Monday, June 26, 2017

There is No One Like Our God!

こんにちは!


Wow! Overall one of the best weeks since I've been in Japan. Lots going on, and that's a good thing for missionaries! We went to Nobeoka this past week for a baptism interview (three hour train ride south) and are heading to Kumamoto for zone conference (four hour bus ride west) for a few days. Party!

Notes/Stories from the Week
-God is blessing us so much! This past week each companionship in the district (four companionships in three difference congregations) had at least one investigator come to church. Overall 9 investigators came between the three congregations! Our investigator Ken (see pictures below) came to church and loved it! I translated the first hour for him and Elder Walbeck helped him with the second hour (Sunday school). 

-We also had one of our English class investigators come to church for the first time and after a lesson with her, she said she wants to take all the lessons! Our group has only 6 or so active members, but another five investigators came! The group leader and his wife's mission are ending this week, so a new group leader was called. Tons of changes, but it's fun to see the hand of the Lord in all of it. The new group leader left the church for about 30 years and just came back 6 or so months ago. Incredible man who loves to feed the missionaries! He was the one who gave us those meals we have been having after district meeting. We are excited to work with him!

Miracle/"Tendy Mercy" for the Week
This past Friday Elder Sekine and I headed down to an area called Nobeoka, about a three hour train ride south of here (see video below of the train ride). One of the their investigators, Okubo San, has decided to be baptized, so we went down for the baptism interview. I have had the opportunity to do a few baptism interviews now (the purpose is make sure they are fully prepared and ready to make the covenant of baptism with God), but she was something special. She is in her 60s and up until two months ago had no idea of God or the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The interview itself took over an hour because of how excited she was to tell me all of the details of her conversion experience over the past few months. 

She mentioned things like (in Japanese of course): "My entire view of the world has changed. Simple things like clouds, bugs, and weather aren't just random, useless things we see, but creations of God," and "I still have one big question that I want God to answer for me. Why did I have to go 60 years of my life without having a strong relationship with him?" She has read all of the Book of Mormon and a book called, "Gospel Principles," is studying the Bible, and loves all of it. It is truly a miracle to see what the Gospel of Jesus Christ can do to a person in only two months. She now loves life and looks forward to each and everyday. People like her are why we as missionaries leave our families and "normal lives" for two years. It is just the beginning for her, but it is incredible how God's love for His children transcends all cultures.

Video and Invitation for the Week
A simple explanation of why Okubo San loves life now and looks forward to everyday!


Pictures for the Week.
1-2: A meal in Nobeoka some of the members gave us after the baptism interview with Okubo San (in the blue).



3: The cute little train we road for two hours coming back from Nobeoka.



4: A meal after church! Ken is the one in the blue (he's a stud).



5: In case y'all didn't know, I have the coolest nephew in the world (or so Ii am told by my obviously unbiased family). My grandpa (Sterling Colton), two brothers, and my nephew (Sterling Colton- named after his great-grandpa).



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, June 19, 2017

ラクロス!!! (That means lacrosse in Japanese)

こんにちは!


I have officially completed one of my goals I set when I can to Japan. I played lacrosse in Japan! This past Tuesday while biking to an appointment we saw some Japanese guys passing a lacrosse ball at a park. I have been in Japan for over a year now and have never seen that before! My companion was a bit surprised as I abruptly slammed on my brakes and headed over to them. With no reservation (lacrosse players are chill in Japan as well) then let me pass with them for a few minutes. It turns out they play on a college team, APU, close by. We actually have a few friends at the college and have been there a few times. Anyways, they said I'm free to join them in practice anytime.

Fast forward to Saturday morning and I'm at their practice! I got permission from my mission president to go but not to pad up and play. Nevertheless, it was awesome! The team is pretty small, about 20 players, but I was surprisingly impressed with them! After practice we stayed and shot with them for some time and shared a few tips. We then went out to eat with them and had a chance to introduce a bit more who we are as missionaries and what message we share. We got a few phone numbers and are going back in two weeks to try to set up some lessons. It was pretty cool to see such a unique sport played so similar across two very different cultures.

