Sunday, February 19, 2012



There is Shakira`s hit single, "Hips Don`t Lie" streaming through the speakers of our local gym where we email. Yes, random fact of the day.

Anyways, how are you family? Selena, I can`t believe you finally put on your big girl pants and moved out...40 minutes away from Mom and Dad! I joke, I joke. But that's way awesome you found a good apartment up in Salt Lake, now you can get yourself to work much easier. Now we must offer up our prayers for Richard so he can sneak his way into the U. As for me...well, I`m not too sure of what I want to do for a career yet. But, I still know that its gonna be in the medical field for sure. I`m still considering Physicians Assistant, but maybe I`ll shoot for the stars and go for Oral Surgery. I don`t know, I don`t know, I don`t know. Iz still gots four months to not think about it too much. Maybe I`ll just teach English over here in Japan...not.

Well, looks like it "snowed" in Utah this past week. Ha! I laugh at you! You don`t know what a snow storm is until you come to Toyooka!

I`ll tell you what a real snow storm is:
A snow storm is,
when you wake up in the morning and you have to search for your bike that's buried in the snow.
when you have to thaw your bike with hot water so you can turn your tires and change gears.
when you are shoveling in the parking lot of the church and then five minutes later there`s exactly the same amount of snow laying on the ground.
when you are riding a bike and all you can see is white and the silhouette of your companion riding in front of you.

Those are just a few examples of a real snow storm. But no worries, I`m having a blast! I feel like a kid in a candy store when I go out in that kind of weather. I don`t know why, maybe because I`m still twenty...and young! Eternal youth I tell you.

Well, this week was another great learning experience for me. You`re right Mom, it was a great blessing that I was sent here to Toyooka for my last few transfers. I have realized that there is still so much for me to learn on my mission and I think the Lord understood that very well, that`s why I`m here in Toyooka. Its so interesting to think of all of the possible ways the Lord teaches you lessons. Sometimes its through the Spirit. Other times, its through people around you and the experiences you have. The pains and the disappointments. The joy of the gospel and witnessing of miracles. Whatever the method, its our responsibility to see what the Lord is trying to teach us. I`ve definitely learned a lot in the past three weeks here in Toyooka. I feel like I`ve finally been able to open my eyes a little bit and realize that this work is more than I can ever comprehend. I`m out here to help mend broken families and to lead individuals out of forbidden paths and back on to the straight and narrow through preaching the Gospel of Christ and repentance. Its not for my own self-satisfaction or recognition, but for the salvation of others. So, when trouble does come up, I need to understand people`s circumstances and listen to all of their desires and fears instead of just moving at my own pace. It`s a shame that it took me a year and a half to finally start understanding this, but I`m so grateful that I`m learning. Better late then never you know?

Well, there`s a big work for me to do here in Toyooka but I know that the Lord`s gonna help me as long as I work hard and with the Spirit. Ganbarushikanaizo!

Okay, hopefully you guys are doing greeeeaaaatttttt! Keep up the good work over there on your side of the planet okay? Hope you guys have a great week! I`ll pray for you Richard! (and everyone else of course)

