Alex Fuller's Mission to Japan

Alex at MTC From June 2006 to June 2008, Alex is serving
a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ
of Latter-day Saints in the Japan Tokyo
South and Japan Nagoya Missions.
(click pic to enlarge)

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

God Be With You 'Til We Meet Again

It`s been a dream.
It was everything and more than I had ever thought it would be.
10,000 kilometers on bike.
Seven areas in Japan.
Two years.

This last week had all been packing and saying goodbye. I haven`t cried yet, but I also know I`m coming back to see everyone on Saturday for a big barbeque. There`s a lot of brothers and sisters here that I`ll never forget. Elder Smith has been such a true friend helping and working along side me. I feel so blessed to have served here in Suzuka.

Everyone keeps asking me for a final thought - and I`m not too sure what to say. I just say the same things that I have tried to say since the first day. God is our Father. He loves us more than we know. Jesus is His Son and our Savior. Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ appeared to Joseph Smith in 1820 beginning the restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Chirst. The Restored Gospel brings us peace in this life and happiness in the life to come. There is no other way but through Christ. I know this through the Holy Ghost and in answer to prayers.

The words are the same, but the feelings are different. I knew the facts of the gospel - it made sense, but I hadn`t really experienced it yet. I knew that when we had trials we needed to rely on the Lord, but I hadn`t done that too many times. I knew the commandments were important, but they`d never been a huge sacrifice.

I think that`s why a mission is a lot like a refining fire. Just hard. No matter where you serve, among any people, it`s trying. But those trials are the genius of the Lord`s program. I`ve been put to the line so many times to see if I really, really believe the gospel enough to live it. I tell others to follow the commandments of love, but do I follow them myself?

A big buzz word around the mission is regret, or rather `no regret`. However, I have lots of regrets. Times of weakness, mistakes, and tiredness. And I regret things. Or at least I did. Somehow I would eventually kneel down, and pray for forgiveness and humility. That`s a hard prayer to say. And sometimes sooner, sometimes later, the Spirit would return and peace would enfold me. And the regret would be gone.

Repentance is so amazing. Forgiveness is such a miracle. If I went my whole mission without regret, then something must have been wrong. Rather through regrets, and repentance, little by little I could learn and move forward. And so I stand today - still imperfect - but so much more profoundly grateful for the atoning sacrifice of Christ.

That may have been what I`ve learned. A bit more about the atonement. It was worth everyday.

I love Japan and its people so much. I shall always have dreams of this peaceful land and hopes of returning. Maybe someday I`ll have a Japanese Cherry Blossom tree in my yard.

I am sad to leave, but excited to see my family. My Mother is an angel - with faithful, loving letters of encouragement weekly or more. My Father has provided for every temporal need and many spiritual ones as well. I can`t wait to hold my siblings in my arms once again.

This Friday morning, I have a phone interview for a job. The Lord will hopefully take care of me from here.

"After wading through much tribulation, repenting nigh unto death, the Lord in mercy hath seen fit to snatch me out of an everlasting burning, and I am born of God. My soul hath been redeemed from the gall of bitterness and bonds of iniquity. I was in the darkest abyss; but now I behold the marvelous light of God. My soul was cracked with eternal torment; but I am snatched, and my soul is pained no more."

I love you all so much. God be with you `til we meet again.

Yours always,

Elder Alexander Todd Fuller
Japan Nagoya Mission
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

Monday, June 30, 2008

My Story

This week was more packed with action than one of those old batman tv series shows. BAM! WHACK! Yeah, it was pretty crazy. Thursday brought interviews with President Traveller, where we had a good talk. He is such a good and inspired man. That night the assistants came down and we power-dendoed this one neighborhood for a while. It was way enterteining - lots of good people the talk to. We also taught English class up in Yokkaichi since the other elders had an appointment they couldn`t reschedule. I was with Elder Derney. We taught them three essential phrases: 1 - Holy Cow 2 - Pretty cool, huh? 3 - That`s what I`m talkin` about. It was pretty excellent.

Elder Smith and I are woking like pack-horses and seeing some good things, and teaching lots of people. We`ve really been working on teaching and testifying, and I`ve been able to feel a difference.

Then came Sunday. The crazy day. Church was first - I translated everything into english for a very nice Phillipino member. We also were able to participate in the confirmation of Luciana and Fernando. Elder Smith did Luciana`s upon request, in Portugese (he`d written out some stuff prior to doing it). That went well. After church ended, we headed up to Yokkaichi for a four o`clock baptism of Gladis and her son Marcos. Braian, the other son, had been baptized a month earlier, and now the mom and brother were ready to follow the youngest`s example. It was such a powerful service. Gladis`s husband left her a while back, and she used to cry all the time and just be so bitter. She had every right to, it wasn`t good. But through the gospel, she now prays and reads the Book of Mormon everyday with her family, and doesn`t cry anymore except for joy. She said that this past week she prayed for three hours for forgiveness of sins - and that she felt she was on the right path. I don`t know if I`ve ever prayed for three hours. Luciana, who was just baptized a week ago, gave the talk at the baptism. She talked about the Holy Ghost. She said that she was prety skeptical about it - that when she would be confirmed if she would really feel anything. However, she said that as hands were placed on her head, she felt a heat...or rather a light... go from her head all through her body to her feet. She said that she still had that feeling, and she was happy. So was Gladis. I can only say a few words to these people, but I love them so much. They are my brothers and sisters. And they are found.

Well, then after the baptism, next came the musical fireside. A couple of other Elders and I had come up with the idea and arranged this fireside so that we could bring some non-members and have a good time, as well as all the members too. The Stake President and President Traveller and his wife, and the assistants all came to see it. I played my Sax for a couple numbers, other sang, and others played the guitar. It went very well - lots of fun, and around 70 people came in total. It was called "My Story - Looking back and Moving Forward". It was a success.

Today I started packing - and sent off 30Kg worth of book sand letters towards America. It`s sad. It`s also exciting. But this next week will be another one filled with miracles.

It`s unreal how fast it went, and how some days were so slow as well. Most of all, it was such an experience to see prophecy fulfilled, prayers answered, and lives changed. Mostly my own.

My mom is arranging for when my homecoming talk will be, but it would be so nice to see all of you there. God loves us. God know us, each and every one. I love you too.


Elder Alexander Todd Fuller
Japan Nagoya Mission
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

Sunday, June 22, 2008

The Waters Of Mormon

This last saturday - June 21st 2008 - marked two years since I entered the missionary training center in Provo.

Arising early in the morning, we jumped on a train to a local mall. Gathering with some members in the parking lot, we got ready to travel a campground up north. Leading the convoy, Luciana and Fernando in their car, and then about fifteen others in three other cars, made the way into a beautiful area in a the city Kameyama, to a place called Sekisuikei. Once arriving, Luciana, Fernando, Elder Muniz and I changed into white, and we walked to a nearby watefall with everyone else. It was absolutely beautiful. The water pooled at the bottom of a fall, and trees and mountains surrounded us. We gathered on the rocks and opened the baptismal service. I played `The Spirit of God like a Fire is Burning` on my saxophone as others sang along in Portugues. After a brief talk and their testimonies, we headed to the water. It was so cold, and yet so clear. So pure. I was nervous saying the prayer in Portugese, but it felt like someone was there helping me. Luciana came up crying. It was such a sacred site.

Getting to that point took all week and a score of miracles. During her baptismal interview, I later heard that she cried saying that she should have been baptized six years ago, but so many things had just kept getting in the way. It was time.

Luciana`s husbandFernando is almost more of a miracle. He hadn`t known anything about the church just three months ago. He actually didn`t want to read the Book of Mormon at all - but when he found out he could listen to the Book of Mormon mp3 online, he had no problem with that. He wants so much for he, his wife, and their three month year old baby to be together forever - and his faith is such that I believe they`ll make it.

Thursday was zone conference, and Elder Smith and I had a blast giving the training. Before it was our turn, we both went out in the hall to the bathroom and put another white shirt and tie on, on top of the one we were wearing. It looked perfect, no one could tell. Then we came back and waited for our turn. As we led a discussion, and talked about the joys of dendo (missionary work), Elder Smith (a football player) got really intense, and then ripped off the outer shirt - buttons flying and all. He was joyful. Then, I asked him to share that joy with me (pretending to be a normal member) to which I then took off m outer shirt as well (I should have ripped it more intensly looking back). It was pretty funny - and it woke everyone up/got their attention. That`d be pretty fun to do sometime in the future during a boring business meeting.

I read a scripture I liked a lot today. Mosiah 27:29 "My soul hath been redeemed from the gall of bitterness and bonds of iniquity. I was in the darkest abyss; but now I behold the marvelous light of God. My soul was racked with eternal torment; but I am snatched, and my soul is pained no more. "

Pained no more, what a great feeling.

I love you all so much. What an adventure, what a journey. I pray for you, please continue to pray for me.

Love always,

Elder Alexander Todd Fuller
Japan Nagoya Mission
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

Monday, June 16, 2008

No Time, But Love

Dear family and friends,

I don`t have any time today, but I just wanted to say how much I love you and how unbelievably amazing a mission its. I am having such a great time and still seeing miracles each week.

This past sunday was Branch Conference in Suzuka, and a big meal afterwards. As everyone talked with one another, I felt such a feeling of joy at how much the branch has changed and grown since I`vbe been transferred here. There are upwards of ten people that have started coming regularly to church since the time I started here. Of course I had little or nothing to do with them coming - but simply seeing and being a part of the change in their lives has been increadible. I relalized how much I loved each and everyone of them individually. I shall never forget the other members of my family that live here - Japanese, Brazillian, Bolivian, Chillean, and Peruvian.

What a joy life is. What an adventure. That we continue our adventure firm in the faith that He is walking with us is my prayer.

With love always,

Elder Alexander Todd Fuller
Japan Nagoya Mission
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

Monday, June 09, 2008


Churrasco is Portuguese for Barbeque - and we had the best barbeque ever!

