Saturday, February 25, 2017

God is Good!

こんにちは!

Truly one of the best weeks of my mission, and life for that matter. The highlights were endless. I'll try to describe a few.

Notes/Stories from the Week
  • Chin- Episode III
    • Well, before I get to the good stuff, sadly the episodes of Chin have come to an end. He planned to come to church with us last Sunday, but couldn't because of getting called into work on Sunday morning. We set up an appointment at his house for that night, but we went, we found the Book of Mormon and a note taped to his door. In English, Japanese, Korean, and Chinese (quite impressive actually), it said something along the lines of he is no longer interested in religion and to not come back. We are assuming his boss said something to him.
  • Xuzhe- Episode I
    • Wow, he is amazing. Here is the short story. Elder Strickland found him on "phone dendo" last week (going through the phone numbers we have). He was found a few months back at the DMV from a legendary missionary named Elder Pettit. Although too busy to meet back them, Elder Pettit was smart and got his phone number. When Elder Strickland called this past week, he said he could meet! We have met him know three times in the past week and got a referral from him! He is Chinese, but fluent in English and Japanese. Although coming from a background where God isn't a possibility, he feels like he was led by God to Japan, and then led to us, "God messengers" as he calls us in his prayers. He loves the Book of Mormon (well the English one, not so much the Chinese one) and has stronger faith in Jesus Christ than any new investigator I've ever taught. He knows Christ can help him and will do whatever it takes. More to follow!
  • Finding by the Spirit
    • I've often talked about this idea of "finding by the Spirit." As crazy as it may sound, I fully believe that God can lead us to specific places at specific times to meet specific people. It sounds difficult, but it can be rather simple if we let it. I'll try to explain with an analogy. Yesterday, Elder Dibble (one of our missionaries in Kumamoto) and I felt we needed to go to a certain area to find someone. Thus, we call our smart friend "Tom" and asked Him where we need to go. He tells us to go to an apartment nearby. On the way there, He tells us that first we need to knock the doors of a smaller apartment on the way. We do, and then continue on our way. As we now get to the apartment and are about to start on the bottom floor, Tom calls us back and says to actually start on the top floor. We trust Tom, so we head up to the top. After we finish the top two floors, we are heading down the stairs and see a lady, named Jill, coming up the stairs. Tom then calls all of us at the same time and tells us all to talk to each other. It turns out, Jill was looking for us and Tom wanted us to find her. We talked to Jill and set up another time to meet.
    • Luckily for us, this "Tom" figure is a all-loving, all-knowing Heavenly Father who we can "call" through prayer at anytime of the day. He knows exactly who He wants us to meet to share the message that will bring His children back to Him. "Jill's" name is Kuriyama San and had met with the missionaries a few months ago. They lost contact with her, and she has been waiting for them to come back. As the nerdy teacher from the movie "Incredibles" says, "Coincidence?? I think not!"
Miracle/"Tendy Mercy" for the Week
As I was typing up the above story, President Fukunaga from the Shimonoseki branch walks into the mission office! He was the branch president of my first area when I was there from September 2015 to February 2016. He came to give something to President Egan so was surprised to see me. We ended up talking about how the branch is doing, and he said a bunch of the members actually came to the temple today (it's right above the mission office). He said many of them are in the waiting room of the temple and told me to come up to see him! I headed up and got to see Muraishi Kyodai and Tanaka Kyodai! See my blog posts from those first few months of my mission to see the details on who they were! Tanaka Kyodai was found the week before I got there, and we taught him two to three times a week for those six months I was there. He was baptized during my second transfer. My trainer and I started teaching Muraishi Kyodai the last week of my second transfer, and Elder Mismash had the opportunity to baptize him during my fourth transfer there. Tanaka Kyodai will be performing baptisms for his grandparents today! See picture below! God is incredible. 

Video and Invitation for the Week
This is a bit more of a serious movie, but this is the help from Jesus Christ that people like Xuzhe are receiving for the first time in their lives. Christ is there for all of us. Please watch and ponder what this means in your life.

Pictures for the Week.
1: Nacho party at the MTC! Picture four will put it in context. 


2; Xuzhe, Elder Strickland, and I eating way good pizza!



3: Companion exchange with Elder Dibble and Elder Johnson (from my MTC district)


4: Nacho party in honor of the MTC. Elder Johnson (the one next to me) and I did this almost daily at the MTC! See the first picture.


5: This was today in the waiting room of the temple. Tanaka Kyoudai is the one on the far left, Muraishi Kyoudai is the one on my right. Fukunaga Kaicho is the one on my left. This is every missionaries dream!



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, February 20, 2017

I love this work!

こんにちは!

