Monday, July 10, 2017

Kumamoto, Some Haitians, and Lacrosse!


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

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