Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Four Chords, McDonalds, and some Flood Clean Up

こんにちは!


Another great week in good ol' Beppu, Japan! Tons of incredible moments actually.

Notes/Stories from the Week
-The Four Chord Song: My sophomore year in college, I gave a mini "TedTalk" in one of my classes based off "The four Chord Song" (Look it up on YouTube)." The basis idea of the song is that the majority of all pop songs have the same four chords used over and over (I, V, vi, IV). If you have someone playing those base notes over and over on a piano (ex. C -> G -> A-> F), you can jam out to tons of songs. This past district meeting, I put type on those for notes and then had a missionary with no experience with piano, Elder Ricaldi, play those four notes over and over. I then had three of the district members take turns trying to make up their own melody while Elder Ricaldi kept playing the base. They all sounded great! I then explained them how tons of other songs also matched (see picture of the whiteboard).
The point of the lesson was that if 1) We have our foundation on Christ, any effort will give will be turned into a beautiful melody (Helaman 5:12), and 2) If we base our teaching on the Book of Mormon and rely on the Spirit, everything in lessons will work out. I think I was the one who enjoyed it the most, but thats okay :) Definitely one of my favorites trainings on the mission.

McDonalds with the LaxBros: This past week we went out to McDonalds with one of the freshman we met on the APU lacrosse team! We got to know him way well and introduce more of what we are doing. He had only seen us in sports clothes, so his first question when he saw us in our normal missionary clothes (shirt and tie) was, "Did you just come back from work?" We had fun explaining that one. Not an investigator quite yet, but he wants to learn about God and whether He is real or not!

Flood Clean Up: Many of you have probably seen on the news, but there was pretty terrible flooding recently in an area close to us. This past Saturday, Elder Sekine and I went with the Bishop of the ward and many other members to help clean up.The damage was pretty shocking actually. Our time was spend shoving out mud from two houses. See pictures below!


Miracle/"Tendy Mercy" for the Week
-"Atatakai!"- One of our investigators, Teraji San, has been progressing very quickly recently! At one point in our lesson this past Friday, she mentioned some fear about being able to follow Christ. Elder Sekine and I felt like we should testify about our own weaknesses and our the Lord has helped us. As I shared my story about overcoming a stutter, she all of a sudden stopped me, and said, "atatakai!" She then continued, "I just got a very warm feeling across my entire body that feels really good! What is this?" With smiles on our faces, Elder Sekine and I testified of the Spirit and it's role in conversion. By the end of the lesson, she was excited to be baptized! Quite the miracle!

Video and Invitation for the Week
Forgiveness. Its a fun one :) As a mission we are reading the Doctrine and Covenants each morning for 30 minutes. This past week while reading Doctrine and Covenants 64, it stood out to me that, "Of you it is required to forgive all men." I have found that in my life, the hardest people to forgive are those who don't forgive others. Yes, I realized this past week how hypocritical that is. Anyways, in the institute manual about those scriptures, I found this quote that stuck out to me.

Elder Marion D. Hanks spoke about the importance of forgiving others: “Someone has written: ‘. . . the withholding of love is the negation of the spirit of Christ, the proof that we never knew him, that for us he lived in vain. It means that he suggested nothing in all our thoughts, that we were not once near enough to him to be seized with the spell of his compassion for the world.’ . . . “What is our response when we are offended, misunderstood, unfairly or unkindly treated, or sinned against, made an offender for a word, falsely accused, passed over, hurt by those we love, our offerings rejected? Do we resent, become bitter, hold a grudge? Or do we resolve the problem if we can, forgive, and rid ourselves of the burden? “The nature of our response to such situations may well determine the nature and quality of our lives, here and eternally.... “But not only our eternal salvation depends upon our willingness and capacity to forgive wrongs committed against us. Our joy and satisfaction in this life, and our true freedom, depend upon our doing so. When Christ bade us turn the other cheek, walk the second mile, give our cloak to him who takes our coat, was it to be chiefly out of consideration for the bully, the brute, the thief? Or was it to relieve the one aggrieved of the destructive burden that resentment and anger lay upon us? “

Thus, let us plead to God for help to have the charity to forgive all, no matter what they have done to us. Here is a video that shares the secret!


