Sunday, April 30, 2017

Christian the Christian!

こんにちは!

This will be a short one! Gomen!

Notes/Stories from the Week
  • Sunday miracles
    • Two great lessons this past week! One with a young college student who wants to build a relationship with God, another with a man in his forties who at first seemed pretty argumentative with us, but after some talking and him feeling the Spirit, he shared with us how there are some things in his life that he simply can't overcome, and he wants to know if God can help him. Elder Sherrill and Elder Strickland will take care of them well!
Miracle/"Tendy Mercy" for the Week
Christian the Christian! We spent much of this past week at the DMV to help Elder Sherrill get his license. The place we go to is for foreigners who got their license in a different country. They require us to take a written and driving test. The driving test is an adventure. The people we talk to are often there for their 10+ time trying to pass. Apparently you only have to pass with a 70%, but the reasons you fail are for reasons such as, "You went to fast." "You went to slow." "When you made that left turn, your outside wheels were more than 30 cm from the edge of the road," and so on. So, it's always up in the air on whether or not you will pass :) Anyways, we typically have about 3 hours of waiting time when we go, which means perfect time to talk to others! This past week we met a way cool guy named Christian from Indonesia who is Christian! He is looking for a church here in Japan! 

Video and Invitation for the Week
Simple video about faith!



Pictures for the Week.
1-3: The struggle was real!




4: The crew!


5-6: The day before shopping we were running a bit low on food...toast, peanut putter, banana, a pancake, chicken, onions, and an egg...surprisingly delicious!





7: We got to go dendo after church this week with the youth! Elder Norman and I went with Issei Kun! He brought us to his non-member aunt's house, knocked on her door, and gave her a Book of Mormon! Talk about faith and no fear!


8: Elder Hassell's "birthday party" before our district meetings.




Video:
-Elder Sherrill is missing out!


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, April 17, 2017

Conference, Elder Osborne, and Okinawa

こんにちは!

Another fantastic week on the mission. Here was the basic schedule:
  • Saturday/Sunday- General Conference! My overall take away was the only way to change and to change others for good is through love and patience that comes from following God. We also had a great lesson with Miyazaki San, a young father interested in truth, and who invited us to meet his family on Tuesday!
  • Monday- Honbu
  • Tuesday- Companion exchange with Elder Osborne! He is six weeks ahead of me on the mission and I have known him since the MTC. He is also the most talented man in the world (singer, piano player, athlete, all the above).
  • Wednesday- flew down to Okinawa!
  • Thursday- companion exchange with Elder Barker! See below
  • Friday- Ginowan/Naha zone conference and came back to Fukuoka
  • Saturday- P-day!
Notes/Stories from the Week
  • Two more awesome companion exhanges!
    • This past week I was able to go on exchanges with Elder Osborne from Arizona (currently in Yamaguchi) and Elder Barker from California (currently in Okinawa). Both waaaay fun. On companion exchanges, we spend the entire day together going out and doing missionary work. With Elder Barker, we had two lessons down in Okinawa that were pretty fantastic. The first was with a less-active who is struggling with drinking. He was baptized about a year and a half ago, but is struggling with going back to church because of being judged by the members. We shared the story of Alma the younger in the Book of Mormon, and promised him that if people like Alma the younger (he went around literally trying to destroy the church) could be forgiven, he certainly could be as well. He agreed to meet with the bishop next week and start getting his life in order.
    • The second lesson was with a man named Miyagi San. He is an older man who loves pottery, music, and the missionaries. He has tons of deep questions that really have no answer. We taught on the Book of Mormon and how all his questions could really be solved through knowing that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. 
  • Zone Conference Revelation
    • I might have mentioned this in the past, but this round of zone conferenes, President Egan trained on PMA (positive mental attitude), Sister Egan trained on patience, and we trained on the importance and power of using the Book of Mormon in finding and teaching.
    • Throughout Sister Egan's training at the four zone conferences this transfer, I kept feeling prompted to write down my thoughts and study about patience. On the plane ride back last night, I wrote down all of my thoughts in my journal. I figured I'd share it.
Zone conference today! Honestly pretty fantastic. This was the fourth and final one for the transfer. Sister Egan's training on patient sank in a bit more than in the past trainings. Between that and the Sister Training Leader's training on confidence in the Lord, in your companion, and in yourself, I realized a few things:

Recently, I have been studying about the concept of "mastering my soul." Regarding being persecuted as a believer, Christ teaches in Luke 21:19, "In your patience posses ye your souls." President Uchtdorf of the First Presidency teaches us that another translation of the Greek text is "in your patience you win mastery of your souls." He further adds that "patience means to abide in faith, knowing that sometimes it is in the waiting rather than the receiving that we grow the most."

I related this to myself in the conference. I listed some of my current "frustrations" with God's timings. (These I won't share here).

I then realized that President Uchtdorf's words apply to me now! It is in the WAITING that we often grow the most. I will ALWAYS have trails in my life. My "frustrations" now will be small compared to the trials in the the future with work and family. While yes, I need to do my part to overcome this challenges now, "mastering/possessing" my souls means to remain patient, charitable, and Christ-like in the midst of trails. No wonder we fast at least once a month!

