Tuesday, July 7, 2015

One year July 9th!!!! Week 43

Greetings citizens, my fellow friends and family.

It's been a bit crazy this past week with transfer week, and hospital visits. Last week, my old companion Elder Nitta was transferred out after being here for six months serving as the Branch president. My new companion, Elder Watanabe, and I arrived here last Friday. Back in Shingu. With this illness I've got, it's driven me to the sheets of my futon. I constantly am needing rest just to keep myself going. Last Wednesday is when Elder Nitta and I headed out for transferring. All day walking, trains, carrying different luggage and possessions of my companion for him, just about killed me. I felt I was going to pass out many times. But we safely made it to Wakayama for the night, and got myself ready for another full day of transferring. 

We rolled out to Tennoji Eki in Osaka, and there was where I met Elder Watanabe. Then we rushed onto the train and trained to get to Tanabe as fast as possible, I had an appointment in the hospital that closed around 6 PM. And from where we were it took about 5 hours with trains, traveling distance, and so on. We were cutting it very close. 
We finally made it to Tanabe, and we had to almost run to the hospital! I was dying with my condition. But I made it! And was able to see the doctor to get the results of my last weeks test for a parasite. 

And NOPE! No flipping parasite within me. I was upset about that. It's quite ironic how this is considered as BAD news in my case. Had I had one in me, we could take care of it. But the fact that I don't, and are still don't know what's wrong, just puts us in a guessing game. It seems we have tried everything, but are still looking for ways to figure this out. I ain't giving up! What I am doing, is just setting out my sail, and going where the wind of our Father in Heaven is taking me. I know it will all work out. I feared immensely when we began this all. Back in Kyoto. But as I've learned to just trust in the Lord, I know it will be alright. It will just be alright. There's a phrase I love in Japanese that a friend whom I love very dear, taught me. It is,"なんとかなる" (nan toka naru) which basically means it will all work out. I know that Heavenly Father is mindful of every one of us. I also know that he loves me, absolutely, one hundred percent purely, and perfectly. And because he does, I have no need to fear. 

1 John 4:18
"There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love."

When we learn to just love the lord, and love his ways, his teachings, everything, things will be alright. They will just be okay. His love has created me into someone better, and is continuing to do so everyday. The good news is, that it's infinite, and free for us to partake of everyday. Through this, and many other experiences I've gone through here, his love casts out every bit of fear, it replaces every bit of darkness, with the brightest light, "above the brightness of the sun"
For God is love, and "he is the light and life of the world."

It was a hard week, but also a good one. I don't know why, but it was. I'm just loving life. Hope you all have a great week, and are filled with Gods love always.

Love you all,

Elder Preciado

P.s. I would love to hear from you! :)

Monday, June 29, 2015

What's good folks....Week 42

Another week here in the Japan Kobe Mission has gone by. And it is
transfer week. My freakin gangster of a companion, Elder Nitta is
leaving to a different area. It was an awesome time working with him.
I had some of my funniest moments with him, but also some of my
hardest. It was a fruitful transfer with many things learned,
experienced, and well...still AM experiencing. Out of every person
who's ever worn the black badge, he's one of my favorite missionaries,
and am gonna miss him crawling into my futon every morning and getting
in the covers to say "good morning," just inches from my face. I'm
just gonna miss him a lot and know he's gonna do well over in his new

My new companion is Elder Watanabe. And this dude.. Oh man. He is the
MAN. I met him earlier in the mission and we've had some good
conversations and just become good friends. And now I'm his companion.
He is so kind, so funny, and so loving. I know despite my health
challenges, we will still be a good companionship. I think president
knew what he was doing when he assigned him to me during this time.

To update you all, cause I know you all are wondering, I'm still sick
like I always have been! Sorry I don't have the answer you all wanna
hear right now. Nor is it the answer I wanna share with you all. We
got word on the blood tests, and everything seems normal so the doctor
says, and so that means they haven't found anything. I was asked by
the Asia North Doctor and President Welch to take a stool test,
testing to confirm whether or not I have a parasite of some
sort...pretty yucky to think I may have one... That was taken last
Thursday and we should be hearing the results within the coming week.
Pray it's a parasite people. If not I don't know what there gonna do
to me next.

Through it all I have the whitest knuckles. From holding on so tightly
to my faith, and hopes. I've been so broken apart it feels like. But I
know it'll all work out, one way or another. I also know that Jesus is
the Christ. The living Son of God. And that through his love and his
atonement, He can piece me back together. After all, that's why he did
it. I'm not giving up. I'm still pushing along trying to make things
happen. Thanks for your prayers, and the sacrifices you've made for
me. It's been a blessing! I'll be sure to fill you all in on what's
going on with me when I find out. Until then, keep trekking and know
all is well.

