Saturday, November 28, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving

Konnichi wa Kazoku to Tomodachi!

Happy Thanksgiving!!! Not surprisingly, Thanksgiving isn't celebrated at all really here in Japan. Most people know that the holiday in America is, but that's about it. Thus, no turkey for us today. Most people we've asked here have never even had turkey! How sad!

Anyways, I thought about doing something about gratitude today for my spiritual thought for the week, but for some reason I felt like I should talk a bit about forgiveness. It's a bit long, but please read it and apply it to your personal lives!

*Video and Spiritual Thought/Invitation for the Week*
Thanksgiving is obviously a day of gratitude. I have always loved going around the family table during Thanksgiving dinner and taking turns saying what we are thankful for. Sure, life can be super challenging at times, but there is always so much to be thankful for.

Amidst this excitement of gratitude, I invite you all to think a bit about forgiveness. We have all had people offend us. That's just life. Whether it is several small acts over many years, or one big action, people offend us. Jesus talks a lot about forgiveness in the Bible, here are some examples.

"I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me: Shouldest not thou also have ... compassion on thy fellow servant, even as I had pity on thee?” (Matthew 18:32-33).

"Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven:Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again” (Luke 6:37-38).

"Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven” (Matthew 18:21-22).

Christian or not, I think we can all agree that no good comes from holding grudges against people. Thus, my invitation and plea for all of you reading this is to decide today to forgive anyone who have anything against. It may seem daunting and maybe seem impossible, but I promise you it is possible. Do I have any right to tell you to forgive people? Not really, just personal experience. I've done this before and creating a list of names helped me start. As I went through the list and prayerfully forgave each person, a new joy and peace filled my life. The same can happen in yours. Thus, my invitation is to 1) decide to forgive, 2) create a list of people you need to forgive, 3) forgive each of them, and then 4) if you feel it will help, reach out to them and apologize. Yes, you apologize to them.

Lastly, please forgive yourself for anything you have done in the past. With the Savior's help, I promise you it is possible.

Here is a pretty remarkable story on a father who was able to forgive a young man who killed his wife and several of his children in a car accident. Please watch!

https://www.lds.org/media-library/video/2010-07-14-forgiveness-my-burden-was-made-light?category=mormon-messages/mormon-messages-2010&lang=eng

Okay, I'll step off my soap box now.

Notes on the Week
  • Tanaka San is getting baptized!!! On Saturday, my good friend Tanaka San is going to get baptized! We have been teaching him 2-3 times per week for the past two or so months, so I've gotten to know and care about him so much. For an explanation on what baptism means to Mormons, see the blog entry around October 27, 2015, or visit LDS.org for a better explanation.
Pictures for the Week
1. Eikaiwa

(The image didn't come through this week, but we will put it up next week)

This was taken before our Eikaiwa class yesterday. My Aunt Carolyn sent me the spinner things and they rocked! The students loved spinning the them, even the two 65 years old adults.

I love you all!!!
Elder Kevin Cash Colton

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

21 Years Down

Konnichi wa Kazoku to Tomodachi!

Another week down. I love this work! 

So, I was told this week that we can't prepare emails throughout the week. Therefore, all of my email typing has to be done in 75 minutes, which isn't a lot of time at all. So, I will probably get worse at responding to people, and if I do, they will most likely be short emails. Sorry.

But, I certainly appreciate all the emails and mail you all send me!