Also some awesome quotes about forgiveness!


Pictures for the Week.
Two Sets this week!
Set 1- Flood cleanup in Hita









Set 2:
1-2: Failed cool jumping pictures! This is the district!




3: The four chord songs (see explanation above)



4: The good ol' four and half hour bus ride to Kumamoto



5-10: Monkey Mountain!








Video 1:
The Flood damage
video


Video 2: 
The most addicting meat song ever!
video


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, July 10, 2017

Back to Kumamoto and Some Awesome Members!

こんにちは!


I feel like I was just emailing yesterday! Another week down!

Notes/Stories from the Week
-On Thursday we found ourselves on another 4.5 hour bus ride to Kumamoto for interviews with the mission president! Being with President and Sister Egan is always incredible. Their role in my life has become something like a loving, strict parents who push me to be better than I see my self, best-friends who can laugh with and at me :), and really those cool Uncle and Aunt who I love to be around so I can be more like them. There were probably many reasons why God assigned me to serve in the Japan, Fukuoka mission, and being with them was certain one of them.
-Some of the lessons this week:

1) Another fun lesson with Francious from Haiti. She always has a lot of small questions about things like the age of baptism, why we worship on Sunday, and other things like that,  but we always try to tie it back to the Book of Mormon and the restoration. Our message is rather simply actually, a loving Heavenly Father has and always will tell us what we need to know through prophets of God. This past Sunday that finally clicked for her. She realized the potential of her unanswered spiritual questions being able to be answered. Pretty incredible!

2) Teraji is also doing well. She is a japanese lady in her 40s or so and is exploring the possibility of God being real. We retaught her the message of the restoration and it clicked for her this time! She understood a bit more about how because God loves her, He has given her everything from prophets, to Jesus Christ, to the Book of Mormon and Bible, and the Spirit. She realized at least a small amount of how much He is doing to help her.

Miracle/"Tendy Mercy" for the Week
I once again learned the important of member joints in lessons this past week. As missionaries, we do our best to teach the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but we are largely foreigners in whatever place we serve in. Thus, having local residents that are members help in lessons are a HUGE help. For example, in Teraji San's lesson, we had two joints who just like her, and honestly the majority of the Japanese population, grew up thinking that there really is no true God, and that religion is most man-made. To most Japanese people, they feel they don't really have a choice to not be Buddhist. Their ancestors were and expected them to be, so they feel they need to continue their family traditions. The sad truth is that nearly everyone we talk to doesn't believe in any of it anymore, but because being Japanese to them means being Buddhist, anything but "Buddhism" is a foreign idea that they can't believe and follow, even if they want to. 1) I can't explain it all in a short amount of time, 2) I don't fully understand it all, but that is the basic gist.

Anyways, having Japanese members able to explain the different between culture and religious truths, as well as how they balance being Japanese and a Christian is a life saver for missionaries. It is very difficult, but I've learned that to truly be a Mormon/Christian, that has to be the priority. For example, more important than being American is that I am a Mormon/Christian. The same goes with the Japanese. To truly be converted, we all must see ourselves first as children of God, and then as members of a nationality/culture.

Video and Invitation for the Week
The link below is to a collection of videos that are made up of quotes from last years General Conference, where the leaders of this church speak to us (Kind of like Paul writing epistles to us for our day). please find your favorite and share with a friend!


Pictures for the Week.
1: The stud himself! Good ol' sterling hanging out with President Uchtdorf!


2-3: Having a party cooking meet we got from a member! Go out and buy meat for the missionaries who live close to you! They will love you!



4: Elder Ricaldi on the bus ride to Kumamoto!



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

Kumamoto, Some Haitians, and Lacrosse!

こんにちは!

