Wednesday, December 28, 2016

On the first day of Christmas, my parents gave to me ...

Merry Christmas Eve!
It is almost Christmas AND 2017. Most of my high school and West Point friends graduate from college this year...where does time go? I've recently been thinking a lot about that idea of time and how no matter what we do, it passes. President and Sister Egan, Elder Yamanashi, and I are currently traveling the mission over the course of three weeks to participate and give trainings in seven zone conferences (about 30 missionaries at each). This time, Elder Yamanashi and I felt we needed to teach on "The Pursuit of Happiness." (I won't go into too much detail because some missionaries who get this email haven't the training yet). 
Long story short, time will pass, and it is largely an individual choice whether we enjoy that time or not. President Russell M. Nelson of the Quourum of the Twelve Apostles teaches us, "If we look to the world and follow its formulas for happiness, we wil never know joy. ... Joy is a gift for the faithful. It is a gift that comes from intentionally trying to live a righteous life as taught by Jesus Christ." Thus, only true strict, whole-hearted obedience to the teachings of Jesus Christ and His servants can we experience that true joy that even human on this earth hopes to feel.
Notes/Stories from the Week 
  • One the first day of Christmas, my parents gave to me...
    • My parents deserve a shout out for the best 12 days of Christmas ever! See pictures below for it to make more sense, but starting on December 13, we opened a present that included a scripture as a hint for what it was. The office staff loved opening it daily.
  • He's still around?
    • Shout out number two goes to the one and only Mismash Choro for sending all his companions (including me) my favorite food in Japan, furugura! It is my breakfast every day :) I promise all the new missionaries when they come in that if they eat it everyday they won't get sick. It's worked for me so far. Hopefully their is some truth in there!
  • Christmas party!!
    • Yesterday was the Fukuoka ward Christmas party! It was fantastic! The first hour was a show that depicted the life of Jesus Christ, as well as why that should matter to us today. The show itself was a combination of video clips and musical performances from members and missionaries. For some reason accross the world their is a correlation with a ridicuously high percentage of Mormons being ridiculously talented at music. One of the missionaries made a joke before we started practicing for it that he was a failure as a Mormon boy becuase he had no musical talents. Throughout the practice session, he, as well as the rest of us, were shocked that he has the voice of an angle if he actually puts forth effort (Just to clarify, even if music isn't your thing, that's okay:) ).
    • I performed an arrangement of "O Little Town of Bethelehem" that someone in my family performed at a Miss Tomi Christmas recitial in 2005, as well as a "Joy to the World/Angels We Have Heard on High" arrangement that I performed at a Miss Tomi Christmas recital in 2011 or so. Moral of the story, thanks Miss Tomi!
Miracle/"Tendy Mercy" for the Week
God is great! From my amazing district at the MTC, five of us came to Fukuoka (Elder Johnson, Elder Rowe, Sister Luczak, Sister Myers, and myself). Since we split up on September 24, 2015, I had the hope that at some point on the mission the five of us would be together again. My thinking was the same zone. A few transfers ago, four of the five of us were in the same zone, but Myers Shimai wasn't there. Last transfer at Missionary Leadership Conference, four of the five of us were there, but this time it was Sister Luczak who wasn't there.
Well, this past Tuesday we had Missionary Leadership Conference and all five of us were there! While I'm sure God had much more important reasons for putting each of us in our current positions than simply being reunited again, we felt a small glimpse of the joy that the sons of Mosiah and Alma felt when they met back up after years of being apart. "Therefore Alma did rejoice exceedingly to see his brethren; and what added more to his joy, they were still his brethren in the Lord; yea, and they had waxed strong in the knowledge of the truth" (Alma 17:2).
Video and Invitation for the Week
One last chance! If you have ignored this part of this email for the past few weeks, please visit this link and choose one of the ideas to do. Elder Yamanashi and I have been working on the, "Take a moment to enter all of your friends’ birthdays into your mobile device. Then make a point to wish them well on their special day." We are trying to call all our missionaries on their birthday! What will you do to follow Christ's example for caring for loved ones?
Pictures for the Week.
-Set 1: 12 days of Christmas! See explanation above.

-Set 2:
1: The 5 of us from the MTC district in Fukuoka- September 2015

2: The 5 of us again! December 2016

3: The doki (all same transfer) at the Yamaguchi zone conference (Elder Rowe, Elder Barker, me, Sister Magleby, S. Olsen)

4-the end: all my companions! Test for you Mom and Dad, do you know all their names by memory??

Love you!!

Elder Kevin Cash Colton
Japan Fukuoka Mission

ケビン C. コルトン 長老

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