Tuesday, July 25, 2017

304 New Friends, The Holy Ghost, and Ping Pong dendo!

こんにちは!

As many of you know, this will probably be the last email from me! For those who have been receiving these emails for the past two years, thank you for joining me on this two year journey. I thought about doing a sappy "last week" email, but this was just another week in the mission field :)
I might get some thoughts together and send out one more next week, but in the mean time, this was a way awesome week!

Notes/Stories from the Week
-500 contact week: As missionaries, our soul purpose is to invite others to come unto Jesus Christ. Each week we seek for and teach those interested in the message. This past week, Elder Sekine and I decided to set a goal to talk to 500 people (people we meet on the street or at their homes) and share a little bit about the Gospel. We ended up only talking to 304 people, but the miracles from the week were incredible! Tons of young people met with a few that we have already met up with again and started teaching them the message that will change their lives!
-Lessons: Some of those lessons included a lesson with a exchange student from Canada who has lost his faith in God and is trying to regain it and a crazy energetic high school student who is a beast at pingpong (see picture below).

Miracle/"Tendy Mercy" for the Week
-"Over the past two years, I have often talked about something called the "Holy Ghost," the third members of the Godhead that fills a number of vital roles. Before baptism, this largely includes testifying to us that the gospel is true. After baptism, we are able, when worthy, to have the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost. These "Gift of the Holy Ghost" has allowed me on the mission to be strengthened, comforted, and led. Yesterday was on of the strongest examples of this I have had so far.

This will be a bit long, but this is what I wrote in my journal:
"Wow, great day and total change of pace. Tons of miracles. Today actually sums up one of the main lessons I've learned on my mission, how to follow the Spirit.

Tomorrow is P-day, but today was hokokus (weekly call in reports). Thus, 7am-8:30am was hokokus, after which was trying to catch up to the others in the apartment on the morning schedule.

My personal study was thus cut short, and then made even short when I felt a prompting to, "Go into another room and pray, I need to tell you something."

Thus, Ii got up from my desk and walked into the tatami room. After starting my prayer with thanks, a very direct prompting came to me to write my testimony in a Book of Moromon and then bring it to Kirk and Rebecca, a young American couple who I have met a few times and live close by, tonight. Writing that testimony then took up the rest of my personal study.

The morning and mid-afternoon were a bit scattered because 1) my brakes died and we had to go to the bike shop to get them fixed, and 2) making banana bread for Tanaka Kyodai, a les-active, took longer than expected.

The first big miracle was as we were headed to Tanaka Kyodai's house. We planned on the way back to stop by the apartment of a former investigator, Tarui. I felt the prompting, however, to visit Tarui first. After talking with my comp, we decided to bike up the huge hill to his house and visit him first (Oh, and this is all in downpouring rain :) ).

Sure enough, right after we got to his apartment on the fourth floor and prayed, he walked up the stairs coming back from school! Our lessons in the past were always with him behind the door and the chain in so we could only see his face! We got to finally meet him! Literally PERFECT timing! He still doesn't have tons of interest, but meeting him in person like that was a miracle. The ice has been broken!

We then biked to Tanaka Kyodai's house and dropped off his birthday present. As we started going back, I felt we needed to go a route we had never been before. As we did, we found a way kinjin(prepared) Chinese guy who has met missionaries before. We got his number and set up an appointment for Sunday. Miracle number two for the day!

We then went out to eat with a potential investigator (Chichi) who lived in Utah for a year in high school and has been on trek! We haven't met with her for a while and wanted to get a feel for where she was. (I wrote more in my journal, but long story short, she has a very strong testimony in both God and Christ's church. Way cool and tons of potential. See picture below!).

Afterwords we followed our plan to visit another potential investigator, but on the way felt to stop by a prior investigator who we haven't been able to contact for two months. Sure enough, the daughter opened the door and we were able to set up an appointment for Saturday.

As soon as we left (about 8:20pm), I realized that we had forgot about visiting Kirk and Rebecca! We raced home, marked a few scriptures in the Book of Mormon were going to give to them, and then headed to their apartment. Again, perfect timing! They were just leaving. We were able to give them the Book of Mormon with my testimony inside and they said they'd be able to meet next Saturday with the other Elders.

The Spirit is so real! Elder Sekine and I were on the same page, calm, and willing to do anything, thus the Spirit could speak to us."

I've said this before, but, coincidence? I think not! Please take a second to imagine what it would be like if everyday you could receive guidance like that from God, the  most glorious being in the Universe. He allowed us to do sooo much more than we could have by ourselves. That is one of the beauties of this Gospel!

