Elder Tolen's Transfer History

Elder Tolen's Transfer History
Elder Tolen's Transfer History


Thursday, October 30, 2014

MTC Halfway!

Well. I'm over halfway done with the MTC! Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh. I really want to be out in the field, but I still have so much to learn.

Halloween is tomorrow, and my roommates and I are going trick or treating. That's going to be a lot of fun.
Carving foam "carve-able" pumpkins...

I guess they really can be carved! We weren't sure...

So this week almost my entire district got to sing in choir, and if you don't know, choir in the MTC is one of the funnest things to do here. We get to perform every Tuesday at our weekly devotional! This upcoming Tuesday, there is supposedly a member of the Twelve coming, and they are going to be broadcasting live! So if you want to hear a General Authority speak, or want to hear some good music, tune in at 7 pm MST. It will be awesome.

Well, our 先輩 [senior-ranking missionaries...those who have been in the MTC longest at this point] leave this week. Which is really sad, but I know they are going to kill it out in Japan. So it turns out that soon, we'll also have to teach an actual 日本人 [Japanese person] over Skype. That's kind of scary, since they won't know any English.

I figured some of you might want to know what a day in the MTC is like, so I thought I would share it with you:

6:30 amRise and Shine
6:40 amGym Time
7:30 amGet ready for the day
8:00 amBreakfast
8:30 amDaily planning
9:00 amPersonal study
10:00 amCompanion study
11:00 amLanguage study
12:00 pmAdditional study (All of this study time is done in the class room)
12:50 pmLunch
1:35 pmTALL (TALL is a language learning software, it's actually really useful)
2:30 pmClass (this includes P.I.(Progressing Investigator, which is us teaching a lesson, in Japanese I might add, to an "Investigator," or our teacher), Language study, and coaching)
5:30 pmDinner
6:20 pmClass
9:30 pmReturn to residence hall
10:15 pmQuiet time
10:30 pmLights out

And that is what an average day at the MTC is like. Well, I'm going to include a few pictures this time, a lot of them are going to be from the Temple walks we take every Sunday. One of them え [for example] is of our Kohai, Elder Chang. He's from Taiwan. Another one is of Elder Hunter, he's from my ward, and the last ones are going to be of Elder Law, Elder Lee (the two elders from China), and of us carving "pumpkins"! I just hope you guys know that I care about you, and I hope you are all doing alright. You guys are always in my prayers!
愛してます![I love you!]

トレン長老 [Tolen Elder]
Elder Tolen with Elder Lee (China) and Elder King (headed to Tokyo next week)

Elder Tolen and Elder Hunter from the Battle Creek 9th Ward

Elder Tolen and Elder Hunter

I think this is Elder Chang from Taiwan...?

Another goofy selfie from Elder Tolen

Elder Law helping to carve the foam pumpkins
Elder Phillips (one of Zach's MTC roommates) working on pumpkins


Thursday, October 23, 2014

Pillow Fights and Peppers

Whew. This week was quite a blast. We had a couple devotionals; one of them was given by Chad Lewis. Those of you who know football know who that is. It was quite amazing. He is an amazing speaker.

My companion is now the D.L. [District Leader] which is pretty cool. Our Dai-Senpai left, so in two weeks we will have been here the longest out of all the Japanese speakers. And we will still have 3 weeks left in the MTC.

I got to be a host missionary, which was fun! It was fun to help new people come into the MTC. What wasn't fun was finding out all of the people I helped would be leaving almost a month before I did. Sometimes I feel like the MTC is really long, but I couldn't be more grateful for it.

Elder Tolen and Elder Dunn as host missionaries

So I found my cousin Ryan Morrill! He came in about a week ago and I loved seeing him again. I found Gerrit Burgener yesterday, too.  I didn't get a picture w/ him because he had just gotten there and I didn't want to bombard him or anything, but I did meet him and give him a hug. I have yet to see Elder Hunter.

Cousins! Elder Morrill and Elder Tolen

One of my favorite people here is Elder Law. I'm including a picture. He's from China. He's probably one of my best friends here in the MTC.  His companion Elder Lee is also from China, and he's also one of my best friends. I love their broken English, and they love to give hugs.

Elder Law, from China

This week had quite a few things happen. First of all, my room gets kinda crazy at night. Like really crazy (one night the security guard had to tell us to be quiet, but what can I say. We've all gotten really close, so it's hard.). My room had a pillow fight. Well... Fight isn't the best word for it. I think warfare would better fit the description. Kono wa shinjistsu desu. I mean like at one point, one of the beds was being used as a pillow. That was quite fun.

Also, my companion received some peppers in the mail. Like the really hot kind. I didn't eat one, because I actually care about my internals. But it was hilarious to watch other people eat them.

