Monday, March 25, 2013

learn about God`s love and patience and long suffering. is an interesting word. I`ve been a lot more aware of how weird language structure is and stuff since I`ve been learning a new language. It`s a really strange thing. I have heard Shikashi a lot. It is used in the scriptures a lot and means `however.` I`ve never heard shikashinagara but my jisho (dictionary) says that it means the same thing. But or however. You say a statement and then start the other statement with shikashi. tatoeba (for example). I wanted to go, but I couldn`t (ikitakatta. shikashi ikenakatta). Or "I found an ideal car, however, it was too expensive for me (subarashii kuruma o mitsuketa. shikashi nedan ga takasugita). I`m pretty positive you could substitute shikashi-nagara for shikashi.
There`s our japanese study for the day ;) I`m very excited to speak with you when I get back dad :) Do you still feel like you have a good grasp of the language?

It`s so weird that the earthquake was so long ago! I feel like the world is moving forward and I`m in my own little bubble with no consciousness of it haha. That is kind of what it`s like to be a missionary I guess. 
I`ve actually passed the Akan area where the article was saying there is going to be a geothermal power plant. I remember seeing it on the way from Kitami to Kushiro for District Activities when we`ve had them. Interesting!

It`s finally starting to warm up here too. The snow has slowly been melting away and I can see the ground again! We`re going to try to ride bikes today for the first time in a long time. We`re going to check out a second hand shop a little ways away and see if there is anything worth buying. With that said I have a question. I haven`t really bought any momento`s from Japan for me or my dear family, and I don`t really care much for momento`s for me (I`m terrible at buying things), but I`d love to get things for my beloved family. I was wondering if you and dad or my sisters or grandparents wanted anything from Japan. Otherwise I don`t really think I`ll end up buying anything.
So if you have any desire for a Japanese-ey something let me know and I`ll see what I can`t do to find one on P-day. We go to a lot of second hand shops anyway.
My companion keeps telling me that if I don`t buy anything then I will get back home and regret it so I`ve been trying to think of something I`d like, but I see no use in anything that I could buy :P I`m so bad at shopping haha.

You`ve been reading about Pandora`s box? I love Greek Mythology and stuff! I loved studying about that stuff while we were in Yokota. Isn`t it just interesting stuff?! I actually read an article from the Liahona for March and it was very similar to that. It was about a man on a church disciplinary staff who heard the story of a man and he had commited very serious sins, but he had been very wronged by others too. The man on the disciplinary staff needed to pray before he came to a descision what to do with the sinful man and when he prayed he saw (felt) a vision of a well filled with darkness symbolizing the wickedness of the world that was so deep he was just overwhelmed, but he heard a voice in his heart that said "fear not. peace. I have overcome the world." It was a very uplifting article that I could relate to really well. Sometimes I feel like the distractions and wickedness in the world is a pit that almost seems impossible to get out of, but with the Savior we can truly do it.

I`ve struggled a lot on my mission because I found that I`m a perfectionist. If there isn`t an immediate change then I`m not very happy. It has been pretty frustrating to work with people who want to change but don`t try at all because they have so many doubts and fears. It has been so interesting for me to learn about God`s love and patience and long suffering. I feel like I`ve changed a lot for the better, but I`ve just only scratched the surface. It`s been quite the growing experience. I really did love all the articles in the March addition of the Liahona though. I really think you should read them. It`s fantabulistic!!! :P It gave me a lot of HOPE :) What a great blessing.
We don`t always get things the way that we want in the very moment we want them, but if we keep pressing forward with hope then we will reach the end happily :)
Also reading the article made me think about how good of parents you are and made me want to say sorry for not learning all the lessons I`m sure you wanted me too :P haha. I`m trying harder now! =D

I was actually reading my journal from the MTC a little while ago and I`ll tell you what, I have changed a lot. I was very excited and itching to go no matter what. It takes a little more effort now to get those feelings, though they are still very strong. I want to learn all the hard lessons I`m learning and still keep the same fire and hope I had in the MTC, and I think I`m trying my best, so I`m happy :) I`m so excited for all my friends as they go into the greatest service up until this point in their lives.

