Sunday, February 19, 2012


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

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