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

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Week 11 - September 29, 2013

Editor's note:
So, since I'm not that emoticon savvy, I got some training. For all of you who would like some further education in this department as well, let me share my wisdom:
o.0  is a person who looks at you with this bewildered look on his/her face, while squinting one eye half shut, pulling the eye muscles into a semi-painful look and the other eye opened as wide as possible for bewilderment factor. If you try to follow this description in front of a mirror, you'll CLEARLY see, why o.0 is such an apparent emoticon!!! So onto Elder Chun's letter for the week, which includes said emoticon!

Oh I almost forgot - he also attached one photo of a Japanese house. His comment was: Japanese house! Way cool! Sky here? INCREDIBLE! (Enjoy the attachment and continue on to his letter)

OK! So first full week in Japan. Lots of experiences.

First and foremost, funny story: because my trainers are two district leaders, my friend from the MTC and I are occasionally on our own.


It's a little sketchy, and I sometimes feel like I have NO clue what I am supposed to do. But it's a good learning experience.

Speaking of experineces, I got a revelation yesterday (Today for you) while at church. As I sat in sacrament meeting, trying to understand the people, I began falling asleep. So I did what my family used to do in Sacrament Meeting: write on my hand sentences and pretend like I was trying to guess what the word was (not with actual ink. Just rubbing). As I was doing this, I remembered my family. I was overcome with love for them, and I was immensely grateful to Heavenly Father for them. Then I realized that if I loved my family this much, being imperfect, how much more does Heavenly Father love ME? Not just me, but everyone?

Then the major revelation.

The people of Japan and this world are my family. I love them all as much as I love my parents and siblings. I want to share the gospel with them.

It was something I've always known intellectually. But yesterday, it hit me emotionally and spiritually. I look forward to havhing my love increase more and more.

Elder Chun

Week 10 - September 22, 2013

Hello, everybody! Big news: I am in Japan. Yes. Indeed. The fact that my language comprehension dropped below 1% is sign enough of that hahaha :D

Anyway, I have 3 companions (one is a classmate of mine from the MTC and the other two are Zone Leaders). Our trainers are apparently the Goku and Vegeta of the mission. They each have legendary stats and do amazing things. Their names are Hall and Coleman 長老. The other companion is Allred 長老, who is kindsa like a Texan version of Christopher: Strong-bodied, strong-willed, and strong-spirited. I love all three of them and we are all ready to baptize all of Niigata (my first area). The members here are unbelievable kind and I love them already. But aside from that, not much to say.

I did have 2 good experiences teaching. The first was a lesson about the Adversary and the second was a lesson about Divine Help.

My first proselyting experience in Japan was with an Elder Fukino. Since my area is the furthest away from the mission home, I stayed an extra night (along with a few others) and we proselyted doing splits with some of the more seasoned missionaries. We taught a Napaalesian man named Hari who knows 4 languages (I'm dying trying to learn a third). It was his first lesson, and he had been found and given a Book of Mormon the day before. He didn't read english very fast (maybe like a 1st or 2nd grader speed), but he had read up to 1 Nephi 22 in a single night (dang. I am fluent in English and I've barely ever done that). As we taught him about the doctrine of Christ, a girl came up and began to listen to our conversation. At first, I was excited thinking we had been given another golden investigator. Then, turns out she was drunk and she totally ruined our lesson. We still got a soft baptismal commitment, but the spirit had left.

Proof to me of the authenticity of the Work of God.

Second experience was teaching a Jehovah's Witness couple. The husband (named Takashi) learned english in order to proselyte, kind of how we were learning Japanese to proselyte. We were on splits, so Elder Coleman and I were teaching them. We discussed their history, and they led us up to the great apostasy after the death of Christ's apostles. We then went into the restoration. I taught a bit about how Joseph Smith was searching for truth and read the bible in James 1:5. Takashi then quoted the scripture and his wife turned to it in about 3 seconds (dang). I was amazed at how wonderful these two are. Then, I recited the 1st vision in Japanese, and felt the power of the Holy Ghost with me as I testified. Afterwards, turns out that they aren't allowed to take the books of other religions, which is an obstacle, but we are allowed to read with them and teach them and share experiences (hahhaha we got them now!).

Anyway, I love you all!
God is great. He is wonderful. Thank Him for the miracles you see in your life as well as for the miracles you don't see.

-- Chun 長老

Week 9 - September 14, 2013

Ok. I have a ton to do and very little to say today. Sorry for those looking forward to a Corinthians-like epistle (I know how to say that in Japanese!)

I apologize for the miss-communications in terms of departure. I leave THIS Monday at 4:30 in the morning. ok. clarification done.