Notes/Stories from the Week
-As always, lots of great parts of the week:

1) We have a German in the apartment now! Elder Nishizawa transferred out and Elder Ricardi transferred it. He is from Germany and fluent in German, English, and Spanish. Quite the humble stud. He is an incredible soccer player who loves to workout, so my asa undo (morning workouts) are about to get a bit more intense. Today we went on a 25 minute run. He is the one with way suteki longer, hair in the picture below.

2) Our strongest investigators right now are still Ken from Ghana and Lex from Fiji. Both incredible people trying to find spiritual truth in this life. Ken has a Christian background and gives pretty incredible prayers full of praise for God and all He has done for him.

3) Last night we had a lesson with the Japanese husband of a Philippine member. He is a rather "tough" Japanese man who, like most Japanese people, believes religion is all man-made. He let us share a short message with him and will one day get there! It is fascinating how the typically Japanese person raised to believe in no sense of a higher being. 

Miracle/"Tendy Mercy" for the Week
Like most Christians, we believe we can have a relationship with God. That relationship is largely based on prayer and scripture study. We talk to God through prayer, and He talks to us through a variety of means, including scriptures as well as in our mind and our heart. One of the blessings of baptism by proper authority is that we receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost, which allows the literal constant companion of the Holy Ghost and guidance from a perfect Father in Heaven. This past week I had a few of those experience to where God was literally answering my prayers. One of these experience was as I was stressing a bit about what to do for college after the mission. Sure enough, God called my fears and told me through "exactly what I need to know through my thought and heart. Another answer came through my mission president, one of my past church leaders (Bishop Klomp), a member of the church here, and someone else all sharing with me Proverbs 3:5-6 over the course of a week. Either 1) I'm crazy, or 2) God is real. I'd like to think the second one :)

Video and Invitation for the Week
This is one of the videos we share with those with a Non-Christian background we meet with to introduce the idea of God. I love it!


Pictures for the Week.
1: The Oita church (not sure if I've sent this before). We go there for church once a month.


2: My adorable alien of a nephew :)




3: The Ueno couple made this for Elder Nishizawa for his last pday!


4: Elder Nishizawa on his last night of his mission. Shining our shoes! #respect!


5: Watching elder Nishizawa off on the bus!


6: Me after successfully disassembling elder nishizawas bike and putting it in the bag! Not sure why I didn't change clothes!



7: Udon with the crew!





Elder Kevin Cash Colton
Japan Fukuoka Mission

ケビン C. コルトン 長老
日本福岡伝道部


Elder Kevin Cash Colton
Japan Fukuoka Mission

ケビン C. コルトン 長老
日本福岡伝道部

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Free Food, Cool Investigators, and Still an Uncle - The Life!

こんにちは!


Overall, fantastic week! I'm still an uncle, I'm still in Japan, and I found out today I'll be staying will Elder Sekine for another transfer (six week). Thus, I can't complain. Life is good!
Notes/Stories from the Week
-Lots of great parts of the week:

1) My companion got sick this past week, so yesterday went on splits with the others elders in the apartment while Elder Sekine stayed with the missionary couple. The highlight was a lesson at night with a Japanese college student trying to figure out the purpose of life. As the lesson started, two Germans came up the stairs and started to talk with us! They were actually staying at his place for free! It's called coach surfing and sounds like quite the deal. Erika, one of the Germans, had actually been to a Mormon party before and knew the basics of our beliefs! Way cool person.

Anyways, we taught what we call the Plan of Salvation (where we came from, why we are here, and after life where we are going).  He loved it and accepted the invitation to be baptized next month! We are excited to continue to work with him!

2) Ken! He is from Ghana and is quite the stud. Fluent in both English and Chinese! Very strong faith in Christ and loved the Book of Mormon when we introduced it to him.

3) Another free meat party after district meeting (see pictures).