Notes on the Week
  • The Big 21: Well, I am now 21 somehow. Because the legal adult age in Japan is 20 and I don't drink, 21 really isn't too exciting of a birthday. But, my birthday still rocked. After Eikaiwa (the free English class we teach everyWednesday night), Koganemaru Shimai, one of the students/member of the branch, brought in a cake and drinks! They (about 15) all sang Happy Birthday in English and we had a little party! Plates were somehow forgotten, so we all just went ham on the cake with spoons and forks. See pictures below.
  • ありがとうございました!
  • Thank you very much to all who sent birthday presents and cards! I tried to send you all personal emails. But if I forgot, thank you very much. They were all much appreciated!
  • Japanese culture: Japan and America are very similar and different in many ways. I've only lived in this part of Japan so I'm not to sure how much this list applies to all of Japan, but here is list of some of the cool/different things I've noticed in the past two months.
    1. Lots of old, super healthy people! It is not out of the ordinary for us to see super old Nihonjin riding bikes or mo-peds or walking to and from the grocery store.
    2. Super strict rules with sorting trash. We have four trash cans in our apartment for trash! Apparently some missionaries in the past had the police called on them because they weren't sorting their trash properly. It's actually a pretty useful system. Similar-ish to what my sister has described as California's trash rules.
    3. Everyone bows all the time. I love it. 
    4. Rice with every meal.

Video and Spiritual Thought/Invitation for the Week
This is a pretty incredible video on Jesus Christ and His role in our lives. I invite you all to watch it (3 minutes), and then just take a few minutes to ponder it. If you believe in Christ, I invite you two write down three ways Christ has helped you specifically. If you don't believe in Christ, I invite you to write down three ways that others might believe Christ helps them. It'll help you understand your Christian friends more.



Pictures for the Week
1. The Eikaiwa Birthday cake! See above for more info.


2. Birthday lunch at the Fukatanis! They are both recent converts that love to feed us food. In addition to this, we had two large pizzas. They are incredible!!


3. New transfer so this is my new zone. 


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I love you all!!!

Elder Kevin Cash Colton

Monday, November 9, 2015

One transfer down, Fifteen to go

Konnichi wa Kazoku to Tomodachi!

One transfer down (6 week period), fifteen to go! Time is flying by and I am loving it here in Japan. I love the people, language, and culture here! Quite different from America, but incredible.

Notes on the Week
  • Junkai: As missionaries, we go on a few companion exchanges each transfer, meaning for 24 hours, we go with a different companion than our own. The goal is to learn knew ways to do things and how to improve, typically from more experienced missionaries. Well, this past week I spend a day with another 1st transfer missionary, Tschirki Choro. I got to know him well at the MTC and he lives with my in my apartment, but this was our first time as companions. He had some Japanese experience in high school, but both of us are relatively at the same point, which isn't very fluent. But, with faith, we set up big goals for the day! Long story short, it rocked. We taught a 45 minute lesson about Jesus to one of our investigators (with a member's help) and had another 16 short lessons throughout the day with people we met. I realized that the Gospel and love transcends beyond any language or culture. Super cool experience.
  • Eikaiwa (english class/conversation): Eikaiwa rocked again! This week's highlight was the Hoki Poki! We had only adults in their this week, but they all loved it!
  • Investigators: As missionaries, we refer to the people we are teaching as "investigators." So, I'll talk about some of the people we are teaching (Just last names).
            *Uehara San- He is a college student who is actually studying English. We found him while knocking doors a two weeks ago and although he had never really thought about God much, he agreed to meet again. At this point, we've had two lessons with him and have two more planned for this week. We also came to church this past Sunday! He originally he said he could only stay for the first hour, but ended up staying for all three as well as a YSA (young single adult) meal afterwords! We actually barely talked to him during church because the college age members were with him the entire time. The members here are incredible!
            *Tanaka San (Mr. Tanaka, somewhere in his 60s)- We started teaching Tanaka San my first day here. Since, we've met with him 2-3 times a week, almost always with another member. He has a goal to be baptized in a few weeks and is progressing well!
            *Nishimura San (also somewhere in his 60s)- Nishimura San is a stud. He rocks a pony-tail and lights to dress to his own style. We've taught him a few times and he has come to church a few times. Some of my favorite times of the day are calling him on the phone and trying to figure out what he is saying. We always just end up laughing at each other trying to figure out what the other person is saying. Last conversation, he decided that since I couldn't really understand his Japanese, to make it fair, I could only speak in English. Let's just say he doesn't really understand English that well. Lot's of laughter ensued.

