Tuesday, April 19, 2016

I'm Safe!

こんにちは!!

As missionaries, we have just two short years to give it our all. While days can certainly be rough, weeks and months always fly by. Just this week Ashton Greenburg, one of my best friends since kindergarten, just finished his mission in Mexico!!! I still vividly remember jumping out my chair with him as we sang, "Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam" as rambunctious primary kids. It's incredible to now think of him as a "returned missionary." Well done, Ashton, proud of you brotha :)

Also, just got transfer calls and I'm staying! Sadly, Sherrill Choro is leaving, but I'm getting a Japanese companion! I'm pumped!

Anyways, awesome, very Japanese week!

Notes/Stories from the Week
  • The Earthquake: As most of you know, there was a pretty severe series of earthquakes in Japan this week. Up in Saijo, we felt it around 1:30 in the morning, but we're perfectly fine. Apparently it did some pretty severe damage to some of the missionaries apartments further south, but everyone in the mission is safe. Because we have very limited access to the news as missionaries, you all honestly probably know more about it than me. Please pray for all affected!
  • A family sent from Heaven!: The current congregation I am serving in just became a congregation a few years ago. As such, it has it's fair share of struggles. They have seen incredible miracles with tons of baptisms over the past two years, but until recently had no 100% active, solid family. This past week a family moved in!!! They have three adorable kids and make church much more enjoyable (and a bit more noisy). We had a welcome party for them this past Sunday! See pictures.
  • Playing the Koto!: As most of you know, one of my passions in life is music of all kinds. Well that passion has only continued in Japan. This past week, one of the English class students invited the missionaries over to her house for some Koto lessons!! If you don't know what a Koto is, look it up! They rock. She taught us the basics and performed some for us. As she was playing I closed my eyes and felt a small glimpse of what I picture Heaven to be like. Good times.
  • Fun small parts of the week:
  •     Meeting a French guy studying at a nearby college. We are meeting with him again on Saturday.
  •     Pointing to a Japanese sister missionary's hair and asking, "kitanai?" meaning, "dirty?" I meant to ask, "Kiranakatta??" meaning, "did you not cut your hair?"     She just laughed at my failed attempt.
  •     The next day I thanked that same missionary for her strong "okashi," rather than "Akashi." The first means candy, and the second means testimony. Gotta         love Japanese!

Video and Invitation for the Week
The invitation for this week is the same one as 6 months ago! The website below is a link of small quotes given from this past General Conference. The invitation is simple, Mormon or not, please 1) visit the website, 2) pick a quote/video that you like, 3) post the link on Facebook or some other social media website. 


Pictures for the Week.
1. Bowling with the district!



  
2. Something we made to help one of our investigators quit smoking. There are inspirational scriptures on the bottom of each stick. Credit for that idea goes to my companion, Elder Sherrill!



3. One of the members decorating our mailbox!



4. Party for the new family in the branch!


5. 2 missionaries getting bored at night.


6. Playing the Koto!


7. Video playing the Koto!



Elder Kevin Cash Colton
Japan Fukuoka Mission

ケビン C. コルトン 長老
日本福岡伝道部

Sakura!

こんにちは!!

Living in a foreign country is quite the experience. I highly recommend it for anyone who has the chance haha you have crazy experiences everyday where you make a fool out of yourself in Japanese. As a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I truly believe that God helps us learn the language so that we can help His children come back unto Him, but certainly doesn't mean He doesn't make it easy for us. That being said, the fact that I can have conversations with Japanese people and lead lessons with investigators all in Japanese is quite the miracle to me. For those who don't know me well, I grew up with quite the stutter that made talking to strangers and public speaking my nightmare. Well, talking to strangers and public speaking is just about all I do as a missionary. And mostly in Japanese. While my Japanese is still rough and my speech isn't fluent, the only explanation of why I can do any of this is that we have a loving Father in Heaven who loves and wants to help us. No matter what struggle you have, if you turn to Him, He will help your weaknesses turn into strengths. That, I can promise you.

Anyways, awesome week!

Notes/Stories from the Week
  • General Conference!!: I briefly mentioned his last week, but every six months my church holds a worldwide conference where the leaders of Christ's church share with us various talks on how we can be more Christlike. As a missionary it is like Christmas!! As Christ's living prophets and apostles talk to us, you can help but feel Christ's love for all of us. See the invite below for one of my favorite talks!
  • Funny Japanese moments: like I said above, living in a foreign country is quite the experience, especially as a Mormon missionary where you try to talk to everyone. Yesterday we met a guy that asked us if we were the church that believed in not giving blood.  The problem was that I didn't know what he said, but just saw him point to his arm and do a needle injection motion. My thinking was he was asking about steroids or some illegal drugs, so I confidently said, "yeah! That's us!" Soon after, we realized from the context that he was talking about something else, so we had to attempt to explain...
  • Praying with strangers: As a Christian, I am a strong believer in prayer. God has answered many of my prayers in my life, so I often try to introduce prayers to those we meet, often on the street. Sometimes it goes great and people love the concept and pray with us right there. Other times people just stare at us like we just told them the earth is actually flat. Fun times.
  • Food in Japan!!: The food here rocks. My favorite restaurant, however, is actually Indian! All around Japan they have Indo-Curry restaurants that are delicious! On Saturday for the hour lunch my companion and I had between sessions of conference, we ran to one, ate quickly, and made it back in time for the next session to start.