I've been talking the talk for the past few weeks about how miracles would be coming. Well, they are coming! This past week we had companion exchanges with Elders Woolston and Malone from Kagoshima, and Elders Sherman and Jensen from Nagasaki. Some of the most fun days of my life! I love getting blown away every time at how good of missionaries we have in the Japan Fukuoka mission. We have a few more lessons tonight and Chin will be coming to church tomorrow! There is no one like our God!

Notes/Stories from the Week
  • Chin- Episode II
    • On companion exchanges with Elder Woolston, we felt like we needed to stop by Chin to see how he was doing. We got there, gave him the Chinese Book of Mormon we had for him, and then asked if he had time to talk about it. Sure enough, he let us in. See the rest in the Miracle/"Tendy Mercy" for the Week section!
  • Parties in Fukuoka 
    • This past Tuesday Elder Strickland and I had an opportunity to give a training on accountability. The main focus on of training is found in Preach My Gospel (Sharing the Gospel 101). Under the accounability section, it says, "The principle of accounability willl bless you if you approcah your goal setting and planning with the idea that you will account for your efforts to your mission leaders and to the Lord through prayer." The funniest part was skit that turned out far better than we had planned. 
    • The scene was a four workers and boss working at McDonalds. The boss started out the work day and told the workers what to do, and then to report to him at the end of the day on what they did. After some impressive acting, worker #1 went to report on the day, but realized his shift had just ended, so left without reporting. Worker #2 (the "bro") reported about how fun the day was and vaguely how much he did. Worker #3 (The "In-it-for-himself" guy), bragged about how many burgers he sold today and how little burgers everyone else sold. Worker #4 (The model, It just so turned out this was the only sister of the four workers, probably pretty fitting) reported not only on the specific number of burgers and what not, but also how the other workers were doing, how the customers were doing, the problem of the Mormon missionaries coming into the store and trying to hand out Book of Mormons and plan to fix it, as well as asking for how to improve. It was all a bit exaggerated, but the point was to show the importance of accountability in all that we do. I haven't laughed so hard in awhile haha good times.
Miracle/"Tendy Mercy" for the Week

He let us in and we ended up having a lesson with him about the basic idea of God. He liked the idea of God and how we can pray to Him just like we can talk to a friend on the phone. It was pretty incredible to see how open his heart was and how interested he is in learning about the Gospel. The highlight of the lesson was at the end when he said his first prayer of his life. Those first prayers have become one of my favorite parts of missionary work. Think of a father and son who have been seperated for 30 years. The Father has been receiving updates from others on how his son is doing, but hasn't heard directly from his son in 30 years. Well, this past Tuesday night, Heavenly Father was able to hear directly from Chin for the first time in 30 years. It was a very basic, short prayer, but the start to eternal happiness for Chin.

Video and Invitation for the Week

Like Chin, we can all pray to our Heavenly Father and build a real, helpful relationship. The video below explains the importance of this. There are a bunch of videos below this one as well. Please check out the ones that look interesting.

Pictures for the Week.
1: Elder Mizoguchi decides to stop by honbu (past missionary).



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

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Rugby, Miracles, and Elder Strickland

こんにちは!

Well, Elder Yamanashi has transferred out and Elder Strickland has transferred in! Working with Elder Yamanashi changed my life and helped me realize how much parts of myself I need to change. I'll miss him.
Elder Strickland is half Japanese (mom from Okinawa) and is a total stud. He was a rugby, football, and wrestler in high school and is one of the hardest workers I've ever met. While he has pushed me in the morning to work out harder than I have in a while, I'm most impressed by his faith in and love of Jesus Christ. We are beyond excited to work together his transfer.
Overall, this is by far the most excited I've been for a transfer yet! We have Elder Whiting of the 70 coming in a few weeks for a mission tour and all the zone leaders coming up for companion exchanges. Thus, lots of dendo time :) Expect stories of miracles to come!

Notes/Stories from the Week
  • Rugby 
    • This past Saturday for P-day we went to a close by park and played rugby with some of the youth in our ward. See pictures below! It was my first time actually playing rugby and it was a blast! Elder Strickland played in high school and was the best hands down...either I was never fast, or I have gotten slow... It was two had touch (missionary rules), but still way fun. Julio, the one wearing the light blue "GAVIC" shirt, was actually baptized just two weeks ago! He is pretty incredible. Elder Whitmer and Elder Stennett have been teaching him each week, but we've had the opportunity to go to Sunday school and young mens with him every week. He is 17 and loves the church. My previous companion, Elder Yamanashi, had the opportunity to do his baptism interview, and was blown away at his belief in Jesus Christ and desire to follow him. He was found by the missionaries a few months ago, and was pretty solid the entire way. Miracles!
  • Dendo Miracles
    • This past week we met a Chinese man named Chin who wants to learn more about Christ, and another man named Taton from Myanmar who is coming to church tomorrow. More to follow next week!
Miracle/"Tendy Mercy" for the Week

