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

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