Sunday, March 29, 2015

Elder Hall!!!! Week 29

Hello friends and family, what's good!!!!!

This week, I had a pretty good week I am not going to lie. It was very long in many ways, but a memorable week that's for sure. Some pretty cool things happened this week too.

 I got to see my mission president this week and just talk to him for a little bit after a meeting we had. We were able to receive our latest tool in the work of the Lord in that meeting. The iPad! The things and blessings it brings to our proselyting efforts have jumped tremendously. We truly are in a digital age.  We all need to be true disciples in this digital age, being masters rather than slaves of technology. It was good to see President Welch, I love him like my best friend! He even gave me and my companion a ride home! (That usually doesn't happen, that's why it's cool) J

My companion is still sick believe it or not... We don't know what's wrong with him. They've been trying and trying to figure it out, but they can't seem to pin point the problem. I've been able to learn a lot of patience from it, and my testimony of the Lord and HIS work, has grown ten fold. 
Keep praying for him as I know he feels it and it helps!

Adding to that, I had one of the most memorable experiences of my mission on Saturday. I had the opportunity to go out on a companion change with the neighboring area last Friday. And I had the opportunity to become companions again with my MTC companion, Elder Hall! ( THAT’S ALSO REALLY COOL! Because THAT NEVER happens) I switched spots and was able to spend the night over there at his place and then had the opportunity to work in his area, WITH HIM, the next day. We had one of the most memorable nights just up all night talking and catching up with each other, cracking old jokes, and telling about each other’s life again. The next day we woke up as usual, worked out, got ready for study, studied, and then began our day of working. It was about 11 o'clock when we headed out and started walking down the street. I was just in the weirdest mood/feeling, a good feeling, seeing that my very first companion was by my side again! We both told each other how weird it was that we were in JAPAN and not the MTC working together. When in the midst of the conversation I felt that I needed to stop us and pray before we began working. So I did so. 

I offered up a very specific, fervent, yet humble prayer asking for Heavenly Father's love, and guidance in taking us EXACTLY where to go, what to say and that our spirits would touch the life of this person that he would guide us to. I prayed also for the ability to speak Japanese comfortably. The both of us have never been the BEST at it. I felt scared that we wouldn't understand anyone as we headed out, but after praying, I was calmed and ready.

We hadn't even walked ten feet when the both of us said," that's a cool apartment building." We had both locked eyes on the same one within a matter of seconds. We looked at each other, smiled, and started heading for the apartment to our right! As we started approaching the entrance, we both locked eyes on the same apartment, the one closest to us, and started heading for it without even saying anything to each other yet. We rang the doorbell and waited for a little bit. We waited for the person to come in through the speaker on the doorbell thingy, but no one answered. Then, a woman came outside! (In Japan they never come outside first, they always talk through the intercom). 

She rudely looked at us and scoffed, and said,"なにか!" (Na-ni ka) which is basically the equivalent of saying,"what the freak do you want scum!" Or something along those lines.

So what did I do? I gave her the BIGGEST smile I possibly could ever make and told her I'm a missionary for the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. She changed in that instant. She put a little smile on her face too and began asking questions. Long story short, we taught an hour lesson on her doorstep. Elder Hall and I were able to ask her inspired questions and just let her feel the love of God as we spoke. God loosed our tongues and spoke through us! She went from a "what the freak do you want", to a "I can't wait to see you at church!"

Through all the talking we had with her, I know it was someone I was supposed to meet. Everything she had struggles with, were things I've experienced before. She talked about how she used to live in Hashimoto before, and that was my first area in the mission. Through what Elder Hall and I shared with her, we know that we touched her heart. We both walked away almost in tears of joy, astounded at each other for what we had just done! All through Gods help. 

My testimony of his work, and the power of prayer has been strengthened so much. 

I've had a pretty good week! I hope that you all did too! Don't forget to use the power of prayer in your daily lives. It will bless you…and help my companion,  I know that! Also, work and learn to be masters of technology. If you let it be YOUR master, life will not be as good. I promise you that! That's the best way to put it. Be smart, be true, and be real with yourself always!

Love youuuuuuuuuuuuuuu peeeppsssss Happy Easter, and enjoy Conference and hearing from our prophet!

Elder Hall!
Back at it!
This ones for Dad and Josh!!!

Elder Preciado

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Greatttt Weeek です Week 28

What’s up folks! 