4) Had an investigator who hated the idea of prayer growing up (grew up Buddhist), pray for the first time at the end of a lesson. Small miracle to some, but huge miracle for us!

Miracle/"Tendy Mercy" for the Week
Last week I got a call from one of the Samoan college student members of the group saying that her friend from Fiji is interested in learning about what we believe and will be coming to church on Sunday. It turns out that church this past week was at Oita (we go there once a month) and that there was a meal after it. Thus, he spent from 9am to around 4pm with us learning about our believes. His name is Lex and he is pretty incredible. He is trying to figure out spiritual truths in this life, and was fascinated by our beliefs. Elder Walbeck and I taught him the message of the restoration and I loved it! English speaking missionaries don't know how great they have it! Lex is way laid back, so teaching by the Spirit was very easy. For some reason, teaching in English makes it more powerful for me. We are meeting with him again this week. Please pray for him!

Video and Invitation for the Week
Message and blog about families! Please read and share!


Pictures for the Week.
1-2: Tsukiyaki party after district meeting! Thanks Nishizono Kyodai!!!



3: Brother Sato! After district meeting each week we pick up trash with some of the group members. Brother Sato is one of them!


4: The district wearing all of Elder Mean's birthday presents. The training was on faith and we managed to use all of the presents throughout the training.



5-6: Went on a comp exchange this past week with Elder Chesnut. We decided to wake up a little early to go and do some trail running. Sadly, the bike ride to get to the trail took longer than expected, so it ended up being a 40 minute bike ride up a mountain, and then flying back in about 10. Way fun.




7: The oita church!



Video
In a not racist way, I now understand why in my middle school and high school band/orchestra most for the most skilled performers were from Eastern Asia countries. This is a normal middle school band that practices as a band everyday. That is normal here is Japan. Everything from school clubs to an adult's profession is often everyday. The Japanese culture and idea of what hard work is compared to America's is very different. This band was incredible! Blew my middle school band out of the water.



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, June 5, 2017

I'm an UNCLE!!!!!

こんにちは!

My brother and sister in law are parents!!!!!!! Congrats Jared and Eden!!!! Sterling Joseph Colton was born this past week! See picture below! Sorry Jared and Eden, I've already decided to be the fun uncle who lets him do all the stuff his parents won't let him (stay up late, eat all junk food he wants, etc) :) I'm excited for you two!
That was by far the highlight of the week, and of the mission so far, but the past week here in Japan was great as well!

Notes/Stories from the Week
-This past Saturday Kugimiya San was baptized! The baptism was in an area about a 20 minute car ride away, but we went with one of our investigators, Arai. He is a stud from India who I have gotten to know pretty well over the past few weeks. He is Hindu and hadn't studied to much about Christianity in the past. On the car ride there and back, as well as throughout the service, he learned the ins and outs of Christianity (both Mormonism and other faiths). Afterwords one of the members made tons of okonomiyaki!

-P-day! The district (four companionships of Elders) went to a Monkey mountain place (see pictures below) and had a water gun fight at a nearby park. I guess a bunch of gaijin (foreigners) running around with water guns is scary, so we had a little encounter with the police :) As one of the japanese missionaries explained to them who we were, Elder Walbeck had the guts to go up to one of them and try to talk to him about the gospel haha good times.

Miracle/"Tendy Mercy" for the Week
I gotta go with Sterling Joseph Colton! There is not much more of a miracle that a healthy baby being brought into this world! It makes me laugh that there will be a mini Jared running around in a few years, but I'm excited to see Sterling follow his stud of a Dad's example.

Video and Invitation for the Week
One of those pump up videos that we aren't alone!


Pictures for the Week.
1-4: Monkey mountain!





5-6: One of the members gave us tons of steaks to eat after a district meeting! Paradise!




7: The Beppu group missionaries!



8: The district!



9: more monkey mountain!



10: The grand finale! Sterling!!!!




Elder Kevin Cash Colton
Japan Fukuoka Mission
ケビン C. コルトン 長老
日本福岡伝道部