Monday, July 16, 2012


Dear Family,

Well, here it is. The last report! I can`t believe how quickly this past week had gone by...but I honestly couldn`t be happier! Not for the fact of leaving, I`m way torn about that, but for the fact that I was really able to fall in love with the people here in Japan. I love the members, investigators, missionaries and converts so much! It`s hard to imagine that I`ll be leaving them. They`ve really become a part of me, like another branch of my family, you know? I`m also happy that I feel like I was able to accomplish what the Lord desired me to out here. Granted, I`m sure there are many things I could`ve done better but I`ve got no regrets. I feel good saying that I was able to do everything for my two years out here!

I don`t know how to really explain it...I know my mission is coming to an end but it still hasn`t fully hit me yet. I feel like I should be doing this forever, you know? But I am so grateful for everything that I was able to experience on my mission. I`m so grateful for all my brothers and sisters that I was able to come to know. I`m grateful for the testimony that I was able to develop of Jesus Christ and His atonement. I`m grateful for the Restoration of the gospel and the knowledge of the plan of salvation that we have. All the experiences I`ve had really has meant the world to me! While I was preparing my final testimony this past Sunday, it hit me how much the Lord had truly blessed me throughout my mission. I was looking back in my journal and I realized that I had never felt so much pain and heartache than on my mission...but not a single experience has been or probably ever will be more rewarding! I love my mission so much that I don`t think I`ll ever be able to express its fullness in words.

Well, I`ll see you guys in a few days anyways. I`ll tell you all the juicy details about my mission later. When are we going to Nagoya by the way? There`s some business that I need to finish back in Kobe so I may need some time.

Thanks for everything you guys. I really love you so much! I could`ve never made it throughout my mission without your love and support! Mom and Dad, thanks for all the sacrifices you made so I could be out here in Japan spreading the good word that brought our family happiness. I was really able to understand the importance of what I`ve always been blessed to have in my life, the gospel of Jesus Christ. Selena, can`t wait to see you big sis!!! I missed you a bunch. As for all my friends, I love ya and can`t wait to see all of ya again!

Here`s a last scripture I wanna share with you guys. It`s the scripture I fell in love with before I left on my mission. Alma 29:9. This is truly my glory, this is my joy.

Love ya,
Elder Saito

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


Hello Family,

Ugh, well I swear the weeks are starting to go by just faster and faster...I can`t keep up! It still hasn`t fully hit me that everything will be over in less than two weeks. Like, I don`t know how to explain it. It just feels like I`m going to be just transferring to a new area, you know? Nothing new. Goodness...I don`t wanna go home! It`s like, I don`t know anything else other than the mission and I can`t imagine doing anything else. But at the same time, I`m stoked for what`s behind this new door, you know? I don`t know how to explain myself. It was way sad this week because it was my last Zone Leader Council I would ever participate in. I`ve been going to those for the last year and a half and I`ve seen many great missionaries bear their dying testimonies...but I never thought that my day would ever come. It felt so unreal to me standing up and bearing my testimony. But it was a great experience because there were many young missionaries that I had chances to work with on my mission like my son, Elder Lythgoe. It`s crazy to think that I was training him just about a year ago...and now he`s a zone leader, working in my bean area. Life comes at you fast! I guess this is how it feels to be a dad and see your kids grow up, eh? Oh the mission, the perfect life prep.

Ah, I`m gonna be so sad having to say goodbye to all of the members here. This is the branch where I felt most comfortable and at home in so its gonna be a tuff having to leave. I swear, I would live in Toyooka just for the members if I could.

Well, I`m half worried about what`s gonna happen this week. My mind feels like its been thrown in a blender...but I`m going to continue working my hardest for my last week out here in the field. I was pondering and praying about what I wanted to accomplish with my last weeks of my mission and I remembered something that was written in my patriarchal blessing. It stated that I would be lead to the doors of those who have been praying for me to come...granted, that door could be a figurative door, but I still feel like I haven`t been accomplish that just yet. My goal for the rest of my time here is to find a family through housing and see their baptismal picture up a few months from now! haha

Anyways, I`m gonna go now. I LOVE YOU GUYS!!! I`ll be sure to do my best for the last few days so I can leave saying that I gave everything for the people of Japan!