Dad I first wanted you to know that I  have never been so grateful to be a missionary in the Japan Kobe Mission. My time is running away it feels like... in three short months a year will be gone leaving only one more left... It motivates me to be better and endure to the end! I had the opportunity to meet Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles last Friday in a conference we had with him. He changed my life. I was able to take myself out of my shoes and take a big look at myself, and see the change within me. And boy is it a beautiful sight dad... To know I have even more time to change and be better, is amazing!  

I worry sometimes about a lot of things, but I know that everything will always work out as Gordon B Hinckley said.

I love you dad, So much!

Ill be honest right now this will be a lot shorter than normal! I wanted to take a lot of time talking to President Welch, my mission president and share with him special things and how I am doing!

First off I want to tell you all how great it is to be a missionary in the Japan Kobe Mission! It’s ALWAYS great to be a missionary in the Japan Kobe Mission. 

This week was a memorable one :) I had the opportunity to learn a lot of new things from different people. 3 of whom I‘d like to share about! The first is Elder Gass! My uncle. ( He is my trainers best friend, therefore, uncle)
I had the opportunity to go on a companion exchange with him this week! It was freaking fun. I actually got to ride a bike again! I got to be out on the streets! I got to do the Lords work! And it was with Elder Gass! We had a ton of fun heading out making memories and striving to find the elect. I love that man! he taught me a lot on the exchange!

Second Person is my buddy Brother "S". (Ill just call him brother S). He is my freaking best friend. in fact, no, He is my brother! I got to go on splits with him! He recently has decided to serve a mission very soon so it was a good experience for the both of us! I got to go out and work while he got to help himself prepare. He has always been there for me when I need it. (Mom this is the man you became friends with on Facebook) I freakin love this guy! And i hope He knows it. He is one of the most Christ like people I’ve met here. His Example helps me out in being a better missionary here. Mom he is going to America soon, and he wants to see you! MAKE IT HAPPEN!

And the third person, one of my favorite people to hear from always, is Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. I had the opportunity to meet with him in a special conference he held with our mission this last Friday. I testify and sustain him as a true and living prophet, seer, and revelator, in these latter days. The things he shared with us changed my life! He basically answered every prayer and concern I had basically within the first 5 minutes of his talk. The basis of what he talked about, was just to love God. Love him enough to keep His commandments, to do his will, to trust in him, to follow him always. I actually sat front row of the chapel and was able to just look into his loving eyes the entire time. The moments we made eye contact and smiled at each other brought love to me from him, God, the first presidency, from everywhere! I love Elder Nelson!!!

I hope you all have a good week!! I freakin love all of you and thank you for everything you have all done for me. Please continue those prayers on Elder Grossen’s behalf as he still needs them greatly! He is being tested for many new things and tests sent to the hope they help him figure out what he has so he can feel better…sure hate seeing him suffer. Love him so much!

Till next week, Peace!!

Soon to be Elder, my friend Brother S :)
 Elder Gass

These are pictures from an area called Kiyomizudera, a temple place here in Kyoto

Elder Preciado

Sunday, March 15, 2015

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints Week 27

Friends and Family,


A week that will always be in my heart forever.

This week, was probably one of the most difficult ones I’ve ever experienced here on my mission, on so many different levels. Emotionally, I’ve never been so down. One of the lowest times its been for me in a while. I'm so grieved for my companion who is still down with a sickness. I love him and I want him to be better! He will be seeing doctors in Kobe this week by the way, so I’ll be doing a little traveling this coming week.
Anyways, I’ve been really sad this week because my companion is sick, and because he is sick, we can really can’t do much and I know how much we BOTH want to serve.  It affected me a lot. I wasn't myself. I felt like I was letting down my father in Heaven in every way possible. (Im trying to give you a glimpse of what I actually felt!) I don’t mean to be dramatic, but it was just hard.

Wednesday night was one of the roughest. I was up all night, with a million thoughts in my head. When I was six, as most of you know, I had my little sister Andie pass away, and thoughts of memories of her, and all the good times we had demolished me that night. I had no sleep. 

Then it came Saturday. We had a lesson planned for 7 o clock. I’ll be honest...with all I was feeling I didn't really want to go. It was one of the times in my life like I said where I’ve never felt so much grief, for many different things. As soon as we made it to the church, and waited for our investigator to show up, he didn’t come. I was even sadder. Thinking,
" Heavenly Father, please...let something great happen..."

As soon as I said that prayer in my heart, everything changed.