This past saturday, shortly after my companion Elder Smith`s birthday, we had a barbeque extranvaganza at the church here in Suzuka. The Brazillians provided the barbeques, the Japanese members brought the rice and some other food, and the church (via the missionaries) brought a hundred dollars worth of meat! In total, about twenty members and fifteen investigators showed up and helped out. Even with many language barriers, everyone got along well, made friends, and had fun. We all sang to Elder Smith for his birthday and ate some cake that Heliane made (which was increadible). Man, if only missionary work was that fun everyday!

So that was a huge success, helped all our recent converts, investigators, and long-time members build some bonds with each other outside of a sunday service atmosphere. Really, a lot of times it just helps the branch to come together when everyone has fun together.

This past tuesday brought us to Nagoya for a final meeting with President Traveller and a great zone leader council. An idea that Elder Smith and I piloted is being put into place throughout the whole mission. It`s called the `missionary focus report` and has to do with helping make each area successful in a controllable way. I`m sure it doesn`t mean much to anyone outside of the mission - but it was pretty exciting coming up with the idea - presenting it - and then seeing it put to use. When things work out like that, it just feels good knowing that you`ve been able to contribute.

Well mom is a hundred times more trunky than I am about coming home. Everyone keeps talking to me about it, but it still seems so unreal. It`s almost like a dream how each day floats by so peacefully. Those hours from 11am to 9pm are so short. And yet, dozens of times, those ten hours have changed the course of my life forever. Experiences within thos minutes have shaped the way I look at the world. From visiting those in need, to those that don`t need anything, it`s just so increadible.

Today is zone soccer here in Suzuka - I`m proadly wearing my Brazil soccer jersey that I bought in Shimizu and a half back. Brazillians like me when I wear it :)

This past wednesday, Elder Smith and I were going around like normal, when we rang the doorbell of a very nice young mother named Michiko. We introduced our message and she was quite interested. We listened for a while to what she believed - and then talked about prayer for just a minute with her. We went back the next upon her request. She was so prepared, but that night she had talked to her husband about it. Her husband advised her to first study Buddhism for a while and make sure that that wasn`t correct, and then from there she could study Christianity. Well, we`ll give her a couple months - maybe I can drop by before I leave. No one can argue that she wasn`t prepared though.

While in that same neighborhood, we found another kind lady - in her later years, who has been a Christian for about forty years. Finding a Christian is always fun - they are less than one in a hundred. She was very kind, talked with us for quite a while, and said we could come back this next tuesday. We gave her Book of Mormon and asked her to read a bit before we meet again. She was a good Christian lady.

Yesterday was probably the most fun as far as dendo goes for this week. We visited a member family whose mother is Fillipino (speaking English and Tagalog). She doesn`t come to church a whole lot because she doesn`t know Japanese - so we visit her to make sure she is doing alright. She always feels a bit guilty for not coming - but I can`t balme her too much - church was pretty hard for me back when I didn`t understand anything at all. Even now I don`t quite follow some of the talks at times - of course you get that in English as well :)

Anyway, on the first floor of this family`s apartment (their name is the Ueharas), is another couple Fillipino families. The other family always said hi to us when we visited the Ueharas, and even though they can`t really speak English - just Tagalog - they tried to talk to us a bit. So while tlaking with Sister Uehara, we said, "Hey, can we go with you talk with that family downstairs." She agreed and they invited the three of us in. We introduced the Tagalog Book of Mormon that we had brought to the two families living in that apartment, and Sister Uehara translated for us. Then, after a minute, she interrupted and said "I have a testimony of the Book of Mormon too, can I tell them?" "Sure, go for it," I relpied, and she gave a ten minute dicourse on a whole bunch of things (Tagalog sounds like gibberrish, so I have no idea what she was saying). We left to make our curfew, but she stayed behind and talked with them and made friends. It was a great, all-around positive experience for us, Sister Uehara, and the two families we met with. It just feels good when everything works out.

Well the big excitement for this upcoming week is the baptism of Fernando and Luciana - if there papers get here from Brazil so they can get married (that`s a crazy fun situation). The other twist is that the baptismal font that we normally use is under contruction, so we`ll either being doing it in the sea, or by a waterfall up in the mountains. We`ll see what happens - what an adventure.

Thank you all so very much - I love you. My prayers are with you.
May His Spirit guide you always.


Elder Alexander Todd Fuller
Japan Nagoya Mission
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

Monday, June 02, 2008

Toys 'R' Us

Well, Elder Smith and I went on an adventure today. We travelled the lands to reach the wonderful land of Toys 'R' Us. It was a daring journey, and casualties were had (I forgot the umbrella at a recycle shop we stopped at). However, we pressed on, and at the point in which hope was almost lost, we viewed the giraffe`s head in the distance.

Yeah, so we actually travelled to the area below us today and walked to some stores. We were pretty excited - but after about three minutes of looking around, we both kind of looked at each other and said, "well, it`s kind of cool, just all really expensive...and all really not that different than America." Well, actually it`s different, but not in a good way. Instead of power ranger toys, they have ultra-man toys - which are even sillier. ANd instead of a song being played about barbie, it`s a japanese song about baabi - how you pronounce it in japanese. Notwithstanding the let down - I was determined to buy something, for we had travelled far. And then...I discovered it...

Swords!! Foam swords made from the same materials as the noodles that you use in the pool. Three dollars and you have a instrument to beat your companion with leaving low to mild damage. Elder SMith refused to buy one on principal that they are just silly and that as twenty-year-old we should not play with such things. So I bought two.

We left the store and after about ten minutes he said to me, "okay, I`ll pay you for one"
Ha, I got him.

Actually that was the plan all along, his birthday is this thursday, so I had to get him a good present, and what`s better than a sword in which to defend yourself from my sword. I hope you agree with me.

I also got a robotic bug thing. It`s pretty amazing - it has antennas on it so that when it walks into a wall, it turns around. Also, if you clap your hands, it changes directions or whatever. I mean, you could have actual cochroaches in your apartment, or you could drop some money and buy mechanical cochroaches. Except mine is green. Maybe I should hav just bought some green spraypaint.

And my final purchase, a Disney Cars movie coloring book. It`s pretty amazing - and pretty in Japanese.

So I have a serious problem IPve been thinking about all day long. My white shirts have some serious issues in the armpit area - they aren`t too white. Elder Smith blamed it on the anti-perspirant deoderant - citing that his pits are sparkling clean because of what he uses. I shall be attacking them with bleach tonight, I think.

Last week we shopped at this store called Gyoumu super, which is kind of like the closest thing you get to sam`s club in Japan. We bought this big bottle of "Spicey Chili Sauce for Chicken" which comes from Thailand. It is the most increadible sauce in the entire world except for maybe alfredo sauce. I think I could probably drink it. Maybe I have tried to drink it by the time you read this.

Last night we were talking a little about what a theme could be for the zone this transfer. Elder Smith suggested "The Come Back Kid" like Billy the Kid or something - with a western theme. I liked it a lot, I`ll try to get Sister Sasaki, our resident artist, to try and draw the zone as cowboys - about two months ago she drew us all as soccer players for our theme back then, "Winning Eleven."

A couple of other things we planned this last week are some giant family home evenings at the church (one might actually be when Dad comes over here, so he could meet everyone), and then a musical fireside. We`re still bouncing around ideas for the fireside, but I might be plaing over the rainbow on my saxamaphone. Such a beautiful song.

Last transfers scripture that I choose for myself was Proverbs 24:10 - "If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small." Today I found the focus for the rest of my mission, also in Proverbs. 27:1 "...thou knowest not what a day may bring forth" I like that thought a lot - the power in one day. "Today could be the best day of your mission," as President Stevenson said. Focusing on today and now, and leaving the morrow to later. As important as the destination is, the journey is most of the adventure.

I am happy here in this peaceful land. I feel at home. Indeed, I could see my self here until I die. I would love to be buried with a little bit of Japanese soil - and their tomb-stones are a thousand times cooler than American ones. What a joy it`s been to serve in the vineyard - and as the work continues, only more miracles await.

I send my love and offer my prayers in your behalf. Thank you for yours as well. May you have the Spirit of peace,


Elder Alexander Todd Fuller
Japan Nagoya Mission
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Washed Clean

Another chapter in the increadible adventure here in Japan. THis last Saturday, two of God`s children entered the waters of baptism and made that saced covenant with our Heavenly Father to follow His Son. It was probably the most spiritual baptismal service I`ve been to thus far. So who are they?

First was an eleven year old named Braian. (crazy way to spell Brian). He is almost as cool as Andre, and speaks a few more languages. He is from Bolivia, but becaude he grew up in Japan with lots of Brazillian friends, he speaks Spanish, Portugese, and Japanese all pretty fluently. His testimpony on saturday was this, `my mom (another investigator) always taught me the difference between right and wrong. Then I met the "Hermanos" (the Brothers in spanish, referring to the Missionaries), who taught me some more things. Everything they taught, I felt was right and true. They were pretty fun and nice as well. So, I decided to be baptized.` He`s the first one in his family, but his older brother has a date for June 28th and the mom said she`ll follow her son`s example sometime soon. Braian is definitely one of the purest, and coolest kids I`ve met. What a future he has.

Next was Thais. She`s the mother of two boys, and her husband is named Fabio (I still laugh about that). She`s been coming to English class for about a year now. She`s in her 20s, Brazillian, but has very good English. She wanted to be baptized for so long - though she didn`t want to join the church without her husband coming as well. Finally, after months of prayers, she decided to go on and take the first step in her family as well. We had Fabio talk at the baptismal service, to intruduce his wife. He said that he loved her, respected her decision, though hey wasn`t ready yet to follow (he said yet :) ), but that she was doing a good thing. She looked so pure after the baptism.

I played my saxophone at the service, along with another missionary, Elder Clark, who played the Piano and sang `I Know that my Redeemer Lives` It went well. What was almost more powerful was the fact that even though there were around twenty people at the service, and little kids, everyone was reverent and we all enjoyed the peace of the Spirit. Almost like the temple.

There was a couple that Elder Smith and I found - Luciana and Fernando - who were also supposed to get baptized this last saturday, except a little problem came up. I think it was tuesday or wednesday, the other Elders were talking with them and found out they weren`t actually married. Uh oh... because of legal problems with a former divorce, they actually weren`t able to get married, so they just moved in together and have a beautiful baby girl. Well, we got to work on that problem, talked to the Brazillian Embassy, and after their birth certificates arrive form Brazil, they will be able to get married. So you know what that means???