Love you all and thank you again for all your Love and Prayers!

Elder Preciado

                                                               Last time with Elder Nitta!

Here's one from a service
activity we did this last week. I felt TERRIBLE during it... The
special needs daycare we volunteer at had a "cafe" day where they were
waiters, and served people that came in to have some drinks or
desserts. Pretty cute activity. They asked us to help, and so we
dressed up and joined.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Exile Episode 2 - The Return of the Mysterious Sickness Week 41

Hello everyone,

I'm sad to say it's been a heart breaking week for me...

It has been reestablished that I'm still suffering from the same
illness I received in Kyoto back in January... Don't bother asking
how, because I don't know.

From that time, I felt much better than I did before. But during the
time from when I "got better" until now, I've always felt these
symptoms off and on, realizing now that I never felt 100% that entire
time. I always brushed them off, thinking "oh it's just a hot day" or
something like that. "I'll be better tomorrow." The beginning of this
transfer, basically when coming to Shingu, is when these symptoms
started appearing more frequent, and stronger. ESPECIALLY these past
few weeks. The bad nausea, the headaches, the drained energy after
walking up a small flight of stairs, the stomach pains, the struggle
to eat, all of it, all back, all taking me out pretty hard. It's to
the point where I am feeling as if I just barely got sick again...
I've already lost about 10 lbs and have been the thinnest I've been in
a long time. Don't know what it was that held me up during that period
of time before, but I'm longing for whatever it was, because
this...this really sucks to say the least.

My beloved friend, Elder Grossen, is still sick as well, despite him
having returned home already and visiting doctors. It's an ongoing
mystery that I wish I could turn off like a light switch. Received a
CT scan, this last week to check it out, and nothing. "Here's some
medicine, now go home, sleep more, eat more, and try and do stuff and
you'll be better." It's what I heard all throughout my time in Kyoto
from the doctors, and it's even being said way out here in the middle
of nowhere. I've tried that already man. Elder Grossen, it's okay to
laugh, I know you're trying to hold it in.

I don't have much else to say, the week was a hard one trying to not
throw up and just simply feel good. I guess on the bright side, it's
given me some time to throw myself into the scriptures. (Even though
it's so hard to focus ha...) I felt I was handling this situation well
before, but I feel much better about it I guess you could say.
Actually, more comforted, is a better word. I don't necessarily have
the faith that I'm going to instantly get better, but more rather,
that everything will be alright. Everything will just be okay. I can't
predict the future, but this much I know, that God loves me, and that
I can still do what I can in my abilities. As long as I do my part, I
know he will do the rest. For all things are done in the wisdom of
Him, whom knoweth all things.

In a spiritual sense, I'm doing okay. I'm looking forward with a
brightness of hope, and will accept what is thrown my way, curve balls
and all. I'm doing what is in my abilities. Your prayers are much
needed. I could use it. I'm thankful for my companion being a good
sport. I love him a lot. I know it seems like I have been doing fine
in past weeks, but like I said, I've felt it off and on, and it's
back. Don't know why, but looking forward with optimism.

I love you all very much, I hope you all always remember that.



Monday, June 15, 2015

Hey all! Week 40

So I don't have much time today to write a super awesome email, but will share my highlight of the week! I've written some the night before to make sure it's all here!

So as I've shared before, I've been called to be second counselor in the presidency here in Shingu. For some reason, I guess because I'm a missionary, I thought that the situation would be different. Meaning I I thought I would just automatically be given the title because one is needed, and would just continue on with the work. But it is treated just like any other call to the presidency. One of the Sakai Stake counselors came (with one of his high council men), interviewed me, sustained me during sacrament meeting, and set me apart and gave me a blessing along with the authority and keys to be the second counselor of the Shingu Branch.

Our interview was good, but hard due to the Japanese. I passed so it's all that matters haha. It was a wonderful sacrament meeting! In fact, it was just good to see the both of them again. I had met President "Tail Cape" and Brother "West Swamp" before. Brother West Swamp is from the Hashimoto Branch, which was my first area in the mission. It was so awesome to see him again and to actually be able to TALK to him unlike last time as my Japanese level was in the dumps then. It brought back some memories that are well cherished. 

The best part was the actual setting apart of the calling. President Tail Cape is an awesome man whom is very wise. He spoke a little bit about the calling, and the priesthood before hand. Not a whole lot due to time, but enough to overflow the room with the spirit. It was strong. We then proceeded with the setting apart. I listened attentively so I could understand and really think about what was being said. It obviously was in Japanese haha. It was my companion, the first counselor, Brother West Swamp and President Tail Cape performing the ordinance. An awesome blessing was given to me. It was very concise, powerful, and clear blessing me to have the ability to help lead and guide the branch and to meet the needs of the members, etc. After the blessing ended, I stood up and gave everyone a big hug and thanked them, but looked at a President Tail Cape and saw his eyes filled with tears. I asked him why he was crying! He put his arm around me and looked at me with a look of awe for some reason and turned to the others and said, "this man is powerful brethren." He cried some more. "Out every person I've ever layed my hands upon to set apart, I've never felt so much power coming from anyone. This is the strongest experience I've had. You truly have the power of God within you. You are an amazing person. What a great blessing Shingu has to have you here!"

