Monday, May 23, 2016

Short Email, Great Week

こんにちは!!

This will be a bit short, but great week! The highlight was definitely a mission conference in Fukuoka where Elder Cook of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles came and spoke to us! There is not much more fun for missionaries then getting together as a mission and seeing other missionaries you haven't seen for months!! It's the closest we have to family out here!

Notes/Stories from the Week
  • The Cook Choro Taikai: Like I said above, we got to hear from Elder Cook and his wife this past week! Man, they are two incredible people. We took a bullet train down to Fukuoka on Sunday morning, had the conference from 2-4pm, and then took a Shinkansen back. There were missionaries who took 8 hour boat rides to come just for the two hour training. Mission conferences in places like Utah are cheap and easy. In the Fukuoka Mission, one of the most expensive in the world with tons of islands, mission conferences are quite the adventure. But, the opportunity for young missionaries to hear an apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ talk to us is always worth it. My overall take away was that Christ lives and waiting for us to reach out to Him. For those not members of our church, we see and respect Elder Cook as a modern day Peter, Noah, or Abraham. I realize how bold that sounds, but that is the beauty of having the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ on the earth. For more on apostles, see https://www.lds.org/topics/apostle?lang=eng. For more information on Elder Cook, seehttps://www.lds.org/church/leader/quentin-l-cook?lang=eng.

Video and Invitation for the Week
The video for this week is called an "I'm a Mormon" video. Our church has produced hundreds of these of normal, church members around the world explaining how they incorporate their beliefs into their lives. As a music and Neon Trees fan, Elaine Bradley's story is pretty cool. Please 1) check it out, 2) send it or another "I'm a Mormon video" to a friend or post it on social media.


Pictures for the Week
1-2- This screw decided to add itself to my tire this week. I rode on it for a few hours before realizing it.



3-4- I didn't have too many pictures this week, so here is my desk!




5- The center guy (gray suit) is one of my old companions, Elder Mismash. The rest are all companions that he has served with. 


Elder Kevin Cash Colton
Japan Fukuoka Mission

ケビン C. コルトン 長老
日本福岡伝道部

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Life is Good.



こんにちは!!

Life is good. I guess that's the best way to describe the mission. Amongst all the ups and downs, the successes and failures, the wins and losses, life is good. As a missionary, our desire is honestly to baptize the world. We hope to share the joy of the Gospel with everyone. The fun part is that almost no one we talk to has any interest! Thus, we go for the one. The one person that will take a step out of their comfort zone and try something new. Someone who is willing to trust two punk 20ish year old missionaries who promise them that there is more to life than they've ever known. 

Finding those people is great, but often they are hard to find. Thus, finding joy amongst 99% "rejection" and being with a random stranger 24/7 is quite the task. That being said, I wouldn't trade the past 10 months for any other experience. Life is good. God is good. That, I know.

Anyways (it's easy to get on a soap box as a missionary), great week! I got to talk with my family, have some lessons with some fascinating people, go to Hiroshima for a companion exchange, and then back to Hiroshima for P-day!

Notes/Stories from the Week
  • The Coltons!:As missionaries we have guidelines that make West Point seem like true freedom :) among these are two phone calls home a year (Mother's Day and Christmas). I got to call home this past Monday and talk to the wonderful Coltons for an entire 40 minutes! Man, they are some pretty cool people. I recommend getting to know them if you get the chance.
  • The people: If hearing about the people we meet and teach is boring for you, gomen (look that word up), but people are everything to missionaries. People rock! 
       * Kodama San- I haven't talked about him in a while, but he is an investigator we have been meeting with for twice a week for a few months, has come to church every week for the past 8 weeks, prays every morning and night, and is obeying all the commandments. He is a humble, remarkable person who is slowly recognizing Christ's help in his life. 
      * The Nepalese graduate student: The Japanese sisters found him, and then asked us to join for their next lesson (he only speaks English). Most of our conversation was about God and different religions idea of God. Because of so much suffering in Nepal, he simply couldn't fathom the idea of a God. He was even a bit frustrated with the poor, suffering people who still believed in their religion and kept asking their Gods for help. He posed some deep questions, but his fundamental one was, "If there is a God, why is there so much suffering in the world." We did our best to answer him and tell him the scriptures have the answer, but he didn't seem too interested in actually finding out an answer.
  • The companion exchange: As missionaries, we do companion exchanges every so often where we switch companions for a day and learn different approaches to do missionary work. I got to go with my zone leader this past week and had a blast! We had short on the street lessons with over 20 people, and even found time to take a quick dinner break at McDonalds. See picture below.
  • P-day: As I am writing this I am on a train coming back from Hiroshima! We went there as a district and went to the Atomic bomb victim memorial site and then did some shopping. The site had a fascinating, eye opening perspective. There was really nothing on World War 2, simply beautiful, humbling parks, statues, and a museum depicting the horror and pain felt from the Atomic bomb. I made a little walk-through slideshow of the museum. Please look through it below. Just 10 pictures. 

Video and Invitation for the Week
After seeing the Atomic Bomb museum, my thoughts returned to the millions of refugees in the present world. I sent a website last week, but please visit this link and watch the video!