Another party of a week! This week had all kinds of experiences actually. I'll try my best to describe them.
Notes/Stories from the Week
-The highlight was zone conference in Kumamoto. It is a 4.5 hour bus ride there! I tried to make it effective, but for those who know me well, I have skill/curse of being able to sleep anywhere at any time...Anyways, the conference was fantastic! About 60 or so missionaries were there, including President Egan and his wife. This training included everything from talks on diligence to workshops on teaching skills. Over a year ago I actually served for 6 months in Kumamoto, so it was fun being back. The Kumamoto Relief Soceity (members of the congregation) prepared food for us so I got to see tons of the members I got to know well. The highlight is down below in the miracle for the week section!
-On Thursday I went on a comp exchange with Elder Walbeck, a young missionary with more motivation than anyone I've ever met. One of the lessons we taught was with these two Haitians, Ralph and Francious, who are getting their master degrees at a nearby college. They have been searching for their entire lives for truth, and have studied with just about every church possible. We met them while picking up trash for service a few weeks ago and Elder Walbeck ended up giving him their phone number. Fast forward to this past Monday, and Ralph calls Elder Walbeck saying he wants to meet!
Long story short, the lesson was incredible. They had a few life long, soul searching questions, such as confusion about the trinity and why there are so many churches, that could be answered very simply through the Book of Mormon. They are now enthusiastically taking the lessons and loving finding the answers to life they have wanted for so long. Quite the miracle actually.
-Saturday morning was lacrosse at APU again. WAy hot, but way fun.
-Fast forward to last night, and Elder Sekine and I were out knocking on a seven story apartment. To put it in perspective, we are dripping in sweat from the heat, we just got dendoed from Jehovah Witnesses (These three were way nice actually. We talked with them briefly about how Japanese culture is very in line with the Bible), and across the street is a giant Pachinko, a slot gambling building that is way popular in Japan, that has a packed parking lot. We feel we need to start with the fifth floor, so we climb up the stairs, say a prayer, and start knocking doors. We talked with a few people with interest, but the highlight was the last door. As we knock, we hear grumblings from inside that slowly move closer to the door. As the door opens, a rather short man covered in tattoos comes out in rage. He is furious at us for knocking on his door. 
He threatens to both call the police and take us to some Muslim friends he has. As there is no danger in both, I invite to do both of those things. Even more upset now that we don't seem to be afraid of him, he makes a phone call to his landlord. My companion talks to his landlord on the phone who apologizes to us for this mans behavior, and politely asks us to go somewhere else for the night. We end up by thanking this man for his times, and leaving.
Why of all the floors, we felt strongly we needed to start on the 5th floor, I still don't know exactly. But after that experience my companion got way pumped to finish dendo for the night. Definitely a good companionship relationship building moment :) We laughed about it all night.
-Then this morning all of Honbu came to Beppu to pack up all of the Ueno couples apartment goods to close down the apartment! It's always a party seeing President Egan and my passed companions, Elder Strickland and Elder Sherrill.
Miracle/"Tendy Mercy" for the Week
As I said above, this past week we headed to Kumamoto for a double-zone conference. The highlight for me was the closing song, "I Know that My Redeemer Lives." The second the song started, I received a very strong answer to a something I had been asking God for over a year. It also then hit me that it would be me like zone conference, and I lost it. Explaining the emotion is impossible with words, but it was a feeling of total peace, joy, and happiness. I was laughing as tears came down my face as I thought of all the missionary conferences I had been to on my mission. As over 60 missionaries sang that song, I couldn't deny the power of the gathering of missionaries.

Video and Invitation for the Week
Two videos for this week, the first is a one minute summary of the answer to Ralph and Francious's question about why there are so many churches. The second is a link to 12 real life stories of people overcoming addictions through the help of God. As addictions often include difficult circumstances, these videos are pretty extreme. I didn't plan on sharing these today, but for all those who either are struggling with some sort of addiction or know someone who is, please realize there is a bright future if you decide to trust in God.



Pictures for the Week.
1-2: The stud himself! Good ol' sterling!



3-4: The Ueno couple sadly finished their mission this past week and headed back to Tokuyama. He was the group leader here for a year and is already missed!




5: Me teaching Elder Sekine the 10 commandments based off drawings my dad taught when I was a kid.




6: It gets a bit hot...Elder Sekine



7-8: The lax bros. As you can see, the lax culture in JApan is similar to America haha this is a few of the APU lacrosse team members.




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