Video and Invitation for the Week
I first saw this video in the Missionary Training Center and was attached to it from the beginning. It focuses on the central message we share, that Christ lives. Please watch the video and then visit the website below to learn about more about why that is important to us in our everyday lives.



Pictures for the Week.
Two Sets this week!
Set 1- All the companions! Elder Madson, Elder Powell, Elder Mismash, Elder Sherrill, Elder Hirose, Elder Metekingi, Elder Serville, Elder Krebs (3 weeks), Elder Yamanashi, Elder Strickland, Elder Sherrill (3 weeks), Elder Sekine!!!













Set 2:
1: Pingpong with "Holy" that is what his kanji means and Alma Kyodai!

2: Ramonia and Natalia! Two way awesome members from Samoa who go to a college here!


3: Dinner with Chichi! 


Video 1:
Elder Kang's dancing at district meeting!
video


Love you!

Elder Kevin Cash Colton
Japan Fukuoka Mission

ケビン C. コルトン
長老日本福岡伝道部

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Four Chords, McDonalds, and some Flood Clean Up

こんにちは!


Another great week in good ol' Beppu, Japan! Tons of incredible moments actually.

Notes/Stories from the Week
-The Four Chord Song: My sophomore year in college, I gave a mini "TedTalk" in one of my classes based off "The four Chord Song" (Look it up on YouTube)." The basis idea of the song is that the majority of all pop songs have the same four chords used over and over (I, V, vi, IV). If you have someone playing those base notes over and over on a piano (ex. C -> G -> A-> F), you can jam out to tons of songs. This past district meeting, I put type on those for notes and then had a missionary with no experience with piano, Elder Ricaldi, play those four notes over and over. I then had three of the district members take turns trying to make up their own melody while Elder Ricaldi kept playing the base. They all sounded great! I then explained them how tons of other songs also matched (see picture of the whiteboard).
The point of the lesson was that if 1) We have our foundation on Christ, any effort will give will be turned into a beautiful melody (Helaman 5:12), and 2) If we base our teaching on the Book of Mormon and rely on the Spirit, everything in lessons will work out. I think I was the one who enjoyed it the most, but thats okay :) Definitely one of my favorites trainings on the mission.

McDonalds with the LaxBros: This past week we went out to McDonalds with one of the freshman we met on the APU lacrosse team! We got to know him way well and introduce more of what we are doing. He had only seen us in sports clothes, so his first question when he saw us in our normal missionary clothes (shirt and tie) was, "Did you just come back from work?" We had fun explaining that one. Not an investigator quite yet, but he wants to learn about God and whether He is real or not!

Flood Clean Up: Many of you have probably seen on the news, but there was pretty terrible flooding recently in an area close to us. This past Saturday, Elder Sekine and I went with the Bishop of the ward and many other members to help clean up.The damage was pretty shocking actually. Our time was spend shoving out mud from two houses. See pictures below!


Miracle/"Tendy Mercy" for the Week
-"Atatakai!"- One of our investigators, Teraji San, has been progressing very quickly recently! At one point in our lesson this past Friday, she mentioned some fear about being able to follow Christ. Elder Sekine and I felt like we should testify about our own weaknesses and our the Lord has helped us. As I shared my story about overcoming a stutter, she all of a sudden stopped me, and said, "atatakai!" She then continued, "I just got a very warm feeling across my entire body that feels really good! What is this?" With smiles on our faces, Elder Sekine and I testified of the Spirit and it's role in conversion. By the end of the lesson, she was excited to be baptized! Quite the miracle!

Video and Invitation for the Week
Forgiveness. Its a fun one :) As a mission we are reading the Doctrine and Covenants each morning for 30 minutes. This past week while reading Doctrine and Covenants 64, it stood out to me that, "Of you it is required to forgive all men." I have found that in my life, the hardest people to forgive are those who don't forgive others. Yes, I realized this past week how hypocritical that is. Anyways, in the institute manual about those scriptures, I found this quote that stuck out to me.

