings, but I know that it can be broken. The grasp of fear and hopelessness has no power where Christ is. Christ truly is the light and life of the world. He is Hope. When I remember that my concious is eased. I felt a lot of weight lifted at church this week as well. Also We met with our investigator that has a baptismal date and taught him more about the doctrine of baptism and then went to a new sushi restaurant that opened today. It`s about 30 steps outside of our apartment door haha. Lots of temptation there :P It was our investigators birthday so we went there after the lesson. Lots of fun :) 
All in all, I`m so grateful for the gospel in my life. It helps me see these times as times to grow and change and become stronger and more like Christ. It`s such a blessing to have the knowledge that we can change through Christ`s atonement :) Also 2 Timothy 1:7 makes me happy when I read it. God has not given us a Spirit of fear, but of power, and of love and of a sound mind. I know that to be true. There is nothing we can`t overcome with the help of our Savior. 

I love you so much!!!
Thank you!!

Bye Bye!
Elder Sotto

Thursday, January 17, 2013

There`s always light waiting at the end of the tunnel and that knowledge that the gospel brings allows for a lot of hope :

Dear Family,

Hello!!! It sounds like you`ve been pretty busy dad. that`s great that you got to visit with the area 70 all day! How cool! There is a definite Spirit around those who work so hard all day everyday to build the kingdom of God. I had an experience at the last Zone Conference that was pretty special to me. We met in Obihiro and the AP`s and ZL`s gave a workshop and at the end we sang I Believe in Christ. I looked around the room while we were singing and saw a bunch of tired, joking, beaten down, tsukareta Elders and our zone`s 2 sisters and had a very special feeling in my heart. I had a very strong feeling that these truly are the Lord`s servants. Amongst all the little trials that they have they keep working hard no matter what. It is something that I don`t think I`ll every forget. What a special opportunity this is to serve the Lord with all my heart might mind and strength for 2 whole years! I can`t believe a year of it is almost gone. It`s crazy how fast it all goes.

Thank you so much for your spiritual insights. It`s amazing how the Lord gives to us as we ask, seek and knock.
We met with a less active member yesterday and she has strong faith in Christ but goes to a differnet church now. We were going to share the Joseph Smith story with her but we got to talking about how a favorite scripture of hers gave her a lot of faith in Christ but she couldn`t remember where to find it. So we suggested that we pray and God would help us. She accepted and prayed and then we all searched for about 3-4 minutes and she ended up finding it :) it was 1 Corinthians 10:13. We then testified that it was by the power of God that she found it and she agreed. It was a really great experience. I`ve had the power of prayer proved to me over and over and over again as a missionary. The Lord truly listens to our desires and answers our prayers. What a wonderful blessing :)

It`s everyone`s birthday!!! Ahh!!! Tell them happy Birthday for me! Tanjoubi Omedetou gozaimasu!!! I hope everyone has a great day. Tell Grandma and Grandpa Perry and Grandpa Sotto thank you for all the memories and fun times and love! Let them know how much I love them as well. Without their influence and aid I would not be where I am today with the blessings that I have. Thank you so much!!!

I love your goals mother! I actually read about becoming like a little child today in Jesus the Christ. It`S really interesting why Christ said it. The apostles were having a discussion (arguement) about what positions they would hold in the Kingdom of God and Christ overhearing told them that a child is the greatest of all in the kingdom. Really interesting. I think your goals will bring you a lot of joy as you strive to fulfill them. I`ve found that working towards a worthy goal makes things a lot more fun. and I know you can accomplish them!
It`s really fun being out at teh same time iwth all my friends on a mission. I know that they must be growing and thriving as well. I`m excited to talka bout the different experiences we all had and the blessings of the Lord in building up his kingdom.