We get to plan a wedding reception!! Heliane is already spear-heading the planning - the colors are going to be white and dark blue - and it`s going to be a fiesta. They`ll get legally married sometime in about a week, and then on June 8th, we`ll have their baptism at 5 o'clock, and then a wedding reception at 6. Luciana has asked me to baptize her - because I was the first one she saw. What an honor and a blessing.

Elder Smith and I also have some good investigators coming through - it`s been a slow transfer, but from here on it`s serious. We`re going to work like crazies. We had transfer calls this morning, and all four of us are staying in Suzuka for another one (haleilujah!). The final six weeks have begun - we`re going to be running house to house. I am so very greatful to be here, and for all of your prayers. God be with you.

Love always,

Elder Alexander Todd Fuller
Japan Nagoya Mission
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

Monday, May 19, 2008

Rising Sun

There`s a fun thing to do when one rides the train - look for the two-second snap. So when we stop at a train station to get on - the everyone boards, and then you can count to your self "One...two.." and bam - the cell phone is flipped open. Everyone does it- checking to see if anyone has maybe tried to call between when they were waiting for the train, and then walked five feet onto the train.

I`m sure I would do it too if I had a cell phone - but it`s pretty amusing.

We have been quite blessed this last week. Kentaro - our way good investigator, however, had gotten increadible busy and we haven`t been able to meet with him at all. People`s lives always get busier after they meet us- it`s almost strange how that happens. Nevertheless, we were blessed in other ways.

A lot of doorbells were rung, and a lot of people were talked to. The best was when we dicovered a medical college fairly close to our apartment - so we focused a big churck of time up there, finding some rather promising people.

Thursday was interviews with President Traveller - I alwyas love to be around him and just try to soak up everything he teaches. We talked about all kinds of stuff - I usually ask him more questions than he does me. He shared a couple experiences and gave me council in relation to service, finances, and leadership. He`s such a kind person - I`ll have to go drop by his home in Logan in a couple years when he returns home.

Last Monday was zone soccer day - and it was exceedingly fun. One would think that after riding bikes everyday for two years, that I would be in better shape...although, an hour and half of soccer could wipe off almost anyone, I guess. Everyone had a good time, and the Brazillians - even though they dominated - were also very fun to play with.

So Brazillians do not like the Argentina soccer team - they`re like fierce enemies. So, whenever I start talking with a Brazillian about soccer (one of their favorite subjects) I always suggest that Argentina is a pretty good team. THey all laugh, but then they get seriously and say "you`re joking, right?" Good times.

Elder Muniz and Elder Matias are ripping it up here in Suzuka with us. This saturday, four people are sceduled to get baptized, with three or four more that are very close - probably next month. That means all this week, Elder Smith and I will be pairing up with both of them and getting everyone ready for baptism. Of those getting baptized - two are a Brazillian couple, then an eleven year-old boy from Bolivia, and then another Brazillian lady who`s trying to bring her husband with her. It`s a fiesta down here.

This last Tuesday, I had to go to Nagoya and back for a stake meeting. I figured I`d read up a little on Elijah in the old testament, starting in the end of 1 Kings. Since the train was pretty long, I just kept reading into 2 Kings for quite a bit. It was so interesting - it`s been a while since I`ve read those stories. One place really hit me as personal: 2 Kings 8:11-12

Hazael, servant of the king of Syria comes to ask Elisha, the prophet at that time, a question. After answering, " 11And [Elisha] settled his countenance stedfastly, until [Hazael] was ashamed: and the man of God wept.
12 And Hazael said, Why weepeth my lord? And he answered, Because I know the evil that thou wilt do unto the children of Israel: their strong holds wilt thou set on fire, and their young men wilt thou slay with the sword, and wilt dash their children, and rip up their women with child. "
What an interesting thought. Elisha has the spirit of revelation - is most likely a Seer - and thus can see the sadness that will take place. I think a lot of prophets wept because of the knowledge they recieved. I think our Heavenly Father weeps as he watches the sadness we expereince. I don`t think there will ever not be sadness - though when we obtain our eternal felicity - it will be of a different nature. Certainly there is joy that will and does surpass all the pain - when we walk towards the day of reunion with our Savior and Father - but along that way, if we sometimes, like Nephi, wet our pillow at night - we stand in leagues with others, like Elisha.

I am so very grateful for the Savior, who will wipe away our tears. He`ll wipe away our sins and mistakes as well. I am so excited to tell more and more people about him - and help them walk themselves towards him.

Life is an increadible adventure.

I love you all so much,


Elder Alexander Todd Fuller
Japan Nagoya Mission
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

Sunday, May 04, 2008


This week was packed with spiritual adventures.
Tuesday brought Zone Conference and a great Spiritual boost. President Traveller talked on the heart. Growing up, a couple times a year, at random, his heart would start beating very quickly. It subsided for after a few moments, and everything was fine. For years this went on, until it started getting worse and worse. At age 38, he went to the doctor, who gave him some medicine to calm it down - though they weren`t quite sure what the problem was.

The medicine relived the pain, but after another ten years, the problem became much worse - with the heart beating for days at a time at an accelerated rate. Finally, after much prayer, consultation, and consideration, President Traveller decided to go in for an out-patient sugrery. They put four cathoders into four different veins and went in to look at his heart. Through the video screens, they were able to actually see the situation, that an alternative path had been created for blood to travel through. They then went in through an artery, closed off the passage way, and there was never a problem, and no need for medicine, ever again.

He then talked about our own heart - how God knows our hearts. He asked us if at that moment, God looked at our hearts just as the doctors looked at his, would they see Christ`s name written upon it? We can take medicine for years, and still not get down to the real problem. Our hands can be clean, but we can still ahve an unpure heart.

President also talked about this last transfer - how when he started arranging for where people were to go, he didn`t feel any revelation. So, he fasted, and after his fasting and prayers, the revelation came.

Talking about this story later that night, Matt. 7:7 came to mind, and I was impressed more than ever about how Ask, seek and find are all in there. Perhaps, sometimes asking isn`t enough, and when we don`t recieve we need to seek. Sometimes even after seeking, we need to continue and go so far as to knock. That all seems like there`s going to be a lot of effort behind our requests.

It was Golden Week in Japan - a week of several holidays so most people get the entire week off of work. Two Bolivian members, Ricardo and Nancy, spent there entire vacation with the missionaries, driving to and teach investigators and friends. The lessons were all in Portugese and Spanish, but I went with them a couple nights. It was increadible the spirit that washed over all of us this week. It was as if the windows of heaven were opened.

On Sunday, Nancy got up and spoke about this experience. She said that this past week has been her best vacation ever, because she`s been with the missionaries testifying.

Missionary work isn`t too fun if there`s no one to teach, but when you have that chance to teach, and the Spirit comes to the lesson, it`s simply joyful.

Elder Smith and I have been praying and even fasting to find someone to teach. Friday, our prayers were answered.

We housed into a seventeen year old named Kentaro and he is amazing. Half Phillipino, half Japanese, but has lived here since he was three. Now out on his own, he has a lot of interest in things religious.

He read the plan of salvation pamphlet and understood it all perfectly. He asked us on the phone next day, "That baptism ordinance, is that to overcome the effects of the fall of Adam and Eve?" We thought for a second, and said to ourselves, `wow, I`ve never thought of it that way, but yeah, that`s pretty good.`

We met with him on Saturday, and rode our bikes together to churh on Sunday. I am so excited to meet him again. He`s everything we`ve been praying to for.

Yesterday evening, I was able to play my saxophone at a baptismal service. It was pretty fun.

I love you all so much. Life is just thrilling - and God is so kind.

I love you all so much,

Elder Alexander Todd Fuller
Japan Nagoya Mission
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

Monday, April 28, 2008

Blowfish? And Some More Miracles

So I sent you guys a package and you said that it got opened up. I didn`t send any I have no idea what that`s about. And the drinks were empty when I sent them to you - of course I would drink them - they were way too tasty to send home to you guys :) I just thought they were hilarious - I don`t know if it`s in Japanese or English, but it says "Pinapples of the Carribean" And has fruit Pirates - definitely amazing. I sent that package like three months ago though, so I forget what was in there. Enjoy :)

So a rather inspiring thing happened this past week. The four of us went out to an area and decided to do some extreme dendo (dendo is japanese for proselytizing). We had two hours - it was me and Elder Smith versus the Portugese Elders - who could do more. We ran from house to house, and had a great old time. Fifteen minutes before it was over, we ran into a Brazillian lady named Lucianna. She didn`t speak any Japanese or English - but somehow we communicated and told her we`d be back in fifteen minutes. we grabbed the other Elders and visited her again, it was about 8:45 at night. It turns out that she had met missionaries in Brazil - her whole family was baptized - and she wanted to be baptized, she just didn`t know where the church was. Her husband doesn`t know anything about the church, but they both came to church this past weekend and are looking good. It was increadible. All I can do is shake their hand, but it was quite the expreience to find someone that was so ready and so willing. I`m so grateful everything worked out so well. We are being exceedingly blessed.

I`m coming to also really love the branch here as well. There`s one family in particular that I`ve come to really like - the Imai family. The mother joined the church twenty or so years ago, but it wasn`t until about two years ago that her two daughters, and later the father, were also baptized. This last December they were sealed for eternity in the Tokyo temple and now are just a family that radiates happiness. They can`t speak anything but Japanese, but still have family home evenings with Heliane and her family, who just got baptized last month. Next Monday, Elder Smith, the Imai family, and I are going to go to a special day game of the Nagoya Dragons baseball team - I am very excited about that. Maybe get a hat or something :)

This last week, some days were challenging, but Elder Smith and I got on our knees quite a bit in search for answers. We were blessed so much.

Every morning for exercise, we go for a little jog to the beach, and run along the boardwalk listening to th waves lap up. The world is so beautiful, you know? It just amazes me.