Elder Dunn with his hot pepper from home
Another really fun thing we get to do is sing in the MTC choir. That is probably one of my favorite things here (besides the important things like the Spirit, the Gospel, and other things of that sort).

Well I just want you guys to know that I care about you, and I pray for you all! 

Elder Tolen

Host missionary for incoming Elders!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Cereal-Eating, Painting-Stealing Senpai!

This week was chock full of fun stuff.  To begin the week, we had a cereal eating contest, to see if we could set a district record. As a district, we ate 52 bowls of cereal. That was 7 people. We were missing three people. But we had heard the record was 38. So. Yeah. That happened.

Then that night we had a devotional from the director of media for the LDS church. I can't say anything, but some crazy stuff is going to happen by Christmas. Keep your eyes out. Just a friendly tip.

The rest of the week was pretty boring, but I feel like I'm bonding with my roommates more and more. Like earlier this week, they have these paintings in all of the classrooms, but each classroom only had one, and some of them weren't even being used. So. One thing led to another, and by the end of the day we had four huge paintings in our classroom. Needless to say, we had to put them all back. Lame. It looked really cool. I feel like my companion and my roommates are going to be great friends I have throughout my life.

It is kind of overwhelming here, but it's that overwhelming part that pushes you to be better. I have been writing down three things every day that I feel grateful for, and I find myself being grateful for things that I didn't think people could be grateful for, like the clouds.

My favorite thing in the MTC is the Spirit that resides here. My least favorite thing is having to wait until Thursday to email everyone. But if you write me letters, I can write/send those at any time!

So this week we got こはい!(kohai= people newer than us going to japan, so now I'm a senpai.) That's pretty cool! My cousin [Ryan Morrill] came into the MTC yesterday, so I'm keeping my eye out for him, so a picture will be posted soon.

Well, I just want you guys to know that I love all of you, and think about each of you. Please if you get the chance, write me a letter. I love those. With letters I can read them, ponder them, and then write a response instead of writing a rushed email with the short amount of time I have a day.  Or use "DearElder.com"--I love getting those, too.  I miss you guys, but I can't wait to get out into the field! Ah! I'm almost 1/3 of the way done with my MTC experience, and it's been crazy. My companion and I have been teaching "investigators" since the first day. Here's the catch: The lesson has to be in Japanese. It was really hard at first, but it becomes easier everyday. I love it here. Please feel free to write/email me. I love you guys, and I'll be sure to keep you all updated!

A friendly reminder taped to the inside of the bathroom stall door in the MTC.

Zach making his best "Izzy" face

Zach with an MTC buddy...(I'll ask him who it is...)

Paintings "stolen" from other classrooms around the MTC and hung in Zach's classroom. For a day.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Drinking Water from a Fire Hydrant

Well, I've officially been in the MTC more than a week. How crazy is that? I think it's pretty crazy. It was really stressful, like I was trying to drink water from a fire hydrant. But I think I've almost adjusted to life here.

So, I got the opportunity to watch General Conference here in the MTC. I don't think I've ever gotten so much out of Conference. My favorite talk was probably Elder Holland. He is always my favorite speaker. Ah.

Well my Nihongo continues to improve, and I feel like I've learned more here in a week than through the lessons I took over the summer.

So everyone here has been pretty stressed, and I think I've especially been feeling it, and I don't know why, but one day, Elder Reed (he's the oldest in district 27B--that's my district) bent over to pick up something, and when he did, a spoon from the Lunch Room just fell out of his pocket. I don't know why, but I just died. I don't remember the last time I laughed so hard. It wasn't even that funny, but I think I was just so high strung, that finally all of that stress was just released. Ever since then, I haven't been as stressed. I love it here, but I just want to be in Tokyo already.

I love you guys, and you're all in my prayers. Please feel free to send me a personal email! I love those. I love to be kept updated on what's going on in people's lives!

Well, I'll talk to you guys next week!


Zach's MTC District? Zone? I don't know...he didn't say...I assume it's his district...

Zach and his companion, Elder Dunn

Zach and Elder King--the missionary who escorted him into the MTC upon arrival.

Friday, October 3, 2014


Hey guys!

So, my P-day will usually be on Thursday, but for us newbies, we don't get a P-day this week, so they are giving us a few minutes to write emails. It is crazy over here. I can't believe how fast-paced everything is. My companion's name is Elder Dunn. He's a tall, blonde young man with a great sense of humor. I'm loving everything about the MTC so far. Today we had a basketball game. Toukyou Minami (Tokyo South) vs. Fukuoka. We won. No biggie.

Well I just wanted to send my love to you, and let you know everything is going amazing! I love you guys! It's so awesome here! Subarashi!  [translation: splendid, excellent, glorious, superb] 

And please feel free to shoot me an email, or even write me a letter. 

Elder Tolen