Every bishop, father, mother, apostle, and virtually everyone else in the world have struggles. Jesus Christ himself endured all kinds of torment and pain. At one point during zone conference, one of the newer missionaries, Elder Spong, read from PMG that  humility is confidence in the Lord. Thus, mastering my soul means being humble enough to trust the Lord, and to be patient in his timing.

In a talk called "The Power of Self-Mastery" in an April 2000 conference talk, President Faust shared one of my favorite poems. "As a hopeless cripple, William Ernest Henley courageously looked beyond his outward physical condition to triumph in his heart and mind when he wrote 'Invictus:'

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance,
I have not winced nor cried aloud:
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed. …

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

I know understand just a little more of how Alma and his people felt when amongst persecution from Amulon, they "did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord" (Mosiah 24:15). The Lord did NOT take their burdens away at first. He simply "[eased] the burdens which [were] put on [their] shoulders" (Mosiah 24:14). It was AFTER they learned to submit to the Lord, when "so great was their faith and their patience that the voice of the Lord came unto them again, saying: Be of good comfort, for on the morrow I will deliver you out of bondage" (Mosiah 24:16).

Thus, while it's easier said than done, I realized that to find "joy" in life, I need to learn to enjoy the trials we have in life.

Miracle/"Tendy Mercy" for the Week
The lesson with the less-active in Okinawa! See above!

Video and Invitation for the Week
Look for a talk that looks interesting, the read/watch it kudasai :)


These videos also still rock!


Pictures for the Week.
Not many from this week. Just airport pics 

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, April 8, 2017

I Love Japan!

こんにちは!

Weeks just keep flying by! This week was a blast with too many highlights to count! A FANTASTIC P-day in Fukuoka, two companion exchanges, and two zone conference (Kumamoto and Hiroshima).
Notes/Stories from the Week
  • Simply Loving Japan
    • This week was full of things "Japanese." It all started last Saturday on P-day when Elder Strickland and I decided to go and explore as much as we could. We started on a 30 minute bike ride to the Fukuoka Tower. Along the way we found some gorgeous bridges, rivers, and a giant rock statue that we still don't understand (see pictures). 
    • From there we found a gorgeous beach and found ourselves biking through a Japanese wedding. Elder Strickland's day was made when we saw Blue Seal ice cream (it's Ice Cream way famous in Okinawa. We ate this flavor called "Benimo," which is made from a purple potato grown in Okinawa.
    • After a trip up the Fukuoka tower and some attempted pictures on a giant raman bowl (see pictures), we started to head back. Along our way back, we saw a giant Buddhist temple that we stopped by. We planned to just stop at the Genkan, but the lady invited us in. It was honestly gorgeous (once again, see pictures). Elder Strickland grew up doing the incense Buddhist ritual with his Grandma in Okinawa. It involves lighting an incense stick and putting it in a bowl, putting your hands together, and kneeling giving thanks to your ancestors for the day. For the most point, it's more of a ritual in Japan than a religious belief. We had the opportunity to try it out. 
    • If I'm being honest, it was pretty surreal. While it certainly felt a bit strange kneeling in front of Buddha, there was something sacred and beautiful about the peacefulness of that room compared to the bustling outside world. I don't know the details about Buddhism, but the peace I felt in that room helped me appreciate their beliefs a bit more. It was similar actually to when I had the chance to visit St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican a few years ago with my brothers. As soon as I walked in, I was overwhelmed with a sense of revent fear compared to some all-powerful, awe-inspiring power in the room. 
  • Two more awesome companion exhanges!
    • This past week I got to go on two companion exhanges with Elder York from Kagoshima and Elder Tofa from here in Fukuoka. Two opposite dendo styles, but two fantastic missionaries. With Elder York, I have never laughed so much during dendo in my life. We found 6 or so interested people, and ended up going out to eat dinner with a random college student we found on the street. To try to describe his humor, after most contacts with young people, he'd go over to them, put his arm around them, and then ask them if they knew of any free English classes in Fukuoka. After thinking deeply, they'd say no. Elder York would then in a very serious voice say something like, "Well, if there was, that'd be awesome, right? Completely FREE english class. Wouldn't you would to go?" They would then typically respond with, "Well yeah, of course." Elder York would then ask me if I knew of one, and I'd pull out our English class chirashi (flyer). The person would then realize what we just did and we'd all be laughing. Good times :)
    • Elder Tofa is a chill, loving Hawaiian. He was smiling the entire day and simple enjoying life. We had a lesson with a Indian man who I had met with Elder York. We taught about the restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Maybe it was because it was in English and I understood every word said, but it was fantastic! As we invited the man to pray about the message we shared and to read the Book of Mormon, we realized he was a bit more interested in simply learning rather than finding out if it was true or not. But, we will meet with him again in a week or so and hopefully he will have a softer heart.
Miracle/"Tendy Mercy" for the Week
I often have talked about how God leads us in this work. On companion exchanges with Elder York, we started to do an apartment, but I felt a strong prompting to not do the last two floors, but to go back two days later with Elder Tofa. Not thinking too much about it, I did just that. Last night, Elder Tofa and I knocked on those two floors, but didn't seem to see the "miracle" I was quite expecting. As we got back down to the apartment, Elder Tofa pulled out his iPad to see how to get to the member's house we planned to visit.