I love you all so very much. I pray for you and keep you in my thoughts as well. Thanks for your prayers, letters, and thoughts. I`ll talk to you in just a couple weeks :)

Love always,

Elder Alexander Todd Fuller
Japan Nagoya Mission
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

Monday, April 21, 2008

Elder Smith and Suzuka

Things are on fire down here! Missionary work is fantastic - the sun is ablaze - and the Spirit is strong as we got down to business this past week. Lots of doors, but lots of good people too. We were teaching up a storm!

So we gave all of our investigators over to the other two elders - because they`re both Brazillians and all our investigators were latinos - so it`s back to the streets for Elder Smith and I. Actually, we`re going to be working with a lot of members all week long, studying PMG with them and talk to them about their friends. I`m just excited to be here and able to work hard.

I got sunburned on saturday - our ward had a big barbeque and we were out in the sun for quite a bit. You know how your skin has a constant warm sensation when it`s burned - yeah, it`s pretty nice. I don`t even have to sleep with my futon cover - i`m just nice and comfy warm all the time now.

Elder Jordan Miles Smith is from Sacramento California - and he is way fun. He went to BYU the same time I did, and will be going back too. We are just having a great time.

I`m doing well, thanks so very much for your prayers. I am happy, and so peaceful. I know that you are in God`s care - which is a very good feeling.

Have a great week!

Love forever,

Elder Alexander Todd Fuller
Japan Nagoya Mission
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

Monday, April 14, 2008

Suzuka Goes Four Man

So we got the phone call today announcing transfer which will take place tomorrow. Elder Jordan Smith (from Utah I think) will become my new companion here in Mexico...I mean Suzuka. I`ve worked with him quite a bit, and he`s a way good guy. We`ll have tons of fun - I`m going to work him like crazy. In addition, Elder Muniz is coming with a new missionary, both of them are Brazillian, making the Suzuka aprtmant a four person party. I am very, very excited.

We had General conference broadcasted here this past weekend. I have a tradition of eating cereal between sessions - and so I bought a giant bag of chocolate cereal flakes, a liter of milk, and had a party in my mouth. Cereal is porbably one of the best inventions in the entire world.

This last week has been interesting - Elder Caro`s preperation to go home. It`s been yet another learning experience.

Registration for BYU started this past week - that`s WAY too early. Oh well, I`ll worry more about that when I get home.

Well, it`s a little short this week, but I am good and happy. I love being a missionary very much. I`ll give more details next week.

Thanks so much for your love and prayers - especially from Noah :)

Love always,

Elder Alexander Todd Fuller
Japan Nagoya Mission
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Man This Food Is Going To Make Me Gain Weight

We`ll be watching general conference this upcoming weekend, but I did hear about Elder Christofferson being chosen as the newest member of the quorum of the twelve. However, something equally interesting back here was the calling of Gary E. Stevenson from Providence, Utah to the first quorum of the seventy. He was my mission president before President Traveller! That`s crazy.

Well this week was spent with Heliani Kubota and her family, as well with Julio - all four who have got baptized the last month. Readying the scriptures with them, answering questions, and eating a LOT of good brazillian food was came to past this week. Happiness indeed.

A couple of interesting realizations were had as well. Throughout the week, I had been praying for increased faith. Understanding of faith as well. After several days, I was led to Luke 17. The Savior teaches about forgiveness, which is something sometimes hard to hear. In response, they petitioned the Lord, "Increase our faith." When I read this, I echeod in my thoughts the same petition, "Yeah, increase my faith too, please." Christ then gives a parable in verses 6-10 - the unprofitable servant.

If we had faith - we could do miracles indeed, but at the same time, we are merely servants doing as He commands. Faith in Jesus Christ - doing as He asks us, would allow us to do such miracles if it were expedient. However - in our position, we never earn power or the ability to work miracles. We never earn anything. We can`t. We can`t earn investigators or baptisms. We have been bought by Christ, and thus we serve Him with no thought of reward - though He does grant us rewards - and faith - indeed. Luke 17:3-10 is worth a read, maybe you`ll understand it, or at least be able to explain it, a bit better than I. In short, my prayer was answered.

Yesterday, during Sacrament meeting, and during the sacrament, I was trying to think about the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I had an interesting thought.

The Secret Service has the job of protecting the President from bullets and other bad things. THe idea is that if someone shoots at the president, they will jump in front of the bullet and save his life. One way to look at our position is that we are that President or important person. The gun of justice has fired a bullet at us in response to our sins. Christ jumps out and takes the bullet for us, saving our eternal lives. However, Christ is actually much better than just a Secret Service agent, and yet because He loves us, he does it.

Yeah, this all was generated by remembering the movie First Kid - that`s a pretty funny/silly movie.

Well, I love you all very much. Thank you so much for your prayers and support. I am much strenghtened by them. The Kanji practice goes well - I`m nearing 700, almost a third of the standard 2000! It`s pretty fun, I`ll teach you some cool things when I get home.

You are in my thoughts and prayers. I look forward to hearing more.

Love your son and brother,

Elder Alexander Todd Fuller
Japan Nagoya Mission
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

Sunday, March 30, 2008


Well this week was all about Julio Tashiro - a very nice Brazillian man, mid thirties, who has been meeting with the missionaries for the last year or so. Tuesday night, Elder Caro and I were walking towards his apartment, talking. For the month of march, the Japan Nagoya mission had a goal of seeing twenty baptisms. We had gotten to sixteen, and this final week we needed four. Throughout the mission, we`ve been praying for this goal to come to pass and have all been working hard to exercise faith in preparing people. Those who had dates scheduled for this past weekend however, were looking a little shaky.

So, we decided to challenge Julio to be baptized this (past) weekend. After a long and Spirit filled lesson, he agreed to be baptized on Saturday night. All week long we worked with him, and then had his baptismal service Saturday night. I played my saxophone - two hymns, "Joseph Smith`s First Prayer" and "A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief" It went well. Heliani, who was batized two weeks ago, gave a talk at Julio`s baptism that was very good (or at least what Elder Caro translated in Japanese was good - I still don`t know any Portugese). He then was confirmed and recieved the gift of the Holy Ghost by the layig on of hands yesterday (Sunday). 

I have come to love Julio so much - he is like a brother indeed.

Two boys in Kanazawa that I started teaching a few months ago also got baptized yesterday, and with a couple other baptisms, our mission was able to see 21 miracles this past month. We are being abundatly blessed.

Lately I have been thinking a great deal about the Sermon on the Mount. I have desires to memorize it - we`ll see if it comes to pass or not. A talk I heard this past week talked about how the Sermon on the Mount has many temple relations - which makes it worth pondering more and more.

Today, the Zone heads to Yokkaichi to play some soccer - it should be pretty fun. Also, today is the 31st, to baskin Robin`s ice cream is 31 percent off. Normally it is WAY to expensive, but here`s our chance to indulge :)

Last friday, we had an excellent zone training meeting - talking about 1 Cor. 9:26-27. The English translation is pretty lousy - but the Japanese is pretty good. To translate from the Japanese, it would read something like: "I do not run without clearly defined goals. I do not box as one punching the air. However, I submit myself as if being punched - for fear that if I did not so, I may be disqualified to teach others." We talked about not "punching the air" but make every effort count. Sometimes, when we go around housing for hours, we can sometimes lose hope and enthusiasm. Doing anything a lot takes away the enthusiasm. But if we make it count, and put our heart in it, then we can win. Nevertheless, sumbitting ourselves is also vital.

Good things are happening. I am so grateful to be a missionary. It is always an adventure, that`s for sure. I love you all very much. May you feel His Spirit,


Elder Alexander Todd Fuller
Japan Nagoya Mission
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

Sunday, March 23, 2008

The Windows Of Heaven Are Opened

The good times roll on here in Suzuka. Heliane Kubota and her two daughters Nicoli and Hilari were all baptized and confirmed within the last couple weeks. They moved to Japan from Sao Paulo, Brazil about 15 years ago, so they can speak Japanese pretty well, but still Elder Caro speaks Portuguese with them. Sister Heliane especially is a great example of faith. Her biggest sacrifice in being baptized was giving up Coffee. She used to drink five cups a day at work to keep her going. However, she decided that it really wasn’t a huge sacrifice - compared with the blessings that come - and so she told all her friends she was stopping. This past week, she lost 2 kilos, and has more energy than ever - or so she tells me. Blessings have been poured out upon this small family as they make the sacred first covenant with God.

So sometimes I feel a little like a new missionary - not understanding anything being said. Okay- I understood more as a new missionary, to be honest. It’s kind of been a weird feeling - being surrounded by Spanish and Portuguese. I have come to love Japanese so much, and actually enjoy studying it now. I took my problems to the Lord in prayer. I’m in Japan - and though I can communicate pretty well - I still would benefit greatly from continuing to study Japanese. I asked the Lord what I should do. The answer came in the form of a scripture the next morning - 1 Cor. 14:19. The whole chapter deals with the gift of prophesy and the gift of tongues. 19 reads, "Yet in the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue.” Basically, it doesn’t how much Japanese or English I can speak, if my investigators don’t understand it, it doesn’t matter. Just a five word testimony is of more worth than ten thousand words of the most moving lesson in an unknown language. So, I’ve made the determination to try and learn some Portuguese - at least enough to help a little in teaching. I feel confident that the Lord will assist me.

Lots of other good things happened this past week, including a very nice Zone Conference in Nagoya. We talked about "teaching as one" both in unity with our companions, and also teaching as The One - with examples and simple stories to illustrate gospel truths.

Everything is going well. Answers to prayers come - but so, so much patients is needed sometimes. I think maybe one of life`s biggest purposes is to develop our patient. God has so much of it - and we have to develop that somehow or other. Having that peace through the entire journey though - that makes it an adventure.

I love you all. Happy Easter! Definitely not even mentioned at church or anywhere else- but oh well, just a little different culture here. I made sure to do an Easter lesson for Gospel Principals. We read Chapter 20 of St. John. What interests me so much is that in that chapter, three people go from not believing to believing. Thomas believed after feeling Christ’s wounds. Mary believed after hearing her name, and John believed when seeing the empty tomb. Although we are more blessed to not see Christ and believe, I also don’t think he wants us to believe blindly. Indeed, the scriptures are written, "that [we] might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing [we] might have life through his name." (John 20:31) That through reading or seeing evidences, as John saw the empty tomb; we can receive that witness from the Spirit and know - through revelation.

