Monday, February 23, 2015

The End of one Chapter and the Beginning of Another

Dear my peoples,

Hello. How are you? I'm doing okay. It's the end of another transfer, and I am moving. My next area is called Toyohashi, in Aichi-ken. It's much closer to the mission home than anywhere else I've been, so it will definitely be a change. It's also a city much bigger than any I've ever served in, and there is a ward there. It's also the home ward of the new mission president who will start his service in July, so I will be able to meet him early :D

My new companion is. . .Elder M....ell. Yes. Like my little brother's name. A little goofy. 

This week we were privileged to be able to hear from Elder Ballard, Elder Rasband and Bishop Stevenson. That was quite an experience. The thing that struck me the most is just how friendly, and understanding and encouraging they all were. My view of the church has changed and continues to change the more contact I have with its leaders.

Yesterday at church, it being my last Sunday in Takayama, I was astonished at how much the members expressed their appreciation. I guess I've never really been able to get as close as I did to the members here, and it showed a lot.

The Takayama Branch President gave the lesson in Young Men's yesterday, and we talked about what we need to do in order to hold up better under the pressures of life. And what I felt was that I need to make sure that I don't think of my trials and difficulties as failures. Because I have been able to pull through and also do good and help those around me, I have succeeded. 

As more understanding and more light pours into my life, I close quite a dark year that began with an emergency transfer, and I begin a new chapter of my mission.

With love,

Elder Mueller

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Quick update

**Here is a tiny excerpt from Alex's email to me this week.

Transfer calls are this week. And I think I am probably going somewhere new with a new companion. We'll find out this Saturday.

Also, we're having a special mission conference that Elder Ballard, President Rasband and Bishop Stevenson are all coming to. And they're only coming to this mission, so it's pretty special. Don't know the reason why yet though...

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

The Takayama Winter Continues

Dear peoples,

The winter here continues to be cold. And it's snowing a bit. But spring will come. There's nothing much to do but make the best of it. It kind of makes it difficult to meet with people. Nobody wants to meet because it's just so cold! So we spend a lot of time wandering the streets, trying to find somebody to talk to. It's quite an adventure.

We found a new investigator the other day. His name is K. He owns a bar, and so when we went to follow up with him, we had to search for his bar amidst all the clubs and stuff. It was really nerve-racking! But eventually we found it and found him and got his phone number. So we're maybe going to go out to eat this week. His English is really good. It's always nice to talk to people in English.

I received a blessing from my companion the other day. In the blessing the Lord told me that I have been doing his will, and that I need to be satisfied with my work; I am still human. It was a great reassurance to me, and it has helped me keep my head on straight when I feel like I'm carrying the world on my shoulders.

All in all, things are on the up-swing. There are days and even just moments where I don't feel so good, but in general things are heading in an upwards direction. I know it's not really because my circumstances have changed (things are pretty much the same) but I am changing. I know the Lord is looking out for me.

With love,

Elder Mueller

Monday, February 2, 2015

Having a Change of Perspective and When Did I Start Living Again?

**A Note from Alex's Mom: This post is compiled from last week's letter and this week's.**

Having a Change of Perspective:

This week has been quite the week. It was really easy to work the last few weeks because I had a specific goal:

"Just keep going until you can talk to the mission conselor."

We had a doctor's conference last Friday, so I was indeed able to talk to the mission counselor. And it went really well. What I was mostly worried about was that I wouldn't explain myself and what's happened well enough and that I wouldn't be able to get the help I need. But as I talked to Dr. G, my worries quickly dissapated. As I explained myself though, he just looked a little surprised. I don't think my mission experience is typical.

However I do know that there are others who have had similar ones. After the conference was over, I had a chance to talk to Elder C, my friend. We both had the same trainer, but we never really got a chance to meet each other until we both transferred to this zone. But it turns out that he has felt a lot of the same anxiety and stress that I have been feeling.

On Saturday, I was just trying to work normally, when I just started getting really anxious while we were walking and trying to talk to people and I just broke down. So I called the mission president, and I talked to him and he helped me to calm down and told me to take a break. So I did. And I asked him for permission to call Elder C if I ever needed to, so I've been talking to him over e-mail and over the phone for the last couple days and it's really helped. And I also talked to Dr. G and I have an appointment with him tomorrow morning. So it looks like things are going to be able to start moving forward.

It's really interesting. I would not have expected that my mission would turn out to be what it has been. And I really don't know what will happen in the course of the next nine months. But I know it will be worth it, at the very least. And I know that the Lord will lead me there. I know that he is happy with every step that we take forward. Even if those are "What about Bob?" style baby steps. Someday, I will know specifically why all has happened this way, maybe even someday soon. But I know that all this is supposed to help me to be happier, to have more capacity to be happy, For the Lord has said:

"This is My work and My glory: to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man."

"Adam fell that man may be. And men are that they might have joy."

This week (Let's face it, the last fifteen months) have been quite the whirlwind of experiences. But that's not a bad thing.

I'm excited for the time when we can just sit down together somewhere comfortable and talk about this, but until then, I send my love.

When Did I Start Living Again?
It's been quite the week. Probably the most startling thing that happened this week is the feeling that has come back into my life. I am not sure how to describe it. Hope? Perhaps that is it. Living is no longer a chore, I guess. There are still hard things. Oh gosh, yes there are hard things. But I no longer feel completely overwhelmed by them.

I can point to two things with assurance that have contributed to my renewed desire to live life, the opportunity to talk with the professional counselor -- as well as his acknowledgement of the difficulty of my difficulties -- and the opportunity to have real time support from my friend, Elder C. Not surprisingly, both of the things I mentioned were people. As the Beatles once sang "I'll get by with a little help from my friends."

Also something that I've found much comfort in is realizing just how much the Lord is not disappointed in me. It's easy to feel discouraged when things don't seem to be going as the should. But I find that as I sort out my thoughts and weed out the things that are just tearing me down, I find solace in the fact that the Lord knows me and my weaknesses.

Elder U continues to be great. He has his quirks of course. But he is very patient and very understanding. A great blessing to me in these strange times of transition.

This is us.


Elder Mueller

Me in front of a castle.
Delicious ramen. 20 years ago the owner of this restaurant had really advanced cancer. He met the missionaries and they gave him a blessing. He never got baptized but he let the missionaries eat for free at his shop. He's not alive now but we still get to eat ramen for free every week. 

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