Mucho Love,
Elder Saito


Sunday, July 1, 2012


Hey beloved family!

Well, it`s July...crazy huh? I honestly don`t have too much time to write because we need to hop on a bus to Kobe in a few hours to go and play. So, lo siento...but it`s aight, I`ll be seeing you in like three weeks anyways. I need to enjoy my time that`s left here in Japan, who knows when I can ever comeback here?

Just want to tell you that I am happier than ever! It`s been a great week over here, just keeping the work moving forward while strengthening our beloved new converts. Got a few brothers lined up to receive the priesthood and start serving the branch. I also don`t think there is anything better in the world than having a good talk with your thirteen yr old convert about her dreams and her future. Yeah, we had another one of those after church again, haha. It`s amazing cause she`s thinking of going to college, serving a mission and getting married in the temple! It`s a pretty big step forward for her especially because she wasn`t even going to school five months ago. She even started to dendo her family! The gospel has the power to change people`s lives for the better and it provides rays of hope that help people move forward. I can`t even wait to see what to happens to her five, ten years later!

Sorry for the short email. The package came by the way, I was way surprised that you sent all of that! Thanks so much though! I`ll be sure to give them all to the members in due time.

I love you guys! The Lord lives and the work is going to continue to move forward. I`m way sad that I`ll never be able to experience this chapter in my life again, but I have no regrets. I love my mission, but I`m also very excited for the next chapter that I`ll be writing in due time.

Mucho Amor,
Elder Saito


Hey family,

Oh my goodness! What the garbage happened to June? I almost fell out of my chair during our planning meeting this past week when I realized that next Sunday is already going to be July! Ah, President Zinke was right. He told me in my last interview that these last months will fly past like a whirlwind...and he was right. It still hasn`t fully dawned on me that I`ll be going home in less than a month. The mission office had already sent me a bunch of materials and things I need to do before I go home but I`ve haven`t really looked over it yet. I probably should some time soon...eventually.

Yeah, so for the gifts for the members...sorry for not telling you how many was needed. Lo siento! But if you could be a sweetheart and send the package to Hyogo-ken Toyooka-shi Yamamoto 210-7 (兵庫県豊岡市山本210-7) that would be much appreciated. My goodness, I love the members here so much. I swear the only thing that kept me alive in Toyooka where the members and their kids. I love those kids from the bottom of my heart! I can`t really imagine leaving Toyooka and the members, I mean, they`ve become my family!

So, we had an amazing experience this past Sunday. We had district conference over in Nishiwaki so us, an investigator and a bunch of members jumped onto a big van and drove all the way over there! Well, that wasn`t the amazing experience by the way. So, at district conference there was a special fireside about missionary work and we watched a DVD that the Tokyo mission released about member-missionary work. There was one experience of a member who referred her friend from middle school and shared her experience of her friend`s conversion process. It was great because the situation was just like Haru-chan (little girl who referred her friend) and Misa-chan`s experience. First, Haru-chan just casually invited Misa-chan to church, then they started listening to the missionary lessons with each other which eventually lead to her conversion. Isn`t it just amazing to think about the greatness of the work? I mean think about it, it all started out with Haru-chan just inviting her friend to church. That small act of love produced a soul that has potential of returning to Heavenly Father`s presence! But its just not Misa-chan who is effected, this small act of love will now bless Misa-chan and her family for all eternity! Amazing right? I have a firm testimony that by small and seemingly insignificant things produce big changes in somebody`s life. And it was so amazing at the end because after the video, both Haru-chan and Misa-chan bore their simple testimonies in front of every and it was so spiritual. Misa-chan shared her experiences of her conversion and I was just on the verge of bursting out in tears. I love missionary work!