The tomb is still empty today. What does that mean to us?

I am grateful for the resurrection - the crowning event of the atonement of Jesus Christ. I am grateful to share the message of hope with all - regardless of nationality or language. I am grateful to have all of you - remembering and using your teachings and examples. May we have His Spirit to be with us.


Elder Alexander Todd Fuller
Japan Nagoya Mission
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

Sunday, March 16, 2008

A Week In Fuji

So this past week I have actually been by the side of Mount Fuji on a week long companion exchange with Elder Peterson. There was a family getting baptized back in Suzuka, so the missionary who taught them for six months actually traded places with me for a week so he could perform one of the baptisms. Although it would have been fun to see, it`s been a week of small miracles here. Teaching up a storm, talking to lots of people, and finding a few interesting new investigators.

Thursday morning a phone call comes to the apartment. A man by the name of Mochizuki asks if we can meet him at the train station. We agree and head over before lunch time. Walking around, trying to figure out who this person could be, I was very surprised to see a familiar face. More than a year ago, when I was serving in Shimizu (about 45 minutes south of Fuji), I had met a Mochizuki. Well, one year later, and in different areas, somehow we are led to meet once again. Mr. mochizuki is a very nice guy, who has been meeting with missionaries on and off for around 30 years, he said. We were both surprised to see each other, and I was also very glad that I remembered him so well - many details about him. It was a nice reunion. After fifteen or twenty minutes, I challenged him to be baptized - and he`s thinking about it. It`s so interesting how God works - putting us in positions, so naturally, but anything but by chance.

I have always frimly believed that there are those who are prepared and ready to recieve the message which I have the opportunity to share with them. However, having met some of those people - realizing after the fact that this person is one of those who God wanted me to meet, it causes me to think. Most people I meet aren`t anything spectacular. They`re just normal people, treading water like we all are, trying to stay afloat. They face the same problems I do. There is nothing peculiar - and yet I have come to love them. Brother Satake, Sister Wang, Brother Reinaldo, Brother Kondo, and many, many more - normal by all aspects - except that I`ve grown to love them so much. They are my brothers and sisters. Just like Aimee - she`s not anything amazing - just a normal silly girl - and yet because of the things I`ve gone through with her, because of her reltionship to me, I love her very much - as I do all my family - temporal and spiritual. Even Christ, our Eldest Brother, is a man, and yet so much more. I`m not quite sure how to express this relization, but I hope it kind of gets through. Each person is ordinary, and yet so precious.

My gospel study has been pretty scattered but quite intersting. Alma 20-24, Hebrews, and then King Benjamin`s address are a few things I`ve read over a few times these past couple days. The latter is such an increadible discourse. If the Book of Mormon just had that one sermon - it would be a powerful book. The people at that time did just have that sermon, I guess, and it was as powerful then as now. His advice concerning the poor was particularly impressive to me today.
I quote from Mosiah four:

17 Perhaps thou shalt say: The man has brought upon himself his misery; therefore I will stay my hand, and will not give unto him of my food, nor impart unto him of my substance that he may not suffer, for his punishments are just—
18 But I say unto you, O man, whosoever doeth this the same hath great cause to repent; and except he repenteth of that which he hath done he perisheth forever, and hath no interest in the kingdom of God.
19 For behold, are we not all beggars? Do we not all depend upon the same Being, even God, for all the substance which we have, for both food and raiment, and for gold, and for silver, and for all the riches which we have of every kind?

Reading this, it still is chilling as I feel the call to repentance. Aren`t we all beggars in the end? Wow...profound. If only all leaders had something of the morals and inspiration that King Benjamin did, then great steps would be taken forward towards building Zion.

I love you all so much. I think about you from time to time. I don`t want to come home at all, but it would be fun to see you. If you flew here, with some mexican food from Chipotle, then life would be as amazing as it could get. :) I pray that you are all safe and happy. Work hard, and have fun too. Talk to you next week.

Love always,

Elder Alexander Todd Fuller
Japan Nagoya Mission
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

Sunday, March 09, 2008

No Me Gusta!

Hola, Oi fi!

So I just got transferred from Kanazawa Japan to South Padre Mexico! Actually, I`m in Suzuka, but I couldn`t tell the difference. From the balcony of my apartment I can see the Atlantic ocean (which kind of feels liek the gulf of Mexico). There`s tons of fast cars - including an f-1 racing track that we plan to visit today - and every language besides Japanese. The ward of around 60 people is half Japanese, and the rest are Brazillians, Bolivians, other Latinos, and Phillipinos. It`s a zoo of languages - and we get to translate all through church! Elder Caro is amazing. His Parents moved from Chili when he was 1, to Australia - so he speaks fluent Spanish, English (with that crazy auzzie accent), Portugese (which he`s picked up on the mission) and Japanese. What this all amounts to is teaching lots of South Americans lots of good lessons while I sit next to him and just pray in my head over and over. We`ll have a couple baptisms this upcoming weekend - and probably a few more in a couple more weeks. It`s a fiesta.

So last night, after teaching some investigators, we came to a party at one members house. Two of the ward missionaries - Brother Ricardo and Sister Nancy - drove us and we all had a big sushi party with about twenty people from the ward. Ricardo and his wife are both from Bolivia and only speak Spanish. As we drive from appointments, Sister Nancy tries to teach me Spanish in the back of the car. It`s slow, but pretty entertaining. Anyway, after we finished eating sushi and headed off to our final lesson appointment, we got into the car. As we drove off, Nancy started exclaiming "Sushi, no me gusta, no me gusta!" and pretended to throw up. It made me laugh quite a bit. Not liking Sushi is something easily understood across all borders. (actually, sushi is pretty good, just not 20-25 dollars good).

Being around so many foreigners has been really interesting. I forgot that people acted differently than japanese people. In Gospel Principals class that I taught this past week, lots of people were joking around and just having a great time ragging on one another. It remember faintly that fun stuff like that happens at church back home - but it was pretty peculiar. I kind of forgot that church isn`t serious 100% of the time - that it should be fun. Of course the most fun is when we are edified and enriched by the Spirit - but still, church should always be apleasurable experience.

Well, here`s the location of my apartment if you`d like to check it out on google Earth:

N 34 Degrees 50.175
E 136 Degrees 35.386

I`m doing very well and am very happy. This may be my last area - which is kind of sad - but it`s going to be an amazing adventure. I love you all so much -thanks for your prayers, they are well used. I`ll let you know more details on the adventure next week - until then, tudo ben, tudo efesta. (All is well, all is a fiesta!) With love always,

Elder Alexander Todd Fuller
Japan Nagoya Mission
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

Sunday, February 24, 2008

A Fiesta and Sleeping Well

Well, Elder Williams and I decided to go hardcore this week and work like dogs. Oh man, we knocked a LOT of doors. It was crazy fun - and I slept so well. Also, I made Taco Rice for us and the Elders from Komatsu thanks to the taco mix that my mom sent me. Oh man, what a fiesta. Other than that, not a while else that interesting happened - although there are a LOT of religions out there. Talking with all these older ladies has been quite an experience as we tract through the afternoons. Of course most people are Buddist, and that`s like most people are Catholic in other parts of the world, but then you run into some people that are part of some, how should we put it, different religions that I`ve never heard of before. They always try to preach to us too. I dunno, it`s just amusing after a while - but I see where they`re coming from a lot of the time. If you don`t have a Christian base, you have to find something. Very interesting.

I read Philippians 3 today and it really touched me. Paul`s testimony is so powerful. He was part of the Fellowship of his suffering - remenicent of something Pres. Eyering wrote called "The fellowship of the Unashamed" I invite you to read that chapter slowly, a couple times (because the English is WAY hard), and picture him writting it. It is filled with emotion and power.

I love you all so much and am excited to hear from you. The Spirit is with my companion and I and we are both happy. May we all be in the Fellowship of Suffering with Christ, is my prayer,


Elder Alexander Todd Fuller
Japan Nagoya Mission
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Takayama, Zone Conf, Valentine`s Jazz and Nanao

Well this week was up, down, sideways and every other direction that Willy Wonka`S elevator can go - oh man...

We started off with a companion exchange with the Elders in Takayama. They live so far away (about 2-3 hours depending on your train) that we actually were with them for two days. They are both very new missionaries - and yet they are doing very well. It was quite humbling to be honest, to see that fire and zeal, but Elder Williams and I have talked a lot and hope to incorporate some of what we learned from them. It`s funny how we learn sometimes. Also, lately we have been praying a lot for direction - it`s just interesting how that direction came.

That brought us to Zone Conference - which went very well. Working with members is the focus - and Preach My Gopsel as well. However, an interesting principal was brought up - Doctrine and Covenants 82:10 reads: "I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise." Elder (now President) Uchtdorf told the mission presidents this last Mission President`s Seminar that this promise applies to Preach My Gospel. As we do what it says - we shall see success. There`s something that made me rethink some things.

After Zone Conference and another English Class, the next couple days were spent in preperation and performance in our Valentine`s Jazz Concert. It was a fantastic success and a really fun time. One of our English Class students, Ms. Goto, is a professional jazz pianist, so with her, and Sister Mills who is pretty good at singing, we performed five songs: Over the Rainbow, Danny Boy, Imagine (the John Lennon one, to which ELder WIlliams also sang a bit), St. Thomas (to which we had everyone compose lyrics to and then sang a few of them) and When You Wish Upon a Star (which everyone sang at the end). I played decently - especially since I haven`t practiced in a year and a half - but what really made the night was the decorations. Hundreds of hearts, heart candles at tables, and a DISCO BALL! That`s right, we found a disco ball in the shed outside - I was thouroughly pleased. Lots of English class students and friends of members came which made it way fun as well. TO top it all off, we made lots of heart cookies and had them decorate them. It was an activity to remember. Fun fun fun. Also, a good spiritual thought about how romantic love is important in marriage - but how foir lasting relationships, Christ-like love, or charity, is also essential. What a great evening.