This week, I had a lot of miracles. My favorite (is that bad?) one was when I suddenly got quite sick. Right after gym time on Tuesday, I got horribly sick. I was achy; I was exhausted; and it was incredibly hard to concentrate. Granted, I had prayed and asked for more diligence, so I took this as an opportunity to develop it. That day, I got a blessing; in the blessing, I was told I'd recover and had some amazing things promised to me. I was very grateful to Heavenly Father for the priesthood. Anyway, next day I was pushing through everything. I didn't sleep well, but refused to sleep in class or during any study times. Others were a little distracted, but I wasn't going to excuse myself for my illness. I had too many examples of pure diligence in my life, from scriptures and personal experience. So, during lunch, I ate quickly and very little, and tried to take a nap to gain some strength back. I couldn't sleep, but just rested. I heard my district leader and my companion discussing that I had to rest. I laughed inside my head and said, "My brothers (referring to scriptural, divine, and earthly ones) went through much worse than this. I refuse to rest." Then, after lunch, we went to study.

I read Elder Uchtdorf's talk about slowing down, and doing the important things. This pricked my heart a little, because I was trying to stay the same pace while sick. But, I put that prick out of my mind and continued to study. As class began, and other companionships went into the other room to do the role-play, I turned to Elder Simmons (my companion) and asked what he wanted to do for companion study. He thought for a while, and suggested we go into a different room. We went, and he said he thought I should rest. I said I had been thinking about it, but didn't want to offend the Lord by telling Him, "Sorry. I'm a little sick, so I wanna sit out on the work of salvation." After we discussed, we followed the advice of Richard G. Scott and prayed for guidance in our decision. After, we discussed some more, and I felt impressed to follow upon the decision my companion made. He, of course, chose that I should rest for the rest of class and return for the devotional. I said, "Alright. Let's pray again and ask Heavenly Father if this is good. May I offer the prayer again?" He said, "If you so desire."

So I prayed. As I prayed, I was overwhelmed with utmost gratitude. Heavenly Father had heard a prayed I didn't dare let myself ask. Of course I wanted to rest. I was sick; I was exhausted; I could barely concentrate on anything in front of me; I was aching; and I had not slept. But because of those I look up to, I didn't ask if I could. I simply tried to push on harder. As I prayed, I thanked Him for His matchless and infinite love; I thanked Him for a companion sensitive enough to the spirit to realize I truly wanted to rest; I thanked Him for permission to be human; I thanked Him for Jesus Christ and His perfect example.

So yeah. It was amazing. I know Heavenly Father loves me, and I know He loves everyone just as much. So I have to go and teach them this Monday.

Waku waku desu.

Elder Chun

Week 8 - September 7, 2013

Hello, everyone! Biggest news: I got my travel plans this week. I leave Monday Morning at 4:30 AM (That's early, even for a missionary). I am loving every moment of it here, but I am ready to get out hahaha

So this week, my companion got really sick. So instead of doing role-plays and companion study, I had a LOT of time to do solo study. Instead of the typical 2-3 hours a day, I think I did about 5 for three days in a row. I decided to study gifts of the spirit. After the first 2 hours, when I was forced to stop for class, I was upset because I had barely finished categorizing the scriptures mentioned in the Topical Guide under gifts of the spirit (not including D&C 46 or Moroni 10 or Christ-like attributes and sanctification blah blah etc.). So this week, I was greatly blessed to begin (and I mean BARELY begin) to understand the wonderful blessings Heavenly Father blesses us with. I have been working hard to become more diligent, and I can honestly say it is worth it. 

This week hasn't had many more eventful events (hahaha) except for the fact that I am sad I don't have more people to reply to in letters. If anyone wants to write me, feel free. In fact, if anyone knows the people that were on my Folk dance team, you should kick them all in the but for not having written me in 8 weeks. I've been gone for 2 months and have yet to receive letters from a lot of people that promised to write me! T~T that is me weeping. Not because I need letters, but because you all lied to me. Like Jim Carrey in Liar Liar. Booh-hooh. T~T (again, just for emphasis) haha

In all seriousness though, I love all of you. It's crazy how much love can grow in a short time at the MTC. The longer I have been here, the more I have begun to understand that EVERYTHING is love. Everything. So if you ever do something not out of love, it's like it was nothing (Moroni 7:44). Love is the most important thing anyone can have. Forget gifts; forget talents; forget skills. Without love, what is the point? There is none. And one thing I learned (for all those angry at other people for not loving or caring about them) is that "we love God because He FIRST loved us" (1 John 4:19, emphasis added).

I love each of you because you all loved me first; as a baby, as a child, as a sibling, as a friend, as a student, as a missionary, as me. And so I love each of you whole-heartedly.

Thank you all very much.