Elder Marion D. Hanks spoke about the importance of forgiving others: “Someone has written: ‘. . . the withholding of love is the negation of the spirit of Christ, the proof that we never knew him, that for us he lived in vain. It means that he suggested nothing in all our thoughts, that we were not once near enough to him to be seized with the spell of his compassion for the world.’ . . . “What is our response when we are offended, misunderstood, unfairly or unkindly treated, or sinned against, made an offender for a word, falsely accused, passed over, hurt by those we love, our offerings rejected? Do we resent, become bitter, hold a grudge? Or do we resolve the problem if we can, forgive, and rid ourselves of the burden? “The nature of our response to such situations may well determine the nature and quality of our lives, here and eternally.... “But not only our eternal salvation depends upon our willingness and capacity to forgive wrongs committed against us. Our joy and satisfaction in this life, and our true freedom, depend upon our doing so. When Christ bade us turn the other cheek, walk the second mile, give our cloak to him who takes our coat, was it to be chiefly out of consideration for the bully, the brute, the thief? Or was it to relieve the one aggrieved of the destructive burden that resentment and anger lay upon us? “

Thus, let us plead to God for help to have the charity to forgive all, no matter what they have done to us. Here is a video that shares the secret!


Also some awesome quotes about forgiveness!


Pictures for the Week.
Two Sets this week!
Set 1- Flood cleanup in Hita









Set 2:
1-2: Failed cool jumping pictures! This is the district!




3: The four chord songs (see explanation above)



4: The good ol' four and half hour bus ride to Kumamoto



5-10: Monkey Mountain!








Video 1:
The Flood damage
video


Video 2: 
The most addicting meat song ever!
video


Love you!

Elder Kevin Cash Colton
Japan Fukuoka Mission

ケビン C. コルトン 長老
日本福岡伝道部

Monday, July 10, 2017

Back to Kumamoto and Some Awesome Members!

こんにちは!


I feel like I was just emailing yesterday! Another week down!

Notes/Stories from the Week
-On Thursday we found ourselves on another 4.5 hour bus ride to Kumamoto for interviews with the mission president! Being with President and Sister Egan is always incredible. Their role in my life has become something like a loving, strict parents who push me to be better than I see my self, best-friends who can laugh with and at me :), and really those cool Uncle and Aunt who I love to be around so I can be more like them. There were probably many reasons why God assigned me to serve in the Japan, Fukuoka mission, and being with them was certain one of them.
-Some of the lessons this week:

1) Another fun lesson with Francious from Haiti. She always has a lot of small questions about things like the age of baptism, why we worship on Sunday, and other things like that,  but we always try to tie it back to the Book of Mormon and the restoration. Our message is rather simply actually, a loving Heavenly Father has and always will tell us what we need to know through prophets of God. This past Sunday that finally clicked for her. She realized the potential of her unanswered spiritual questions being able to be answered. Pretty incredible!

2) Teraji is also doing well. She is a japanese lady in her 40s or so and is exploring the possibility of God being real. We retaught her the message of the restoration and it clicked for her this time! She understood a bit more about how because God loves her, He has given her everything from prophets, to Jesus Christ, to the Book of Mormon and Bible, and the Spirit. She realized at least a small amount of how much He is doing to help her.

Miracle/"Tendy Mercy" for the Week
I once again learned the important of member joints in lessons this past week. As missionaries, we do our best to teach the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but we are largely foreigners in whatever place we serve in. Thus, having local residents that are members help in lessons are a HUGE help. For example, in Teraji San's lesson, we had two joints who just like her, and honestly the majority of the Japanese population, grew up thinking that there really is no true God, and that religion is most man-made. To most Japanese people, they feel they don't really have a choice to not be Buddhist. Their ancestors were and expected them to be, so they feel they need to continue their family traditions. The sad truth is that nearly everyone we talk to doesn't believe in any of it anymore, but because being Japanese to them means being Buddhist, anything but "Buddhism" is a foreign idea that they can't believe and follow, even if they want to. 1) I can't explain it all in a short amount of time, 2) I don't fully understand it all, but that is the basic gist.

Anyways, having Japanese members able to explain the different between culture and religious truths, as well as how they balance being Japanese and a Christian is a life saver for missionaries. It is very difficult, but I've learned that to truly be a Mormon/Christian, that has to be the priority. For example, more important than being American is that I am a Mormon/Christian. The same goes with the Japanese. To truly be converted, we all must see ourselves first as children of God, and then as members of a nationality/culture.

Video and Invitation for the Week
The link below is to a collection of videos that are made up of quotes from last years General Conference, where the leaders of this church speak to us (Kind of like Paul writing epistles to us for our day). please find your favorite and share with a friend!


Pictures for the Week.
1: The stud himself! Good ol' sterling hanging out with President Uchtdorf!


2-3: Having a party cooking meet we got from a member! Go out and buy meat for the missionaries who live close to you! They will love you!



4: Elder Ricaldi on the bus ride to Kumamoto!



Love you!
Elder Kevin Cash Colton
Japan Fukuoka Mission

ケビン C. コルトン 長老
日本福岡伝道部