Thursday, August 27, 2015

Week Five at the Missionary Training Center

Konnichi wa Kazokua to Tomodachi (Hello Family and Friends),

First off, just making sure that everyone who gets these knows that I have a blog that my brothers update. It has my past emails and pictures. The address

So, in three and a half weeks I'll be in Japan, and the greeting line above is about the extent of my Japanese! Not really, but I'm no where close to fluent. At this point, I can pretty much say anything I want to about LDS missionary related topics (families, the Bible, Book of Mormon, the Gospel of Jesus Christ, etc.). That alone is a miracle based off studying Japanese for just over a month. I'm not worried though, the Japanese will come as long as I do my part.

Japanese included, life here is going pretty well. I still spend about 24 hours a day with Tyson Bauer, my companion, but we get along great. Both of us aren't near perfect, but we see enough good in each other to enjoy being with the other 24/7. I figure it's decent marriage practice. I just hope my wife can put up with me as well as Bauer Choro can (Bauer Choro is "Elder Bauer" in Japanese).

Pictures from this week (for more pictures, go to

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My companion's first time trying Squeeze Cheese! He said he hated it, yet had about 10 crackers with it on it...Over the past month, he has also had his first Pop Tart and Hot Pocket. I'm embarrassed to say that his English hasn't improved since being with me...he still calls the water fountain the "bubbla" and calls napkins "serviettes."

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Sweater weather! My mission will be EXTREMELY hot, pretty much year round. Because of that, some elders in my district decided to wear sweaters this past week Wednesday even though is was about 70 out. The person in the center is one of my Japanese teachers, Chris Crandall (Dakko San).

Highlights of the week:
  1. Performing in church Sunday with Sorensen Shimai (Sister Sorensen): A few weeks ago, she brought up the idea of us playing a song together for church or on of the MTC devotionals (A little background on her: She has been a violin performance major at BYU for the past two years and was a part of the band "The National Parks" before coming on her mission. My brother actually showed me her band before I came on the mission. Long story short, she is super talented when it comes to anything violin related). As a dork who is obsessed with anything music related, I gladly agreed. We played "I Need Thee Every Hour," arranged by Marshall McDonald and Steven Sharp Nelson. It is a beautiful arrangement, especially if played with passion. The piano part isn't anything special and doesn't have any solo's, so I got to focus on the violin part the entire time. Pretty memorable experience. Today, we auditioned to perform in one of the MTC devotionals that take place Tuesday and Sunday nights. Of course, the "judges" loved her playing and said they'd let us know when we'd perform.
  2. West Pointers take the MTC: This past Wednesday, two of my good friends from West Point, Elder Kendall Munsey and Elder Corey Nielson, got to the MTC. Elder Munsey's classroom is just one floor above mine, so I see him pretty often. He and I enjoy going into each other's classroom when the other one isn't there, and writing something embarrassing about the other person on the board. We probably have a bit too much fun messing with each other, but it's so nice knowing someone from the outside world. The rest of the West Pointers get here next Wednesday. Unless I'm forgetting someone, we have four more coming, including the first female West Point cadet to ever serve a mission for my church. Here's the link to an article on her!
  3. Teaching Dakko San: A few times a week, our two teachers put on their acting skills and take on the persona of someone (we use the term "investigator") interested in learning about Christ's Gospel. At the beginning of class each day, two of the companionships practice teaching these "investigators" as if they were real people. We end up teaching 3-4 lessons each week. The lessons are all in Japanese, which by now is fine, but our first one was on our third day here at the MTC. Let's just say that the quality of teaching and Japanese has significantly improved. Anyways, this past week we had an incredible lesson with Dakko San that I want to share. Dakko San is a 50 year old man with two sons (20 and 25), works two jobs and 100 hours a week, thinks he is a terrible father, and is all around unhappy. We've taught him about 6 times, and up until this past week we hadn't been able to peel his onion and figure him out. As Bauer Choro and I were planning for his lesson, I came across a video about parenting that I felt Dakko San needed to see. I'll attach the video at the end of my email. I showed the video with Japanese subtitles, and saw the message sink into Dakko San's heart. Yes, it was just my 22 year old teacher playing the role of Dakko San, but it helped me realize how much of a different in the lives of others I, as a missionary, can make. It'll make more sense once you see the video.
  4. Volleyball Thursdays and Saturdays: Every Saturday, my district (12 people) play sand volleyball, and every Thursday, about 30 missionaries from my zone (about 60 people) play sand volleyball. It's always one of the highlights of my week. Colton family, start improving your volleyball skills, I think I found our new family sport! Trent (my sister's husband), as the expert volleyball player in the family, I expect you to take the charge on this one.
Video for the week: Like I said above, the email from this week comes from a lesson I taught earlier this week. We were teaching Dakko San (see paragraph by Teaching Dakko San) about how through the Gospel of Jesus Christ, you can be a better father. I've never been a father and have quite some time from when I do, but I think we can all learn from this video how to be a better friend, sibling, spouse, father, mother, and just overall person.

Love y'all!

Elder Kevin Colton
Japan Fukuoka Mission

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