Elder Samuel Mischa Chun
Japan Tokyo Mission
4-25-12 Nishi-ochiai,
Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo

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Week 6 - August 24, 2013

Ok. Very first and foremost, I must clarify something. So Christopher told me that at the MTC, your humor degenerates faster than acid on a rustic metal container. I did not believe him. But apparently, it's true because my attempted humor (that I found absolutely hilarious) didn't really come across well. The prison reference was meant to be a humorous analogy, saying that the world thinks we're in prison when I'm actually in paradise. BAHAHA funny me. 

SO! Now that that is clarified, I thank all of you that apologized to me and said they were praying for me because I was having a bad experience. I feel bad, because I'm really not. Maybe you should pray for my sense of humor. It's dying. 

Two super awesome quotes this week. One of them was from a substitute teacher, Osaka Sensei. He said, "Don't be shy; don't be proud." Think about that long and hard, and you'll find yourself enlightened. Second quote is a paraphrase my teacher made on a quote by Elder Holland that is in PMG. "You are carrying to the world the message of life. Thus, if YOU don't go out and do your VERY BEST to preach the gospel, someone will spiritually die. So do your best."

When I hear this quote, I know it applies to every member of the church. Young women carry a message of life; they are to be sealed in the temple, have a family, and teach them the doctrines of the gospel. Young men are to be worthy vessels to carry with them the Holy Ghost on a mission as a priesthood holder. Parents are to teach their children and reach out to everyone in love. If you still doubt my words, read Mosiah 18:8-10 (It's a promise you made).

Anyway! Yup. Not much news this week. Also, probably no pictures. I kinda lost my camera... But I found it this morning, so we're all good.

Tap tap.

Elder Sami

Week 5 - August 17, 2013

Hello, everybody. I have a distressing news update. I realized today that the MTC is voluntary prison. Worse, actually. The food sucks. Horribly so. I have dinner at 4:10, and then I don't have anything until breakfast next day at 6:45. It's pretty brutal. The short time I get to see my friends not in my assigned district are brief moments of delight. Then, it's back to the "cell" where we spend about 45 hours a week. It's less than pleasant. Also, we don't get phone calls or visitors.

Man, if it wasn't for the Holy Ghost, we'd be totally jipped! hahaa :D

So! Speaking of blessings and happiness, I had a completely unexpected run-in with a previous acquaintance. A few years ago, a family came to Utah from Hawaii. My dad in his infinite charity invited them over and we had dinner together. The next day, I went tubing with the Komasario family (spelling could be completely off. Not sure.). Anyway, I haven't thought about or considered them at all since then. In fact, I couldn't even remember them hardly at all. :P 

Anyway, last week, a new set of Japanese Elders came in. One of them, I thought I recognized. He said he was from Hawaii, so I wondered if he was maybe in the ward we visited when we went to Hawaii before my senior year. Turns out, it was Ezra Komasario! Once I brought up that he looked familiar, he whipped both my name and what had happened out of his memory. Yeah. I felt pretty stupid at that point. :P I asked him how he remembered me after so long, and he said, "You never forget an act of pure charity."

I love that very much. :D

Speaking of love, if I asked you to tell me an apostle (not the first presidency) that had almost (if not completely) perfect love, who would you think of? 

Richard G. Scott. That's right. He came to our devotional on Tuesday and spoke to us. And it was amazing. From the get-go, I felt the overpowering love that God had for me, individually. I felt the desire to pray more often, more sincerely, and with more intent to change. I felt pure love towards myself and for everyone around me.

Speaking of love, I had a very interesting experience. Last week, I sent a letter about how the role plays here were divinely inspired so they work, right? Well, my testimony of the MTC experience was deepened this week. I was teaching a lesson to Andrus-san, a young man who had moved to the United States in order to go to school. His lessons were progressing well. We had asked him to pray about baptism. When we went in for our scheduled lesson this Friday, he had a friend there. At first, I was excited to get a referral. But then, Andrus-san said they'd been playing baseball and drinking o-sake (alcohol). Now, keep in mind that this was nothing more than a role play. Yeah, I'm a good actor. Not the best, but not bad. But there is nothing except God that made what happened possible.

