Monday, November 28, 2016

I am grateful for everyone who gets these emails!!!

Happy Thanksgiving!!!
Before any of you ask, no, Thanksgiving isn't celebrated in the slightest in Japan :( But, it certainly is in the mission home! Today is a P-day for the entire Fukuoka zone (about 28 missionaries) and we are going to have a good ol' Thanksgiving meal! Pictures to follow next week.
Notes/Stories from the Week 
  • Mission Leadership Council (MLC)
    • I am pretty sure that the two organizations in the world with the most acronyms are the US military and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This past week we had MLC with all the ZL's and STL's to help them plan for ZTM (わかった?). In other words, the 16 zone leaders and 14 sister training leaders came to the mission home on Tuesday for a party! Well, a missionary's version of a party. It was fantastic! I am always amazed at these types of trainings how much we can learn. The source of our teaching is always the scriptures (Bible, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, etc) and Preach my Gospel (How to Be a Missionary 101).  For the first time I played a part in the training, which was a strange experience. It helped me turn to prayer and fasting the days before to figure out with Elder Yamanashi what the mission needed. I keep saying this, but it's amazing how we aren't in charge of this week. God is. We are simply the tools He uses. 
    • I had a lot of take-aways, including 
      1. Revelation is the foundation of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The beautiful fact that the Heavens are not closed, and that God still speaks to us through both a modern day prophet, as well as to us individually, is what allows us to carry out God's work on this earth.
      2. While knowledge is important and comes from a number of means, but true intelligence as the Lord wants us to have is much more than knowledge, "and it cannot be obtained without obedience and revelation" (Elder Oaks, also see https://www.lds.org/media-library/video/2012-01-012-patterns-of-light-spirit-of-revelation?lang=eng).
Miracle/"Tendy Mercy" for the Week
For those not of my faith who read these, I hope I have never offended you with my experiences or anything I say in my emails! I realize I can be a bit bold and not "politically correct," but I do my best to explain where I am coming from.
Anyways, the miracle this week was Elder Yamanashi and I learning what we needed to train on for MLC. To give some background, what we train on is then taken by all the zone leaders and sisters training leaders and taught to the missionaries in their zone two days later. Thus, roughly 200 missionaries receive this training. Leading up to the conference, we were thinking about training about something along the lines of how to effective work with members to strengthen investigators. Well, two days before, we both got a clear "stupor of thought," meaning we got stuck planning. The scriptures teach us that this is often a way that God communicates with us. The Lord tells us that "I will tell you in your mind and in your heart, by the Holy Ghost, which shall come upon you and which shall dwell in your heart" (Doctrine and Covenants 8:2). 
Well, we took that as a clear sign that we were supposed to train on something else. After more study and prayer, it became very clear that we needed to train on what President Nelson of the 12 Apostles calls, "Begin With the End in Mind." The basic idea was that baptism is a great step to come unto Christ, but that baptism is only the start of the journey. God has so many blessings in store for us through the temple. As we help our investigators realize that, they can see the big picture and have that desire to go to the temple even before they are baptized.
The miracle to me was how clearly we felt we were able to figure out what the Lord wanted us to train on. Yes, it took a lot of study and prayer, but every time things flowed well we felt the Spirit working through us. When we got stuck, we realized that was simply the Spirit telling us to take a different direction.
The beauty of the Gospel is that we can all receive that clear guidance everyday in our lives!
Video and Invitation for the Week
Short and simple! A little gratitude goes a long way! Please watch and think through 10 things you are grateful for!
Pictures for the Week.
-1: Elder Sherrill (my 5th transfer companion) and I! He is now a zone leader so I get to see him every few weeks!

-2: The crew that flew up to MLC from Okinawa!


-3: Elder Yamanashi and I twinning!



Love you!!

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, November 20, 2016

The Start, the Middle, and the End?