I`m so grateful for the opportunity to serve as a missionary. I would`ve never had these experiences or understood the goodness that comes out of the gospel if I wouldn`t have gone on my mission. I think the greatest joy in a missionary`s life is when his 13 yr old convert tells him that she wants to serve a mission and get married in the temple! My heart almost melted at that moment with joy! Thank you so much for letting me serve a mission and always supporting me Mom and Dad! I know that I would`ve never experienced any of this if it wasn`t for your sacrifice and your faith!

Okay, I gotta go now. We`re going to Kumihama now to go and play with more jellyfish and crabs. I`ll be sure to enjoy rest of my time here on my mission!!!

Con Amor,
Elder Saito



Wow, I can`t even tell you what a rollercoaster of a week it was over here! But everything seemed to just work out and our beloved thriteen year old investigator, Sazaki Misa, was safely baptized this past Sunday. It really is amazing to see the Lord outstretch His hand and preform miracles right in front of us.

So, Sister Misa`s baptismal interview was on Wednesday night and her baptism was planned for Saturday. We were sure that her faith and testimony was solid so we had no worries about it. But, a bunch of problems seemed to pop right out when her interview started. We had already gotten the permission of the parents before the interview, but Sister Misa`s mother suddenly was overcome with concerns when we had asked for their names and birthdays for the baptismal record. During the interview, we received a call from the parents and they told us that they wanted to talk with us. So, the member that referred her and I left during the interview and went to talk to the mother. After a good hour of negotiating, she finally expressed her concerns and told us that she doesn`t want her daughter being baptized. It was quite the shock to both the member and I. I honestly felt my heart drop but we kept trying to help her realize that she was making a mistake. We explained how her daughter had a desire to change herself and become a better person and that by stopping her now, it would just confuse and frustrate her. It seemed to have an effect on the mother, but she told us that she would need time to think about it.

The next two days where honestly pretty nerve recking for me and Elder Shinohara. We honestly didn`t know what would happen and we weren`t quite sure what we were supposed to do. So we decided to fast about it and think about what we were supposed to do before acting recklessly and making the situation worse. We had a great impression to first write Sister Misa a letter telling her not give up on her baptism and to do her best to testify to her mother about how she wanted to change. After writing that letter, we decided to write Sister Misa`s mother as well. We just poured our hearts out onto a piece of paper and told her that she was a wonderful mother for caring about her daughter but we also testfied about how her daughter would become a better person by following Jesus Chirst. We begged for her to just listen to what her daugther was saying and what she desired. We left that letter in their post box and prayed as hard as we could that the Lord would soften her heart.

Friday night came crawling up and we still hadn`t heard anything from the mother. Elder Shinohara and I were right at the point where we were about to lose hope...we even began planning to cancel the baptismal service because we really didn`t know what would happen. But thats when we received an email from the member that referred her telling us not to give up and keep moving towards the baptism the next day. For some reason we felt really strongly at that moment that things would be okay, so we decided not cancel it.

The next day was full of miracles. Saturday afternoon, we received a call from the member telling us that the mother had changed her mind. She gave us permission to baptize Sister Misa! When we asked why, he told us that Sister Misa had done her best to testify to her mother about how she wanted to be baptized and her mother really started to think about the welfare of her daughter. Her mother was surprised at how much her daugther had changed in the few months since she started going to church. And right when she was thinking about it, she received our letter and it really helped her see that all we wanted to do is help her daughter out. So, about four hours before the service, the mother came to the church and signed the baptismal record herself and gave us the green light to baptise her.

The baptismal service went on as planned and it was the most spiritual one I`ve ever participated in before. It was so amazing to see Sister Misa take her first steps towards Jesus Christ and see her face just change after the baptism. It was such a blessing and a testimony to me that the Lord really loves all of his children and that He gives us trials so we can strengthen our faith. I don`t think I`ll ever be able to forget this experience again and I am so excited to see Sister Misa continue following Jesus Christ and change her life for the better. I love this little girl so much!