As he did that, he noticed according to the iPad map, we were right across the street from two other members whose name we didn't recognize. The house itself was dwarfed by 5-6 story apartment buildings in all directions. If it wasn't for the map, we wouldn't have recognized it. After praying and feeling good about it, we went over and knocked on their door. At first, an older Japanese lady came out. Happy to see us, she pointed to her ears and said, "Mimi ga warui, gomennasai," meaning, "sorry, I can't hear very well." She said that her and her husband were busy eating, so know was probably a bad time. At that moment, a lightbulb went off in her head, and she shuffled back inside.

She them came back out, and asked us to open the gate and come inside. As we entered the genkan (entrance), we were met by an old man with a smile beaming across his face. He was completely deaf, but seemed to be happier than a kid on Christmas to see us! He kept shaking his wife and doign sign language to her to make sure we would understand how happy he was to see us. We shared the new Easter video (see below) that had captions, and then left on our way. Elder Tofa and I left, soooo grateful we had followed the promptings of the Spirit to visit them. Moments like that make the mission worth. Pure joy on that man's faith from us simply showing up.

Video and Invitation for the Week
Easter is coming up! Check out these videos! The first is big picture about easter, but the rest are stories of people who's lives had changed through Christ. Please watch a few and share one with a friend who you think it could help!

Pictures for the Week.
Lots from this week!
They are all a combination of our P-day last Saturday and a picture of Elder Strickland and I on his first shikansen!






















Videos:
1) Heading up the Fukuoka tower on P-day
Note: An error with the videos prevented them from being uploaded.

2) The Shinkansen!
Note: An error with the videos prevented them from being uploaded.

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, April 2, 2017

The Book of Mormon and a Special Man from Myanmar

こんにちは!

Another great week in Fukuoka, Japan. The more I think about it, the more amazing it is to me that I've lived in Japan now for a year and a half. When I turned in my mission papers, I had absolutely no idea where the Lord would call me. Now I often forget that I myself don't quite belong here...Just this past week I saw a  "gaijin" (foreigner) on the street and thought to myself how much he stood how compared to the rest of us (us as in the Japanese).
Notes/Stories from the Week
  • The Book of Mormon
    • This past week on Tuesday at Missionary Leadership Council and at the first zone conference of the transfer, Elder Strickland and I had the opportunity to train and testify about the Book of Mormon. The basic message of our training was that "The Book of Mormon, combined with the Spirit, is your most powerful resource in conversion" (PMG 104). In the Book of Mormon, an ancient Prophet named Alma teaches his son that "these records and their words brought [thousands of the Lamanites] unto ... the knowledge of the Lord their God, and to rejoice in Jesus Christ their Redeemer" (Alma 37:9). Whether it was Ammon in Alma 18 or Aaron in Alma 22, they used the scriptures as the bulk of their teaching. The Lord has given us the Book of Mormon for our day, and thus we need to "use it as the main source for teaching the restored truth" (PMG 111). Here is a talk from a modern apostle about the importance of this book. I recommend watching the video! https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2009/10/safety-for-the-soul?lang=eng. Yes, he is bold, but wouldn't you be to if you knew what he does? Let me know if you have any questions about it!
Miracle/"Tendy Mercy" for the Week
Teton San! Teton is from Myanmar and is working here in Japan. I met him with Elder Krebs a few months ago, but after coming to church once he went back to Myanmar for a few months. This past week on a companion exchange with Elder Rawlinson, when we passed by his apartment on our bikes (our plan was to go to a completely different part of town), it was like a wall suddenly shot up in front of me as I slammed on my breaks. Then one of those "phone calls" I talked about a few weeks ago (See "Finding by the Spirit" on February 25 (elderkevincolton.blogspot.com). We feel very prompted to visit Teton (I hadn't been there in months), so we do. Sure enough, he is home and a completely different person from last time. We ask if he has time now for a lesson, and he ends up walking us to a nearby park. We have a 30 or so minute lesson about the basics of God and the Book of Mormon and what the Gospel can do for him. He is coming to church on Sunday!

Fast forward to last night, and Elder Strickland (my companion) feels we need to visit him. Sure enough, right after we knock on his door, he comes up the stairs with groceries. Perfect timing for Elder Strickland to meet him before Sunday.

Video and Invitation for the Week
If you are busy, here is a 60 second video for you that explains the basics of the Book of Mormon.


Pictures for the Week.
1: The last picture with Elder Yamanashi (previous companion).


2: The doki (all leaving Japan together)! left to right: Sister Rogers, me, Elder Strickland, Elder Barker, Elder Jensen.


3: The Shimonoseki primary! They came in last week! 


Have a great week!
Elder Kevin Cash Colton
Japan Fukuoka Mission

ケビン C. コルトン 長老
日本福岡伝道部