Monday, April 16, 2012


Dearest Family,

I would like to start my email by formally apologizing to you Mom and Dad. ごめんな! I completely blanked last week and forgot to thank all of you guys. Yes Mother, the suitcase did come in and I am thoroughly enjoying all the delectable treats that you spent long hours purchasing and tactfully packing. You`re the bestest Mom! I finally have stuff to eat so I gained back a kilo in the past week thanks to all of the protein bars.

Oh yes and Father, thank you for all of your hard work on applying for me as well as all the rooming jazz. Honestly, I tried not to read your last email in too much depth because I thought I would be distracted for the rest of the week. I only got three-ish months left so I`m trying my best to cut myself off from thinking of things like schooling and stuff, but I guess it is inevitable to put at least some thought into it. As for my schedule...honestly, it looks like a load but I`m always up for a challenge. Hopefully, things I learned on my mission and the Lord`s grace and mercy will compensate for the fact that I haven`t been in school for over two years. I just want to hit the ground running after my mission so I don`t end up being a bum. Plus, I`ll be able to tweak my schedule if necessaryでしょ? でしょ?

Finally, Selena and Richard wrote me back. Good for them! They finally have fulfilled their role as family. I kid, I kid. But its good to hear that they`re doing well up there in the Lake of Salt. I see there`s a new addition to the family too. A cat with HIV huh...well, I guess it just fits in perfectly with that family.

Well, another week has gone by. I mean, its already the the final week of the transfer! I can`t believe it...I`ve had a lot of mixed feelings running through my head lately. I pretty much decide what will happen with the rest of my mission tomorrow in my interview with President Zinke. I feel like I`ve learned a lot about myself and this work within my time here in Toyooka. I don`t think I`ve ever felt as...small in a while, but at the same time I`ve never learned so much about Christ and about His attributes or Atonement before. Like in Ether 12:27, as man comes closer to the to the Lord, his weaknesses will be shown and those weaknesses are given to men so they can be humble. After men humble themselves before the Lord and exercise faith, that`s when the miracle of weaknesses becoming strengths happens. A year and nine months out and I still have a lot to learn on my mission. But I`m way excited to grow and become stronger with the time that I have left!

As for our two baptismal candidates, we will probably have to reset their dates. I feel like I`ve done everything to get them on their date...but we just can`t get everything in on time. There`s no point in trying to force things down these people`s throats just so we can get a baptism in. I need to have a larger view of missionary work and help them understand the doctrine of the gospel and have them feel the spirit so they can truly convert. Everything has their time and their season. I just need to do absolutely everything that I can within my circle influence and leave rest of it up to the Lord. But the good news is that our thirteen year old investigator is going back to school! She`s even started to get involved in tennis as well. I`m so glad that she`s back on track with her future but she needs the gospel as well.

Well, short sleeves T`s are in now. Hallelujah, praise the Lord! Spring time is the season of change. Like an old investigator in Iwade told me a year ago, the old will become new and there will be new friends and experiences laying in front of me. I`m way excited! Aight, thanks for being the best family ever. I honestly owe it all to you guys! アザイス!



