Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Hello, Goodbye. Again.


Life is good. Much, much busier that it has been since the West Point school year, but I love it. Like I've said, the mission structure is similar to West Point's. My current role as a zone leader is most similar to a platoon leader. In addition to my own area and working with my stud of a New Zealand companion, my zone leader companion and I get to lead and serve 15 other missionaries in and around Kumamoto. Thus, my real companion is Elder Metekingi from New Zealand (Quite the bro), but my zone leader companion is Elder Whitmer from California. They are both pretty incredible.

The area I am in is the area in Japan hit worst by the earthquake. Since the earthquake, the four Elders in the apartment here have been doing service six days a week for 6 or so hours a day. Other LDS missionaries in the area have been volunteering frequently as well. There are a number of volunteer organizations around the area that they work and volunteer at. See pictures below for some of the sites they have been working at. The need for volunteers has died down some, but we will still be volunteering a few times a week. I'll let you know next week more of what that entails.

The church reaction to the earthquake was nothing short of remarkable. The nights following the earthquake, there were 50 or so people, members and non-members alike, whose houses had been destroyed or at least severely damaged by the earthquake staying at the church. Many stayed at the church for a few weeks as supplies came in from all over Japan, and a family or two is still here as they try to put their lives back together. In total, over 5000 liters of water, 1500 kilograms of rice, and 2500 cups of Ramen were donated to the church in a matter of days. Quite the Christ-like response to horrific event.

As for the ward itself, the members are incredible!!! About 100 or so come to church each week!!! Very, very different from by previous area with a branch new branch of 15 at church on a good week. 

Notes/Stories from the Week
  • Wednesday goodbye: Leaving the Saijo was much, much harder than I ever expected it would be. They always have a goodbye party for the missionaries transferring, but I felt mine came way too soon. We had English class from 1830-1930, and then the party from 1930-2100. The members and always bring tons of food and make bye bye books for the missionaries. See pictures.

Miracle/"Tendy Mercy" for the Week
The miracle of the week was a lesson with a man named Iwasaki San. He met the missionaries back in 2014 and has met of and on since. He summaries his beliefs in a English sentence, "I can believe the missionaries, but I can't believe in God." Well, yesterday we had a lesson with him (first time heard met with the missionaries in a few months) with a member of the bishopric as a joint. About 40 minutes in, I felt he had no interest to really learn and I was going to end the lesson and tell him to call us if he wants to learn more. Just at that point, my incredible companion stepped in and bore his testimony while explaining Alma 32 (a chapter in the Book of Mormon on faith). You could literally see the change in this man's heart as my companion talked. He committed to finish reading the chapter on his own (he has never read the Book of Mormon before) and meet with us again next Saturday! Still a long way to go, but this is step one to him letting Christ transform his life into more than he ever though possible.

Video and Invitation for the Week
On the topic of service, the video for this week is a simply story of 11 men who decided to do some good in the world. Christian or not, I feel we all have a responsibility to serve those around us. The invitation for this week is to watch the video and then decide one person you can serve this week, and actually do it!!!

Pictures for the Week.
1-6- Byebye party in Saijo

7- leving Saijo

8- Traveling wish the missionaries!

9-10- The earthquake in real life.

Love you all!!

Elder Kevin Cash Colton
Japan Fukuoka Mission

ケビン C. コルトン 長老

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