It`s really funny hearing about all these friends going into the MTC and such. Before the mission I had in my mind I had a small idea of things that I might do after I get back from my mission. People I might want to date, things I`d want to do, but life truly is always changing. People I expected to see soon will be off on the Lord`s errand, and although my plans for after the mission will have to change drastically (:P) I`m so excited for the future! I know the Lord will guide me to where I want and need to be. That`s just one of the many blessings of HOPE that the gospel brings :)

Last of all I have a funny story.

We were teaching a lesson to a really good friend and investigator and we were just having a good talk and in Japanese our investigator said that I had a softer face and my companion had a more deep, defined face. Our team up (and great friend Ma-Kun) tried to explain to my companion in Japanese what our investigator said and it came out something like this..."She have...Impact Face." We heard that and just burst out laughing. He was wondering what was wrong with his explanation and so I explained to him that his explanation sounded like a car smashed into my companions face hahaha. So now my companion`s nickname is Impact face and he decided that I was the opposite...Mountain Face :P I love life and I love being a missionary :)

Well, that`s all for now! Talk to you next week!
Bye Bye!

Elder Mountain Face ;)

Oh, P.S. My friends can email me now and I can email them. It was confirmed by president at the last zone conference. So I would love it if you could give me the email of all my family members (especially less active ones). I would like to keep in contact with them if I could :) Thank for everything! See you!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Lord answers even the smallest of our prayers if it is for the benefit of others we love

Oh camp :P Miss it :) I know it will be a lot of fun though.

Well, the winter if finally starting to die down here. Snow is melting and the degrees are finally starting to go into the positives! It was a really cold winter and there were times that I thought my hands might freeze off, but I`ll let you know that the Lord won`t allow his servants to be harmed as they are in the service of their fellow beings. I have had countless wonderful experiences up here in the cold of winter :) The clothes that I had were all great. I should have bought a pair of small gloves to go under my big pair, but I never did, so I guess I`ll just wait till next year! All my other clothes and everything is holding up just fine :) I got the new pants in the mail too so thank you! 

The Cherry blossoms are slow up here in Hokkaido! When I first got to Japan last year they still hadn`t come out yet. They come out right about the 1st of May in Sapporo (near Golden week, a holiday). In Kitami I hear they come out in mid May haha. Slow, but beautiful nonetheless! I love seeing them :)

Thank you for your insights on scriptures and such dad. I will tell you that I usually don`t find things quite so deep in my study, but it`s really fun to see what you`re learning as well when we`re reading the same thing. I don`t really try to find much deep stuff here. I try to focus on investigators and their needs and that usually has relations to Joseph Smith and whether or not he was a true prophet of God.

One thing I`m trying to focus on more is helping my investigators learn to read the Book of Mormon. It can be pretty hard to read for them so I`m in the process of finding new fun ways to get them to read the Book of Mormon like finding questions for them to answer about the chapters they read. If you have any good ideas let me know!

The House looks soooooooooo goooooooooooooood!!!! I`m so excited to see it again! I can`t believe you put a big picture of the beach in your room! :P haha. Sasuga dad (classic dad ;)). Everything looks gorgeous! I was trying to picture our house and where the pictures were taken from and it took a little while, but I got it eventually :) Keep sending pictures of all the fun things you`re doing!
I`m sorry you`re getting sick! I hope you get better soon! 

