A note from Alex's mom:
Alex has been struggling a bit with various things. He could really use some extra support from home, so if you have a minute or two, it would be lovely to flood his inbox with love this week. :) firstname.lastname@example.org. Here are excerpts from his emails to me the last two weeks.
From last week...
As for the rest of this week, it was good. New Year's was really quiet. No one was on the streets, and we weren't able to make any appointments. But Elder W and I wandered the streets of the city, trying to find people to talk to, and going past the shrines. As well as doing our weekly planning session.
We also had our Christmas Zone Conference the day before New Year's, and it was excellent. President Yamashita asked us to "Back-up and Reset" for the new year. So on the 1st, we read the whole missionary handbook (Da Rules) and started reading the 4 gospels to prepare for Mission Conference with Elder Ballard.
We also learned who the new mission president will be in July when President Yamashita is released. His name is Ishii. He is actually from a ward in the mission, which is rare. He is also Japanese, which is also kind of rare. So it should be very special. I'm excited to see what will happen.
From this week...
Lately I have been getting my Frodo Baggins/Pioneer experience in. Due to the snow and the fact that both my companion's bicycles have problems, we have been walking a lot.
On Tuesday I had the chance to talk to President Yamashita, it was really good, and he gave me some suggestions.
But things have been kind of rough this week....
But it's the end of the transfer, and we had transfer calls and Elder W is transferring. I am staying in Takayama, and my new companion is Elder U. I haven't met him yet, but I heard that he is from Kyoto, Japan. So I'm going to have another Japanese companion.
I'm hopeful for the next transfer. I don't know what will happen, but the Lord will support me through any difficulties that occur, just as he has every transfer up until now.
With all of this going on though, it's easy to wonder what the Lord wants me to get done on my mission. I feel like I've just been extremely hindered in the good that I've tried to do. A lot of the time I don't even feel like I can do the things that I'm expected to do as a missionary. But when I pray, I feel that the Lord is pleased with me. Perhaps even just because I haven't given up. Maybe there are many that would just go home after experiencing so much opposition and difficulty as I have. But I won't give up. I won't go home. I don't know what the Lord has in store for me yet. I don't know if the rest of my mission will just turn out to be what the first part has been, but I know that I have not failed, and I will not fail.
Something that my Mission President said in the last Zone Conference we had struck me. It was near the end, and my mind started to wander for a few seconds, but what he said just stuck in my mind.
"Wait with hope," he said.
Those words stayed with me. Perhaps the thing I have learned the most about on my mission is hope. Hope leads to patience, and humility. And true hope is based on the firm principle that Jesus is the Christ and that He prepared an Atonement.
Of this truth I testify, and declare that I have hope.