Video and Invitation for the Week
Like I've been saying, last week was General Conference in the states and it was this week in Japan (translating and time zone delays). It rocked! I'd like to share two talks from it that I ask you all to please at least skim through.

The first is called "Refuge from the Storm" and talks about the role we can all play in helping refugees in a world of ever increasing chaos. Please look through it and then figure out what you can do in your community to help. Please contact my mother, Jeri Colton, if you need some place to start. She has recently gotten involved in humanitarian work in India and loves to share her new found passion. Here is the talk: https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2016/04/refuge-from-the-storm?lang=eng

The second talk is called "He Will Place You on His Shoulders and Carry You Home" and is a powerful, moving talk describing the help and guidance Jesus Christ can and wants to play in your life. My invitation for this is to watch it (if you haven't already) and send it to a friend, perhaps with a specific Section highlighted.


Pictures for the Week.
1。Sakura (cherry blossoms), My companion, and a member of the branch (Nomura Shimai)!









Elder Kevin Cash Colton
Japan Fukuoka Mission

ケビン C. コルトン 長老
日本福岡伝道部

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Easter Party

こんにちは,

Missionary life is interesting. You spend all your time simply trying to help others by inviting them to come unto Christ. Living in a country where the image of Christianity, and really any religion, is not good, most people we talk to want absolutely nothing to do with us the second they find out we have anything to do with Christianity and religion. This, rejection is the norm for us. That being said, the few we do meet that are willing to give God a chance make these entire two years worth it. God loves us all individually, thus missionary work is all for the individual, and individual family, as well. Sometimes that individual we are trying to help is a 65 year old single, Japanese man who has spent his entire life wondering the purpose of life; sometimes it is a 29 year old Vietnamese man who has a 6 figure job, everything going for them in life, and is trying to figure out why he is still unhappy; and sometimes it is even other missionaries we serve with that are questioning why missionary life is so dang hard. No matter the case, I love it. Truthfully, I think we are all a bit lost in life. Some people are just a bit further on the maze than others.

Notes/Stories from the Week
  • Kodama San: Kodama San (see last week at elderkevincolton.blogspot.com) is continuing to progress! He came to church again yesterday and loved it. Next week he has the opportunity to watch modern day prophets and apostles speak to us as we watch General Conference (For non-Mormons reading this, see LDS.org for more of what I mean. I know saying we have a prophet like Moses on the earth today is a bold claim). Kodama San is a very smart, older Japanese man who simply loves the members of the church he has met so far and wants to continue to learn more about Jesus Cnrist. He's a stud.
  • Week long zone party: Missions are split up similar to West Point and parts of the army. Missionary districts are like squads (6 to 10 people) and zones are like platoons (20-30 people). Well, this week we had tons of zone activities. Monday was zone P-Day in Miyajima! Look it up online or see pictures below for more. Tons of fun. Friday was zone conference with the assistants of the mission and our mission president! They have been touring the mission for the past two weeks giving trainings to all 9 zones. This was actually the most I've gotten from a training yet. My big take away (more of a life than simply the mission), was to stop worrying about the future and make sure I'm giving every day my 100%. Throughout the conference, our mission president pretty much told his life story. He's a stud (Look up Brad Egan, Lagoon Amusement park). One of the most down to earth, yet filled with energy people I know. After zone conference I stayed in Hiroshima and spent a day with one of my zone leaders (see pictures below). Tons of fun.
  • Easter Party!!: this past Monday night we had an Easter party at the church! Tooooons of fun. We had about 10 non-members of the church come and learn a bit more about the real meaning of Easter while having a blast. We had a cookie decorating activity, Easter egg hunt, and a few games. Easter isn't really a thing here, so it was the first time most of them had done an Easter egg hunt!

Video and Invitation for the Week
This past week was General conference in the states! Basically, it is a biannual conference for my church where the leaders speak to us and give us pretty much modern scripture. I invite you all the check out the link below. It is summaries of the talks. Please then pick a talk that looks interesting and read it!


Pictures for the Week.
1.  Lots this week! Easter party, going away party for Xie (Chinese member), Hiroshima zone leaders, breakfast with some Americans, Sakura!










2. Other set of pictures was zone Pday!








3. Video of Easter party

video

Elder Kevin Cash Colton
Japan Fukuoka Mission

ケビン C. コルトン 長老
日本福岡伝道部