Wednesday, December 28, 2016

It's Still Christmas time in the City!

Merry Almost Christmas (again)!!!
Another transfer week is come and gone. To give a little perspective of transfers in the Fukuoka mission, we have 40+ flights, trains and buses for 100+ missionaries, and bike transportation for everyone transferring. Elder Yamanashi and I have the opportunity to coordinate all of that. The reason I bring any of this up, is to show how incredible it is that Elder Yamanashi doesn't stress during any of this. He stays calm and in control, despite new challenges appearing at seemingly every moment possible. Yesterday after all our missionaries had arrived safely, I asked him how is so calm and in controlled (For those who don't know me, I'm one to stress out a bit and get a bit snappy with others when things are going right). Elder Yamanashi explained to me that it was because he wasn't the one in charge, God was. He further clarified that there are thousands of details we can and do miss during this transfer process, but that every time we do, the Spirit informs him of what we missed, and he fixes it. Sure enough, it all worked out, as it always does when we do the work of God.
I'm not sure I've ever met someone with so much trust that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ truly leads this work. Elder Yamanashi knows without a shadow of a doubt that God lives, and that as missionaries for His church, we are simply tools to be used in His hands. It's pretty remarkable.
Notes/Stories from the Week 
  • Caroling!
    • Like I said last week, last Saturday we went to an outdoor mall to put on a caroling show! It was incredible. We had practiced for a few weeks when we had time, and it actually turned out pretty well. Throughout the 30 minute performance, hundreds of people stopped and watched at some point. Our ward is having a special sacrament meeting on Christmas day (Thanks Elder Oaks and Brother Gavin), so the primary kids passed out invitations to that. The night was the epitome of Christmas joy. See pictures and videos below!
  • Another Beginning, Middle, and End
    • From Tuesday to Thursday was all working with our missionaries. The new missionaries (18 of them) came in on Tuesday night, were trained by us on Wednesday, met their trainers Wednesday night, and then headed off to their areas on Thursday morning. 
    • Thursday was the day were all the rest of our missionaries transferred as well. This time about 80 of our missionaries transferred. That morning, we picked up all of the returning missionaries- 24 of them, including my senpai sisters :(. See pictures below. They had their final interviews with President Egan, did some last dendo, and then headed out on flights early Friday morning. It's amazing how fast the mission goes!
Miracle/"Tendy Mercy" for the Week
One of the highlights of transfer week is always the meeting where trainers meet the new missionaries they will be training. I'll try to explain the setting briefly: the trainers sit in the back of the chapel and stand up when the new missionaries start to file in. The new missionaries then sit in the rows in front of their trainers. The meeting starts with President Egan welcoming everyone, followed by everyone singing the first off, "I'll Go Where you Want Me to Go," ( in English and Japanese. President Egan then talks for a few minutes and does one of the things he does best, invite the Spirit. 
President Egan than randomly calls up a new missionary, has them introduce themselves, and then tells them who their trainer will be. At the point, the trainer, who at this point still doesn't know who they will be training, stands and walks (sometimes jumps and sprints) up to the front, gives their new missionary a hug, and then sits with them off to the side. We do that for each new missionary and their trainer (this time 8 sisters and 10 Elders). Elder Yamanashi and I get to simply watch from the back and feel spiritual confirmations as each new missionary meets their trainer for the first time. 
President Egan, Elder Yamanashi, and I pray and fast in the weeks prior to all of that to help determine first who the Lord wants to train, and then which of the new missionaries (who we only know by paper) they should be with. Seeing it all unfold is always one of the most spiritual moments of the week for me. Like I keep saying, we are not in charge of this work. We simply do our best to follow the Spirit. 
Video and Invitation for the Week
If you didn't have a chance to check out this website last week, here is your second chance! 
Please check it out and then figure out at least 3 things you can do this Christmas season to "Light the World" around you.
Pictures for the Week.
-1: Some of our returning missionaries and their companions coming up for an early exit interview (left to right: E. Hassell, E. Yamanashi, me, E. Ballard, E. Krebs, S. Miller, S. Brown)
-2: The quartet-ish for the caroling event- left to right- S. Cox, S. Willson, S. Myers, Akichan, me, E. Yamanashi

-3: The comp

-4: The singing group!

-5: Elder Coleman- we sang about 300 meters in front of that

-6: The missionaries in the Fukuoka ward at the bishop's

-7: Sister Nohagi returning after her mission ended!

-8: Some of the best missionaries ever that are now back in the states- left to right- S. Jorgensen, S. Jesperson, S. Cox, E. Yamanashi

-9: The entire group of returning missionaries :(

-10: My companion's beautiful food creation!

Videos for the Week.
1: Sister Willson and S. Cox (me on the piano)

2: The quartet turned quintet (This might have been the start and end to my singing career)

3: The group

Love you!!

Elder Kevin Cash Colton
Japan Fukuoka Mission

ケビン C. コルトン 長老

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