Hello from Fukuoka Japan!
This week definitely wins for the strangest week of the mission! I had the opportunity to see 17 missionaries start the mission and 13 of the best missionaries I know end theirs. Two years is short...way too short!
Notes/Stories from the Week 
  • The Start (Tuesday)
    • One of the best parts about my current position is meeting all of the brand new missionaries off the airplane. On Tuesday night, 17 missionaries (These round included Japanese, American, British, and Brazilian missionaries) came to Fukuoka where we picked them up and brought them back. Most of them have been studying Japanese for only 2 months (see my September 2015 entries of my blog at elderkevincolton.blogspot.com to see how I felt when I first came here) and are now expected to help bring others unto Christ in Japanese. It's way fun :)
    • Anyways, we spend all of Tuesday night and Wednesday with them before sending them off on Thursday morning with their trainers to their new areas. Kind of like the first day of when I was a cadet squad leader with 10 new new cadets, except completely different. I liked this setting a lot more. 
    • The highlight was Wednesday night when they all met their trainers at the Fukuoka stake center. Over the past few weeks, Elder Yamanashi and I have been praying and fasting with President Egan to determine who are the right missionaries to train them. It was one of the the most spiritual experiences I have ever been a part of.
    • Well, as each new missionary went to the front of the chapel that Wednesday night and met their trainer after Egan Kaicho told them who it'd be, I had no doubt the God had chosen each and every one of them. I said this last week, but President Egan isn't in charge of this work. Our Loving Heavenly Father is. It's pretty incredible actually.  
  • The Middle
    • Thursday was transfer day in our mission. Transfer day is crazy. Our mission covers 5 islands that require everything from planes to subways to buses to bullet trains to travel across. Elder Yamanashi are pretty much travel agents that book all their travel. So if you ever come to this part of Japan and need help with travel, let me know!
    • Anyways, we always get to see tons of our missionaries that day. There is nothing like the relationships you make on your mission.
  • The End
    • The rest of Thursday and Friday morning were spent the returning missionaries that have given it their all for the past 18 months (sisters) or 2 years (Elders). Now that was a strange experience. I had gotten to most of them very well (past assistants, my zone leaders, and even a past companion). Taking them to the airport on Friday morning and sending them through security helped me realized how short these two years really are. We have only two years to give literally all our time and dedication to the work of the Lord. I to often forget that!
Miracle/"Tendy Mercy" for the Week
Miracles happen allll the time here in honbu. One of the coolest from this week was actually this morning. The stake had put on a mission preparation day for the youth on the island of Kyushu. In all, about 60 youth and YSA came to the stake center. For 45 minutes of that, Elder Yamanashi and I gave a training about what life is like in the Fukuoka mission. For those who knew me well, you know that public speaking has never been a strong point of mine. Growing up with a stutter, I have always dreaded public speaking.
Over the mission, one of my favorite scriptures have been Ether 12:27 from the Book of Mormon which says, 
"And if men come unto me wilshow unto them their weaknessgive unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all methat humble themselves beforme; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faitin me, then will make weak things become strong unto them."
To me, the prophet Moroni is telling us that if we come unto Christ, we will be made humble through being shown our weaknesses. The beauty of Christ's Gospel, however, is that at that point Jesus Christ will pick us up and help our weaknesses become strengths if we let him.
Well, I have been shown my weakness in public speaking time and time again in my life. It wasn't until I came on my mission that I began to start letting Jesus Christ help me. While I still have a lot way to go to get to where the normal person is at, the fact that today I could give a 45 minute presentation in Japanese with Elder Yamanashi is nothing short of a miracle. I don't say this to brag. I am still worse than the average person :) but through Christ's help we can all get there! 
Thus, if you are sick and tired of a weakness you have, I beg you to turn to Jesus Christ. He will not leave you abandoned. I often thought He had left me, but oh how wrong I was!!
Video and Invitation for the Week
I've showed  this before, but it is always a favorite of mine. For those without a Christian background, you will surely have some questions about what it means, but I encourage you to reach out to a Mormon you know and ask!
Pictures for the Week.
-1: The new office! From left to right: Elder Haoka (Mission supply manager), Elder Hassell (The recorder), Elder Hazalbarth (Financial secretary), Sister Hazalbarth (Office secretary), President and Sister Egan, me, and my incredible companion, Elder Yamanashi!



-2: An unexpected visit!



-3: Role play. Gotta love it



-4: Three of my role models on the mission who just finished there missions. Left to right: Elder Davis (my zone leader my 5th transfer), Elder Mismash (4th transfer companion), Elder Pettit (my assistant for transfers 6-9).



-5: Elder Mismash and his Mom picking him up.





-6: The recorder and MSN!
Love you!!



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, November 14, 2016

Miracles and Push-Ups

こんにちは!!

Life is good. Desu.