Throughout the past year and half of these emails, I've talked a few times about the Spirit guiding us to prepared people. The honest truth about sharing the message of Jesus Christ in Japan is that there are quite a few people with absolutely no interest in our message. The best part, however, is that there are many that are! A few months ago, Elder Cook of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles came to our mission and have a training. One of the council he gave was to put our spiritual power into planning and teaching. Each day, we plan our very specifically where we need to go to find those interested. Over the past few days, Elder Strickland and I have focused on pleading with the Lord to know specifically where we need to go, and then following every prompting we feel as we go there. Well, the past few days, we have found interested people every place we have gone! Sure, you may call it a coincidence everytime, but coincidences don't have patterns and occur over and over. The Lord heads this work, and is it up to us to decide if we want to follow His council and help or not.
Video and Invitation for the Week
I've shared this before, but this is a video in a series that describes what I talked about above. Please visit and check out other videos on Mormon Channel that look interesting.

Pictures for the Week.

1: The new companion! Elder Strickland. When we don't have much time to eat, this is our goto- bread, peanut butter, chicken/onion, banana, and an egg on top. It's actually waaaay good.


2: The last Sunday with Elder Yamanashi :(



3: The church crew. Every week we join the youth for the last two hours of church and have gotten way close with all of them. Jaimie, the guy on my left, is half Chinese and half New Zealand, but fluent in Japanese. He is the closest I've gotten to any youth in Japan so far. Quite the stud.



4: Elder Whitmer's last sushi in Japan.


5: How to cook and eat a meal in 20 minutes (see #1, this one also had bacon).


6-7: Rugby



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, February 5, 2017

The Power of the Scriptures

こんにちは!

Great, fun week.

Notes/Stories from the Week
  • The District Meeting
    • One of my favorite parts of missionary work is weekly district meetings. In the Japan Fukuoka mission, districts are composed of 4-10 missionaries and led by a district leader, typically one of the more experienced missionaries in the district. My current district leader is Elder Whitmer ("Elder Brad Freaking Whitmer" as he refers to himself), who I served with in Kumamoto (see July - August at elderkevincolton.blogspot.com). He has become one of the most down to earth, funny people I know. He is also one of our zone leaders and in my ward, so I work with him just about everyday. He's a party.
    • Anyways, this past week was his last district meeting before he heads home, and it was one of the best I've ever been to. As a district, we discussed our different motivations for why we continue to push through the mission when it gets hard, such as when you have one of those days where you are knocking doors for 9 hours a day and get rejected by nearly everyone :) Those days are rare, but do happen. From there we broke down the song, "Called to Serve" (https://www.lds.org/music/library/hymns/called-to-serve?lang=eng) and discussed our purpose as missionaries.
    • He ended it by showing us a clip of Zion's camp (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z0lxnvEGdK8), one of the most important events in the restoration of the Gospel. For some reason, this was the part that hit home with me. I realized we must all go through out own "Zion's camp" to truly be converted to this Gospel. Once we start to understand that God's ways our higher than ours, and that the natural can't see God's ways, we can be humble enough to be patient through our trials and to give our all to God.
Miracle/"Tendy Mercy" for the Week

The longer I am on my mission, the more I appreciate the opportunity to study the scriptures. There is a very stark difference from the days where I start off the day with a solid, in depth, passionate study of the scriptures, verse the days where we are on the road or something comes up to where study time gets shortened. Recently I have been studying the life of Abinadi and Alma the Elder in the Book of Mormon and trying to understand what it was like for them to truly stand alone as disciples of Jesus Christ. I have also been studying and reflecting on the life of the New Testament Apostles who gave their lives to spreading this message. They are all incredible! For those reading this, you probably either strive to read the scriptures daily and understand what I am talking about, or are missing out on one of the best tools we have to reaching our full potential. It wasn't until recently that I learned the power of the scriptures. If I can start to get on board with it, so can any of you!

Video and Invitation for the Week

As I was studying the teachings of Abinadi this past week, I realized how he emphasized time and time again how life isn't a checklist of what we need to do to get into Heaven. Without the help of our Savior Jesus Christ, we are utterly helpless in returning to live with our Heavenly Father. Only through His grace and guidance can we accomplish what we came to this earth to do.
Christian or not, please visit this site and check out some of the articles or vidoes that seem interesting to you. 

Pictures for the Week.
1: SNOW! Lucky for us, the mission home is beneath the temple so we see this view every morning!


2: More snow! The view outside our apartment window.


3-4: Me and da boys. We were distracted with something...





5: Awkwardness. Too awkward to not share.




The other sets: Elder Yamanashi's last round of interviews!
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