“Being a missionary has definitely changed me…”

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red lanterns

We’ve seen a lot of changes in Charlie while he’s been on his mission. We’ve watched him embrace the language, culture, and people of Japan; learn to eat anything and everything (including raw squid sushi); stand a little taller; even start to look a little more Japanese himself. But the most gratifying thing we’ve witnessed is the growth of his testimony as he’s learned to rely completely on the Savior.

Things are going well. The Lord has been helping me to grow every single day in so many ways. I will ever be grateful to him for all the blessings he’s given me and the blessings I’ve seen on my mission. There have been a lot of miracles. Not all miracles are mindblowing, biblical ones, but the miracles that are really life-changing are the ones that are small. The ones that are every day things we do, and the ones that are gradual.

15.06.09 waterfall

Charlie, Kodama Choro, and a friend enjoy a waterfall at a nearby park.

We had a big zone conference recently. I can’t believe how much my stamina for meetings has grown on the mission. Three hours of church doesn’t feel like anything anymore. Anyway, we talked a lot about how we need to let our purpose as missionaries change our hearts. This one and a half to two years is super special and it’s the only time in our whole lives that we’ll ever get to spend like this. If we don’t let this change our hearts and help us draw closer to Christ, what a waste! Being a missionary has definitely changed me. You can probably tell. Being a full-time teacher of the gospel can only do one thing for a young man–teach HIM the gospel. The true meaning of the gospel. It’s not something that can be learned in seminary or in Sunday school, but only by experience and faith.

15.06.05 big zone

At their recent zone conference. President and Sister Welch are front and center. (Charlie is on the back row, 5th from right.)

Charlie and his companion have been teaching a young man named Masaki, and are witnessing the dramatic change in him that the gospel brings:

Masaki is progressing really well. He even came to clean the church with us on Saturday. When I call him on the phone and ask him what he’s doing, he’s always reading the Book of Mormon! It’s awesome. I really appreciate your prayers. They really do help and the results are visible. We got to go on a car ride this week with Masaki and talk to him a little bit more outside of a lesson context and it was really cool to see how the gospel is changing him. He no longer has the desire to smoke or drink. He has had a pretty rough past as well, and hasn’t made some of the best choices. But during the car ride he talked about how he felt like everything in his life was changing, and that his family has noticed changes in him as well. We’re going to try to meet with his family soon and see if we can share the gospel with them.

I’ve really come to love the people here, not just in my area, but everyone I meet. Japan truly does have an amazing culture and has a lot of really good qualities that I think the U.S. needs to work on a little bit. It’s cool to be able to really immerse myself in a language and culture of another country so deeply that when I see a “gaijin” [foreigner] on the street, I forget that I am actually a gaijin, too.

15.05.10 bros

Can you spot the ‘gaijin’? It’s hard to tell!

The mission has brought me closer to Christ in so many ways. My patience has been tested and tried in so many ways, and so has my ability to love other people. There have been so many countless blessings that I’ve had from serving a mission so far, but probably the biggest one is just that my capacity to love and not judge has grown. My ability to listen has grown and my patience has as well. I know that as we truly seek to put upon ourselves the attributes of Christ, our lives really do improve in every single way. The trials and hardships of every day life don’t get us down as much, and we live life with an energy that could only come from having the Holy Ghost in our hearts. The gospel is true!

15.06.07 dodes

And now for a few glimpses into the lighter side of Charlie’s missionary life:

15.05.06 tabeniku

Grilling your meat Japanese style.

15.06.10 in no out

You can go in, but you can’t go out. Hmm…something ain’t right.

15.06.08 whoa saru

Charlie makes friends with a Japanese macaque!

15.05.17 concert

An impromptu concert in the park draws a cute crowd.

15.06.13 nice text

Best post-lesson text message ever!

15.05.16 super charlie

Look what all that biking has done to Charlie’s legs: he’s so strong, he dented the bike rack.

15.06.04 osaka in hand

He’s got the whole world in his hands! (Okay, maybe just Osaka.)

Thanks for keeping up with Charlie Choro! Yoroshiku onegai shimasu!

 

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