As I heard those words, and as I was questioned by Andrus-san's friend (Tanaka-san) as to why we don't drink o-sake, my heart was breaking. Not pressure, not "oh that's tough." My heart literally shattered inside my chest. I have never felt such a feeling before. It was purest love. Heavenly Father had granted me the smallest portion of understanding as to His pure, perfect love. At the end of the lesson, we committed Andrus-san to baptism on September the 14th. But my heart was still heavy. Don't get me wrong: baptism is essential; it is the only gate to the strait and narrow way. But knowing that Andrus-san wasn't happy right then and there absolutely broke my heart. It further increased my testimony of the purpose of missionary work. 

For all of you getting my emails, study Mosiah 18:8-10. Really. Do it. You have a promise to keep. Sure, you aren't set apart as SPECIAL witnesses of Christ. But at baptism and with your confirmation as a member of His church, you were set apart as a CONSTANT witness of Jesus Christ.

So what is our purpose? To tell the world two words:
He Lives.

I never could have imagined my testimony growing as it has here. But I tell you all with the authority of a representative of Jesus Christ that He lives. He cares. He loves. I quote Elder Holland in saying, "If your testimony is a little shaky, I invite you to lean on mine." Any problem, any difficulty, any sadness can and is countered by two words: He lives.

I bear this witness to all of you, with the hope that we never forget those two words, in His sacred name; yeah, even the name of Jesus Christ. 


Week 4 - August 10, 2013

Herro, errybahdeh! Dis week whas a widdle intewesting!
So in my branch, there are new missionaries that come in every 3 weeks. Thus, we have kouhais (weeks 0-3), Senpais (Weeks 3-6) and Dai Senpais (weeks 6-9). This week, new messionaries came in. I decided to have nothing but a chinese accent for them all. And they all believe me.


Anyway, there was this one kid that started laughing at my accent, which quickly developed into a "coughing fit" (he was a horrible actor).


Anyway, some general responses to letters I got that apply to everyone. First off, my cousin Leanne asked if role-playing (Mogi in nihongo) is weird. I would like to cite Moroni 10: 5 "And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things." The Holy Ghost is a being that testifies of truth, regardless of when or why it is said. Thus, in our roleplays, we can discover the truth of the gospel just as if we were teaching. Well, almost. Hopefully, when I'm actually teaching, there will be a LOT less "Eto" and "Ano"'s (nihongo version of 'um'). But the power of the Holy Ghost is there.

I have an experience about it, actually. So last week, we had TRC for the first time. TRC is where volunteers come and let us teach them the gospel in Nihongo. Problem was, they were short on volunteers, so we just taught another district. What we  were going to teach was the gospel of Christ (See 2 Nephi 31, 3 Nephi 9, and 3 Nephi 27). However, partway through the first principle of the gospel (faith), I got a prompting to stay on it and share more. As I took a leap of faith and tried to teach principles that I had not really practiced in Nihongo. But, D&C 84:85 promises that if you treasue up the words of Heaven, you shall be given in the moment what to say. As my companion and I tried to teach, I felt a powerful burning in my bosom. It felt like someone had poured magma into my soul, but it didn't hurt. It continued to expand until it touched every inch of my body. It energized my soul. I loved that feeling. I never wanted to lose it. EVER.

But I'm human. SO i've made some mistakes as a missionary since then. I've gotten a bit upset and offended at things, but have done my best.

Oh yeah! I'm the district leader now.

