Wednesday, March 30, 2016

I like Natto!!!

Herroooooo,

Happy Easter!!! Easter really isn't a thing here. But, we are having a party for the branch tonight! I'll send pictures next week.

Weeks are getting busier and busier, but life is getting better and better. There is simply not much more fulfilling than spending 24/7 trying to do something good for the world. Is it always easy? No, but Sherrill Choro always makes things fun. He's similar to my Australian MTC companion in the sense that he finds joy in the small things in life. We had a blast this week (see pictures below).

Notes/Stories from the Week
  • Kodama San: While simply living in Japan is a blast and enjoying life is obviously important, our purpose is to invite others to come unto Christ. We are currently working with an incredible man named Kodama San (See last week's, "well that was awkward" story). He was found by the sister missionaries about a month ago, and was then passed over to us soon after. He is a 65 or so man who had no background with Christ or God before he met the missionaries. He has loved learning about and experiencing the influence and help he can receive from God in his life. He came to church for the first time yesterday and loved it!!! He has a desire to be baptized and should be in the next month or so. He's simply incredible. One of the lessons this week was with no joints (just me and my companion) and it actually went way well. My companion and I have a total of 1 year of Japanese experience between us. Luckily for us, the Spirit transcends all language barriers. Quite the miracle actually.
  • NATTO!!!!!!: For anyone who has ever been to Japan for a long period of time, you know what Natto is. For those who don't, it is fermented soybeans and has a very,very strong taste. I had it for the first time about 3 months ago and absolutely hated it. I almost threw it up actually. Well, this past week I tried it again while I we were visiting one of the older members of the congregation and actually enjoyed it!!! Japan is beginning to wear off on me!
  • Lunch in English with Toan: While streeting this past week (talking to everyone in the streets), we ran into a stud named Toan. He is originally from Vietnam and moved to America when he was 6. He went to college in Virginia, and has been working here in Japan for two years. He actually invited us out to lunch and said he had some Mormon friends. Long story short, he's a stud. He wasn't too interested in our message but we had a great talk about life and doing things worth value. He recently started a company called EEZZ (check it out on Google) and is planning on devoting pretty much the rest of his life to helping build schools and what not in Vietnam. Super cool, interesting guy.
Video and Invitation for the Week
Still Easter season so the invitation is the same as last week. Please visit the website below, explore, and send the link to a friend!!


Pictures for the Week.
-Lunch with some of our college friends at a delicious Okonomiyaki place!!!




-Visiting Yoriyoka kyoudai from the branch! He was the one who wanted to see our reactions with Natto.



-Visiting and getting to know one of the families in the congregation. Single mother with two children with disabilities. Pretty incredible mother.


-Our egg decorating contests!!! To learn more about who those people are, go on LDS.org and type in apostle.
 





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, March 22, 2016

Saijou!!

Note from the editor, Kevin's mom ... So apparently Elder Colton tried to send an email last week but had technical difficulties.  So here is last week's email!  Lucky us, we get two in one week!


Hello, again,

Saijou rocks! Very, very different from my first area, but I love it. My first area was a very conservative, old city with a strong congregation that had been around for 30 or so years. Saijo, on the other hand, is one of the fastest growing cities in Japan with foreigners everywhere! I've seen more non-Japanese people in the past week in Saijou than I had my first 6 months in Shimonoseki. The branch (congregation) here is also very new. It was formed about two years ago as a group and just recently became a branch. Almost all the members have been baptized within the past two years, so everything is still new to most the members.

The missionaries here are an older couple (he was a stake president before the mission), my companion and I, and four rockstar sister missionaries. We are always busy here, but I love it!

Notes/Stories from the Week
  • Church in English!: Like I said, this is a diverse area with tons of foreigners, so many of the church members are also foreigners. Our main meeting is in Japanese, but one of the missionaries translates it into English for 5 or so of the members. Sunday School has both an English and Japanese class. I sat in on the English class, with consisted of a recent Chinese convert, two recent Philippine converts, and some Philippine investigators. 
  • The One and Only Sherrill Choro: My new companion is one of a kind. Long story short, he is a recent convert of two years (comes from a very Catholic family) that was kicked out of his house when he started taking lessons from the missionaries at age 18. He lived with a friend for some time before living on his own while earning money for the mission. He left out for his mission this past October and has been working miracles every since. Despite our struggle with Japanese everyday, we have a blast together in our two man apartment. He's a stud.
  • Walking herself into the baptismal font (continuation): One of the hardest parts of missionary work is leaving behind the friends you make. I got to have one last lesson with Ishizawa San (see pictures below) this past Wednesday. She is simply incredible. She can't help smiling whenever the word baptism comes up!
Video and Invitation for the Week
The video for this week is a bit on the cheesy side, but has a good message. It's a short video about simply loving and not judging. As always, please watch and share with a friend!