I looked at him and I too began crying. For the kindness and love shown to me. With all this being said, I'm happy to be here in the calling and place I'm in. I don't share this to show off how great I am or any of that. I am nothing! I am far from being perfect in anything I do. But I try every day. That's what makes the difference. We all make mistakes. But the Lord is never upset with anyone who is really trying. He accepts it and helps them keep going. I've really learned to know who Jesus Christ is, and why we must follow him here in this life. My mission has taught me many things, but so far I believe the most important thing is that simply of Jesus Christ, the son of God. He is the only way! We can't do anything without him. Following Him sets the light, and the example and gives us the ability to have that power and spirit so that others can feel and can grow from it.  I know that He is the Christ, the son of the living God. I've written a poem during some of the time on my mission. Not all at once, but here and there every now and then. I challenge all to follow what is written in it. Or in other words to follow and become like Jesus Christ! Our lives will become filled with more blessings beyond compare when we do so. I call it, "The Way of the Master." 

Love you all! Until next week. Enjoy!

Elder Preciado 

The Way of the Master

"What's this life worth? What do I get?"
A young man once thought.
His wise father had said,
"Why, It's something that can't be bought."

"Then where do I go! What do I do!
I've worked so hard to find it!"
The young man had not a clue.
Feeling impatient, He threw a fit.

"I work night and day,
and I make the right choices."
"But this piercing uncertainty,
is but an eternal rush hour,
full of commotion, chaos, and noises."

The young man was sorrowful.
For he was trapped in confusion.
His kind and loving father answered,
to put it to conclusion.

"My son, my son!
Be of good cheer!"
"I have the answer,
if you're willing to hear."

"What I will say,
may dampen your day."
"So put your pride away,
and be not dismayed."

"It's the life of a Man, 
whom I think you know well."
"Listen with your heart,
and see if it doesn't ring a bell."

"He was pure and holy.
He does what is right.
Why, He is the Master!
Full of love, truth, and light."

"For God so loved the world,
He gave His only Begotten Son,
Promising that if we would follow Him
The battle would be won."

"So long as we do,
and if we strive to be,
we can find rest in His kingdom,
with glory of the highest degree."

"To have faith and believe
on His holy name,
will give hope and power.
Nothing close to shame."

"Having hope in the Lord,
and trusting in Him,
will surely make life brighter,
rather than dim."

"To love freely and purely,
and be filled with charity,
will sing a sweet song,
with words of serenity." 

To be virtuous in thought,
in deed, and in action,
will leave no room
for any distraction."

"To know Gods word,
as clear as an image,
will make you stronger than ever.
For knowledge is the advantage."

"Being humble and grateful,
knowing you're not the best,
and following with your heart,
will give you an 'A' to the test."

"To be patient and long suffering,
in times of distress and woe,
will surely make those times,
quickly come and go."

"When diligent and hard working,
and enduring to the end,
with pierced hands outstretched,
He Is happy to lend."

"To follow and obey,
what thou has been told.
By the One up above,
thou wilt be cherished as gold."

"When we follow this path,
our life won't be a disaster.
My son, It is the only way,
for it is the way of the Master."

- Jacob Preciado

Selfie with a deer!

(He didn't say what this was )

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

To bear thy cross. Week 39

Hello friends and family.

Week was good, as in good things happened. But it was a hard one... As good as all the weeks have sounded, they're always hard. But lately I've been struggling a little bit I guess you could say. And that consists of feeling lots of amounts of stress, being mentally drained, and sometimes wondering if I can ever do this. The answer to that question is an unchangeable no
I CANT do this. But through Christ, I can. I've come to know that I was never asked to do any of this. But more so called to be an instrument in it all. A cog in the system that helps all the others work. Realizing that has helped lift me up a little bit. But sometimes the burdens come. 

This week we had the opportunity to meet with our friend "Small Gate", who is a 17 year old high school student. He's had some interest in religion and has accepted to hear our message. That's when we came over to his house, and taught him the Restoration of the Gospel through Joseph Smith. We taught him a great lesson, and he agreed to be baptized on the 28th if he finds that it's true for himself. I've never been so drained from teaching a lesson. It was so, incredibly hard to speak at all that day for some reason. The language has been catching up to me a little bit. Having a Japanese companion has helped it improve, but there are sometimes, where it is just too much for my brain to handle. 