Mucho amor,
Elder Saito


Beloved Family!
Another fantastic week spent in the cold winter wonderland of Toyooka! I`m telling you, this place is brutal physically, mentally and spiritually. It`s a testing ground where I get to try out everything I possibly learned on my mission, and I love it! Its good to see that I`ve changed in the past year because I probably would`ve collapsed by now if I was a transfer 2 or 3 missionary. But its so amazing, I`m still learning a lot from the harsh conditions, my companion and investigators. I swear, I have learned more about myself and the role I play in the lives of my investigators in the past week then ever.
I mean, its not an everyday occurrence in the Kobe mission where you wake up and your bike is buried in snow and frozen. My gears and brakes were frozen solid! But, never the less, there were places to go, people to teach and elect to find. So most of the week consisted of me, riding a frozen chunk of metal that was stuck on gear 3, through blinding snow. It was a thrilling experience! And don`t worry Mama and Papa, I`m still alive. I ride cautiously. A wise elder once told me that if I ever wanted to be a great missionary, I would have to "throw away all of my excuses." Its a good thing that I learned that before Toyooka, because I`m sure there were thousands of "excuses" I could`ve made up this week to not go out and work. But none of them would ever compare to the fact that we`re saving lives here.
My companion, Elder Hasegawa, also taught me a very profound lesson this week. We were going to a progressing investigator`s house with high expectations for the outcome of the lesson earlier this week. But to our surprise, he came out and told us that he couldn`t meet with us anymore for certain reasons. We were completely drawn back because he was such a great investigator who had felt the spirit during our previous lessons and really wanted to be cleansed through the Atonement. We tried our best to convince him that he was making a wrong decision but his heart was set. He told us that he had prayed a lot about it, even cried for two nights straight about it, but just couldn`t muster up the courage to continue meeting. After a few more attempts to resolve this matter, I was somewhat frustrated and just wanted to hurry up and drop him so we could go and find more of the elect. But that was where Elder Hasegawa stopped and bore a simple yet powerful testimony about the divinity of God and how He wanted this man, his son, to receive salvation. Both of them were in tears at the end of the testimony but the investigator still couldn`t agree to meet anymore. He then told us that he would keep the things we had taught him as a "treasure" in his heart and we left his house. While walking back to our apartment, Elder Hasegawa whispered to me while wiping a tear from his face, "it hurts when you can`t save somebody`s life." Goodness, those words pierced my heart! Here I was, seeing this investigator we just dropped as a waste of our time where we could`ve spent finding, where in reality it was a soul that had just lost a chance to salvation. I was shocked at how machine-like and cold hearted of a missionary I had become. It was sad. It also made me realize how much I didn`t understand the plan of salvation and the role I play as a missionary. A great wake up call to say the least. At that point, I knew I had to change to be a real servant of the Lord. I have a feeling that Toyooka is right where the Lord wanted me to be so I could learn love, patience and humility. Isn`t it just great when you feel like you`re on top of the world and then the Lord humbles you by showing you all of your weaknesses? I think I now have an idea of what I need to change to fulfill my mission.
Well, sorry about that rant. It went a lot longer than I thought it would...anywho. I gotta go now. Oh yeah, I might buy cheap glasses (probably 5000 yen ones) because I want a dendo pair. I may or may not buy yoroshiku. haha Well, its starting to warm up now so I probably won`t die this week! Okay, love ya bunch!
Elder Saito

Sunday, February 5, 2012


Dearest Family,
Well, here I am in the local recreational center in the little city of Toyooka, writing you guys another email. I love this little city! You want to know how Toyooka is? Well, imagine Payson, Utah with a lot of rice patties all over the place, then you got Toyooka. Its great I`m telling you.
Anyways, it`s way good to hear from you guys! Things have been incredibly busy lately but its so good to hear from you guys. Sweet, I`m glad the package reached Obachan. I was worried that I messed something up because I was in such a rush to send it off. Everything inside of that package is way important because its full of things that my recent converts, investigators and members gave to me on my if I did happen to miss place that I would be destroyed! Anyways, I`m glad its safe and sound in Obachan`s house now.
Well, I`m not really surprised that Spohr isn`t going to wait for me to come back from my mission before he gets married. That punk. Oh well, I`ll be sure to give him a good kidney punch when I get home. Oh yeah, Elder Jindo was telling me how his sister`s going to UVU. Yup, he`s my doki, love that kid to death. I`m actually going to be traveling back to Kobe later tonight for ZLC so I`ll be sure to tell him about that.
As for Toyooka, I am in love! This place is exactly what I wanted for my last few transfers in the field. Its like my mission retirement home, where I`ll spend rest of my time finding the elect and seeing miracles in the middle of nowhere. I`ve heard stories about this place from Elder Hinton and Elder Burns so I pretty much already knew the whole area before I transferred in. The best part about it is that my companion is Elder Hasegawa! I finally have a Japanese companion! I never thought that this day would come...but it did. And its great because everything, and I mean everything is now in Japanese. By the end of this transfer I will rid my self of this gaijin (foreigner) accent and be able to write kanji like its no one`s business. Life is good.
Well, transfer know what, this whole week was pretty crazy. The day I transferred into Toyooka happened to be the day where a huge snow storm hit the Japan sea side, resulting in trains not being able to run for hours. It was interesting because we were riding through Kobe and Himeji and it was perfectly fine weather...but once we started going up north everything just turned white. The train actually couldn`t go further than Wadayama so we had to sit and wait for a member to come pick us up. In the end, a two hour trip ended up becoming six hours. Its so crazy how much it snowed over here, I mean the roof of our garage in front of the house collapsed the other day because of the all of the snow that accumulated on top! Most of the week consisted of shoveling snow, lots of snow...and dendoing at the same time. A very interesting combination. Anyways, riding bikes over here in the snow makes me feel like I`m doing Tokyo drift all the time. Its quite the adventure, but lets hope I don`t die. That would be quite unfortunate, I want to at least finish my mission before I die.
Anyways, this area is great. Working with pretty strong investigators with a great companion, what else could I ask for? And the nature over here is just breathtaking! I feel like I`m snow camping in Utah again. Hopefully I`ll be able to stay here to see all the snow melt and the rice fields to start growing in. Life is good.
Well, I`m going to go now. I`ll be sure to pray for Obachan`s health and that Richard can get into Utah! Hope you guys have an AWESOME week!
Oh yes, and go GIANTS!!!
Mucho Amor,
Elder Saito