As soon as I ended, we got a message saying, "I’ll be there very soon". I was humbled and picked myself back up. I prayed by myself in the other room that Heavenly Father would speak for me, that He would let me know what I need to say to change this man’s life. I also prayed hard that I would be able to say it. (meaning that he would bless me with the ability to speak well and meaningful in Japanese) 

Finally our friend showed up and we began our lesson. The Lord answered my prayer and blessed more than I had even asked for. Never before, in my entire mission, or life, have I ever felt so much joy in a span of about 1 hour. My body was lifted high, and my soul rejoiced and I was filled with compassion and love and just wanted to sing it to the whole world. Never before have ever understood a man the way i did.( Not just in Japanese, but his heart) The spirit whispered to me everything he was saying as if a microphone was in my head. I think it’s safe to say, that like Ammon, I knew the thoughts and intentions of his heart because of the Spirit of God which was in me. I was able to bear strong testimony, out of all the love I possessed to our friend, in the most comfortable, most fluent Japanese possible. My companion and I were not feeling very good. (I might have gotten a cold!!! Danget…but don’t worry I am ok!) But that didn't stop us. We continued to teach with that power and authority on high, teaching, and testifying of eternal truths. Through it all my companion and I felt the need to ask this man to receive baptism. When we asked, he committed. That moment my joy was magnified tenfold. The gift of tongues was purely manifested to me.

My mission has been the hardest thing to date in my life. I still have more coming but that's okay, I’m so ready for it! I’ve gone through rough things, been at low points just like I was this week, but it’s only made me stronger.
Missions are said to be 99% of hardships and difficulty and pain. (SO TRUE) and the rest of that, is known as pure joy. I’ve seen a lot of good things happen throughout it all, but have seen many bad as well. I’ve always felt that 99% percent, especially here in Japan since these people’s hearts are rocks when it comes to religion! But this week, I felt that 1%. I was able to feel that pure joy through all that hardship. And somehow, SOMEHOW, That 1% makes up for all the rest. Because in that joy, I feel Love, compassion, peace, and anything and everything else that brings true, eternal joy.

All of this made me that much more grateful for the Savior. For all he has done for me, and how he took care of me in all the hard times. I may have felt low, but Christ descended below ALL things. Never forget he will be there to lift you up. He literally bled his Love for you, because he wants EVERY SINGLE ONE OF US to experience happiness. Not momentary happiness, but true, real, eternal, and pure Happiness!

Sunday, I had the opportunity to speak in sacrament meeting. Everyone loved my talk about missionary work! I hope it got them all pumped up to be strong members :) The rest of church was amazing. The day before I was feeling so much love and thankfulness for my savior, and then all of church, we had lessons about the savior and His life!! He is amazing!! After the service, an 8 year old boy in the ward was getting baptized! He comes from a half family. His Dad is from Peru and his Mom is Japanese. They’re so awesome!! 
The baptismal service, to be honest, was one of the greatest baptismal services I’ve ever attended. (Along with Destiny’s) It was for a boy who began growing up going to church, but to me that didn’t matter. The spirit was so very strong in all the talks, musical numbers, in all of it. The best part for me was when the boy, stepped into the water. I was asked to be a witness for the ordinance so I saw it up nice and close. As soon as I saw his foot touch the water, the spirit overcame me. I instantly began shedding tears of joy, and love for this young boy. He was creating the covenant and entering into the Lords kingdom. All week I learned of the Savior, what he did, why we need him, and how this is his church. The spirit bore witness to me of everything I had learned. It was a feeling and a moment, that I know I will never forget.

 I know that, This is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
I have nothing more to share at this time other than my simple testimony of the things I know to be true. And I testify as a representative of Him, that this is the only true and living Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I know that it was established in these latter days through the Lords prophet Joseph smith. Heavenly Father has a plan for us all, and that plan is designed so that we can return to Him and live in eternal peace and happiness in the next life. I know that this is HIS work, and that I have been called of Him to testify and teach and bring the world His truth. Oh how grateful I am for this opportunity to serve Him... I know that God, and His Son, Jesus Christ, Loves and knows every single one of you. He weeps with you when you are struggling and rejoices when you do what’s right.

I testify and know of these things to be true, for they were manifest to me through His Holy Spirit. I solemnly bare, in all sincerity of heart, in the name of Jesus the Christ, Amen.

I love all of you very much. This week is going to be great! Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles is coming to speak to us on Friday. I’m so happy and excited to hear from a prophet of god! 

I love you all!!


Elder Preciado

Soooo bummed I broke my Ocorana! :(

       A drawing I was asked to draw. I sure love drawing!