The need to retain and take care of members, and investigators, and finding new ones has been a burden. Especially as my companion is the Branch President, we have extra tasks that we need to do. It's a blessing to get to know them all and be acquainted with them. They are good people and I love them. 

As I really think about what has happened here in Shingu, the doors being shut, the Language barriers I have, the work load, and the burdens being placed upon me, I am extra grateful and am placed in awe and wonder at the account of the Atonement written in the bible. As I read about it and ponder the words written, I am humbled and filled with a sweet peace of love for the Savior and what He did. He suffered pains beyond measure in the Garden of Gethsemane, on behalf of all of our countless, and individual mistakes. I cannot even begin to fathom a pain so excruciating, as to make one bleed from every pore of the body like sweat. Thinking of it just hurts. Thinking of it tells me that He is the Son of God, and that only He could do it. Following such an experience, you could imagine the pain he felt, the mental drainage he faced, and the humility he felt. All because he loved us.

He then was arrested, and tried for...well, nothing. Because the ignorant chose not to believe, but rather crucify. After being placed before Pilate the governor, he asked the multitude, "what shall I do with this man?" And all that was answered was the cold 
words of "crucify Him". Even though he didn't want to, he releases him to be executed by crucifixion. Despite what our Redeemer already went through the night before, he was put through some more pain, humiliation, and hatred through being whipped, beaten, mocked, and so on. They topped it off with a crown of thorns being placed on His holy head. He was then ordered, just like an any other crucifixion, to carry his cross up to the hill Calvary. Carrying the cross, is a difficult task to say the least. And after going through what he had already experienced, carrying the cross was nearly impossible for the Savior. Yet he endured, he moved, and did all he could until he literally could not do it anymore. He gave his all. 

I'm in amazement at this specific portion of the scriptures. Especially when I read this phrase of "bearing his cross" or this scripture:

17 And he bearing his cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha: (John 19:17)

Despite all the pain, affliction, and hurt that Jesus Christ had went through, he continued on, and carried that cross for one reason: because he loves us. He died and suffered, because he loves us. He endured on through such affliction, because he loves us. He is literally the Son of God, and he holds the power to do anything to his will. He flipping created the world we stand on for crying out loud! With that power, he could have chosen to free himself from such pain, to ease the burden, to destroy everyone in that moment, but because he loves us, he endured to the end. 

I don't know about you, but I'm so humbled, and bless to feel loved by someone so magnificent as him. Reading this has helped lift me up a little bit. Whenever I read the words "bear thy cross" I hear, "just keep going, you got this" or "endure all manner of affliction". 

We all have hard times in life. It's all apart of the program. To how we face them that makes the difference. When we turn to Christ, trust in him, and Bear up our crosses we can expect to be lifted up by him, and be strengthened in him, the word of life.

23 And now, my brethren, I desire that ye shall plant this word in your hearts, and as it beginneth to swell even so nourish it by your faith. And behold, it will become a tree, springing up in you unto everlasting life. And then may God grant unto you that your burdens may be light, through the joy of his Son. And even all this can ye do if ye will. Amen. (Alma 33:23)

I know that Jesus is the Christ. I know that what he did for us, is because he loves us. As we turn to him in all our burdens and trials, as we abide in him, he will abide in us, and he will make us whole. I love my Savior. That we may be able to bear our crosses, and push through the hard times while trusting in the one who loves us perfectly, is my prayer for all of you. 

I've been struggling a bit like I said, but that's not to say I'm not having a good time. I'm grateful for these times. I'm just being placed in his refining fire, being polished up here and there becoming a better man of God. I love all of you and am thankful for everyone of you who are fighting on and pressing through the hard times. God knows how you feel. And if you let him, he will be right there with you to ease the pain, and lift you up. I testify of that, in the name of Jesus the Christ, amen.

Elder Preciado

Went fishing with Tsunami on Monday! And brother Tsunami and I traded jackets haha. 

 (I had to look closely, the fish are by his pocket ) :) lol

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Then way of the Master Week 38

Long time no see!

It's good to be a missionary in Japan everyone. I'm thankful that I am here, and not in Mexico, or Holland, Russia, or wherever. The Lord has called and suffered me to be HERE, and I'm so happy He has chosen me to be. A good friend shared this scripture with me before they returned home, and I love the meaning it has for me now: 

"And now it came to pass that all this was done in Mormon, yea, by the waters of Mormon, in the forest that was near the waters of Mormon; yea, the place of Mormon, the waters of Mormon, the forest of Mormon, how beautiful are they to the eyes of them who there came to the knowledge of their Redeemer; yea, and how blessed are they, for they shall sing to his praise forever." (Mosiah 18:30)

Just as she did, I love replacing the word Mormon with Japan. It gives me that deeper sense of love and appreciation for where I am in the world right now, and how happy I am and grateful for "them who came to the knowledge of their Redeemer" here. It's tough here. It's tough being a missionary in general. But I never would have been able to learn the things I know now, nor have met the people and made the friendships I now hold and cherish, if I weren't here on a mission, nor even in Japan. It's an undeserved blessing to have this opportunity. 