--Elder Chun

Week 7 - August 31, 2013

Hello, everyone! I got some letters this week with some questions I decided to answer in a chain-letter before I get to a cool experience this week.

First question: Is it bad to use words as a substitute for swear words? I am going to tell you MY OPINION. Do not take this as scripture, please. And also, please don't be offended. SO! Yes. I believe from the very bottom of  my heart that substituting words in stead of swear words is just as bad. Why? Because swear words are taboo not because of the certain sound you make as you say the word. They are bad because of the negative and angry feelings you say them with. For example, as a missionary, I sometimes have to talk about where you go when you are bad. Since not all people understand what the spirit prison is, I have to use a word that is considered a swear word nowadays. But, it's not bad because I use it properly and without the anger one has when a person swears. Also, along with this, saying swear words in another language and thinking it's ok because it's not your native tongue? I find that utterly ridiculous. YOU ARE SWEARING. I had a lot of friends in high school  and college use German swear words. I'd ask if they knew what it meant. They'd giggle and say yes, but it's German so it's ok. Then I tell them I speak German and suddenly they feel bad. o.O? what? As if the people hearing what you say change that you're swearing?

A twist on a paradox: If a person is alone in a forest, and no one is around to hear him be contentious, is he still chasing the Holy Ghost away?


Anyway! I need to apologize for not sending pictures, because I lost my camera. Please forgive me.

Story of the week: So this week I was utterly frustrated. Not with myself. Not with my investigators. With my district. In my mind, we were not doing all we could in order to become representatives of Jesus Christ. There was a football (intended for class use and forcing participation) that became a game most of the time while others were trying to study; there was joking, laughing, and unrelated storytelling; there is a sister that spends a lot of her time focusing on her physical appearance and worrying about her weight (which doesn't matter, because she's going to a humid country and riding a bike every day for 18 months straight). All in all, I was frustrated by the fact that we were not altogether trying to serve God with ALL our hearts, ALL our might, mind, strength, and ALL our souls. I mean sure, I wasn't utterly perfect. In fact yesterday, I took half an hour during PMG study time and didn't study. I felt horrendous after. Anyway, we aren't supposed to be perfect. D&C 10:4 says, "Do not run faster or labor more than ye have strength and means provided to enable you to [insert duty here]; but be diligent unto the end."

(sorry about the sudden change in size and font. Dunno how to control that.)

Anyway, I had a breakdown on Tuesday. My companion had fallen asleep during some study time, and I was trying to focus. But, this was gnawing at my soul. So I began to pray. I prayed in a way I never have before. I apologized to God on behalf of my district. I begged for forgiveness for wasting the privilege we were given to serve Him in such a dedicated way. I poured out my soul, and eventually got to this: "I don't get it. I don't get it, Father. Why don't they want to serve you more? Why aren't they trying harder? Do they not realize that Jesus is the Christ? Do they not remember it in every hour of every day? Do they not remember they are set apart from the world now? Yet they dive back into it day by day; they do not put off childish things; they break rules they should know; they aren't on time; they aren't putting forth every effort to become someone new. Why? I know Jesus is MY King. My experiences have taught me He will do anything for me. So I am doing my best to change who I am. I went from studying maybe 20 minutes a week at school to studying about 10 hours in a single day. I have attempted to change who I am. In fact, my district jokes about how I always ask people to focus; how I am so incredibly diligent. I almost snapped once, too. When someone said they wanted to be diligent like me, I told them it was hard. They were shocked. They didn't know how to react. But they STILL DO NOT TRY TO BECOME YOUR MISSIONARIES. Why? Why? What do I do? I feel like I can't tell them. They're on a mission; they're trying. I am imperfect. I am no longer district leader. I have no right to invite them to Christ when I am not closer to Him than they are. I'm simply trying more often and more consistently. But why? Why... It hurts, Father. It hurts to see those who took upon them the name of Christ bear it with such light-mindedness. It makes me angry. But I can't say anything. I am not Christ-like enough. What should I do? I don't know..."

This prayer continued like this for a good 45 minutes. My building confusion, anger, and sorrow burst out. It only stopped when a couple of the sister missionaries came into the room really fast and saw me weeping (hahaha). But that night, we had devotional. We had an apostle come. Neil L. Anderson told us this: "You sacrifice for the things we love, and we love the things we sacrifice for." So I decided I would try to sacrifice for my district. But I wondered how I could begin to love them enough to sacrifice for them. Where does love begin, I wondered. Elder Anderson told us: 

"In the beginning, the Father decided to sacrifice His Son for us. Jesus chose to sacrifice His life for us. Love begins with them."

Take that quote into your souls and decide how it will change your life. I will end on this note and pray that each of you can grow half as much while I am on a mission as I grow in a single day.

Elder Sami