Hello dear family,
Well, another unbelievably quick week has gone by. Its incredible how quickly it all goes by! Granted, most of the week consisted of me going around for trainings and and General Conference but whatever, it`s the life! We first started it off by going to Kobe early Tuesday morning, then moved over to Fukuchiyama and then finished it all off in Nishiwaki. We were able to get back into our area Friday night and start working again. I swear, I feel like a business man just going around in my suit and training people but that`s the blessings of being such an old missionary. ahah No but it was really great, I really enjoyed working with the missionaries in my zone.
Zone Leader Council was a good one as well. With President Zinke`s new training plan I can see a lot of apparent changes in him and his vision. I think he`s really getting a hold of everything and the mission is on the verge of exploding. Missionary work is so interesting to me, its something that I`ve been thinking about lately since I`ve had a lot of opportunities to train younger missionaries. There are so many elements that are included to create a successful missionary. A simple testimony, being able to work with the Spirit, desire, mental stability, social skills, proselyting techniques, etc. Its so important to understand that each missionary has their own strengths and weaknesses within the spectrum of the work and how the responsibility of leader is to help them continue to build on those strengths and recognize their weaknesses so they can work through the Atonement of Christ to improve. A true Christlike leader will help other missionaries turn to Christ when they recognize their shortcomings or weaknesses not try to do it themselves. I`ve come to a realization that I`ve been too caught up with running micro-management for the missionaries in my zone. As in, if there`s a problem within the zone, I jump in and solve it on the spot. Which may not seem that big of a problem at first, but in the long run I`ve realized that it doesn`t help the missionaries. Its the exactly the concept of giving a man a fish vs teaching him how to fish. Of course the latter on is more effective in the long run. Oh, the joys of missionary work. Right when you feel like you know what you`re doing, you realize that you are completely lost. Thank goodness for the Atonement! There is still a lot I need to do for the missionaries in my zone so I need to do everything within my circle of influence while balancing the work here in Toyooka as well.
Anyways, this week was a good eye opener for me. I think General Conference has really helped me to see where I want to go and do with the rest of the time I have left to serve. Honestly, there has been a lot running through my head lately. I felt like I`ve been trying to keep a bunch of McDonalds colored playpin balls within my arms while running. (For anyone who has experienced that can sympathize how I felt.) Anyways, with many things running through my head...I watched conference. Honestly, I couldn`t focus 100% but there was a talk that really stood out to me. I actually can`t remember who gave the talk but he talked about the Prodigal`s son and how "he came to himself." That left a large impression on me. Its not that I`ve completely apostatized or anything...but I do feel like I came to a better realization that I am indeed a son of the all mighty Father in Heaven, and that He loves and cares about me. Everything that I`m going through and trying to balance right now are simple tests that were placed in front of me to help me grow. I need to be able to stand up to these trails that I`m faced with faithfully and boldly. If I keep on using the escape excuse of "Oh, I only have three months left" my mission will be over before I know it. I need to give all now. Right now. Mainly, because I know that this is a chapter in my life that I can`t re-write and I do not want to end my mission with regrets.
There are many things in missionary work, well life in general, that won`t go the way you want it to go. And that`s how its supposed to be. Elder Holland says it best, "salvation is not a cheap experience." If life ain`t hard, you probably ain`t doin` it right! We aren`t here to get caught in the current, take it easy and get thrown around lifelessly. We`re here to fight the current and get where we want.
Anyways, I`m gonna go now. There`s a lot that still needs to be done over here. Thanks for all the emails though! I love you guys lots and hope you`re all having an awesome week!
Mucho Amor,
Elder Saito

Wednesday, April 4, 2012


Dear Family,

Uh...I don`t think you could`ve made me feel any grosser about myself then by bombarding me with flight itinerary and pictures of my new apartment. Thank you family, thank you. But I guess I can`t really run from reality any longer, my mission is coming to an end and there is nothing I can do about it other than work hard with the time I have left and preparing for the next step in my life. Well, there is a time and a season for everything I suppose.