This week was rough to say the least. But a valuable lesson was learned and reintegrated into my heart. It's something I felt I need to share with you all, on what the Lord has taught me. Or... Better yet, retaught to me. 

Here in Shingu, like I have shared previously, is a very rural, and isolated place. People are more so found in their homes here, or at or around them, farming, cleaning or doing various types of everyday tasks we all have in life. In Kyoto, that is the opposite. Everyone is out of the house at business, work, taking on the demands of the world and of city life. Being there for 4 1/2 months was a splendid time, stopping and talking to people on the streets, sitting and talking to old people at parks (I learned a lot from those people, especially Japanese!) and so on. I made some good memories there that I'll never forget with Elder Grossen. I haven't really knocked on the door of a house since the time I ever really even stepped off the plane here. Not since my first area back in Hashimoto. I've done a few homes in Kyoto, but no one was ever home. It's been a bit difficult getting back into the housing methods of finding after leaving such a concrete jungle as Kyoto. It's actually been very difficult, and that is for one simple reason:

I have completely forgot what it feels like to get a door slammed in the face.

Every day this week without fail, there has been a door slammed...or rather, SLID, (welcome to Japan) by an unhappy, busy, or just a simply not interested person, right in my face. I won't forget the one I received last Tuesday, when I knocked on the door of a beautiful big home, that was clearly cherished and well taken care of by this person. I knocked on the door, and waited. That's when a very sweet looking old lady came to the door, smiled big, and politely asked how she could help us. I replied," We are church volunteers for The Church of Jesus Christ of...." SLAM. As soon as she heard "Jesus Christ" the door was already on its way to being locked to any couple of young guys in white shirts and a black name tag. The least I can say about it, and really about every other door that was shut on us, is that it is a feeling that no one should feel. A feeling of utmost sadness and questioning. "What did I say?". "Did I offend them?". "Am I THAT bad looking?". 

Following that experience with this small, but very bold woman, I shook it off, put a smile back on my face and started down the road again. That's when the next door came flying shut, and the next, and the one after that, and after that, and so on. In fact, there was one day where EVERY door was shut on us! I soon found myself after every door, little by little, getting upset, and getting more angry. Every door approach affected the next. As I look back, my smile was not really present during the latter end of each day, or just the week in general. I was not happy. Not one bit. I felt bitterness grow, pride increase, discouragement build up, and the anger flow. I disliked every person that I contacted. I found myself pondering about the problems they have with their lives, wondering why in the world they didn't want to talk, or more so the need to SLAM the door. I began to lose a little desire to go out and work here and there, due to the fact that I would most likely encounter the same song on replay, another door or two to the face.  I took my feelings and turned to the Lord and asked for help. "Why are people stubborn, why are they this, and that, and..." just complaining to the Lord about "their" problems.

That's when I turned to my favorite scripture, in which I can count on to always try and make me feel better. It is found in the 1st epistle of John, chapter 4 , verse 18 of the New Testament. I in general just read the verse only. But I decided to read the verse, and then just continue reading the few remaining verses of the chapter. After reading verses 21 and 22. I felt nothing but emptiness about the things I had done. I had judged, hated upon, in some cases may have been a little rude, and short tempered with the people I had contacted, blaming them, and disliking them for the right to agency in which we all have, to choose whether to listen or to not listen. I had linked them to the idea of being "bad" people, and to bad lifestyles, etc. to justify my feelings. To make them "valid". Following this, I reinvested in a good, long prayer and talked with God about it, and asked for forgiveness.

Forgiveness. The Lord taught me in such a way, about forgiveness. Throughout my life, I have been taught well to forgive others by my dear parents, and by just loving people freely, and doing things the Lords way. I always strive to do so in all I did. But it seems I hadn't quite finished reading all the pages of the book. I have been able to, in depth, feel and know what it means to forgive on a much larger scale it feels like. I sat there pondering about it all. "Did I really do that?", "I really thought that?". I had finally broke free from the devious trap of pride and judgement of others, and found the ability to forgive others for what at the time seemed as a large ordeal to me, but was just them simply exercising their own agency, and closing the door on me. 