Pictures for the Week.
-The first set is of the museum. Please look through and try to read the plaques.











-The second set:
1. Companion exchanges in Hiroshima! I went with Elder VanAlfen, the guy on my right, for the day. He's the man!


2. The trolley! We went as a district: from left to right is me, Sister Raines from Utah, Sister Shibayama from near Tokyo, Sister Lai from Taiwan, Sister Uenami from Japan, and my awesome companion, Elder Hirose, from Japan! 

3. More trolley!



4. Hiroshima!





5. Raman


6. More Raman!

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, May 15, 2016

Oh The People You Meet

こんにちは!!

Happy Mothers' Day!!! Another quick shout out to Jeri Lynn Cash Colton! If there was a competition for best mother, she'd get my vote! Thanks as well to all the other motherly figures in my life! Especially my incredible Grandma and Grammie! They are incredible examples of devoting a life to family and God. Thank you both for all your love, support, and encouragement through the years!

Anyways, pretty fantastic week with LOTS of interesting people. 

Notes/Stories from the Week
One in a Million: There are just some interesting people in this world. This week we had an opportunity to meet a few of them.
  • The Brilliant Muslim from a War-Torn Middle Eastern Country: I'll leave out the specifics on purpose, but we are currently meeting with a Ph.D. student at the nearby university who is a very well-educated, truly incredible person from a war torn country in the middle east. He is a firm believer in Islam and has a deep love and passion for the Koran. I have loved talking to him (in English!) and sharing our beliefs with each other. He is on a life long pursuit of happiness and finding "pure religion." He has explained to us in depth the teachings of Islam as well as many entries from the Koran. Truly a beautiful, peaceful religion that, at large, the world and media has made a mockery of.
  • The German Physicist: Wow, what a guy. We met him streeting by Hiroshima University and talked to him for 30 or so minutes. He is from Germany but his English is better than mine! Long story short, he is a self-declared athiest that has spent his life searching for the possibility of a God; a physics fanatic who has come to the conclusion there is no logic, or science in religion, only feeling; and a passionate thinker that at this point has accepted that if their is a God, this God is a person/power that he simply doesn't like.
  • The Man who "failed with God": While streeting we met a Chinese man who had met with the missionaries in the past, but claimed that he had "failed." He wanted to believe in God but claimed his twisted upbringing made it impossible for him to feel God's love. Quite sad actually.
  • The Anti-America American: This guy was a English teacher here in Japan who has a fierce hatred for America, specifically what he considers American self-entitlement. He has been in Japan for a few months now and hopes to never return back to the states. 
Video and Invitation for the Week
As a child of a kind and loving Heavenly Father, I am a firm believer that He reaches out to us if we let Him. Sometimes in dramatic ways, but often in small, simple ways. This past Sunday before my companion and I left for church, a thought crosses my mind to bring some English class flyers to church. It didn't make sense why, but I went ahead and grabbed some. Sure enough, at church one of the members randomly asked me if I had any English flyers on me. Sure, you can call that a coincidence if you want, but I had never brought English flyers to church and no one at church has ever asked me for one. To me, the simply explanation is that God reaches out to us through the Holy Ghost. 

Whether Mormon or not, these are videos worth watching. They will give you a much better perspective on our perspective on our relationship with God.

1) Can't find the link, but it's the first part to the two videos below. 

Pictures for the Week.
Just three for this week: 
1) Okonomiyaki at the Hiroshima train station after interviews with the mission president! 


2) The day after interviews, our mission president and his wife came to our branch for church! 



3) Elder Hirose and I!



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, May 8, 2016

Haroooo!!!

こんにちは!!

Life is interesting, and peoples' varying viewpoint on life is even more interesting. As missionaries, we often walk up to random strangers and try to talk about rather deep topics like "the purpose of this life" or "life after death." It is always fascinating to hear different responses. Surprisingly, most people we talk to really haven't thought too much about it before. The one continuous theme between everyone though is simply that they want to enjoy life. I am beyond grateful for the Gospel of Jesus Christ that has given me reason and motivation to enjoy life. For those who are questioning the purpose of life or want more of a purpose, I recommend watching this video!

Notes/Stories from the Week
  • Piano, piano, piano: I'd like to give a quick shout out to the one and only "Miss Tomi." She was my piano teacher from when I was 6 until I left for college. She probably knows the Colton family better than just about anyone else in the world. For over 12 years, she patiently put up with me week after week after week, after week. While friends, teachers, and coaches came and went, Miss Tomi was always there. We even had over the phone lessons every summer while I was at my grandparents lake house! Because of her, piano has become my outlet for everything in life. In my college dorm, my keyboard was directly next to my desk. Currently, I get to be the accompanist every week in church, as well as accompany other missionary meetings and performances. While on the mission, I can't walk by a piano without playing something. A love of piano is one of the deepest parts of who I am. How someone can pass their passion of piano onto someone else makes no sense, yet somehow Tomi Watkins did it for me. Except for probably my faith, family, and friends, it brings me more happiness and joy than anything else. Kinda dorky, but that's just who I am. Thanks, Miss Tomi. I owe ya one!
  • Kumamoto Earthquake update: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is one of the leading humanitarian groups in the world. While the church has massive projects to help those around the world, perhaps the most remarkable humanitarian aid comes from the local effort given by members during time of need. As you all know, recently in Kumamoto, Japan there was a severe earthquake that left thousands devastated. I do not know too much of the details, but currently the Kumamoto LDS church building is a shelter for over 30 people and is providing basic necessities to many, many more. Thousands of members around Japan have been sending down food, water, and other necessities to help those in need. See https://www.lds.org/topics/humanitarian-service/helping-hands?lang=eng for more information.

