Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Peace Amidst Confusion

Hello, my dearest correspondents,​

The weather here has been a little obnoxious. This week it got really cold. Not below freezing yet, but it was pushing it. And then it was really nice for a couple days, and today it's raining cats and dogs. It's been a bit ridiculous. But fun too. But the members are saying that it could snow any day now, so I'm a bit anxious for that. I'm not quite sure how it will be, trying to work in the snow. It will definitely be an adventure.

This week, I have been surprised at how bountifully the Lord gives me help even when things are difficult to understand. My companion, Elder W, though he said he had changed dramatically in the course of a week, still seems to be upset by the same things that he was before. And I try my best to support him and to help him and devote a significant portion of my day praying and pondering about what he needs and what I should do.

In the midst of this, I am working to overcome my own problems. Specifically, my lingering discomfort about talking to strangers. This makes it really hard to do streeting or housing. But more than I ever have before on my mission, I've been able to do these things. All of my own volition. It's just that having the companion that I have, it is extremely difficult for me to be able to stay calm and in control of finding situations. Perhaps because he has such a hard time staying calm and in control. And then he tears himself apart in his mind after he does things. But we don't have a lot of investigators right now. And so we have a lot of free time and a neccesity to find. But we haven't been able to find an investigator all transfer. And that makes it hard to not get discouraged.

It's difficult to communicate just what is going on, but this transfer more than any other, I have tried to admit my weaknesses to the Lord and to do what I can, despite of my circumstances. And the Lord has helped me. I know he has because I went on an exchange last week with a different Junior Companion and it was great. I was fine. And I worked hard. And I felt good, because I knew that I was doing what I was supposed to.

So, what I guess I'm trying to communicate is that I have been trying so hard to just keep going and to do what the Lord would have me do. Even though things aren't going as well as maybe they could have. This mission has been the hardest thing I have ever done, and I have had more extreme emotionally straining experiences than I thought would ever be possible before being set apart. But I'm still standing. I'm still doing what I can. I know the Lord is proud of me because I have not given up. And I won't ever give up. That is the only way to fail in this situation. I know there are unimaginably fun and good and happy times waiting for me ahead here in Japan. Right now is not very fun overall. But there are fun things. And more importantly, I have learned in the dross-consuming forge of the Master Refiner's fire, that Christ lives. That he knows me. That he loves me. That he has redeemed me from sin, and has provided a way for me to rise above my infirmities. And that through my experiences He is preparing me for life above.

There is still much I do not know. There is still much about me that is far from perfect. But I know that in Him, I can be made perfect.

I send these things with love.

Sincerely,

Elder Mueller

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Hello

Dear people who read these e-mails,

Things have changed a lot this week. My companion has gotten out of the pit of his depression, and is going to do some great things. He's going to be okay.

There still isn't a lot that's happening here. We have yet to find some new investigators. But we're doing the best we can with what we have. 

One thing that's been a bit difficult is the fact that bears have started being seen all over the city. Someone actually died about a week ago. They don't have any food because a bunch of extremely big moths ate it all in the summer, so now the bears are hungry and aggressive. It's a bit scary, but I still haven't seen one yet. I expect that the missionaries will be fine. But there is still the need to be careful.

Other than that it's been a pretty slow week. Well, more like just a really slow transfer. But there's some fun stuff going on next weekend, so there's something to look forward to. 

With love,

-Elder Mueller 

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Wandering the streets of Takayama

Hello everyone!

I'm doing quite well. Even though things aren't moving very quickly right now. We only have two investigators right now, and our efforts to find new ones haven't shown any fruit yet. But I'm still 元気? Although I think my companion is depressed. He doesn't seem to be doing so well. I think he may miss his family. Also I think he wants to see missionary work get done, but isn't willing to put in the effort to do it himself. A bit frustrating and confusing. But I'm working day by day to know what the Lord would like me to do here. And the other two elders in the apartment are good friends, so I always have that to look forward to.

And here are some pictures :)


A giant gate. They have these outside shrines usually, but this one is just on one side of a bridge, and it's huge. If you want to know how big, just zoom in on the middle. I'm standing under it with my arms outstretched.
Halloween costume from mom. . .and Elder H and Elder W in the back.
New companion, Elder W.

Me in front of Takayama city

Love you!

-Elder Mueller

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

One Year of Love. . . . .I Mean Mission


​Hello.

I'm at the library right now. . .I mean the 図書館. I haven't been to a library in a long time. When I finish e-mailing, I'm going to explore the shelves a bit. And I'm typing on a laptop. How cool is that?

I caught a cold this week. But after being with Elder T...yama while he was sick for a week, and then being with Elder W while he was sick for a week, and the rapidly decreasing temperature, it would have been very hard to have further prevented it.

Takayama is a very beautiful place. It's a little frustrating to work here right now, just because Elder W and I are kind of having to start over with investigators and I'm still trying to get over my anxiety with talking to people so that we can find. And there isn't much we have done since I got here that has come to fruit at all since I've gotten here, but something's bound to happen soon. And if it doesn't even if I'm doing all I can, then しょうがない. The Lord must want us to learn something else.

It was my year mark this week too. Hence the loose Queen reference in the subject line. It makes me think a lot. A lot of stuff has happened in the last year. And I've grown a lot. Even though I'm not a super missionary with millions of baptisms who just finds golden investigators every two seconds. I'm pretty super compared to what I was before. I'm a lot more robust, emotionally and spiritually speaking. I'm a lot less easily upset or discouraged. I'm a lot more hopeful. And I know it's because I learned to rely on the Lord more. I heard his voice in my extremities. And I know that he will continue to guide me so that I become the servant that I need to be.

This last weekend was the Kanazawa Stake Conference. And so everyone in the zone stayed at the zone leader's apartment on Saturday night after the adult session. It was pretty crazy. Something like 20 missionaries all in the same apartment. But something that my missionary brother, Elder C (brother in that we have the same trainer, "dad") surprised me. We were talking about this mission, and some of the crazy history it's had in the past. And Elder C, who just was a zone leader last transfer, said that if President Yamashita felt that we needed to have lots of baptisms, that we would have them. Aparently the Kobe Japan Mission leader is doing just that right now. They are really focusing and they are seeing lots of baptisms. But that is not what President Yamashita is focusing on. He is focusing on letting people make their own decisions and find solutions to their own problems, having people find their own way of doing things, because he is trying to raise up the future leaders of the church. That made a lot of sense to me when I heard it. I haven't seen a lot of success on my mission, at least in terms of statistics. But what I have seen is tons of change, mostly in myself. Perhaps the Lord is preparing me for something else.

Love you,

-Elder Mueller

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