Dad, thanks for working everything out with the apartments. It looks like a way awesome place! Oh yes, and for my classes...I forgot what I wrote in my packet but I do feel like I didn`t write any Japanese classes in there. BE SURE TO GET ME INTO A JAPANESE CLASS FOR FALL SEMESTER. I guess I do have to take a placement test first but whatever, we`ll figure that out later. I want 16 credits worth of As! My GPA needs it so bad right now since I failed at life my freshman year. Okay? Okay. And yes, I`ll be sure to jump onto Nuskin ASAP once I get home. It`ll probably be one of the first things I do cause I don`t want to end up being a lazy bum after I get back. Oh yeah, and if you can, could you write out the schedule for my fall semester for me? 頼むぜ!
Oh my goodness, its April. I realized that it was General Conference week during church when they told us that we would be watching it this Saturday and Sunday. Dude, I almost had a heart attack. I can`t believe that this is going to be my last session of the big GC on my mission! Ah I just want to crawl into the fetal position and cry in some corner. Its all coming at me too quickly...
Anyways, that's me whining like usual. But I`m way excited for the rest of my mission though! Our 13 year old sweetheart is being awesome as usual. She`s way excited for her baptism this month but we`re not 100% sure whats going to happen because she`s gonna get surgery this week so we don`t have too many teaching opportunities. But the Lord shall provide, I know it! It just takes effort and a willing heart to see miracles! Please, please, please pray for her okay? Oh yes, and the investigator we had come to church last week? Yeah, she`s the bombdotcom as well! I`ve never seen anyone who`s so purely interested in learning about Jesus Christ and His gospel. I`m telling you, you work hard in the Lord`s vineyard and He will provide you with the elect. Diligent work won`t always yield immediate results, but I`ve come to learn firsthand that the Lord watches our thoughts and actions closely and will reward us respectively according to His own timetable. Oh the work, how wonderful it is! Oh yes, we even had a special AP kokan where Elder Burns came up to Toyooka and we had a teaching experience with her!
Okay, crazy story of the week. This is probably taboo that I`m even writing this but it was so intense I figured that I should. Two weeks ago, Elder Day and I were housing this certain area in Toyooka. We were working so hard, running to each house and putting all of our hearts into each contact but it seemed like the people of that area were just too hardened for the Spirit to testify truth. We testified our hearts out about the importance of families and seeing the importance of looking forward and not just about the things that are infront of us, but still no one would listen. Saddened, but not discouraged by the choices of our brothers and sisters in that area, we left to our house to end the day. Two days later, Elder Day and I were housing on the other side of the river when we heard a huge siren go off through out the town. I thought it was another tsunami warning but I listened to the announcement and heard that there was a fire. We looked around the area and saw a huge pillar of smoke rising from the other side of the river. Elder Day and I immediately grabbed our bikes and started heading towards the smoke. (yes, probably a bad idea) Anyways, we got to river and when we looked to the other side, we say a large pillar of smoke and a fire consuming two to three houses. As rode closer we were horrified by the realization that the houses that were on fire were the ones that we had housed two days earlier. We could see the exact door that we knocked on consumed in the fire and after a while the whole house collapsed. In the end, a large portion of the neighborhood we housed burned down but the fire department was able to control it. I don`t really know what to say about this experience...other than I do hope that nobody was injured at all in the incident. Its just...interesting. I just feel like I accidently pulled something off that a missionary in D&C would`ve done.

Anyways, that is all. I must go now. This week is going to be extremely busy since I have to run to Kobe, Fukuchiyama and Nishiwaki all in one week. Hopefully my body keeps up with me! But I`m stoked to learn a bunch at GC! Thanks for everything, you guys are the best!!! Have a great week okay?
Con Mucho Amor,
Don Saito


Hola familia,
Hey you guys!!!

Richard! You finally made it into the program! Good good, you finally wont be a bum anymore. Now get to work! You can`t get lazy just because you got into the program. That would be like walking through the gate at Disney Land and then taking a nap on the benches near the entrance. Provide for my sister! Oh yes, and Father, I don`t really mind if I`m not paired with one of my missionary buddies for rooming. I would love to, but if things don`t work out I don`t mind. But, I would like to not spend my fall semester at home if at all possible. I mean, I`m already going to be socially inept when I get home so...I don`t think staying at home would do me any good. Plus I`m used to rooming with strangers. I mean, I pretty much room with a new person every transfer so I don`t think I`ll have any problems getting along with other people.

