Elder Tolen's Transfer History

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


Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Week 8: Some Lessons Are Hard to Learn

This was an amazing week. There were a lot of ups and downs, but that is expected in the life of a missionary.

So this week, on Saturday after District Meeting, the Zone leaders were leaving, and as they were walking out this guy on his bike rides up and starts talking to them, and says he's looking for his friend. They keep talking, and eventually I go out there, and he was looking for a missionary that left the area almost a year ago. He was super nice, and he really wanted to learn English because he wants to travel, so Elder Livingston and I took him into the church and started to teach him the most basic English, like self-introductions, and things of that sort. It was going really well, then we just started talking about tattoos, because he has a lot, and he got way depressed. I found out that in Japan it is a huge taboo to have tattoos. Usually only people in the Mafia or in gangs have them, so he has had a lot of hard times in his life because of it, and for some reason the Spirit told us to start talking about repentance. We asked him if he feels guilty for anything that he has done in the past, and he gave us a very stong yes. By this point his head was in his hands.

Then, somehow, I was able to speak fluent Japanese. I told him, "We all make mistakes, but through repentance we can all be made pure and clean." The word for pure or clean in Japanese is "kiyoi." After that he sat up and just said, "I can become clean?" It was one of the most spiritual lessons I've ever taught. The lesson finished and it was amazing. We tried to put his phone number in our phone, but it was already there, because the Elder that he had met a year ago had put him in. So we parted ways and I couldn't stop thinking of how amazing that was.

We also had a lesson with one of our other investigators about the life before we came to this world, and that lesson was amazing. After that we had sports night, where I continued to hone my Ping Pong skills, and went back to the apartment.

After we got back, Elder Suzuki, the new elder in our apartment, called Elder Livingston into a room so he could talk to him. It turns out, Elder Suzuki's companion in the MTC was the Elder who met him [the tattooed investigator] last year, and Elder Suzuki said that this man was more ready for baptism than anyone else in Japan. He hates alcohol, hates drugs, and wants to quit smoking. He has also had some amazing experiences that I don't know about. But Elder Suzuki said these things to Elder Livingston, and Elder Livingston just froze. He sat in silence for a minute and after a bit, he told Elder Suzuki that he wants him to teach him. That was really hard for me. I was really sad, because I had put everything I had into that lesson, and I wasn't going to be able to teach him anymore. But I also learned that I was a stepping stone for him. He needed that lesson, and so did I. The Lord needed me for that one lesson. But he needs the other Elders too. I was sad to have to pass him to the other Elders, but I also know that's what he needs to come closer to Christ. I had never seen anyone more prepared for baptism, so that made it especially hard, but I'm glad I was there to help prepare the way for him.

We also met our Canadian again this week, and he is doing amazing. He is reading the Book of Mormon like crazy. He told us he read it for 3 hours the other day, but he has some different beliefs, but I love teaching. I still find it ironic that the first person I actually found that wasn't already an investigator when I got here is a Canadian, in the middle of Japan. I think the Lord has a great sense of humor sometimes. We have been meeting him a lot more often this week, and he continues to learn, and it is great!

Well I hope you guys are all doing well. This week was another amazing week that I had the chance to experience. I just want you guys to know that life will get hard. That's a fact. I know that with all my heart, but God is there. He's cheering you on. He just needs you to hold on just a bit longer. You're almost there, just hold on a bit longer. I love you all--keep being amazing.
Elder Tolen
Another photo from the ward mochitsuki activity (New Year's rice pounding tradition)
From the ward mochitsuki--this little guy was such a hard worker!
Enjoying some food at a ward party
Food with an investigator at a ward party

The newest elder in the apartment: Elder Suzuki

Elder Suzuki ...and an onion?

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