Tuesday, September 30, 2014

I Have a New Favorite Apostle

Or rather I would have a new favorite if we were allowed to chose favorites. 

Since you sent me that flashdrive with music and conference talks, I have been filling it up with more and more talks. Lots and lots of really old talks, by people like Elder Bruce R. McConkie, and Elder Marvin J. Ashton. And just now I tried listening to one of Elder Neal A. Maxwell's talks and I immediately fell in love. When I was a kid listening to general conference, I remember thinking that a lot of the talks were boring. Mostly because I didn't understand what was being talked about. But now I listen to the talks that were given when I was young, and I savor every word as I drink in the spirit that these servants of God bring. And the way that Elder Maxwell speaks is so rich and meaningful and the words he uses are so pleasing to my ears.

One of my favorite things that I have acquired during the course of the last year is my increased understanding and knowledge of the scriptures. Never before in my life have I been able to soak in the doctrines and principles of salvation much more fully that I ever have been able to before. And I am grateful for every moment I have to study.

The Gospel is true. And Jesus Christ lives. 

With love,

-Elder Mueller

Monday, September 22, 2014

Late Night Expeditions to Nagano City


This week was good! My companion and I are getting along a lot better than we did last transfer, and so the days are quickly passing by. And I took some pictures:

First of all, there was a "piano fair" at the mall this week, so last p-day, I went to go mess around on the real pianos since that is a rare opportunity, and I found the piano that we have at home! It was pretty 懐かしい.

Second of all, it's starting to feel like autumn here. It gets pretty cool in the evenings now, and I've started wearing a sweater most of the time.

Also, I had a crazy exchange with a Zone Leader last Tuesday, and I forgot to get the keys from my companion, so the Mission home told us to go to Nagano area, because it's the closest (but it's still an hour away. Everything is just really far away in this Zone), and we got there super late. Because of infrequent trains and a Zone Leader who's priorities are a little wacky, it took us until 12:40 AM to get there. This is a picture of me waiting at the train station in front of the clock at 11:30 PM, by far the latest I have been out in a really long time.

Also, I saw the biggest spider I have ever seen this week. It was a little smaller than my palm. They just have really big spiders here.

My year mark is approaching quickly, and I was reflecting on a memory that came to me for some reason from when I was 4 or 5 years old. I was in the parking lot of the dance studio (not the building that Linda has now, the older one) and I think I was thinking about how I wanted to be 8 so that I could be baptized, but it was just so far away. But now I'm 19, and I've been on a mission in Japan -- a country I'm not sure I even knew existed at that age -- for nearly a year. Every year since I can remember has just gone by faster and faster. It's the same with transfers on a mission, too. Everything just keeps moving faster and faster, even the hard things too. I guess that just means that I'm growing up. 

Anyway, I'm doing great! I feel like I'm figuring things out and that I'm going to have a good week and a good transfer and a good mission and a good life. I can't wait to share it all with you!

With love,

Elder Mueller

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Keeping the Faith!


Lately, we've been meeting with M...zumi-kun a lot. He's been teaching us how to play mahjong, and we've been trying to get him to progress towards baptism. Mahjong is a really complicated game, but it is really fun I'm getting really good. And I bought mahjong tiles with the rest of my birthday money. And I will be sending them home unopened because President Yamashita asked us not to have games in our apartment.

Also, M...zumi is praying every day to know if he should be baptized now. He keeps saying that the timing is bad right now and that he wants to do it later. But we're trying to help him to understand that the gospel isn't just something that would be good later, but something that will help him here and now. But it's really good that he is praying every day now. That's more than we have ever been able to get him to do in a long time. I just hope we can help him keep up the steam until we can see some results.

My companion right now is an Elder T...yama. He is from Hokkaido, the island that is the northernmost part of Japan. He has been out for about a year and three months. He's also on the older side for a missionary, he just had his twenty-fifth birthday two months ago.

Now, I will explain a bit of Japanese to you. There's a word (well, it's kind of a word. Maybe it's a suffix. You tag it on the end of other words), "ppoi." Which means something like "looks like ___," and that makes it into an adjective. For example, someone that is America-ppoi would probably be kind of fat and love guns and football. 