Anyway, one of my assignments as district leader is to get the mail. There's a couple missionaries in my 13 person district (One Elder's plane got hit by lightning on his way to the MTC, so we just have a tri-panionship) who really, really, REALLY, really, REALLY like their mail. In fact, one of them gets about 6 letters a day and 1 package every 2 days. It's ridiculous. To me, it doesn't make sense, since he's there to serve, not get packages. Anyway, this elder is one of the few who push me to go check the mail as often as possible. Now, in my mind, I consider one of the challenges of my district as being on time. Timeliness and accountability are both parts of being missionaries, so I prioritized that over getting the mail, since checking  the mail 3x a day isn't going to change how much mail you get. So Wednesday, I fell asleep during dinner and forgot about the mail, since it was my 3rd day as district leader. After class, I sprinted and got the mail before the building closed. Friday, I didn't get the mail after lunch becasue (and I feel bad for saying this as an excuse, but it's really the truth) my companion ate kinda slow. THen we had gym and PMG study time, which we barely made it in time for. The said package elder and his companion (companion is anti-Sami-shower-Singing man) came in and asked if I got the mail. I said no. They asked why. I said it was study time. Package elder said, "Well you didn't get it after lunch." I said, "I know. I was going to gym time." anti S.S.S. Elder decided to get in on it, and began to slam me for not fulfilling my duty. In my mind, I was. I was attempting to be punctual and Christ-like, serving my district by example, not just by running and getting mail when told to. Anti S.S.S. Elder said something along the lines of, "Just because you never get letters and don't care to get mail doesn't mean you shouldn't go get it for other people." I said, "I do get mail. I get a lot of mail." On this particulaer day, my mail had gotten misprinted and came out of another box, so I had already gotten mine. Thinking this a trum card, Anti SSS elder said, "Well you get your mail otherwise, so you are just not going becasue you don't care." I then apologized and said, "I'm trying my best as a district leader." He then said, citing what had happened on Wednesday, "Falling asleep when you should get mail isn't doing your best."

Now, I will be honest. I was upset. Very hurt, in fact. Tears welled up in my eyes as I heard those words from someone I was trying my best to serve, lead, and love. He then left with his companion, both quite frustrated with my lack of commitment on getting their mail. The natural man in me wanted to get up; to yell; to intellectually beat the living daylights out of the elder that spit on everything I tried to do for him and the district. But I just swallowed it back and studied. Soon, the ex-district leader, Elder Baker, and his companion came in. They said, calmly, quietly, respectfully, and correctly, "Hey, Elder Chun. We all really would appreciate it very much if you checked the mail after lunch and dinner, since checking twice is specifically listed as a duty." I didn't know that, so I apologized sincerely, saying, "I'm sorry. I didn't know I was supposed to check twice. I was just going to check after dinner." I then wanted to get some of my feelings out, so I tried to let them know how I felt without getting upset. "I would also really appreciate it if you elders didn't slam me," (at this point I started crying for real) "for not getting the mail when I'm trying." They quickly apologized, and I told them not to worry, since it was Elders Package and anti SSS that made me feel like an utter failure when I was trying so hard.

After that, I tried studying more, but my being hurt and upset wouldn't leave my mind. I couldn't concentrate on the topic I was studying (The gift of the Holy Ghost). So, as I read about the Holy Ghost being the Comforter, I got down on my knees in class and began to pray. I poured out my soul to God, telling him that I needed Him. I told him, "Yes. I know that I asked you for correction and humility. I know that this leadership position is an answer to that. I know and realize that you want me to turn to you. So here I am. Change me."

And He did. He healed my injured heart and made it so I could study more deeply about the Holy Ghost. I gained an increased testimony of the power of the members of the Godhead. I began to love and appreciate God more than I already did.


I tell you this story because I trust that none of you will get upset at said Elders. Each person has their own trials, and these two have things harder than most I know at home. Thus, if you are feeling upset at them, pray for charity. They're 18-year-old kids that don't realize that a missionary means standing as a special witness of God at all times, things, and places yet. And that's ok. So for those who are aggravated at them, forgive them. For they don't know what they did (see what I did there? :D haha)

Anyway, apparently I have not told enough about my companion, because I've gotten questions regarding him. So like I said, he's a quieter, half-white, half-mexican version of me. So take a recording of my voice, make it quieter, make it lower pitch, and imagine him bigger. Yup. That's Elder Simmons.

Also, watch mormon messages. They are awesome. Especially the Mother's day tribute and Heavenly Father, Eternal Father.