                                                      The baptism

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

God is Love week 26

Hello friends and family,

This week was a quite special week for me. It was one of those times on my mission that I know I will always remember.
To start out, Monday we met with our friend whom I gave my church clothes to. (again we are asked not to disclose names of people for certain reasons) He is having a rough time in his life. He has a poor job and puts all his money towards his sick mother in the hospital in whom may pass on very soon. The Doctors gave him the decision on whether to let her live or not and he doesn't know what to do. We met Monday and shared D&C 9 with him. As he inquires of the Lord, and truly ponders about it, he has the power to receive his own revelation. I've never loved that man more than I do now. He left in tears and the biggest amount of faith I've ever seen in such a small Japanese man.

Thursday was another great day as well. We have been inside because my companion still isn't doing well, but had a lesson planned at 5 o`clock with a man who came to church the Sunday before. We met with him, asked him why hes coming to church what his beliefs are etc. He explained the feelings he has when he comes. He feels like his life problems are washed away when he attends. We taught him the Plan of Salvation due to some things that have occurred in his life, and taught him the order of prayer and how it can bless his life. All I can say is the joy, happiness, and love I felt for this man after hearing him offer up his first ever prayer to his Father in Heaven. It was a tender moment for all of us to behold HIS joy after doing so.

Friday was zone training meeting. Learned some good stuff from the zone leaders about prayer and using it in our everyday work. Later that night we attended a ward ping pong night. You already know I freakin owned everyone! (sike, come on they're Japanese) It was great to build relationships with the ward and work closer with them! Elder Grossen was wrecked after that which basically immobilize us the entire next day :( I hate seeing him suffer :/

Therefore, Saturday we were inside all day as my companion was sleeping trying to get better. I studied the heck out of the scriptures. before I share what I learned, Sunday was a great day. Sunday morning, I woke up feeling very meek, and lowly in heart. I prayed hard and fervent to be filled with the love of the Savior and to have a good day at church that day. 

Boy did he answer my prayer...

My companion was assigned to speak that day so he beasted it out and went to church. And he gave one of the most powerful talks on the atonement I`ve ever felt. What I felt coming off of that talk, was Gods love. Never before have I ever been filled with such immense love from on high before. It was overwhelming to the point where I was crying so hard in sacrament meeting. I suddenly saw everyone around me for who they are, and loved them with everything I possessed. Some members can be a little interesting at times, but I saw through it all. I saw them for who they are, the way Christ sees all his children. I felt this sudden urge to just want to hug everyone and share that love I was feeling within. To tell everyone from my heart the things I know to be true in the gospel, and my true feelings and love for the people around me, my companion, my Savior, my family, everyone. We were able to talk to an investigator and help him feel our love after church, he accepted the invitation to be baptized :) Pray he can get things figured out and find a date very soon! right now its planned for his birthday in July :)

This brings me to one of the great things I learned through my study. And it is about the simple yet ever so powerful principle of love. Id like you to go grab your scriptures, pull it up on your smart phone, do what ever you gotta do to get these words before your eyes~

Please turn to section 11 of the Doctrine and Covenants and find verse 12, and read that for a minute.

I came to realize that this scripture, is true love. True love is something that comes from the God head. Its something that does not just happen. Its given to us through our work and efforts to obtain such a power of love. When we come to the point where we are filled with this love, or as the scripture states,"and this is my Spirit", its that power that inspires and motivates us to do the things stated in the verse, "That which leadeth to good- yea, to do justly to walk humbly, to judge righteously...". Or in other words, its what leads us to choose the right. GOD. IS. LOVE. When we come unto Him, and feel of His love, we then begin to do these things and come closer to Him so long as we follow that inspiration from the Spirit.

When one shares that love with those around him, others will feel that love and desire to do the same. When our love is pure and true and eternal, like that of Jesus Christ, others will feel that, shoot, they will SEE it in your countenance. When one feels the Spirit, they feel of Gods love. As you show that love purely from the heart to those around you, it will then bring the both of you, whether it be a husband and wife, parent to child, friend to friend, missionary to investigator, it will bring the both of you closer to our Father in Heaven.

One may ask," What is true love? How can I show it?"