Those past few days were really just a test for us more than anything. I don`t think I`ve ever prayed as hard as I did during those two days. I couldn`t concentrate, I lost sleep, I even started crying after praying with Elder Shinohara because I was frustrated and just didn`t know why all these problems would come out at the last second. It was pretty embarrassing, I don`t think I`ve ever cried over a thriteen year old girl before.haha But in the end it all worked out! The Lord lives and he knows exactly what He`s doing. He gives us challenges and trials in our life so we can grow and as long as we hold fast to our faith and hope, things will work out in the end.

Well, thats my experience of my mission. I finally know why I stayed in Toyooka. It was all for this little thriteen year old to get her back onto track and following Jesus Christ. She`s like a little sister to me!

Anyways, I gotta go now. Running out of time! I have one thing to ask though. Mom, when you come to Japan will you buy some small things that I can give to members when I leave? It would be much appreciated! Thanks for always being amazing!

I love ya guys,

Elder Saito

Sunday, June 3, 2012


Hey hey hey family,

So I actually don`t have much time to write you guys cause we`re going to Amanohashidate in a bit. For those who don`t know what that is...well, I`ll send pictures next week. haha But I`m way excited to hear back from you guys! I can`t believe how quickly this week went by but we were SO BLESSED! I need to update you with everything that had happened.

But first off, I got my final transfer call of my mission. I`ll be doing a special assignment for my last transfer...which is exactly what I`ve been doing for the past transfer. Single zone leader/trainer again! Whoot! I`m way excited for this next transfer, especially because I`ll be with my beloved Elder Shinohara. Its always good when you`ve got a son who is on dendo fire!

Our little miracle of the week...well, I don`t have too much time to write all the small details but our thirteen year old investigator totally turned around earlier this week and told us that she`d been thinking about it a lot wants to be baptized! It totally caught both Elder Shinohara and I off guard! If all things go well, she should be going through this month. There are still a few things we need to finish up before it goes through, but it looks pretty good. The parents gave the okay to her, but we need to actually go and talk to them first before we can jump to conclusions. Please keep up the prayers for her! She is way awesome! I`ve learned so much in this past week about the concept of patience and accepting the Lord`s will. Sometimes you just need to let go of a few things and take a step of faith in the dark while trusting that the Lord would guide you where you need to go.

Well, there is a lot of planning that we need to do for the baptismal service! Gotta get to work! Sorry for the short email...but I wanna go to AMANOHASHIDATE!!!

Love you,
Elder Saito


Hey family,
How`s it going? Its good to hear from all of you!
Things over here have been going well. I do have to admit, there has been a lot running through my head lately but I think that`s just natural for an old missionary like myself. I think I was able to learn a lot about myself as I`ve worked over here in Toyooka. Learned a lot about myself, my testimony and the importance of others and their salvation. Isn`t it wonderful how the Lord always provides learning experiences for his servants? There`s still a higher plane of a missionary that I need to step up to and I realize it more and more everyday...if that made any sense. It probably didn`t, I`m just going insane.
Well, its starting to look a lot like summer over here. You know you`ve been in an area for a while when you see -1C and then a big ole 30C on the thermometer four months later. We`ll see how blazing hot it can get over here! I`m excited. We had a lesson with one of our investigators yesterday in the blazing hot sun. We were about to melt out there in the hot hot heat! Oh yeah, this investigator is way awesome btw! Her name is Sister Kawagoe and she has a strong desire to be cleansed from her past mistakes and change as a person...but her parents are against her going to church or being baptized. AH!, hantai families are so frustrating...but its an obstacle that we need to overcome to help her come unto Christ. But you know as Elder Jeffery R Holland says best "salvation is not a cheap experience." It never was and never will be. We just need to help strengthen her faith so she can stand up for what she believes and what she wants!
Other than that, things have been going Toyooka speed. You know you`re in the country when your pass time activites while waiting for investigators is going out into the rice fields catching frogs and lizards. I love Toyooka`s nature, it makes me feel like a child just running around in the wilderness. Its also awesome when your companion is the best person on the planet! Gotta love this work.
Anyways, I need to go and catch a bus to Kobe now. Got another Zone Leader Council to attend to! Thanks for all that you guys do, I love ya!!!
Elder Saito