Video and Invitation for the Week
Last week the Father topic probably seemed a bit random, but next week is Mother's Day, so this week's theme is mothers! First off, I gotta thank a special person in my life named Jeri Colton. For those who don't know her, she kinda rocks. I'm a fan. Probably the most selfless person I know. Her entire life is dedicated to helping others, including her family, friends, local struggling church members, as well as thousands of Indian orphans in desperate need of help. Last week I said the world needs more fathers like Steve Colton. Well, the same goes true with more mothers, and simply people, like Jeri Colton. Thanks, Mom. 

The invitation for this week is similar to last, but with mothers! Mormon or not, please visit the site below, find a video you find fitting for your mother (or a motherly figure in your life), and send it to her along with a thank you note! It can be a week early Mother's Day present!


Pictures for the Week.
1. From a few weeks ago, but a district Pday spent at the mall.
2. My zone leader Davies Choro. For you Mormons, think Plan of Salvation when you look at the shirt.
3. English class! We had the students do 1 minute "speed dating" where they had to shake hands and take a selfie all in a minute. Tons of fun!
4. The packed train. 
5. This past week we had a zone conference in Hiroshima. The other pictures are with my old companion (Elder Sherrill) as well as Elder Barker, a friend from the MTC











Elder Kevin Cash Colton
Japan Fukuoka Mission

ケビン C. コルトン 長老
日本福岡伝道部

Hello Goodbye

こんにちは!!

Well, I am now entirely immersed in Japanese culture and I love it! Except for seldom phone calls, I can count on one hand the number of English sentences I say each day. I feel bad for my stud of a Japanese companion because he has to put up with my Japanese all day, but hopefully by the end of these two years I'll feel comfortable in this language they call Japanese!

But yeah, overall fantastic week.

Notes/Stories from the Week
  • Hello Goodbye: Missionary life is full of change! Since July 22, 2015, I have had 6 different companions who I have spend 24/7 with during our companionship time. Of that time in Japan, I have had 6 companions in 5 transfers. Normally, having a different companion every transfer means it is a problem missionary who struggles with their companions...I guess I'm a problem missionary! Anyway, living with Elder Sherrill was some of the best 6 weeks of my life. He is honestly one of the most Christ-like and all around best people I've met in my entire life. It's always fun to make new friends that you know you'll be friends with for life.
  • Hello: My new companion is Elder Hirose from Ishikawa, Japan. He is awesome and wayyyy smart. Before the mission he spent two years at Toyko Daigaku (best college in Japan) studying Applied Chemistry. His English is actually way good as well, but we always speak in Japanese.
  • Leading in Japanese, English, and Chinese: My current district has 5 Japanese missionaries, a Taiwanese missionary, and one other American missionary. Let's just say that it makes communication fun :) It's pretty incredible how people with dramatically different backgrounds and language abilities can all be united with a love and testimony of God and Jesus Christ. If only the rest of the world could be united by something as unyielding as the love of God. As far as leadership style, this is how we are instructed to lead, "...only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned; by kindness, and pure knowledge, which shall greatly enlarge the soul without hypocrisy, and without guile-Reproving betimes with sharpness, when moved upon by the Holy Ghost; and then showing forth afterwards an increase of love toward him whom thou hast reproved" (D&C 121:41-43).
  • Fun small parts of the week:
             Wednesday- The branch put on a going away party for the three leaving missionaries. See pictures!
             Sunday- Translating at church from Japanese to English to a Philippine member who speaks very broken English

Video and Invitation for the Week
Fathers' Day isn't for a while, but the thought for this week is about fathers! To all the fathers our there. Thanks! To my own father, thanks, a lot, as in a whole heck of a lot :) This world is in dire need of good, solid fathers like Steve Colton. Everyone deserves the opportunity to grow up in a stable home. The world is obviously far from that, but it is definitely a goal worth shooting for.

 Below are two links: the first is to a site with a bunch of fatherhood videos, and the second is a talk from this past conference. If you love your father (gotcha!), please 1) visit the video site, 2) pick a video that you think your father would enjoy, 3) send the video to him as long as a simple thank you note! If you for some reason don't have that opportunity, please send the video and a thank you note to someone you know and respect who is a father!



Pictures for the Week
All are pictures from going away parties of the old missionaries! Well, except for the one where the missionary next to me is Japanese. That's my new stud of a companion.





Love you all!!

Elder Kevin Cash Colton
Japan Fukuoka Mission

ケビン C. コルトン 長老
日本福岡伝道部