Video and Spiritual Thought/Invitation for the Week
Two videos and a thought for this week. One on finding peace amongst the craziness of life, the other about Christ. 

So, finding peace amongst crazy busy schedules. I'm only 20 so I don't think I really know what busy means yet, but this video is pretty incredible. The invitation is to watch it, and then to write down 10 good things that happened last week. Also, all the invitations that I ever give on here I always do myself, so I only give them if I think they will help. Here is the link: https://www.lds.org/media-library/video/2014-00-008-you-never-know?lang=eng.


Pictures for the Week
1. Soccer: This past preparation day we played soccer with some of the members and their friends! Three of them were investigators and the rest will hopefully soon turn into investigators! I was the one who took the picture, so I'm not it it.

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2. District Pizza Party! Every week, we have a district meeting (6 or so missionaries) where we talk about the people we are teaching and share ideas on how to improve. After, we always go out to eat somewhere. Often, it's at a sushi restaurant where endless sushi comes around on a conveyor belt. Sadly, I'm a poor missionary, but I always spend a decent amount of my weekly budget here :) 

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I love you all!!!

Elder Kevin Cash Colton

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Halloween in Japan

Konnichi wa Kazoku to Tomodachi!

This week was awesome!! We found a few more Nihonjin interested in the Gospel and had a two incredibly fun experiences the branch (congregation)!

Notes on the Week
  • Halloween in Japan: If it wasn't for the Halloween party that our congregation put on, October 31 would have seemed like any other day for me in here Japan. It's expanding here, but except for a few decorations in stores, we didn't see too much of it. But, the Halloween party was 素晴らしかった(awesome)! Highlights were the costume contest and the food (the food is always a highlight at these things). See the picture more about the costumes. As for the food, they had two tables full of food and gave everyone a plate and chop sticks. Everyone then just dives in. 好きですよ。
  • Mikan Gari! This was pretty much heaven on earth. Today for preparation day we went to a Mikan Gari with some members from the branch. Mikan means orange/clementine and gari means "to cut." In other words, we paid 4 bucks to cut off as many oranges as we could eat from a giant orchard. I probably had around 30 or so.
  • A Lesson in Japanese: Like I've been saying, Japanese has three alphabets: Kanji (Chinese characters), Hiragana (basic native Japanese words), and Katakana (foreign words adopted into Japanese). This week I'll talk a bit about Kanji! I took Chinese for a few years in high school and college, so I recognize a decent amount of characters. The Japanese and Chinese meanings are the same, but pronunciation is typically completely different. The sentence example last week was "I am a missionary." It would actually be written as. "私は宣教師です," or "watashi wa senkyoshi desu." Fun stuff

Video and Spiritual Thought/Invitation for the Week

This is all combined into one for this week and applies to everyone. 

Here is a link to a number of videos about gratitude. 


I invite you to watch or two videos and then write down the 10 things in your life you are most grateful for. Yes, an actual list. It could even be on your phone. Put that list somewhere easily accessible. Then, when a bad day comes along (we all have them), find that list and read it. 

Pictures for the Week

1. The Halloween Party: This was taken at the ward Halloween party. These are two of the college age people in the branch who help us out with lessons all the time. Studs. 
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2. Scouting in Japan: At the Mikan Gari today, we ran into some local Japanese scouts. A few years ago at the Boy Scout Jamboree in Virginia, I traded one of my scout shirts with a Japanese scout that was there. I was cool to see that shirt being worn here in Japan! Yes, I was a Boy Scout. And yes, I think scouting is cool.



3. Sledding??: I learned today that here in Japan, sledding is a year round activity. On a hill at the orchard, there were kids sledding down grass. It actually looked liked tons of fun. We had some kids from the branch there with us, so they got to show off there skills.

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I love you all!!!

Elder Kevin Cash Colton