Lastly, it`s really interesting learning to work with different companions. This last week has been really tough on me and my companion in learning how to work together well and it ended up in a discussion about the difference in mindset between Americans and Japanese people. There are a lot of differences and its quite the adventure learning how to work with both haha. There`s been a lot of discussions and some tears here and there but things are going well. There`s always light waiting at the end of the tunnel and that knowledge that the gospel brings allows for a lot of hope :)
I really respect how unified you and dad were on everything while we were growing up. Even when things must`ve been hard. Thank you for the example you set :)

Oh! One more thing. I met an american from New Jersey on the train to Engaru (where the bishop lives) and we had a really great conversation and became good friends and talked about life and God and teh scriptures, and I didn`t have an english Book of Mormon to give him, but I felt a very strong prompting to give him the little Gappon (Bible and Book of Mormon set) that dad gave to me for when I travel, so i wanted to let you know that I gave it away to him dad. I hope you`re not mad! It has my name written in it so maybe He`ll look me up on facebook or something, but I felt like I should let you know :)

alright, well I better be going. Thank you so much for everything! I love you all so dearly!
Tell everyone I love them!
See you! Bye Bye!!!

Elder Sotto

Monday, January 7, 2013

I feel like I`m getting taller...I`m not sure if that`s because everyone in Japan is so short

Thanks for the japanese stuff dad! And Happy New Year!!! よいお年よ!

Aww poor Lucky!(dog had 7 teeth pulled) Tell him hello for me! And tell Dinah(cat) hello too! :P
Wow, a lot of change happening down there I guess. Is there sand and a palm tree in the bathroom yet? One interesting thing about Japan that I like is their tubs. I fit in them! The doors are all too short, but the tubs are great! ;)
I will start off with some great news. My suits have been getting a little worn out because of all the wear and tear (of course nothing is visible because it`s below 10 layers of winter gear :P) and my companion only has one suit, so we went suit shopping for him last week. I had no intention of buying anything because nothing in Japan fits me :P But, I ended up buying a suit while I was there. They had one my size and I just had to get it! It was only $539.00!...a little expensive. But apparently when they make suits that are too big, nobody buys them, so they bumped the price down. I bought it for about $30 dollars! haha. So I have a brand new $500.00 suit that I bought for $30 dollars :) They also have one more that I`m thinking about buying next week. It`s also $30 dollars. My problem isn`t the suit jacket, its the pants. My black suit pants got sun stained or something and turned a reddish color that doesn`t seem to wash out and my missionary mall pants are slowly getting torn up. So I bought the one suit, but do you think I should buy the other suit as well? If you think it`s a good idea please let me know in the next email! If you don`t say anything I probably won`t buy it. But anyways, that was very pleasing to me :)

I`m also emailing at night today because we had an appointment earlier today with an investigator that has a baptismal date, but doesn`t quite understand what he`s hearing. It`s little tough, but we`re doing our best to help him feel the Spirit and understand the gospel.
We just got done with dendo though, and we made a really great strong appointment with a nice young divorced mother for this week. She and her mother were both very kind to us and seemed like they wanted to here more. She also gave us mochi! (rice cakes which helped warmed our freezing hands haha). 
Today was warmer than usual actually. It was only -10 degrees celcius about. Usually it`s down at -20 and I hear pretty soon it will get all the way down to -30. It`s almost impossible to dendo outside in that weather. It`s crazy! But the Lord still blesses us as we strive to find the people he`s been preparing. I love being a missionary here in Japan :) and lately I really felt like I understand the language. The Gift of Tongues really is in existence Ne! 

Thanks for being such a great example to me dad. Always working to do what the Lord has called you to do. It really is a help to me here as I try my best to do what I feel the Lord wants me to do.
Tell Tyson and everyone hello for me! Tell them that the mission is amazing and I`m loving it! If they have any advice for me I`d love to here it as well :)

Alright, well that`s about all for now! Talk to you again next week! 

P.S. I feel like I`m getting taller...I`m not sure if that`s because everyone in Japan is so short or if I actually am getting taller, but that`s what it feels like haha. I`m trying to break 2 meters (I`m 2 centimeters off (198)). I guess we`ll have to measure me when I get  back!

Love you! Bye Bye!!!
Elder Sotto