True love is Charity. Charity is the pure love of Christ. Charity is a Spiritual Gift. Its something one has to work for through constant prayer and work on their part to obtain it. "knowledge puffeth up, but Charity edifieth" (1 Cor. 8:1). Someone may be so sly with their words, they may know everything, they may make you seem like something is good, they might be a person or the great missionary who knows this gospel, but without charity, it'll never change or touch that person. The person is NOTHING without it. The word edify means to build up, to strengthen, to unify, etc. That love will inspire to choose the right! Perfect example! It will EDIFY them. One who has BOTH, has the advantage, for Knowledge is the advantage.

 Charity is essentially loving others the way Christ did. He suffered the Atonement, "he laid down his life for his friends", did the impossible. Why? Because He loves us. He was patient and long suffering to those around Him. He understood them. He knew them. He was forgiving and didn't allow His love to seize at faults and differences in others or their mistakes. He truly and purely loved them.

As Mormon states in his epistle to his son Moroni," if ye have not charity, ye are nothing"

Pray always to be filled with His Spirit, with His matchless love. Pray for the gift of charity. Let love be your motive in all you do and ye are bound to see marvelous things in your life. As you apply and strive to love and view things and people with an eye of love, your relationships with those loved ones, with friends, and family will strengthen, You will begin to feel more peace and happiness in your life, and most of all, you will know that you are a child of God, and that He loves you.

Remember to always share that love. The best kind of missionary work is not sharing all you know about the gospel, its simply showing true love from the heart (bearing testimony and sharing your love, or your spirit from God to others). I've seen it first hand in helping others come unto Christ here in Japan. I exhort you to do what you can to be doing these things. All us on this earth are children of God, and everyone deserves to feel that love. Us Saints have the "knowledge", we know the gospel. But when we have Charity, we can edify those around us and help them partake of the goodness of this gospel, and to feel the love they need to to.

This week I challenge you all to think of a way you can show love for someone else. Your wife, husband, friend, brother, sister, etc. Show some love and give some service. I promise as you do, you will feel Gods love! and you will be greatly blessed.

I love all of you and hope you have a great week. Keep sending prayers Elder Grossens way!

Until next time!

My chinese friend Cho

 At kamogawa river after zone training meeting, famous Ancient samurai execution site

Received an order of Book of Mormons from the mission home the other day
 another pic with Cho
 Reunited with Elder Hall, hes in my district! SO excited to see him back!! (He was my MTC companion)
ping pong night on friday

Monday, March 2, 2015

Week 25 sorry it's short!

Well I got zero time again this week. I was caught up doing some other stuff with a member today, like all day. I am feeling back to normal pretty much, thanks to your love and prayers!

This week was a little rough/tiring! My companion went back into the hospital again. Looks like he is still sick. L Dangit.

But this week we did have a few lessons. One of which we invited one of our investigators to be baptized. He didn’t quite accept it yet! The only opposition was to how fast the date was. He promised us he would go home and personally pray about it. Pray he accepts! I love this man to death. He is so humble and ready to join the church. 

I started working out again though. First time in over an entire month! I got freaking skinny so figured it was time to put some meat back on after being sick. Leggooo!!

Tuesday was my companion’s birthday. The big 21! He felt REALLY sick that day. It was bad. Being the greatest missionary companion ever I decided to make him breakfast in bed on his big day. Made some toast and brought him yogurt. His favorites! (considering it’s the only thing he can really eat at the moment haha).

But One special thing that happened that day was amazing. He said" It’s my birthday, lets at least go out for a little bit" So we stocked up with our good ole stack of book of Mormons and headed out for a space of two hours. We prayed earnestly and fervently for strength to endure the time we were out considering my companion was basically dying. Poor guy!

And never in my life have I have ever hurt so badly in the face! Straight smile from ear to ear during that whole two hours sharing the feeling of my heart about the Book of Mormon and what I know to be true. In fact, we stopped a young girl and she about fell over seeing our smiles when we handed her a book of Mormon. We trekked a long stopping EVERYONE we saw. And by the end of the two hours, we placed 11 book of Mormons into the hands of the people on the streets. Heavenly Father truly helped us out during that time. I can say from the heart that I left everything and gave it my all in those two hours & especially my companion!  Definitely a memorable experience for the both of us, especially since it was on his birthday!

Pray for my companion. I love him so much. He is a brother to me and seeing him the way he is, is the last thing I want for him. We do feel your prayers and appreciate it so much!

I’d love to hear from all of you people too! Hearing about how y’all are doing! Please email me!

Much love to you all. Know that the lord loves you and that you are never alone in anything you go through, he is ALWAYS there.

Till next week and hopefully when I have more time! And sorry no pics...

Elder Preciado