Now this isn't the greatest example I've experienced or seen, but the principles are learned. No matter how big, how small, how unfair, how anything is, forgiveness is number one. It is so important. It dawned greatly on me, and the feeling I received was powerful beyond measure. I am not perfect. Not in anything I do. I'm probably the farthest from it when it comes to perfection... We all make mistakes. We all have our problems. We all have our issues. Those who say they don't are liars. It is just pure fact as human beings. But that is why we have a Savior. One who sacrificed for all those mistakes. We are all on the same boat here, because we all mess up. The church, is a place where IMPERFECT people gather every week, to become better people through the saving ordinances of the sacrament, to seek that forgiveness from the Lord, and our Savior. When someone wrongs you, forgive and forget. In my case, when a door is slammed, smile and keep on trekkin'! 
"Wherefore, I say unto you, that ye ought to forgive one another; for he that forgiveth not his brother his trespasses standeth condemned before the Lord; for there remaineth in him the greater sin." (Doctrine and Covenants 64:9)
Holding such feelings grudgingly, seeking for revenge, and anger, or merely adding to the problem through bickering, back biting, and rudeness, does nothing but bring greater sorrow, it breaks the heart, and drives away the spirit. It merely adds to the conflict you encountered in the first place, and sends it to greater heights of contention. It allows the window to be opened to the Adversary to come in and take control of you. As I worked and worked this week, and held on to those thoughts and feelings, I had no effect in fulfilling my purpose as a missionary. I felt incomplete without that member of the God head with me. Doing so brought greater feelings of contention, and more unsuccessfulness at every door. It wasn't until I learned to just forgive, so to speak, the person for shutting the door, whether they shut it rudely or nicely, and to forget that ever happened. To say, "okay! Thank you so much for taking the time to listen for these few seconds, I hope you have a great day!" To show kindness to them, even when it may seem like they do not deserve it, after being so rude to me. We all know the rule. The rule is: "treat others the way you want to be treated", not "treat others the way you are treated".

Having that change of heart wasn't easy for me. I'm not saying at all forgiving is an easy thing. It's pretty difficult. It never was meant to be easy. Just like this life we live. Sometimes, after effort in forgiving, the person still isn't changing or even willing to. That's okay. The Lord will see your faith, your efforts, and will bless you.
"But behold I say unto you, love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them who despitefully use you and persecute you;" (3 Nephi 12:44
"… When they have repented and come on their knees to ask forgiveness, most of us can forgive, but the Lord has required that we shall forgive even if they do not repent nor ask forgiveness of us ..." - Spencer W. Kimball. As we sincerely do so, I promise, they will come around.

I can't tell you how hard it was to keep that smile sometimes... How hard it is to really just let some things go, not just in this case, but in all cases that I have experienced throughout my life of friends wronging me, stealing, etc. It's extremely hard, but through the help of the Savior, we can be filled with his love, and have that inner peace we all so desire that can come through forgiveness. He is the "Light and Life of the world", our Master, our Exemplar. Following His example will lead us to eternal life just as the Lord promises us. In fact, forgiveness is a requirement for one to attain the grand blessing! The Savior in His life, was smitten upon, beaten, whipped, spat upon, ridiculed, and nailed to the cross, and slain, without one bit of anger or condemnation toward the men who committed such acts. Not even once. The Saviors dying words on the cross to the Father: "forgive them, for they know not what they do". 

Forgive and forget. It is the Lords way. He forgives us of our sins and our mistakes, and "remembers them no more". He loves us no matter what and bids us to follow him and his ways. Sometimes, the problem may not even be others. If we pause and look around for a moment, we may even identify that spirit of darkness and contention within ourselves, as I did within myself. 
"And as they did eat, he said, Verily I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me."
"And they were exceeding sorrowful, and began every one of them to say unto him, Lord, is it I?" (Matthew 26:21-22)
As a reminder from President Uchtdorf, may we all ask ourselves that question! "Lord, is it I?"
If it is so, we should fix it and make restitution, but importantly, forgive ourselves of the wronging. We should heed to the Saviors instruction to the women taken in adultery: "Go and sin no more".

 That's something I feel like I have struggled with in my life sometimes, is when messing up, not forgiving myself of the wrongings I've done. Holding onto the past, in terms of your mistakes, eats you alive. The guilt, the shame, the sorrow, is not worth any of it. The Savior has forgiven you when you repent, he remembers them no more, as should we. Through trusting in the Lord, accepting his forgiveness, and through his help, and the help of others very dear to me, I've been able to forgive myself for things in the past, and have been able to soar deep into the eternal realms of His pure love. There is no greater feeling than being forgiving. There is a same feeling found in forgiving others. 
"Be the better man". In a sense it is pure doctrine. We always hear it. But do we actually do it? Are we TRULY being the better man? Or are we going through the motions of forgiveness, leaving half the heart out? Still thinking about, and feeling harshness? That is my challenge to you all! Not just this week, but always. That we may follow the example of Jesus Christ, and have the ability to love the way He did, to walk in His ways, and to forgive one another. The person whom has wronged you is not perfect, neither are you. Always remember that. 

