Monday, December 7, 2015

Last time best time!

Well, that's all folks, the 2 years are over.  I'm coming home.  As I was thinking this morning about what I wanted to say in my last email home, 2 thoughts came to my mind that I would share.

1. It has been an awesome experience to come on a mission.  To really develop in so many ways and learn things that would take me 10 years to learn back at home!  But most importantly. I have gained a stronger, more surefounded testimony of the savior of the world, the Lord Jesus Christ.  (Which if you knew me about 4 years ago, you would think I was agnostic or atheist or something... see how far I've come? haha)  I am grateful that I was able to stand as a witness of Him for two years in Korea.  And as people yelled and spit, screamed and cursed at me, I stood and testified like I would in front of a jury, that Jesus Christ lives, and that he loves us, and that His TRUE CHURCH is restored again to this earth.  And no matter what anyone says or does, my testimony remains sure and strong.  This is His work.  This is His Church.  And those who fight against it will not fight for long. 

2. As I walked to the PC 방 this morning getting ready to email, I was thinking about why I had to come on a mission.  There are the obvious reasons of serving and priesthood obligations, etc.  But one thing really stuck out to me.  I had to go through Hell to learn some of the best lessons of life.  The words of a song that I heard a while back came to my head, "I know it's gotta go like this I know.  Hell will always come before you Grow." (Roots, Imagine Dragons).  And I just chuckled to myself and said, "Wow, I guess that's true.  I really had to go through hell to learn some of the most valuable and important lessons of my life."  BUT!!!  Would I change that?  Would I go back given the chance and not go on a mission?....  OF COURSE NOT!!!!!  This has been the best two years [for my life] of my life!  I have made life long friends and learned life long lessons.  Yeah, it was hard, but it was work, DUH!  Of course, it will be hard!  If it wasn't hard it wasnt worth it!  I have sweated, screamed, bled, and cried for this work.  And I would do it again.  I did as Elder Holland said, "am asking you to leave all this and to go teach and testify, labor and serve loyally until the day in which they will do to you exactly what they did to me.” 

And Although  I wasn't crucified, I still have suffered just a bit of what my savior suffered for me.  And I'm proud of it.  I finish this mission and this letter off in the right way:

In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

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Elder Yamagata

2 Weeks Left

Wow, its coming to an end sooo quickly.  I wish I could slow it down, but .....oh wait, who am I kidding???? HELLO AMERICA!!!!!! ITS BEEN SOOOO LONG!!!! DONT WORRY IM COMING SOON!!!!! WHOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ok now that that is out of my system, onto what YOU want  to know about this week, because let me tell you it was a doozie.  

Monday: Got a random call about 20 minutes before the end of pday at 1800.  It's from the sisters investigator, Kara.  Hmmm.... interesting...  She tells me a Less active member will be coming with her this week.  Cool.......and.......what????? YOUR GETTING BAPTIZED????? I THOUGHT YOU HAD A DATE FOR AUGUST OF NEXT YEAR WHAT THE CRAP KARA????????   So I may or may not have been a little excited...  Anyways at FHE that night, she hadn't told the sisters yet, so we all waited (because everyone else knew at this point) and finally we hear the scream from sister Phillips as she finds out the good news!  We were all really excited! (Later that night sister Choi screamed and said yes and we all thought someone proposed to her, turns out brother Andreasen was doing a magic trick....)

Wednesday:  Awesome little miracle as we headed on post to grab a package that had just come in for me from Bro. Whitmore.  Finally, find him and my package (safe and sound), and then we get a random text from Bro. Major Galan.  Proceed to go with companion and bro Whitmore to give brother galan a blessing.  What a cool little tender mercy that we just happened to be on post, about 20 minutes away from his place instead of having to travel almost an hour to get there.  (Spc. Whitmore freaked out when he realized we entered command housing, and then got scared when a couple of majors walked down the hallway with an LTC, priceless face)  We were able to administer to him and help him with his sickness.  He told us later he was fine and able to sleep about 5 minutes after we left.  SICK!!! #PriesthoodPower

 (This is where the craziness starts)

Thursday:  THANKSGIVING!!! What an awesome day!  Was able to spend the majority of it over at our Branch Presidents house and had turkey and ham and all the fixins with a lot of cool members.  Finished off the day watching 17 miracles for the first time.  Great movie and we were all uplifted!  Last minute before we left, he approached me and asked if I could give a talk THIS SUNDAY.  Of course, I said yes, but I panicked still...

Friday:  STILL TECHNICALLY THANKSGIVING!!!!!!  This morning we did a great breakfast activity for our soldiers on post.  Breakfast and football what a great combo!  We got our less active brother miller to come out and he had a lot of fun!  Played board games and talked a lot with the members!  Super fun!!! (Miscalculated how long it would take, only expected 2 hours..... it was 7 hours long..... Ouch!!!!)  Finished my day off by packing!  (SIDE NOTE: Still haven't written talk yet...)

Saturday:  STILL THANKSGIVING!!!!! Finally was able to start writing my talk for the next day, was going to talk about how I have seen the hand of the Lord in my life more since I have started my mission.  Great topic, no idea what I am going to say.  Get called out of studies to do some more service and help some members cook... Service is service!  It was fun! Then at night we had THANKSGIVING DINNER AGAIN!!!!  So much food.... rolled home this night.  But what an amazing experience to be with our members soooo much throughout the week, really formed a new bond with them.  

Sunday:  Oh no, the talk still isn't finished, but the Lord will help (Right????) Get to church and I'm the first speaker (dangit... hoping for the second slot)  But I got up, and the Spirit took over.  Talked for 20 minutes, shed some tears, made the congregation cry, and had a great spiritual experience.  People came up afterwards, speechless, but just sooo happy and excited.  They couldn't express anything, but we all knew what that meant!  Forgot that I would be giving the talk again on post, so wasn't prepared emotionally, and kinda tanked it.... oh well.  They still enjoyed it!  

Then the fun part


We had to go down to Uijeongbu and take part in Kara's baptism!  I was chosen to perform the baptism and Brother Hunter confirmed her, even with a messed up shoulder that had surgery on it.  It was a great and spiritual experience.  Even her family got to be there over skype and see everything that was going on!  I was super excited as this has been the only person I have ever baptized on my mission!  It was such a sacred experience.  I can't put into words how I feel.  But it was amazing!  

It was awesome

And then everyone decided to have the ROAST OF ELDER YAMAGATA PT.2: "The Commandment to Multiply and Replenish the Earth has never been rescinded, Elder!"

It was fun!

Well 11 days left, next week I'll probably write something really mushy or something.   We will see
For now buckle down and focus

Love all of you

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Elder Yamagata