I`ve never heard anything about being able to email my friends and priesthood leaders and such, so I wouldn`t let my friends know. Even if it is true I barely have enough time to get my emails out to my dear family! So I think I`m fine with just this for now. I love my friends and I feel a little bad that I don`t really keep in touch well with them, but I know that I`ll see them again in the future and I`m excited for the growth and change that everyone will have gone through. I know I`ve changed!
Sometimes I worry that I`ve changed too much and I`m not really me anymore, but I know that that`s foolish :P I`m really being shaped into someone that the Lord can trust for my whole life. That`s all I want to become. I`m trying my best to keep a little silly in me still though ;P 

One thing I learned (again) this week is just how much the Lord wants to help our righteous desires. The Lord answers even the smallest of our prayers if it is for the benefit of others we love. I was praying for specific help on my splits with another missionary so I could help build his faith in prayer and the Lord answered my prayer and we accomplished the goals that we set. It`s amazing! It`s always a little worrisome at first wondering if your prayer will be answered how you expect it to be, but if it`s righteous and in the will of God, He will answer :) I love being a missionary :) There are plenty of trials and plenty of tests, but the good times and the miracles are always the things that stay in your mind :)

alright, well, I`m off!
Talk to you next week! I love you!
Bye Bye!

Mitch ;)

Monday, March 11, 2013

he said that I look like Clark Kent when I wear them

My last companion and I bought some date (fake) glasses for when blizzards come and he said that I look like Clark Kent when I wear them :P That`s the true missionary within haha.
I admit that there are sometimes on a mission where you think about good things you had at home and miss them. Life was great! and it`s still great here. Just a different kind of great. Coming home at the end of the day dead tired and satisfied looking back on all the good things and hard things that happened that day.

Sometimes it`s really easy to feel like nothing is happening just because it`s not happening the way you want it to, but I know that things are going how the Lord wants them to. The past couple weeks I`ve been feeling a little slower because of trying to do my best to be in unity with my companion and I can feel the Spirit much more when we`re in unity. There are so many different styles and so many different personalities and it`s a real learning experience trying to figure out the best way to work with them.
I love my companion though. He`s a really great Elder that has a lot of different ideas for what good dendo is and it`s a great experiencing helping each other meet our goals :) 

That`s one really nice thing I love about the Sapporo mission. When you get a companion you don`t have the problem of having a companion that doesn`t want to work. The only problem is that your companion wants to work in a different way than you, and if that`s the biggest problem in the mission I`ll take it happily haha. There are a lot of great missionaries here.

When I first left for my mission there were a lot of experiences that made me feel like my faith had grown weaker, but I slowly came to realize that It`s not that it`s become weaker, it`s just that I`m being put in different situations and environments where I`ve never tested my faith before. Because I`m in a new situation I just have to find out how to use my faith in that situation. It`s good to know that now because it`s a never ending process. I still face the same problems and different situations but I can look forward with more faith and hope knowing that I`m just learning and growing in a new environment.

That`s been an interesting thing for me this transfer. I feel like there have been a lot of tests and stuff, but I feel like I`m handling them in a very calm and organized and thoughtful manner. I`m still frustrated and confused every once and a while but I can work in the midst of my wondering. It`s like I`m more able to analyze why I`m feeling stress or worry and find how to overcome it the next time I`m faced with a similar trial. It`s good stuff :) 
I feel like I`ve gotten a lot more patient too. I`m really grateful for that :)

Well, as for this week, things have been pretty busy visiting investigators. Unfortunately, no one was home this week :P So kind of a slower week. Sunday was really busy though. We had a totsuzen (all of   a sudden) shokujikai (eat together party) after church because a recently baptized member (1 year ago) is moving to Nagoya (on the mainland of Japan). We`re going out to Eon (a shopping mall) to get PuriKura pictures (silly pictures you take in booths) with him today. We also met with two other investigators with interesting stories after church. 

