Konnichi wa Kazoku to Tomodachi!
Hello, again, from Japan! I've been here now for just under three weeks and am loving life. I spend the first few hours of everyday studying Japanese and the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and then the rest of the day trying to find Japanese people searching for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It's an incredible exhausting, but rewarding life.
This week was overall a good one with some awesome experiences.
Notes from the Week/Life:
1. The Small Things: While at the MTC, my Australian companion taught me to appreciate the small things in life. At the MTC, it was things like sliding down railings (maybe not the most appropriate thing), using his Australian accent to get everyone to talk to everyone, and having chip/salsa night every night in the dorms. Here, I've continued looking for those "small things" that make everyday life more enjoyable. Here are some of what I try to do: 1) Japanese school children LOVE showing off their English. Whenever we pass them while we are on our bikes, we ask, "Hello. How are you?" Every time, an eruption of "I AM GOOD" or "I AM HAPPY" or "I AM FINE!!" takes place. 2) I also be sure to take some time each day to laugh at how much Madsen Choro stand out. Here are two relatively huge white guys biking around in suits with matching helmets and bike baskets talking to everyone we can in a language we can't fully speak. Good times.
2) General Conference! Every six months, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (my church) holds a world-wide conference where the leaders of our church speak and give us divinely inspired counsel. Six, two hours sessions are broadcasted throughout the world and translated into pretty much every language possible. As a missionary, it is like Christmas, Thanksgiving and our birthdays all combined into one weekend. The conference was held last week in Salt Lake, but because of the time difference, we watched in this week in Japan. Luckily, I got to watch it in English. I learned a lot from it, but one of my take aways was that if we can start to see others through the eyes of a parent, even Heavenly Father, we can truly learn to love and appreciate everyone. Here is the link to the talks: https://www.lds.org/
general-conference/sessions/ 2015/10?cid=HP_SU_10-4-2015_ dPTH_fGC_xLIDyL1-C_&lang=eng.
Spiritual Thought/Invitation for the Week
In high school, my good friend Brad would send out weekly inspirational thoughts (mostly Bible verses) to his friends. I loved receiving them each week, so I figured I would start doing the same (after all, I am a missionary). They will all apply to everyone (Christian or not). The invitation from this week is to ponder a scripture/inspirational quote every week. I got the idea from a talk that was given at General Conference this past week. The basic steps are: 1) Pick a scripture/quote, 2) put it somewhere you will see it multiple times a day (for me it is the background of my iPad), 3) think about it throughout the week and how it can apply to your life, 4) Share it was others. If you do it with scriptures, think of how much closer you will get with the scriptures throughout your time doing it! If you do it with quotes, I am sure you will also be lifted up. I am starting now, and have a goal to do a new one each week for the next two years. I invite you to do the same.
Pictures for the Week
1) Like I previously said, we stand out a lot here. This was Madsen Choro and I on our way back from buying groceries.
2) This was taken from a nearby park. Shimonoseki is gorgeous! Not a bad place to live.
Video for the Week
I realize many on this list are not Christian, but I still invite you to watch this video- It's pretty incredible. This video describes much of what I believe. I've shared the Japanese version about 20 times over the past few weeks.
Love you all! I apologize if I haven't responded to those who have written me. We have 75 minutes each week to email, and this email takes up most of that time. But, I truly do appreciate all who have written me!
Elder Kevin Cash Colton