Elder Tolen's Transfer History

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


Tuesday, December 9, 2014

First Week: Green Tea and Great Food!

Elder Tolen with a Japanese Book of Mormon..in Hodogaya (Tokyo) Japan!
Well friends. It finally happened. I made it to the great land of Japan! And it is amazing!

The first day we arrived at about 4 pm, and it was already almost dark outside. That was a weird experience. After we left the airport we all piled on to a bus and had some interviews with President Wada as we drove. The airport was about 2 hours away from the Mission Home. I was so tired. Once we got to the Mission Home, we dropped off our bags and had dinner. It was the best food I had had in two months. It was chicken noodle soup over rice--it was amazing. After that we had a little meeting, and then everyone filed off to bed a little early. I was in bed at like 9:30. The second my head hit that pillow I was out. It was one of the best nights of sleep I've ever had, even if it was just on a futon. The next morning, everyone woke up at about 5:30 and went for a jog. Let me tell you something: It is so much easier to run when I'm at sea level! Oh my goodness. We ran about a 3 mile loop, and then did some radio tai chi with a bunch of elderly people! It was a blast. After we made it back and had breakfast we had a meeting until lunch.

Sunset over Narita airport upon arrival in Japan
After the meeting we got to actually go out and do Missionary work! And that's where I had my first spiritual experience out in the field. So, as me and one of the A.P.s (Elder Yagui) were knocking on doors, this old lady comes out and says she can't talk because she's sick. Elder Yagui looks at me and says that we should go get her a warm drink. So we run off to a vending machine that gives out warm drinks (they have those here in Japan), and we buy her a green tea. Elder Yagui says that as long as we don't drink it we should be good. So we run back, but when we knock, the husband looks out the window at us, and then tells us to go away. So now we were just walking around with this green tea. At that point it was time to head back to the Mission home. But as we are walking, I see this huge guy smoking a cigarette. Those of you that know me know that I don't really have a problem talking to people--even if I shouldn't be talking. So I say to Elder Yakui, "I'm going to go talk to him. Let's give him that green tea." Elder Yagui was a little bit surprised. But I approached the guy and said everything I know how to say in Japanese, and Elder Yagui gave him the tea. I feel like because we gave him the tea, he really opened up to us. But after that point, I just had Elder Yagui take over.  We invited him to church, and he said he was really busy, but we gave him a flyer for English class, and he said he would come! That was awesome. I don't know if he came, because the next day I left with my two new companions, Elder Squire and Elder Livingston.

Elder Livingston, Elder Tolen, Elder Squire
Elder Squire is from Eagle Mountain, and Elder Livingston is from American Fork. So we have a Viking, a Pioneer, and a Caveman all in one companionship. They are both so amazing. They both work so hard, and I love being their companion. Elder Squire has actually been in the mission field over 2 years now. He heads home next week. He is a really awesome guy. On my first night out they took me out to dinner. We had Katsudon! Its like pork over rice with eggs on top--one of the most delicious things I've ever had. Yum. The only downside is that I'm in an apartment that is supposed to hold three, and there are five of us. It's kind of tight, but I love those guys. The other companionship consists of Elder Kerr and Elder Talentino. It's a lot of fun.

One of my first nights there we took an investigator to see a Christmas concert called "Little Witnesses." It was a beautiful Christmas concert. Too bad I didn't understand any of it. Everyone speaks Japanese so fast out here, it makes it so hard to follow! It's crazy. And if someone doesn't want to talk to you, they just pretend like you don't exist, which I guess is less rude then actually saying no. That's going to take some getting used to. Anyway, we took an investigator to the concert and it was amazing! Then later in the week we had dinner with him at a member's house. He is such an amazing guy. He is currently studying 15 different languages, and he studied English in college! That makes it so much easier for me to talk with him. I'll be sure to include a picture of him with Elder Kerr.

Elder Kerr and Investigator
So last night we were outside of a 7/11 and this guy just comes up and starts talking to us! We weren't entirely sure that he was sober, but he said he wants to take us out for drinks. That was interesting. We told him we don't drink, and he told us that if we are ever in trouble we can call him. And he wants to meet with us again! That's technically my first investigator I've found on my mission! I've just experienced so many miracles out here. I love you guys and I hope you are all doing well! Talk to you soon!

Elder Tolen
Tokyo Temple (which I assume Zach visited on his first P-Day in the field)...
Mt. Fuji

A familiar street that Zach visited with his dad when they went to Tokyo together 3 years ago

Missionaries and investigator at dinner at a member's house

Small apartment for 5 elders!

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