Pictures for the Week.
-Last lunch for the Fukatani family. One of the YSA members from the ward came along. She'll be going to Tokyo soon for her mission.



-Pictures from district P-day! We went bowling and had a blast. The hat is the lovely Mismash Choro's. Not my style, but he made me wear it :)





-Ishizawa San!


-My last Eikaiwa class in Shimonoseki :(


-My new companion!!


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, March 21, 2016

Another Week Down and A Few More Japanese Words Learned

Herrooooo,

Another week down and a few more Japanese words learned. The fun thing about being with a younger (mission age wise) companion is that I'm expected to be the one who can speak Japanese and lead lessons and what not. Let's just say that we've had a lot of interesting experiences over the past week and a half while trying to speak to people in Japanese. Our motto for this transfer is "rakkan," meaning optimism, and pronounced somewhat like "Rock on." We just make sure we smile in every conversation, no matter how awkward they are. It's amazing how despite the language barrier, everything seems to always work out through God.

Notes/Stories from the Week
  • The Birthday party for Rina Chan!: Everyday we try to go out and simply help people smile and enjoy life. Well, this past Saturday we got to have a birthday party for Rina Chan, a 21 year old slightly handicapped member of the branch. Elder Sherill, the older missionary couple, and I went over to their house and brought her some pudding as well as a Book of Mormon and Bible picture book. She struggles understanding the Book of Mormon and Bible so she was beyond excited to get a book she could actually understand and read. She and her Mom and both absolutely OBSESSED with One Direction haha they showed us a closet they have that is pretty much a One Direction shrine (pictures, pillows, and all sorts of stuff). Gotta love American pop stars.
  • Well that was awkward...: Before I got here, the missionaries found a 65 or so year old man named Kodama San. After meeting with him a few times, he decided he wanted to get baptized. Well, this past Tuesday Elder Sherrill and I went over to his apartment to allow me to get to know him. Let's just say there was a HUGE language barrier...we tried to show an analogy/demonstration with chopsticks, and it simply didn't work. He seemed a bit frustrated with us and our message, so we left a bit discouraged. Luckily, there is a Japanese couple who we serve with who we asked to call him and clarify things. Long story short, we all went to the couple's apartment this past Friday, had lunch, a lesson, and Kodama San still wants to learn about Christ. Japanese...gotta love it.
  • Walking herself into the baptismal font (continuation): See past few weeks for more of an explanation, but Ishizawa San was baptized this past week!!! See picture below. In my past area, we met her about 6 weeks ago and she was hooked about the message of Jesus Christ from the beginning. She finished the Book of Mormon about 2 weeks ago and was baptized this past week. She would have found the church even with out the missionaries. She was simply prepared. It's only the beginning for her, but I'm excited to hear about her life continuing to light up as she continues to strengthen her relationship with Christ.
  • Translating for Xie from China: Xie San is a Chinese stud who got baptized about a year ago. He is currently getting his PH.D. In biology here at Hiroshima University (smart guy). He has been here for 3 years, but knows no Japanese. Every week in church, I get to attempt to translate parts of church into English for him (he's pretty much fluent in I English). Despite not understanding much for church, he still continues to come. He is returning to China soon and hopes to somehow continue to draw close to Christ there. He's a boss
Video and Invitation for the Week
Easter is coming up!! Thus, this week's invitation is simply to visit the website below! It is my church's Easter website and has all sorts of videos and what not about Jesus Christ and His role as our Savior. Please visit the website and send the link to a friend!!


Pictures for the Week.
1.  Ishizawa San!!



2. The picture my old companion sent me from the baptism. I'm assuming this was the fun picture they took.



3. My beautiful companion :)



4. The district!!




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, March 7, 2016

Farewell, Shimonoseki. Hello, Saijo!!!

Herro!!! (How Japanese kids say hello because there is no "L" sound in Japanese),

Today was transfer calls!!! After 7 months living in the same place with Elder Tschirki (MTC and Shimonoseki apartment), we are being separated :( . I am going up north to a place called Saijo in Hiroshima and he is going south to a tiny island called Naha. The Saijo congregation has been exploding over the past year so it should be an incredible experience!!! My new companion is a young missionary like me so it'll be a good test for our Japanese :)