One of the Lessons was a little rough and I didn`t know what to do when some tensions got high, but I said a little prayer in my heart that things would get better and I decided to bear testimony and the Spirit entered my heart and things in the situation got better :) The Lord is always there when we pray to him sincerely and ask for help.
Another cool experience happened just a couple days ago, but we made a plan for our day and it got thrown completely off schedule because our missionary coordinator asked for a Priesthood blessing. It was the first time I`ve given one in Japanese, but I felt the support of the Lord and the Love in the words I was given for our friend. There was a very special Spirit in the room and I felt very humbled knowing that God trusts me to hold and use His Holy Priesthood to bless a worried child of His. It was a wonderful opportunity. After that we all went to visit Ikuma Kun (our recently baptized friend) and had a good talk with him. Then my companion asked if we could visit an NA we hadn`t planned to and we decided to go. She was there! (which is rare for her) and we had a great talk and I knew that the Spirit had put it into the mind of my companion to go visit her :) It`s amazing just the small miracles that happen all the time :)

It was great hearing about home and such. I always get excited hearing about camp. I wish I could be there and here, but I know that`s not possible so I`ll enjoy my short time here and just enjoy camp when I get back :) It`s too bad for the struggles going on with the vote though. But Tell everyone at camp hi for me! Tell Daniel Congrats on the mission call! He`s gonna love it and learn so much! And tell Mary that if she wants to serve a mission she should come to Hokkaido :P And have fun :)
Good luck with things on the houses and with the family!

I got the pictures and the pants and I can`t stop looking over the pictures! It`s so fun to see how far everyone has come and how much they`ve grown! Let me know how the job finding and moving and stuff goes as well!            (not sure what her meant by this, we are not moving)
And thank you for your great example throughout my life. I find myself wondering all the time " would mom and dad do this" or "why did they react this way when I did this." All the time. It`s so wonderful having such wonderful examples in my life. I definitely need advice after the mission ;)

Alright, well I better go, but I love you and let everyone there know that I love them too! And tell Jessica that Ollie (her hedgehog) is cute! Thank you!!

Elder Mitchell Perry Sotto...Me! =D

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

God protects those who we pray for.

Hello again dear family!

The snow is finally starting to melt a little here, but there was a really heavy windstorm saturday night and we were walking up on the mountain to an investigator`s house when it hit. It was so strong and there was snow blowing everywhere! You couldn`t see 3 feet in front of you! But we got a ride back from some members and then went out to all you can eat Yakiniku :) It was pretty great :)
Things are going well here. We`ve been blessed here in Kitami with a lot of people who want to listen to the gospel and even some who want to get baptized, but now it`s about helping them get to baptism. They are convinced that they want to do it really slowly over a long period of time, but I`m sure as they continue to hear the message they will realize they want the blessings sooner rather than later :)

As for my week, I don`t have much to say, but I`ll see what I can do! My trainer is the new Obihiro Zone Leader and he came up to Kitami for splits last friday and that was really fun. Kitami was his bean (first) area when he came to Japan and he hasn`t been back since about 2 years ago so he was really excited to dendo. I got to dendo (do missionary work) with him all day. We went and visited a bunch of his old investigators and it was just like old times. I really miss working with him. He`s one of the hardest working missionaries I know. When you work with him you always come back at the end of the day feeling like you worked your hardest. Great day :) 
I was also able to be reminded of what my purpose is as a missionary. It`s to invite others to come unto Christ. They use their agency. We are called to invite and testify with the Spirit. It was a big deal for me to re-learn (for like the 15th time :P).
Other than that I will just testify that God protects those who we pray for. Our 82 year old investigator was able to make it to the church safely during the snow storm the other day. I was incredibly worried, but God protected him and I was able to testify to him that God answers our prayers. 

Well, that`s about all. Tell everyone I love them! Also I`ll probably write Will when he gets into the mission field. Anyways, have a great week!
Love you!

Elder Mitchell Perry Sotto

One last thing that`s kind of funny and silly at the same time. 
I got a card to transfer large amounts of money from the bank the other day and they gave me a booklet for it and it had my name on it, but because my name is too long they used 2 lines and it turned out like this:
HELL PERRY 様(sama)

:P haha. I got a good laugh when I saw the bottom half. A little Childish, but very funny ;D

Alright, have a great week! 
Bye Bye!!!