And Dani? You are a びしようじ

Love you all! Hope you don't think my mission sucks! I love it here and wouldn't trade it for anything. :D

Elder Sami

Week 3 - August 3, 2013

Herro, Mina-san! 
Itu iss nah weeku suree. I aready hafooh a Japaneso axe-scent-oh. The language is coming along pretty great and I am loving it here.
The toughest thing at the MTC so far is that there's this kid in my district that told me he'd steal my towel if I ever sang in the shower again.
o.0? I thought I was past junior high school already, but... apparently not! Guess I'll just have to run around without a towel until I leave the MTC! (You're welcome for that mental imagery. I'm sure you all wanted it).
After that amazing story, I'm going to share an experience I had!
So for many of you that know me, you know that I am a pretty talented individual (not trying to be vain). Things tend to come really easy for me. For those of you that know me better, you know that this talent has a downside: a lack of patience. For those of  you that know me REALLY well, you know that this talent also made me not want to try new things, because I was worried about what I'd do if I really couldn't learn or master something.

Problem? Yes. Especially with Nihongo.

So I hadn't really been trying my hardest with learning the language. I figured writing down what to say during our Mogi (roleplay) would be enough. Then, we had a devotional.

The devotional was given by a former member of one of the Quorums of the 70. His devotional was all about the sacred nature of missionary work, and how it could be hard; how it SHOULD be hard. As I listened to him talk about missionaries giving their all until failure, and about how even the Savior asked if the bitter cup could pass, I examined my stay at the MTC and immediately became so disappointed with myself. I had not been giving my all; I had not been entirely diligent; I had not been what the Lord called me to be: my best. So I decided at that moment to wrestle with God (Like Enos and Jacob did) in order to call upon the powers of heaven to exercise a changing power upon my entire being (note the Joseph-Smith-esque eloquence). After the Tuesday night devotional, each district has a "debrief" of sorts, where everyone takes turns and shares what they learned. For most of the Elders and Sisters in my district, their notes went as follows:
"I am very happy to know that others are having a hard time, too. I thought I was the only one that stayed up at night, looking at pictures from home and weeping. But it's good to know that we are struggling together."
Here is what my mind said during their comments.
"What. Are you serious? You are taking comfort in the fact that other people are struggling? What is wrong with you all? We aren't supposed to take comfort in that! We are supposed to invite others unto Christ! But who am I to judge you? I haven't even tried hard and I am doing better than most of you in the language. I have grown complacent, and in doing so, have failed my God."
SO! My turn to share came around. I told everyone that I didn't typically like sharing my innermost feelings because when I had done that in the past, I had gotten laughed at, scorned, and rejected. Thus, I told my district that I would trust them. I told them about my inner frustrations at not being diligent in serving the Lord, and I told them all I would try harder to be the very best, like no one ever was. To study is my real test. To invite is my cause. I would travel across Japan; searching far and wide. Each Japanese to understand their royalty inside.
MTC! (To tune of pokemon theme song).
Ok. So I didn't actually say the pokemon theme song part. But I did tell them about diligence and whatnot. So that night, as we had residence prayer, one person had a spiritual thought (we do this every night). This person was Elder Poff. He said he had been studying Christ-like attributes, and assigned one to each Elder in our residence. As he went around the circle, I said to myself, "I am going to laugh if he says I have diligence." Aaaaand he did. His actual words were, "Tonight, as you shared what you learned at the devotional I thought 'What the Heck! Elder Chun is the most diligent of all of us!' Every time I think of you I think I need to work harder and study longer!"
I thought about that and realized that (for the Elders) he was right. I was the most diligent of all of us. But I was not the most diligent I could be. So I want to give a general shout out to all my leaders, ward  family members, and friends. Thank you very much. But more than that, I want you all to know that the reason I have such a high standard of work is thanks to my Dad and my Anii-San (older brother). Every time I begin to slack off, I think of their work ethic and how much I respect and love them. Thus, I work harder.

Thank you, Christopher.
Thank you, Papa.
I love you all!
Hope you all enjoy life. Because it's not worth it if you aren't enjoying it.
Elder Chun
P.S. I await more letters.
P.P.S. you can address me as Elder Sami. Being called Elder Chun by you all is... oddly disorienting.