Finally that takes us to sunday where we took the two hour train ride to the remote branch of Nanao. Elder Ishii of the Seventy and the stake president went with us to make a total of thirteen in attendance. Nevertheless, the members in Nanao Japan and the members of the twelve apostles both partake of the same sacrament each week - and have the same opportunities of blessings. It was humbling and peaceful.

Well, this next week is going to be my faith week. Investigators are a little low - and time to go out and find people is quite high. So with faith, desire, prayer, dedication, and a little fun, I hope to really work hard this next week and find some new people to teach. Elder Williams is likewise committed, and I think we`ll see some good things.

I appreciate your prayers and support from home - they keep me going sometimes. You`re in my prayers and thoughts from time to time. I love you.


Elder Alexander Todd Fuller
Japan Nagoya Mission
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Back To The Streets

What a great week with some good old fashion hard work. It started off well last monday with a fantastic preperation day. We went to the Samurai district part of town - and since there were like seven of us, we just had a fun time joking around. We went into this old museum of like an old pharmacy. It was really cool, except the was a random brocken television in the back of one of the rooms. We all thouroughly enjoyed commenting about how it was a Samurai Television. Also along the roads, we would occasionally see Samurai cars drive by and then Samurai way too expensive gift shops. The Samurais were a pretty sophisticated and evolved society I guess. I actually bought a way nice mug that was from the pottery style that`s famous is Kanazawa - now who should I send it home too? Also, Kanazawa is famous for it`s gold leafing - basically supplying Japan with gold. They have so much actually, that it is a fine delacousy to put little bits of gold on food. You can actually by these gold shavings (of course I bought some - gold food, can you get any classier?) and put them on your own food. Well Elder Williams thought this was the funniest thing in the world, so he bought some, and then we went to McDonalds. On his dollar cheeseburger, he sprinkled some gold - and we enjoyed it to the fullest extent that one can. What a good day.

The rest of the week invloved some companion exchanges - which brought me to Toyama and Takoaka with a coupld other Elders, 24 hours each respectively. We talked a lot, and worked a lot too. It was pretty fun. One of the Sister Missionaries` investigators - Goto Yumi - her had got in a car accident a couple weeks ago, so we went and visited her dad. That was pretty fun - though he was not really a talkative person. However, I evetually got him to start talking a little bit - mostly because I always ask people really silly questions. Well, they`re not silly, but I`ve heard the answer a thousand times before- but hey, whatever gets people talking, and whatever makes them cheer up a little. He was smiling quite a bit by the time we left - and it felt good to be able to visit him. Old people speak WAY hard Japanese - so it would be hard to do here, but when I get back in America - it would be pretty fun to just walk around a hospital for a while and make some friends. I dunno, probably sounds silly - but it would be fun I think. I certainly wouldn`t be nervous talking to new people like I was before. It`s way fun to meet people.

Lots of doors to be knocked - and Elder WIlliams and I are just having a blast. Just a handful of lessons taught each day, but a very rewarding feeling when we come back home at night. As we work, the Spirit comes and joins us. With the Spirit, people`s hearts are touched, and then we begin to see some things happen.

Elder Smith, who`s my district leader in Takoaka right now, participated in a lenghty and in depth discussion about enthusiasm and hope. We eventually arrived at the question - How do we maintain and keep enthusiasm and hope from day to day? When it is lost, how do we gain it back? We both resolved to pray on the subject. THis time, it didn`t come to me, but Elder Smith got a profound answer. Whenever we lose hope, he said, we need to repent. THe scripture he gave was in Aaron`s councel to King Lamoni`s Father, Alma 22:16, "But Aaron said unto him: If thou desirest this thing, if thou wilt bow down before God, yea, if thou wilt repent of all thy sins, and will bow down before God, and call on his name in faith, believing that ye shall receive, then shalt thou receive the hope which thou desirest." That is exactly how we gain hope. This just sounded perfect to me - I was surprised by the simplicity and the power of which Elder Smith explained the answer he recieved. I am grateful that answers to our questions come - through many sources.

Finally, I close with a story that warmed my heart. Elder Smith was actually the one who replaced me in Shimizu when I transfered out of ther about a year ago. I left behind 93-year-old Satake Hiromitsu - who Elder Smith actually baptized. Being 93, I always kind of wondered just how much he understood - even though he was very humble and believed and trusted the missionaries. Before Brother Satake was baptized, his son gave him the Book of Mormon stories book - a pciture book at a fourth grade level with stories from the book of Mormon. One Day, Elder Kruger (my former companion) and Elder Smith came to brother Satake`s house, just before his baptism. They came into him reading on his own, that children`s book. Tears were flowing down Brother Satake`s cheeks. He felt something that caused him to cry. I still don`t know exactly how depe his knowledge is, but I was assured that he knows that it is true. He still comes to church - even if he has to call a taxi. God loves him, and I am sure He is pleased with our dear brother.

If this wasn`t God`s work, it could`t go forward as it is. I am grateful to be a part of it. If I were to walk away from it, it would continue without problems - but it`s in my envolvement that I have been able to witness so many tender mercies of the Lord. I love you all very much and pray for those mercies to enwrap you as you pass through the cold storms.


Elder Alexander Todd Fuller
Japan Nagoya Mission
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Working With Members

Well hello everyone - I heard the Groundhog saw the shadow his shadow - so six more weeks of winter. I tried to explain what a groundhog was and what february second meant in America - but I don`t think my Japanese friends quite understood it. First, there is no word for groundhog - the closest thing they have is "woodo chuku" for wood chuck. It`s just not quite the same - though it`s definitely still winter over here.

I was able to watch President Hinkley`s Funeral which was broadcasted to the Kanazawa steak center. It was a good service - with some laughs and some profound thoughts. The bagpipes at the end were a nice touch too. However, while watching the service with some other American missionaries - there were a few things that we all agreed on:

America has a LOT of white people. Girls have real blonde hair - that's way weird. The streets are HUGE and people drive on the right. Houses have yards. And in the end, we all don`t really miss America too much. Yeah, I miss English, but wherever there are Latter-Day Saints and other good people - it is a good place.

My dad sent me a package which also included some silly string. Elder Williams and I have been thinking and talking a LOT about what the opportune time to use it would be. Obviously, more thourough meditation will be required.

I`m trying to maybe get some pictures sent soon...I`m working on it, sorry it`s been a while.

Well of the good experiences of this week - I`ll just touch a couple. Tuesday was Zone Leader Council which meant a total of seven hours round trip of trains to Nagoya. The gathering was spiritual as we discussed Preach My Gospel and especially working with members. Working with members has been the keyword for decades now, but how to actaully do it has been the mystery. President Traveller himself quoted from his journal as a young missionary in the seventies that they too were trying various programs. However, the difference now, President Traveller said, is that we have Preach My Gospel - which will make the difference. Elder Williams and I are testing the program out, and being able to help members to take that courage and act is a rewarding experience.

On Thursday, we had an opportunity that I will not soon forget. A recently found investigator had us over to his home to discuss things with him. As we sat down, I felt prompted to ask about his plans for after our appointment. He said that he was going to a funeral for a co-worker in just a couple hours. I asked him about what he thought about the next-life, and a discussion followed. What a blessed chance to lay forth the doctrine of the plan of salvation so that he could know personally where he came from, why he is here, and where his friend went as he passed through the veil. A timely truth for current questions. Most of all, the spirit was overwhelming as Mr. Kobayashi said the closing prayer. Simply adressing Our Father, he said, `my friend wasn`t a very good guy, but please help get into heaven.` How grateful I am for a merciful and loving God, and the restored truth about the state of souls passing from this realm. In reality - I think more the reason we cry at funerals isn`t for the loved one who passed - but rather that we are going to without their company for a period of time. One day, as we`ve read, our tears will all be wiped away.

Thanks for your continued prayers and support. They help. May we all be at peace, Always,

Elder Alexander Todd Fuller
Japan Nagoya Mission
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

Monday, January 28, 2008

Slippin' and Slidin'

Well it got pretty cold this last week. Cold=ice ice=falling down on bicycles falling down on bicycles=big laughs. Yeah, there as one time that Elder Williams (my new companion from Layton Utah) and I both fell down at the exact same moment on our bikes. That was pretty awesome. Luckily we haven`t gotten hurt yet -well, at least I haven`t - he limps a little right now, but it will be okay I think. My birthday was pretty awesome - a package of fudge from my dad, a cake from sister sasaki (on of the sister missionaries serving in Kanazawa), and introducing missionary work to a great member family. What more could I ask for? Not a whole lot more, because I made some tacos this week too!

So Elder Williams is probably one of the funnest guys in the world. The first night togehter, we headed to Kanazawa University and taught quite a few good college students. A couple say we could come back - and all the long we were having a great time. He really likes Tennis and Ping-pong, although a fourteen-year-old member kid worked him over this last weekend (it was pretty entertaining).

As a mission, we`re taking a new focus of not just going outside and knocking doors all day long, but really meeting with the members and using their friends as a way to find people interested in learning about the restored gospel. It`s not really anything new - but it is a challenge to really impliment - especailly when people are so busy. Tomorrow Elder Williams and I will be taking the six-hour round trip ride to Nagoya and back to be trained in zone leader council with President Traveller. That`s always the highlight of the transfer - to be taught directly form President.

One thing that has impressed me so much is how well we as missionaries are taken care of. Sure, there`s always a couple stories that one hears about missionaries getting hurt or killed by accidents or various things, but I would guess that the percentage is much lower than any other random group of 50,000 young people. Through how much we travel around (I`m getting close to 8000 kilometers on my bike) we really do have a blessing of safety. Maybe that`s what life is liek with the gospel - a crazy hard rollar-caoster of hills and mountains - but all along there is safety and peace that in the end we`ll make it home. We`re travellers, in many senses of that word - but having His angels around us to guide and protect brings a sense of serenity.

I love you all and hope that your travels will be in safety as well.

