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

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