Monday, May 25, 2015

Went Hiking This Week!

Hello,

I'm doing good. I'm understanding more about myself. And even though
dendo is kind of frustrating and emotionally draining, I'm improving
myself. And even though it's still not seeming to effect the way I do
missionary work in a significant way, that is what I wanted to do when
I came on a mission. I wanted to be a better person. So far, I've been
extremely successful with that. I'm a lot different now. I feel a lot
better than I used to.

Anyway, I went hiking with the young men last week. It's the first
time I've been hiking in two years and it was quite fun. The view from
the top was gorgeous.

Something I've been especially aware of lately is the importance of
understanding one's limits. We are weak, imperfect beings, due to the
fall of mankind, and thus we do set limits. There is kind of an
unspoken culture opposed to that in the mission field. A feeling like
we just have to kill ourselves over our work, but what I have come to
understand is that the Lord doesn't enjoy just watching us suffer. In
Mosiah it says this:

"And see that all these things are done in wisdom and order; for it is
not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength. And
again, it is expedient that he should be diligent, that thereby he
might win the prize; therefore, all things must be done in order."

We don't need to exert ourselves more than we have strength, but we do
need to do what we can. Even if that is only a little bit. I've had
many difficulties during my mission, many of which have restricted my
abilities and made proselyting very difficult and even painful. But I
know that the Lord is pleased with what I have done, because of where
my heart is. The Lord is aware of my every step. And is not
disappointed in me. God knows that what my dad told me many months ago
is true, that "a mission is a marathon, not a sprint." And so I need
to be careful, take care of myself.

I witnessed firsthand a very clear demonstration of this principle
last Saturday. We had woken up early to go play softball with some
members. I was in the outfield while we were doing batting practice.
Someone hit the ball, and it came rolling near me. I wasn't feeling so
good; I was pretty exhausted. But I ran after the ball as it rolled
quickly past me, pushed myself really hard, missed the ball and fell
over into the gravel, scraping up my knee and arm pretty badly.

Perhaps it's not a perfect metaphor, but it seemed to ring true when
it happened.

Anyway, enough rambling. I'm still okay.

With love,

Elder Mueller

Monday, May 18, 2015

Another Transfer Comes to a Close

I'm doing well. This week we had transfer calls, and my companion and
I are both staying, so things won't change much logistically speaking.

But I have good hope for the next few weeks. I'm feeling better. I am
understanding my responsibilities better and I'm more aware of what I
need to do for myself now.

We also have an awesome investigator. He's been sick recently, so we
haven't been able to see him for a long time, but he came to church
yesterday! And he stayed for the baptismal service afterwards (the
wife of the man who was baptized when I had just got here was
baptized) and we had an amazing lesson with him, thanks to a fantastic
member.

Well, I am exhausted. Dendo is very taxing on the mind and on the
body. But I'm sure that I can endure to the end. Just like 2 Nephi
31:19-20, I have come this far only through the grace of Christ,
brought into effect by faith on that name, and it will be that same
grace which will bear me up until I am released from my duties, and I
am reunited with my family.

This life, this mission, is a test. I think it fair to say that I have
been tested greatly on my mission. Perhaps more than most. But I think
it is also fair to say that God allowed me, as he allowed Job (a man
much more righteous and tested far more than I), to be tested thus far
because He knows what I can become. And though he does not allow me to
suffer willingly --what father would needlessly watch his son suffer--
He knows what I now know. That truly "these things shall give [me]
experience, and shall be for [my] good."

It's taken a while, but I'm beginning to truly submit myself before the Lord.

With love,

Elder Mueller

Monday, May 11, 2015

Mother's Day!

From Alex's mom:
We skyped with Alex for about an hour and a half last night. He looks and sounds really good. I took some notes about what we talked about so you can enjoy part of the conversation, too. Through the course of the conversation, we met all of the other missionaries and got to see bits of the church building. He also recited D&C 4 for us in Japanese. His companion (from Sendai) says Alex's accent is "perfect" and Alex says he is working on writing in Japanese.

Q&A with Mueller Choro

What have you been up to?
We went way out on the end of the peninsula to do service for a Brazilian member. We raked leaved until I thought my arms would fall off. Also, last Wednesday, my companion made himself lunch (we eat different things a lot) and he added too much cooking sake. He got himself a little drunk and we had to go back to the apartment until he settled down. :) Toyohashi is great...really nice people and my companion is awesome.

What happened with your bike?
I have a new one. It is much nicer than the old one...that one was kinda lame.

How's the iPad? What do you do with it?
Well, I'm skyping with it! But mostly we use them for reading. We also have access to lots of the church videos. That's it so far. 

How are your clothes holding up? How do you do your laundry?
Clothes are starting to wear out, but my short sleeved shirts are ok and that's what I will be wearing soon. We have a washer AND dryer. In the colder areas, everyone has both. In other areas, you hang your clothes to dry. 

Have you eaten any weird food lately?
Ummm...it's all starting to seem so normal. I did eat eggplant the other day, which I never would have eaten at home. I've also eaten raw octopus.

What do you want to eat when you get home?
Pizza and ice cream. Big. American.

Do you have goals for the remainder of your mission?
Keep going. I've been exercising--there is a small park across the street from our place and I've been running and I do sit-ups and push-ups every day. I also bought a yoga book and I'm getting more flexible! I'm rethinking my future a bit.


Because of the ease of sending photos with his iPad, Alex just flooded us with the most photos since he left. Enjoy!

 
 





 I sent Alex this tie for Easter. I also sent a matching one to his cousin, Nathan, in Italy:

Alex in his natural habitat. Or rather what he wished what his habitat was when he was 5

Alex reciting D&C 4 in Japanese.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Forward Steps

Hello. I'm doing good. I feel good. Not so stressed. Not so
overwhelmed with everything happening around me. Less frustrated by
the fact that people just won't listen to me sometimes.

It's been a bit of a slow week. One of our investigators has been sick
and the other one is having a lot of trouble at work, so we haven't
been able to meet either of them for a while, but we've had contact
with them still and they both still want to meet with us, so that's
nice.

We did have a lesson this week with someone with a lot of questions
about the Book of Mormon that we are pretty sure he got off the
internet, and that was interesting. Luckily, my companion not only
understands Japanese perfectly, but he also went to college for three
years already and had to write scientific thesis and stuff like that,
so he knows how to think logically and how to understand arguments. It
was a unique experience to say the least. We'll see how it goes next
time.

I celebrated my 18 month mark on my mission this week, and my
companion bought me dinner. There are some good Indian restaurants in
Japan. So we went and had some curry.



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