I am so grateful to have learned this even more. The importance of it is so great. From it, I know that I need to be even more forgiving to those around me, and to friends, and to family for anything and everything, but also to ask for that forgiveness from them. I have truly experienced the blessings of forgiveness throughout my life, and especially this last week through this simple yet powerful experience I've had here. Going into that next house with a new frame of mind made all the difference. There was love abounding within, and joy in what I do, and really in who I am and have become. The blessings are worth the price and difficulty of overcoming challenges, and forgiving others. Because I have experienced them, I seal it all with my testimony in the name of the One who was slain for us all. I know that Jesus Christ lives, and that he loves us all. I know that through his merits and mercy, we can obtain blessings and happiness too deep, and too pure to ever comprehend, when we choose to forgive others, and forgive ourselves. I am so grateful for Him and His atonement, that all of us, even the most broken and imperfect beings like myself, can be forgiven, and can become better. His atonement is infinite due to our infinite amount of mistakes. It is infinite because His love for us, is infinite. As members of this church, we have chosen to take His name upon us, and to follow the Lord and his teachings. Let us all strive to also be infinite in our own love for others, and for the Savior, but also infinite in forgiving others. It is the Lords way. 

I know I'm going to have a good week this week. I love you all very much and am thankful for the emails sent to me! If I don't respond to you, I apologize. I do read them! It's very hard to get everyone, every time, but know that I think about you guys and hope you are all doing well. I usually do get all you guys. Because you're all important to me. Thank you so much for your kindness, support, and love! Now quit showing so much of it to me, and start showing it to the one whom I know you all may have thought about while reading this! The one whom you need to befriend once more. Whether that be your friend, family member, your children or your parents, dog, goldfish, whomever. We all have one person. Forgive, and forget. Don't let the evil and dark feelings transform you into what the Evil One wants you to be. 

In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen. 


Elder Preciado

Cabbage pancake. The most delicious thing I've eaten it's called okonomiyaki.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Shingu- New Area Week 37

Boy has this week felt like FOREVER. Hello everyone. 

Before I get into anything, I gotta say that my companion is pretty freaking cool! Nitta 長老 comes from Kumamoto, Japan, which is over in the Fukuoka Mission area. He loves to eat anything and everything, but especially likes sushi and yakiniku. His favorite color is White, because it's the color of his all-time favorite drink, Calpis. His favorite thing to do in the entire world is sleep! All I have to say is, I love my companion he is a good guy! It's cool because his birthday is this transfer on the 3rd of June. Be sure to wish him a happy birthday! 

So, I FINALLY arrived here in my new area in Shingu. And HOLY COW. This place is like in the middle of absolute nowhere. But that's what makes this an adventure and if you know me, I LOVE adventures. Shingu is a VERY small coastal town, located at the very bottom right corner, of the Japan Kobe Mission. This place is beautiful! It was a long, long day traveling here. I woke up at about 5 AM last Thursday morning, and sadly left Kyoto. When I originally arrived in Kyoto, I had weird feelings about that area. I didn't want to be there at all at first, but I quickly grew to love it dearly. Now it is but a memory of my mission... After leaving at 5 AM, I arrived in my new area at about 9:30 PM that night. Shingu is literally out there. In fact, it is the most rural part of this mission. Only 3 trains a day come here. It's THAT inaka (rural). It takes about 5 and a half hours and 100 bucks (both ways) to get to Zone Meetings and conferences. I love it. The most famous thing about Shingu, is the Dolphins! You can see them, eat them, and wear them etc. I haven't yet eaten some, but when I do, I will let you know how that goes haha. I've only been here about two days and it's been a blast. Especially with Nitta 長老

The church is small here. It's a branch of a total of 7 members. My companion is the Branch President here, and I'm one of his counselors. We both direct, manage, and oversee the branch and help build up the Lord's kingdom in this part of His vineyard. All I can say is, I've never been so grateful for the church, after coming here. 


First off, I've been told by the spirit of the Lord, that THIS, is where I am supposed to be. Last Wednesday, the day before transfers, I was thinking a lot about the new area and what it would be like. I was very nervous to say the least and asked myself, "is that really where I'm going?" And "what was president thinking when he decided I was going THERE?" I prayed fervently, and told Heavenly Father that I was going to open up my scriptures at random, and whatever I read was what he wanted to tell me, or wanted me to learn. That's when I ended my prayer, and grabbed my book and popped it open. I landed on 3rd Nephi chapter 16. I began reading...and soon felt the tears stroll down my face. 