Notes/Stories from the Week 
  • Dendo Miracles
    • Here in Honbu (the mission home) we still try to get out to dendo as much as possible. Before I came here I was told that if we try to get out everyday, the Lord will bless us. Well, that promise was true! This past week we were able to start teaching a 30 year old Japanese man who actually took the lessons from the missionaries a year ago in a different part of Japan, and able to find a man from Nepal, a Christian from Myanmar, and a young father trying to figure out how to help his family.
  • New Ward!
    • I am now in the biggest congregation in the mission! I went to church this past week and was shocked to see the entire room filled. About 220 members attend each week. This is the future of Japan! It is a lot of new people to get to know, but I'm excited to learn.
  • Humbled Through Push-Ups
    • One of my first responsibilities in honbu was to create the new zone chart for next transfer. After we decided through prayer and discussion where each missionary should go, my job was to type it all up into excel (about 200 missionaries and their areas). My overly confidence self created it and then told my mission president I'd do 50 pushups for every mistake on there. Well, there were 9 mistakes...I guess my attention to detail isn't quite what I thought...Ganbaro!

Miracle/"Tendy Mercy" for the Week
Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints make a bold claim on what we call having the gift of the Holy Ghost, or the Spirit. After baptism by water by proper authority, we receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost by someone holding authority.    Part of this gift is to be able to receive guidance from our Heavenly Father 24/7. As missionaries, we use this wonderful gift to help guide us to people ready and willing to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 

Last night Elder Krebs and I had only 45 or so minutes to find, so we had to trust on the Spirit to know where to go. The simplicity of how the Spirit can work is incredible. We see a man walking towards an apartment. We feel impressed to talk to him. After talking with him we pray to ask where to go. We look up and see an apartment that the Holy Ghost tells us to do. We do it and in the next 10 minutes find two people interested and wanting to learn more. 

Coincidence? I think not! (Name that movie!)


Video and Invitation for the Week
Here is a better explanation of what I just tried to explain above. It is short! Enjoy!


Pictures for the Week.
  1. Elder Yamanashi and Krebs




  1. Birthday surprises
  1. Sister Egan (the mission presidents wife) and Sister Hazalbarth (the hardest working missionary in the mission! The Office secretary!)

Video 1: Elder Yamanashi



Video 2: Something Elder Krebs, Sister Willson, and I put together before district meeting. Never too early for Christmas!



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, November 8, 2016

President and Sister Egan are fantastic!



こんにちは!!

Well this sure was a fantastic week! In my new position in the mission home I get to work with President and Sister Egan on a daily basis. Wow, they are fantastic people!

Notes/Stories from the Week 
  • Hello, Goodbye, Again
    • The worst part about transfers is saying goodbye to the friends you make from companions, investigators, and members. The hardest was probably the one and only Serville Choro. I had the opportunity to get trained a second time during my two transfers with him. Coming straight from the MTC, he had more dendo fire and faith than any missionary I`ve ever seen. Sadly, I often couldn`t keep up with him, but will never forget the lessons he taught me about the drive that comes from true faith in Jesus Christ.
  • Life in Honbu
    • My new trainer of sorts is the one and only Elder Krebs! He was my zone leader for my second through fourth transfers and has more energy than that squirrel in Ice Age :) He is always excited to do missionary work and lift up those around him. The plan is to replace him in a few weeks. 
  • Driving in Japan
    • For those who have ever tried to get a license in Japan, you know how ridiculously strict the license test is. It took our mission president only two tries, but another person in the office it took six tries and another 13...it is about an hour an a half drive out to the DMV and takes up pretty much the entire day, thus wasting a lot of time. Yesterday was my second time going, and I sure has heck did not want to go back. Elder Krebs told me he passed the day he decided to fast for it, so I decided to fast yesterday. Well, the power of fasting is real! For all my high school friends that drove with me, you know that  being smooth isn't a forte of mine, but with Gods help all things are possible!

Miracle/"Tendy Mercy" for the Week
Miracles happen ever day here in the mission office, but the highlight has been working one on one with President Egan. One of the opportunities we have is helping him decide where each of the 207 missionaries in the mission should go for next transfer. It is honestly an overwhelming responsibility, as is effects the lives of every missionary as well as the salvation of souls in his part of the world. Luckily, President Egan has unbelievable faith and clearly knows how to receive revelation from our Heavenly Father. As we decide who should be where in the mission, it is incredible who the Spirit tells us the answer to every question we have. I have no doubt that this work is led by a kind and loving Heavenly Father who wants each and every one of His children to return to Him.


Video and Invitation for the Week
My computer currently isn't letting me watch this, but they look good! Please find one of these videos that look interesting to you (they look like a TedTalk type style), and share on social media if they turn out to rock!


Pictures for the Week.
Just 3 this week

Elder Yamanashi- my angel of a new companion



Elder Krebs- the stud I'm replacing



The rest of the office staff!



Elder Kevin Cash Colton
Japan Fukuoka Mission

ケビン C. コルトン 長老
日本福岡伝道部