Faithfully yours,

Elder Alexander Todd Fuller
Japan Nagoya Mission
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

Monday, January 21, 2008

Transfers - Elder Williams

Well this morning Elder Shuto from the Mission Home called and told me that my new companion will be Elder Williams. That`s pretty exciting because is a very good missionary and a lot of fun. I`m pretty excited for some good things this next transfer.

Elder Cano going home was a bit sad - but we had fun together. President Traveller said that the reason he put us together is so that Elder Cano could have a good finish with a good companion. That was very nice to hear. It definitely was a growing period, but now things will get better.

Back in Matsumoto, Sister Matsumoto who got baptized a few weeks ago - her husband is getting ready to be baptized in february - which is very exciting. Here in Kanazawa, two young boys Kanau and Shunsuke Mizutani are getting ready for March - and there`s lots of other good people.

My Birthday is coming up and I think I`m going to get myself a present of a new electronic dictionary. I love the one I have used from the beginning of my mission - but since it is four years old and beginning to not work so well, I might by investing in one today. Happy Birthday to me! Actually Elder Boyd (who I`m with temporarily in my old area of komatsu until tomorrow when Elder Williams comes) and I are going to party today. Play some pool at the bowling alley - hit Baskin Robbins - write some letters - it`s going to be a fiesta! I am quite excited.

My interview this last week with President was very good. He handed me the list of all he missionaries and asked me `who do you think the new zone leaders should be?` I looked at it for a moment and then finally said, `I`m glad that I`m not President` Wow, he makes some hard decisions. But he also has the priesthood keys to help out a little two with revelation. We talked a lot about the mission, and he valued my ideas and advice a great deal. He also complemented me very much on many things, which was very nice to hear. The Lord is so close in times of need.

I was thinking and praying last night about the Atonement. Since Christ paid for our sins, why the need for obedience. I thought about this, and an analogy came to my mind. It was about Basketball. It`s like we go to the hoop and get ready to practice. Christ is our coach, and throws the ball back to us after we shoot. If we miss though, there`s a $100 fine. If we make it, that`s good, we keep practicing. Now Christ is a rich, so he will pay for everything - but the point isn`t to pay the fine, it`s to help me become a better basketball player. In the same way, the point of our life isn`t to have our sins forgiven, but its to become righteous and able to abide in a perfect place. It`s all a big practice and training. A big preperation, if you will. I`m just so thankful that when we mess up, that it`s okay and that the eternal consequences can be atoned for.

I dunno, kind of a weird analogy, I`m not sure why there would be a fine for missing a shot - maybe it`s like a really nice gym were practicing in, but it`s an idea.

The snow has been beautiful and the Spirit has been warm. I love you all and pray that you will feel the tender mercies of the Lord.

Yours always,

Elder Alexander Todd Fuller
Japan Nagoya Mission
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Elder Cano Going Home and LOTS of Snow!

It`s snowing A LOT here - and I fell off my bike last night. It`s absolutely beautiful though - worth the fall :) Elder Cano is getting ready to go home this week - so that will be a fiascal like it always is, but it will still be fun. I gave a talk in church this past week - on 10 minutes of notice - which was a fun experience. It would have been no problem, but while I was sitting on the stand writting down notes, I realized I didn`t have my dictionary with me - which wasn`t really a big deal, but made me a little nervous. I prayed hard, and everything went well. I am so grateful I`m not expected to be a missionary without any help from up above - it would be impossible.

The assistants came on exchanges with us this past wednesday. Elder Rider, from Pennsylvania is the first assistant younger than me in the mission, but is an increadible missionary. We had lots of fun together and talked a LOT about "Preach My Gospel" and realyl how to work with members. Some things are definitely going to change a bit in how we do missionary work starting the next couple weeks.

Nothing else too exciting, just lots of fun. Two boys, ages 10 and 14, who we are teaching right now will probably be baptized in march, so that`s exciting.

Mostly, I just really came to realize how little prayers are answered. Saturday night, I got a flat tire, couldn`t find a member`s house, and was just kind of being beaten up by little things. I prayed a lot that night that Sunday would be different. I prayed that it would be a spiritual day of rest filled with joy. And you know what, that is exactly what it was. The Spirit was with us all day, especially at church, and we had fun. It wasn`t a big deal really, but it was important to me. God hears and answers prayers, that is for sure.

I love you all and will give you more in depth fun next week. Thanks for your love and prayers,


Elder Alexander Todd Fuller
Japan Nagoya Mission
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Jazz, Nanao and Mochi

Happy New Year! 2008! Hooray. Not one of you saw me once during the entire year of 2007 - I was in Japan the entire time. That`s a weird thought. Also, I`m almost 21 years old, that`s weird too. Of course the legal age in Japan is 20 - so 21 doesn`t really mean anything here (and it`s not like it would mean anything in America either), but it`s still exciting. We had a little snow here for the new years which was very good.

It is very interesting how God places certain people in our paths. Ever since I came to Kanazawa, the bishop here has been really excited about me playing the saxophone. He wants to have some church activities of music performances, talent shows, and things like that. I am excited to perform, but just playing by myself isn`t entertaining for too long. I asked if there were some good piano players in the ward - which there are - but nobody that could play too much with me.

Well two weeks ago, a new student came to our English class. A lady in her 30s who works at hotels and restaurants playing jazz piano. She is increadibly nice - wants to study jazz in America sometime in the future, and is more than happy to come play music with me anytime. A jazz piano player, wanting to learn english, and willing to do whatever we ask is a rare, rare thing in Japan. It just interests me a lot that it worked out so well - almost too well.

The one challenge of course is that whenever we talk, I`m too excited to talk about music that the church doesn`t come up. It`s been a LONG time since I`ve talked with someone that knows there is more to music than the beatles and Elvis- though I like the beatles...and Elvis`s movies are way funny. Nevertheless, the sister missionaries are taking care of the gospel part, which is good.

In other events, our investigator that wants to get baptized - Susumu - is doing well. He is a pretty special guy, and wore some immodest clothing. He isn`t homosexual, but just kind of acts really weird, which makes lots of people feel uncomfrotable. Anyway, we talked a lot about modest clothing, gave him a "for the strength of youth" pamphlet, and he changed his clothes! He looks a thousand times better - and is becoming so much more like a normal person. It`s really been good - and the ward is being very, very kind to him. Saturday we talked about the word of wisdom, and even though he likes coffee, he said it would be no problem to give up. That`s good faith. We still works on sunday and can`t come to church, but we`ll work on that as well.

A couple of times, we had an activity with members called a mochitsuki , or making mochi. Mochi is a rice thing. You pound steamed rice with a big wooden mallet until it`s kind of gooey. It`s way fun, especially because I was the champion with the hammer - thank you morning exercise! Lots of english students came too and it was a great opportunitu for the members to fellowship and befriend them.

Yesterday, Elder Cano took a two hour train ride to the Pennicula of Nanao. (Nanao means seven tails, I thinks it`s prehaps the coolest name i Japanese. Actually no, Igarashi is the coolest, it means fifty storms. That would be so cool to go up to someone and say, "Hello, I am Mr. Fifty Storms." Woah, the power!) Anyway, Nanao has a little branch of six or eight faithful church members who come each week. There currently aren`t missionaries serving there, so we visited this past sunday. The Spirit in that room, as so few gathered and partook of the Lord`s supper, was powerful. If I knew something was true, would I hold faithful to it my entire life even if nobody else did? That would be hard. However, I feel very much that Christ visits the few, before the many. The atonement will make all right and just.

Today I finished the "Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith" It was one of the best books I have read and have been much edified by it`s teachings. The Spirit testified to me twice that the words were true and that Joseph Smith was a Prophet of God.

I love you all so much and pray for you many times throughout the week. May the Lord bless you and keep you, and grant you His Spirit which brings peace that surpasses all understanding.

Yours always,

Elder Alexander Todd Fuller
Japan Nagoya Mission
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas 2007

"Happy Merry Christmas" as the signs say. It has been a good one. I got to do to two different daycares and dress up as Santa Claus for the kids. I also got to sign a letter as Santa Claus for someone`s son - which has all been way fun. I am a great Santa - because I`m caucasion and really tall, so all the Japanese kids think I`m the real one. I like it.

There`s two Chinese girls talking - this is what their conversation sounded like - "swan chang wong ching CHRISTMAS son twan ton aong" It made me smile.

I went on exchanges the past week with Elder Muhlstein and we had a great time knocking some doors and talking about Christmas. We brought up a computer game that I had almost forgot about - I played it like when I was ten. I know dad will remember it - it was called Monkey Island. Elder Muhlstein made me laugh a lot that we had such a random thing in common. That`s kind of what makes life fun sometimes - the random funny things.

So the Teaching of the Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith is probably one of the coolest books I`ve ever flipped through. I am very excited to get into it. The sources are funny how it talks baout all the spelling and punctiation being updated. Languages are increadible - how different English is from a hundred or two hundred years before. Japanese changes pretty fast. I have some Japanese books from the 70s and 80s, and they said that one word that I use ALL the time was actually a feminine sounding word. I was a little worried - but the truth is that nowadays, everyone uses it. the word it "suteki" which means cool, or good looking. Everytime I see a young guy wearing a hat, I tell him "Suteki na boshi desu" which means, nice hat. They always like that.

This past weekend there were some Christmas parties at the church. The choir sand - but somehow Japanese choirs are a little different than amaerican choirs. I still haven`t heard a choir that sounds...well, good...but they tried hard. I smiled to myself to think that even though there were some out of tune notes - God probably was smiling at them trying their best.

The ward here gave us a ton of presents. I got a way cool scarf - amybe a little feminine, but I`m sure going to wear it...or I`ll try. Also, a professional writter - i forget the word in English, but a person who writes things prittier than a computer, wrote a scripture (moses 1:39) in beautiful japanese characters, on a gold leafed board, and gave one to Elder Cano and I. It is perhaps the coolest present I`ve revieced...except for one other thing. Sister Wang gave me a saxophone tie clip - it was probably the coolest thing ever.

Anyway, I love you all so very much. It was way good to hear you on the phone. I`ll talk to you in 5 months.


