Monday, June 26, 2016
Hey everyone! I don't have a ton of time to email this week; we have a concert we are going to in Tokyo today, and we have to leave by about 4 pm, so I'm going to make this as simple as I can, because we have a lot to do, and not too much time!
This week was packed. We have been traveling everywhere. There has been so much to do, and not much time to do it. President Wada leaves tomorrow, and so there has been a lot of bustling and hustling around the mission to make sure everything is prepped for our new Mission President, President Warnick.
This week we had zone meeting, and it was fantastic. I had my first opportunity to act as a translator, which was hard, but my testimony of the Gift of Tongues has increased ten-fold. The Spirit was so strong. So many great testimonies, and great examples. We received some very inspired trainings, and received a lot of revelation. Great experience. Immediately after that, we started our splits with the Zone leaders. I went with Elder Matsumoto. We had an amazing time together. We saw so many miracles. We were housing, and found about five people who because PIs in one small block. The Spirit was very strong, and helped lead us to those prepared children. Elder Matsumoto became one of my very good friends. We just clicked. It was a great experience.
After that, we headed back into our own area the very next day in order to hasten the work in the vineyard we have been asked to tend. We had a very powerful lesson with one of our "Eternal Investigators." He has been investigating the church for about five years now, and has said he will get baptized when his mother says it's okay, but his mother is very opposed. We really hit on why baptism is so important, and how it truly is a wonderful gift from God. The Spirit was so strong. We were able to see his countenance change, and the Spirit of the Lord burn within him. He looked me right in the eyes and said, "Elder Tolen, before this lesson, I did not have the courage to try and convince my mother to let me get baptized. But now, because of you two Elders, I know we can do it together." It was one of the most amazing experiences I have had on my mission. The Spirit was present, and hearts were changed. If there is one thing I have learned from my mission, it is that the Spirit is a real being. He exists, and is present in every single person's life. Every single person that has ever walked on the face of this Earth has felt the influence of him in their lives at one time or another.
My challenge to you: do not delay acting on a prompting. There is so much to be done, and so much joy to be had, and the Lord is ready to guide us there, but He can't steer a parked car! Put yourself in gear, and get driving. As long as you are doing your best to follow the promptings of the Spirit, you can never fail. Do not get me wrong, however. Mistakes will come by th truck-load. I can promise that from personal experience. You will mess up, and you will fall. And you know what? It will hurt. Sometimes more than others. But the key to success is standing up, and moving forward again. You only truly fail when you decide to give up. Until that moment, hope still can, and will be found.
I talk about hope a lot in all of my emails, and it's because throughout all of the trials, tribulation, mocking, embarrassment, and pain, that's the one thing I've been able to hold onto. The same goes for everyone. Hope is the power that propels you on your next step, and the step that proceeds that. Hope is the light at the end of the tunnel. Sometimes the tunnel is long, and we can't see what's between us and the end, but the light will always be there, constant.
The church has released a new video based on the talk given by Elder Holland in October of 2013 entitled, "Like a Broken Vessel." It is a powerful talk, and an equally powerful video. I recommend it to all who feel like their burdens are too much to bear, or feel like giving up the race. I plead with you, don't give up the fight. Take one more hit, give it all you've got, and then hit the pavement running, and I can promise you, the Spirit will guide your every footstep.
"Press forward, Saints,
with stead-fast faith in Christ,
With hope's bright flame a-light
In heart and mind,
With love of God
And love of all man-kind.
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!"
Press forward my brothers and sisters. All things are possible. I now go to repent, and then invite others to do so.
I love you all,
|Us at Game Night...We Played a Lot of Ping Pong!|
|Me and Elder Jenner|