Notes on the Week
  • The Jam Sesh ROUND 2 with the 88 year old Japanese guy who lived in New Orleans: We visited the 88 year old Japanese guy and his wife again this week. They let us in and talked with us for awhile. They are so incredible!!! We talked about everything from music to the Christian church they go to here in Japan. They performed "Amazing Grace" and a song about San Francisco for us this time. See video below.
  • English conversation!!!: Every so often some random stranger comes up to us and starts talking to us in English. This past week while we were fixing my companion's bike on a sidewalk, some random awesome Japanese lady stopped and started talking to us. Her English was super fly, especially since she had an Australian accent :) She's traveled the world (been to Italy 15 times) and simply loves people. We talked with her about Japan, travel, God, and who knows what else. There are so many simply good people in this world.
  • Walking herself into the baptismal font (continued): Our investigator Ishizawa San (see picture below) still wants to be baptized next Saturday!!! We ate dinner with her at a member's house last week. She is so incredible!!! I probably won't be here sadly, but I'm excited to see her life continue to light up as she recognizes God in her life.

Video and Invitation for the Week
The video for this week is a bit on the serious side. I might have shared it before, but it rocks. It's called "Mountains to Climb." The gist is that life is hard, but we can find joy and overcome our difficulties through Christ. Christian or not, please watch it and send to a FAMILY MEMBER whom you think it could make smile :)


Pictures for the Week.
1. The district this past transfer!!! They are all rapping the "God" sign. I was a bit sick that day, hence the mask. Everyone hear wears those masks when they are even slightly sick. 



2. My zone leader, Takaya Choro!



3. An activity we had with some of the YSA (young single adults) in the branch. We went out and visited some of the members who haven't come to church in awhile. Tons of fun! My companion, one of the YSA girls, and myself visited a 65 or so year old less active who is simply incredible!



4. Dinner at the Fujinaka family with Ishizawa San!!! Ishizawa San is the girl in the center.



5. Shoudou!!! Muraishi San (the stud who was baptized a few weeks ago) made this for me since I am transferring. It says "Kami no ai," or "The love of God."



6. Video from the jamsesh!!



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, March 1, 2016

Jammin' with Old People

Konnichi wa!

Incredible week!!! Lots of music, which always makes it a good week.

Notes on the Week
  • The Jam Sesh with the 88 year old Japanese guy who lived in New Orleans: My companion decided to get sick this past week, so I went out with Tschirki Choro (The red head I've been with everyday since July 22, 2015) for some of it. While we were housing, we saw this extremely sweet house (see pictures below) and tried to discretely take a picture. Right as we did, a car pulled up and we heard a, "Hey, that's my house." The car then parked, and a tiny little Japanese man wearing purple pants and pink shirt hopped out. He started talking to us in pretty good English and told us he was 88 and lived in New Orleans 10 year ago as a jazz musician. He then asked if we could play piano, followed by an invitation into his house to jam out with him. His house was covered with all sorts of everything, ranging from giant statues of David to of pictures of him and his wife all over the world to tons of instruments. He brought us upstairs, where his wife was teaching a voice lesson (see pictures). Long story short, we got to watch some of the lesson, watch a performance of "Amazing Grace" by him and his wife, and talk some about Christ (they had pictures of Christ up as well). As you can see in one of the pictures, it was simply amazing. 
  • The Performance at the retirement center: This past week we got to perform again at a retirement center!! The four of us performed for about 30 minutes, singing some church songs, "Hey Soul Sister," "In the Jungle," and a Japanese song called "The Only Flower in the World." Lotti Choro has the voice of an angel so it was a blast. Our branch president (Ieader of the Shimonoski congregation also performed with one of his friends). See videos and pictures below for more.
  • Walking herself into the baptismal font: Sometimes as missionaries, we find people who are willing and ready to follow Christ, they just need to know where to go. Around the first week of this transfer, Elder Mismash and I found a lady who was a friend of a recent convert, Tanaka San. She said that he always tells her he goes to church every week, so she genuinely got curious. We found her while housing, and she immediately had interest and said she wanted to come to church! Well, she's come to church three times now and wants to get baptized in a few weeks. Miracles!

Video and Invitation for the Week
The video for this week is the youth theme song from 2014 that my church created. It's centered on how in our hardest times in life, we can all turn to and "Come Unto Christ." Christian or not, please watch is and show it/send the link to someone who you think it would help!


Pictures for the Week.
Lots of pictures for this week!
1. Picture from the mission conference a last week (this is about a third of the mission)


2-5. Pictures from the coolest man in the world's house. See story above for more info. He and his wife were pretty much professional musicians that lived in New Orleans.







6-7. The performance at the retirement home (guy on right is the leader of our congregation).
Video 1- The wife and husband performing amazing grace. 








Elder Kevin Cash Colton
Japan Fukuoka Mission

ケビン C. コルトン 長老
日本福岡伝道部