Anyways, how are you beloved family? Its so good to hear from you guys. Can`t believe its already the last week of March though, unbelievable. It dawned on me again this past week that I only got three-ish months left on my mission. I swear, these are becoming more and more frequent as I get older. But as I learned in the Doctrine and Covenants: there is a time and a season for everything. I just want to give all for my last few months as a missionary and help the other missionaries in my zone hold a greater vision of the work. Lately, the sense of urgency in the mission has gone down and we need a good spark to reignite the fire in the missionaries, myself included. This is the salvation of other`s souls we`re talking about. Its definitely not something we should be taking lightly.

Yup, well this week has been awesome! You know our beloved thirteen year old investigator? Yup, got her working towards baptism next month and she is way stoked! Children are amazing I tell ya, no wonder why Jesus loves them so much. She is seriously my hero, its always a good sign when the first person who comes to church is your favorite thirteen year old. That`s right, even before most of the members. She`s even downloaded the Book of Mormon on her iPhone and is reading! Now the only thing we need to be careful about is her parents. They don`t mind that she goes to church but we`ll have to see how they feel about her receiving baptism. Please, please, please join us in prayer so the hearts of her parents will be softened and they`ll accept the fact that their daughter wants to follow Jesus Christ! I have faith that everything will work out and be fine though.

We saw another miracle this week as well. We gave a special training to the zone about working diligently and being proactive as a missionary. It was a very spiritual experience for Elder Day and myself and we could really feel the Spirit testifying as we shared about the blessings of being diligent. The Lord sent each and everyone of us to an area so we can succeed and bring many people unto Christ. I know that the Lord would never give us a task for us to fail. We were able to testify that the only way we can fail as a missionary is when we fail to try. That's why we really wanted everyone to become diligent, proactive missionaries so they can fulfill everything that the Lord expects us to do. But that's not were the miracle was. After the training, Elder Day and I only had a few hours to work in our own area. It was getting dark and started to rain a little bit but we were determined to go out and work hard. We knocked on many doors but nothing seemed to produce the results we were expecting. Never the less, we worked hard until the end of the day and then the miracle occured once we got to the entrance of our house to wrap up the day. I received a phone call right when I was parking my bike from some lady. She was asking if we were still teaching Eikaiwa and I told her that we weren`t. I honestly wasn`t expecting much because I thought she just was another Eigo bandit. (one who only wants to learn English, not the Gospel) But I felt an impression to just invite her to church. So I did, and her response was like "for sure!" Caught me totally off guard! After talking to her for a while, I learned that she had actually met the missionaries two years ago in Kinosaki, a town a few miles away from Toyooka. And guess who one of those missionaries were? Elder Hinton! I know right, crazy! So she actually moved to Sakai after that and attended Eikaiwa over there but never had a chance to learn the gospel so she really wanted to hear what we had to say. It was amazing because she came to church on Sunday and absolutely loved it. She stayed for all three hours and even for the dendo party we had afterwards and when I invited her to listen to the lessons, she jumped right on it by saying "Yes, please tell me more about your church. I want to know more!" I`m telling you, there is no other way to explain this but by saying that God lives and He is watching all of our efforts and desires of our hearts. We worked so hard that week, I swear we knocked on hundreds of doors but couldn`t see the instantaneous results. But now I know that the Lord will always provide for a servant who gives all, even if that all isn`t enough. The Lord understands we`re weak and cannot do anything on our own, but all He asks of us is to give all our heart, might, mind and strength and then He will provide the results that we desire. And He did this week by guiding Sister Miyashita to us.

Life is good. Toyooka has really grown on my and I love this area so much! There is nothing better than miracles, the laughter of children and riding a bike through miles of fields.

Anyways, gotta go now. Hope you guys are all doing awesome! Oh yes, and Mom. If you haven`t sent out the package yet I would like to ask if you can send some Costco dried mangos and crasins. Elder Day and I were pillow talking about what we would eat if we were stranded on an island and we both agreed that dried mangos would be the best thing ever!

Aight, Love ya family!,

Elder Saito