I have added a few things in parentheses to help you understand what I was thinking and learned:

1 And verily, verily, I say unto you (Elder Preciado) that I have other sheep, which are not of this land, neither of the land of Jerusalem (Kyoto), neither in any parts of that land round about whither I have been to minister.

2 For they of whom I speak are they who have not as yet heard my (your) voice; neither have I (you) at any time manifested myself (yourself) unto them.

3 But I (you) have received a commandment of the Father that I (you) shall go unto them, and that they shall hear my (your) voice, and shall be numbered among my sheep, that there may be one fold and one shepherd; therefore I go to show myself (yourself) unto them.

I felt so much power in those words. This is where I am to be, and I am ready to find his lost sheep here in Shingu. I'm so happy to be here. Going off that, God lives, he knows us and our needs, and His word, the Book of Mormon is absolutely true. I know it is. God himself told me, and I'm willing to go to the grave for it. 

As I showed up to church this week, I found myself filled with humility and full of awe and wonder at the sight I was looking at. I sat up front looking amongst the few, but faithful members of Shingu, and was humbled to the dust of the earth. 

I am so grateful for the church. 

Growing up, my family and I have always seemed to be a part of big wards, and had lots of friends in each of those. Those were a blessing to have. Every week we went to church together, partook of the sacrament and went to Sunday school and so on. As I look back, and as I see the example of these members, I regret the way I viewed church when I was younger. I went to church, because my parents said it was good. I went because if I didn't, my momma would grab me by the ear and pull me out the door. When I was young, I viewed the sacred ordinance of the sacrament as free bread and not enough water. (It's okay to make fun of me) My parents taught me well, but it was through my agency that I guess I chose not to take it so seriously. I never did anything wrong, I just never fully grasped the importance of this true, and everlasting gospel, and the importance of going to church. 

I can say for sure, that my perspective has shifted even MORE, and am more in debt to the Lord for all he has done for me, and provided us all with. The sacrament is NOT just free bread, and not enough water... It is a symbol what Jesus Christ did for YOU, for ME, for every single person who has, is, and ever will walk this earth. He died for us, so that we can be forgiven of our countless mistakes, and be able to return to the presence of the one and only Master. And He has given us a way, through the sacrament, to be able to continually be forgiven, to start fresh, and to become clean. 

I LOVE the people here already SO much. I'm in debt to them, for their fearless example of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the Eternal Father. These people come every week so that they can grow, and can learn, and can spiritually uplift themselves. They don't have much here, but they know that they have a place to go every Sunday, and that they have someone in whom they can trust. Being here in this small branch is amazing to me, and makes me very grateful for all I had growing up, and especially now. It's sad to say that growing up I truly took for granted all that has been given to me in terms of this gospel. Many undeserved blessings have been bestowed upon me. My scriptures gathered dust rather than thoroughly feasted upon and studied. As I have truly come to understand this gospel, through my faith and prayers to Heavenly Father, going to church, studying his word, I've had the opportunity to find true happiness. I'm in awe at what this gospel has to offer us each and every day. 

I stand all amazed at the love Jesus offers me,
Confused at the grace that so fully he proffers me.
I tremble to know that for me he was crucified,
That for me, a sinner, he suffered, he bled and died.
Oh, it is wonderful that he should care for me
Enough to die for me!
Oh, it is wonderful, wonderful to me!
I marvel that he would descend from his throne divine
To rescue a soul so rebellious and proud as mine,
That he should extend his great love unto such as I,
Sufficient to own, to redeem, and to justify.
Oh, it is wonderful that he should care for me
Enough to die for me!
Oh, it is wonderful, wonderful to me!
I think of his hands pierced and bleeding to pay the debt!
Such mercy, such love and devotion can I forget?
No, no, I will praise and adore at the mercy seat,
Until at the glorified throne I kneel at his feet.
Oh, it is wonderful that he should care for me
Enough to die for me!
Oh, it is wonderful, wonderful to me!

One of my favorite hymns! I love this gospel and what it has done for me. I know that our father in heaven lives. I know he loves us. I am so thankful and am never afraid to be called one of his disciples. I know that his word is true, the Book of Mormon, and am so thankful for the happiness I have found by abiding by its precepts. I invite all to find the beauty and love for this gospel just as I have, in their own special way.

Oh it is wonderful, wonderful to me

Hugs and love to you all!

Elder Preciado

 Yes he is tall! Half Korean :)

In the video...He says long, because the pants I gave him are way too long on him,
but he still loves em.

He says wow, because when I told him I was 19 he said "What!!
Wooowwwww!" And then we say kyoudai at the end. Kyoudai means brother
in Japanese. Ex. Preciado kyoudai = Brother Preciado. We started
calling him Wysteria Kyoudai and he fell in love and just felt that it
was soooo cool.

So all three jokes are put into one. Long, wow, kyoudai haha I will REALLY miss him!!