So something that I think is kind of funny is that my last companion, Elder B, was one of the most America-ppoi people I have ever met. He loved guns and football and is big and loud and eats a ton. But my companion now is the most Japan-ppoi in all of 日本. He loves anime and is small and quiet and nervous and hates to share his own opinion. The contrast is amazing. 

Right now I am definitely able to see the effects of the language and cultural barriers between America and Japan. I am extremely different from my companion. And even though I'm getting a lot better at speaking Japanese, communication is still really hard. Not only do we not speak the same language, but he isn't very willing to open up how he feels about things because it's rude to share your own opinion in Japan, so I have to interpret the little sounds he makes and ask him lots of direct questions to be able to do things specific to his needs. It's really frustrating sometimes. But our relationship has gotten a lot better in the last week. And I'm finding it easier to be patient with him than how it was last transfer.

Anyway, I'm still having difficulties with companionships, but I'm trying to do my best and trying to learn everything I can.

Keepin' the faith,

-Elder Mueller

Monday, September 8, 2014

Transfer 7

Hello everybody! 

I am a transfer 7 missionary now. I don't know how many of you understand that, but we have 16 transfers in total and that means I'm getting really close to the mid-point and it makes me feel really old. This mission is going to be over before I even notice. AH!

I am staying in Ueda with my companion, Elder T...yama. Elder T...yama and I do not get along all that well. We think very differently and disagree a lot and are not good at communicating well. But my Mission President has already assured me many times that this was done by revelation and that Elder T...yama needs my help. He gets discouraged very easily, and worries a lot. And it's very irritating. But I believe that we are going to see a lot of great things happen here in the next 6 weeks. 

M...zumi-kun is praying right now about when he should be baptized. We have finally gotten him to pray every day, and he has real intent, and so now he needs all the help he can get! And so I want to ask all of you to pray this week that M...zumi-kun can receive his answer. Please do it! 

On another note, as I get better at Japanese, my English is getting a little strange sometimes. Especially when I type. But my Mission President called this morning, and I said 'moshi moshi' which is what you say when you pick up the phone, and he said my pronunciation was perfect, so that made me really happy.

I really wish you could all meet my friends here, like M...zumi-kun and M...mi-chan. I love these people. They're great. They are way good people, and they are way cool. And they think I'm the bomb, which is really awesome. 

So, this is what my life is like right now. I'm a missionary. My name is Elder Mueller. And I speak Japanese.



Tuesday, September 2, 2014


My companion has been kind of struggling recently. He is very nervous and very worrisome, but he doesn't have a lot of motivation to get things done and it seems to really wear him out.

But our mission president had the change to talk to him and encourage him when he visited this week, and after that he was doing a lot better. However, after a day or two he seemed to be struggling again. I think that he is feeling a lot of pressure from the mission president and from his own sense of duty, and also is very angry with the other Japanese people in our district and with the Japanese people that we talk to on the street when we OYM. He has said to me before that he really likes foreigners and also that he would like to serve in an area that has a lot of foreigners in it. Also, I did ask him if he liked Ueda or not and he said he doesn't really like it here. Ueda is kind of a hard area to work in. And I think the fact that we don't have a lot of numerical success stresses him out a lot.

As for myself, I am doing quite well. I love the people in Ueda and I feel that the talents and the condition I am in fits really well with Ueda. I would really like to stay here if I can. 

Our investigator, M...zumi-kun, is praying about when he should receive baptism. He thinks that he will eventually be baptized, but he thinks that the timing is bad right now, and so he doesn't really have much motivation to do it. But yesterday, we got to go to the Baptism that was in Nagano with him, and although we were late for the baptism, we were able to go to the lunch that was afterwards, and he got to speak with the Tokyo temple president for a while, and afterwards I was able to talk to him about how he can receive an answer to his question through prayer. I think that we will be able to see a lot of miracles with him soon.

Also, here are two songs I played  for a little girl who comes to English class with Brother W...bayashi for her birthday. The singing isn't very good, (playing the piano and singing at the same time is really hard!) but it was pretty fun.

Have a good week!

-Elder Mueller

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