Elder Alexander Todd Fuller
Japan Nagoya Mission
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Kanazawa and Cold

Well I am now in the city of Kanazawa in Ishikawa prefecture. It`s right next to my previous area of komatsu, so I have actually been here a few times before. The ward is a lot bigger (100-140 at church) and the words they use are a little unfamiliar to me, but I`ll get used to it eventually. It`s so funny how such a small country could have so many dialects. Of course if a foreigner went to Texas, they wouldn`t know what they were speaking either I suppose.

The biggest change is that it is freezing cold here. It has also rained everyday since I`ve gotten here. The rain sometimes turns into snow, but usually just hovers above freezing. Makes for a cold day. I guess I know a little but more what the pioneers must have felt like crossing the plains.

My companion Elder Cano is from Sao Paulo, Brazil. His English is pretty good - and things haven`t been too bad so far. We actually had a baptism this past sunday - Brother Kondo. I got to the baptismal interview for him, which was a new experience for me. He did very well and with the help of the members, he will become a very strong member I believe. He has very funny Enlgish too, yesterday after the baptism he said "Now I am success road!" It made me laugh.

Tomorrow we are gathering as a mission for our Christmas mission conference. It looks liek it will be a good time - a chance to see everyone again including former companions. Leaving Matsumoto was pretty hard - and Elder Golladay was one of my best companions by far - so it will be good to see him again. Also, any opportunity to meet together and hear President Traveller`s instructions is a spiritual experience. It will also be quite a long day - six hours of train round trip - but definitly worth it.

After seeing so many miracles, a few rainy days can certainly be expected, so I`ll be okay. Sometimes I am cold, wet, hungry, tired, and a whole lot of other things - but it`s just for a few minutes, so we keep on smiling and sing a song or something. In the end, I am thankful for the millions of blessing I have and the continued opportunities to see more miracles. THere are many people ready and waiting to learn about God and the blessings he ahs in store for them.

I pray that you will all have a great week, and a especially good Christmas. I am being taken care of by the Lord. I know he loves me and I know He`s there.

Merry Christmas,

Elder Alexander Todd Fuller
Japan Nagoya Mission
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

Monday, December 10, 2007

Baptism and Saxophone

Well the baptism went well – I even said the baptismal prayer in Portuguese with no problems! Latin based languages are a whole lot easier – that’s all I have to say about that. Brother Reinaldo Nagata will be confirmed a member of the Church this upcoming Sunday and will receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. The blessings are just innumerable. His whole family came to church as well to see the baptism – and two of their friends. The wife was a little sad since she is a pretty strong member of another church, but I think someday she’ll join her husband in receiving baptism.
Brother Reinaldo is just incredible though. He reads and understands everything. His testimony is so powerful and he is just a kind, gentle man. He really wants to learn Japanese now so that he can talk with the other members – but while he learns, I think he’ll feel loved.

The baptismal service went very well. Elder Golladay translated everything from Japanese to Portuguese and back – he felt like a squeezed orange afterwards – but the Spirit was very strong. The two sister missionaries, Elder Golladay and I sang “abide with me” in Portuguese, and then everyone sang “I am a child of God” in Portuguese for the closing song (although a Japanese pronunciation of Portuguese is pretty funny).

Otherwise, it has been a very eventful week. Tuesday we had interviews with President Traveller, Friday Elder Golladay and I went to Nagoya for zone leader council, and then today was cleaning day – tomorrow is transfer calls (exciting! kind of). In between all of that, I have been doing something pretty fun. I use the saxophone that the branch president let me borrow, and we go down to the train station and I play Christmas songs. While I play, the other missionaries hand out fliers for our English class and for our Christmas party coming up. It is way fun to play – I included a picture so you can see me. We all wear Santa hats and the sisters wear Christmas lights around themselves – very fun. I wish I could do that every night.

So I haven’t received any hard evidence that I’m transferring, but logic and rumors say that I am going to – probably to Kanazawa, but I won’t know until tomorrow. If I do, I think I will shed a few tears, because I have come to love Matsumoto so very, very much. The members are amazing – and are some of my best friends. The investigators and recent converts, and other friends I have gain are all examples of faith and kindness. I had the wonderful blessing of seeing two souls receive baptism here, and I will miss Brother Reinaldo and Sister Wang very much. I hope to return, but that certain knowledge that we will all meet again someday is very comforting.

I am keeping warm – I spoiled myself with a very nice hat – so even when riding a bike as it snows, my ears are toasty. There are a few signs of Christmas here and there – though it is all about Santa. Actually, let me answer those questions you sent me mom.

1. Give us a brief description of how the people /communities in your mission celebrate Christmas - what's similar? What’s different? What’s the most surprising or unique thing to you?

Well, Japan is a funny place for Christmas. First off, it isn’t a national holiday, so people go to work just like normal. There are some Christmas lights here and there, but everything is focused on Santa Clause. They don’t really give many gifts, though the stores advertise just like in America. The traditions they do have however include eating a Christmas cake, which they purchase at the local convenience store, and then eating Kentucky Fried Chicken for dinner. Both of these traditions are done because they think it is what everyone does in America for Christmas. There are also a couple Christmas songs that little children sing about Santa, but I have never heard them before. Really, it is kind of like Valentines Day in that it’s a nice day, and maybe you do a little for it, but not too much. I’m not sure how Santa gets into houses anyway; they don’t have chimneys at all. However, when I go to church, and hear “Silent Night” and “Hark the Harold,” it feels like Christ and the true meaning of the season has not completely been ignored.

2. What do you miss (if anything) about Christmas here?

I miss the word `Christmas` everywhere Christmas is advertised, it is always Xmas. People not working would be a good change too. However, I have enjoyed the experience very much and will always remember my Christmases in Japan.
3. Feelings about being a missionary.

Being a missionary at Christmas time is an amazing opportunity. I get to explain what this holiday is about to people who never knew Christ and Christmas were related (they are pronounced differently in Japanese). If ever there as a time to declare glad tidings, it’s during the same season that angels did many years ago. The Light of Christ seems to penetrate many barriers during the season of giving in commemoration of His gift to all.

4. What you'd like to share with folks back home in Lenexa?

Though I miss Kansas (well, minus the freezing rain), it really has been a great opportunity and blessing to be teaching Christ to the Japanese people. I have come to love them and see that God loves all people in all places.

Well I`ll talk to you next week. Hope things are well.


Elder Alexander Todd Fuller
Japan Nagoya Mission
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Being Led

Well, there’s a man that Elder Golladay and I found two weeks and one day ago named Renaldo Nagata. He is from Brazil. I remember knocking on his door - and I thought he was American. As I spoke in Japanese, his face changed a little, and I was scared that he was about to yell at me. However, Elder Golladay started talking to him in Portuguese - and he invited us in.

Renaldo had been going with his wife and children to a protestant church here in Japan, but he really didn’t like the pastor or the some of the doctrine - especially baptism of infants. This Sunday, he had actually stayed home while his family went to the evening service and was just reading in his room. He had prayed that he would know what to do, and that he could find the truth. He came from a Catholic background, but still he had some concerns as he read the Bible.

Well, we came in and talked to him. Well, actually, I did more smiling - but Elder Golladay translated a little for me. Thank the Lord that my companion’s mom grew up in Brazil and that he can speak fluently. He asked us to come back in a week or so. We were happy, and kept on knocking doors.

Well, this past Tuesday we show up a little bit late (though we rode our bikes like mad and were sweating a ton when we got there), and he hurriedly ushered us in. We could tell he had been waiting for us. After getting to know his wife a little bit, the religious discussion began. Renaldo had read up 2 Nephi 4 in the Book of Mormon and had prayed about it. He had marked verses more thoroughly than my companion and I have. He also understood everything. His wife, Sonya, however, hasn’t accepted that there is more scripture than the Bible. So, we had a discussion.

I testified a few times, and the Spirit came to all of us, though Sonya still needs some time. What was incredible was that everything that Renaldo said that night to us and his wife was all doctrinally true. There were many times that Elder Golladay was going to say something, but Renaldo said it first. He said he has found what he has been looking for since long ago. In his little Japanese, he asked me where the church was and I explained it to him. He said he wanted to come this week. We said sure.

Well, at 9:45, he walks into the church building on Sunday dressed in a suit and a nice overcoat. I thought he looked like James Bond - and I told him that. Several of the members couldn’t believe he wasn’t a member - it was pretty funny.

Anyway, we had a great fast and testimony meeting in which the Spirit was strong and tears were shed. Afterwards, Elder Golladay and the Branch President talked with Renaldo as I taught another lesson. Also, Wakana and her two children came to church, and the sisters taught her.

The lesson I taught was kind of so-so, the father of our branch president comes every week, but just can’t believe in one God - so we talk. After church, Elder Golladay talks about the lesson.

President Kawabata has fairly decent English, but no Portuguese, so Elder Golladay would say a few things in Japanese for him to stay along with the lesson. After the first three minutes Elder Golladay says to the Branch President, "President Kawabata, he wants to get baptized." "Oh, ok." “President Kawabata, he wants to set a date." "Oh, ok, how about next week after church." And so it happened. He’ll be interviewed this next Tuesday (tomorrow), and then receive a remission of his sins through baptism this next Sunday around 12:30. I’m inviting lots of investigators and friends, as well as a Brazilian family in my last area, Suwa. I think the father - Brother Pontes - can give a talk. Also, we might be doing a musical number in Portuguese - which will be fun.

So I am pretty excited. What a miracle! What a prepared soul! What incredible timing! How great is the wisdom of God.

I haven’t really taught him much at all - but neither has Elder Golladay. It’s all been the Book of Mormon and the amazing power that book has. It is the words of Christ, and to those looking for Him, they will recognize it as such. What an incredible blessing to be here to witness this take place. There truly are those seeking the truth, but simply don’t know where to find it. We as missionaries, get to carry it to them. It makes me want to knock a few more doors.

I love this gospel and the joy it brings. It has helped me through many trials. The Spirit has led me. But most of all, I am thankful for the atonement of Jesus Christ. There was no back-up plan - but He did not fail nor shrink. What courage that took.

May we all see miracles in our lives as we are humbly led by Him,


Elder Alexander Todd Fuller
Japan Nagoya Mission
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints