Elder Tolen's Transfer History

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


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Week 12: Transfer Call!

Well everyone! I made it to transfer three, which means I'm no longer a Padawon. I have officially made it to Jedi Knight status. It's great.

So I may have forgotten to mention that it was temple P-day today, and we had a conference with Elder Ballard yesterday, so that's why I'm emailing to day! Sorry... I forgot to mention that..... Oops.

Yesterday was so amazing. We had a conference with the North mission, and Elder Rasband, Bishop Stevenson, and Elder Ballard spoke at it! It was amazing. I got to see all of my friends from the MTC! Like Elder Lee and Elder Law! They were my Chinese friends from the MTC. It was great. Elder Ballard was so great. He talked about how we can teach better! He also said that missionaries called to Japan are the best teachers in the mission field, because we have to be able to teach everything to people without any Christian background. That makes things a little tricky. After he finished speaking, he wanted to shake everyone's hand, so he tried to get it all set up, but then he came back to the microphone and said, "I got so excited to shake all of your hands, that I forgot about a closing song and prayer. Haha!"  It was so funny. But I got to shake his hand! It was great. He had really soft hands, but I don't know if I have ever felt so much love from one man. He really is something else. It was so amazing.

And after that we got our transfer emails! So...(drum roll...) I'm transferring! I'm going to leave Hodogaya on Thursday and transfer to an area called Odawara. And....(another drum roll....) I'm getting a Japanese companion! I'm going to get destroyed! It will be so great!

I'm actually really excited. I'm still really sad, because I'm leaving my bean area, and Elder Livingston, but I felt ready to go and move on. I guess I've completed all the Lord needed me to do in Hodogaya, and there must be some things I need to do in Odawara. I'm really excited. It is out in the country, so that will be fun, but I guess they have the nicest house in the entire mission which is great! I love having nice houses. 

Another interesting story:  So this week I bought a little Lamborghini Hot Wheel car to carry around with me, just to sort of help me remember what I want to become, and that I need to work hard to achieve that. But the day after I bought it, we were walking through a park talking to a group of teenage boys, and I asked what kinds of things they liked. One of them said in Japanese, "Well I really like little muscle cars. Like Hot Wheels." I was like, "No way."  It was great. I whipped out my car and had a great discussion with them. It's funny to see how the Lord will prepare you to talk to people.

We didn't take very many pictures this week.... Like two maybe.... Oops. I will send one of my car, and of one of my Senpai from the MTC! Elder Lee! I love that man. He is so great! He is in the Tokyo mission, but I met him because of the conference with Elder Ballard.

I hope you all have a great week! I love you all!

Elder Tolen

Elder Tolen Reunited with Elder Lee at Tokyo North and Tokyo South Mission Conference
Hot Wheel Reminder to Work Hard

Elders Livingston and Tolen: The Final Dream Team Selfies

The Final Dream Team Selfies!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Week 11: Soccer and Sharampo!

This week was fun. It had a lot of ups and downs, but  that is okay!

With transfers coming up [next week], I feel like I'm going to stay in Hodagaya, but I don't think I'll be companions with Elder Livingston anymore, which makes me really sad.

I've gotten to play a ton of  soccer since coming to Japan. Today for P-day we didn't do anything except play soccer! So yeah! I used to hate soccer, but since coming to Japan, I've started to love it! It is so much fun! But I'm not very good, and everyone else in the area is so good. I've been able to do a lot of great missionary work through it, and I've been able to talk to a lot of high school kids, and for some reason they are a lot more open to religion than adults.

This week we had an investigator that I've had since I got to Japan drop us. There are few times when I have been more sad. It was my first experience with someone dropping us after learning the gospel. That really hurt. I really am beginning to understand why the prophets of old wept when they saw the hardness of people's hearts. It really hurt. I imagine this is kind of what a parent feels like when their child comes up to them and says, "Hey, I'm done. I don't want to do this whole 'church thing' anymore."  It killed me. I just wanted him to feel the happiness that I get to feel every day, and the joy of knowing that everything would just work out in the end. I think that was the hardest day of my mission so far. But I haven't given up on him yet.

Enjoying Some Sharampo at an Investigator's House
Last night we got to go to a ward member's house and make food! It was the same ward member that the other pictures were from! We made  this thing called Sharampo. It's like dumplings with meat and soupy stuff inside of it! It was great! The husband is one of our investigators, and I feel like I was able to bond with him so much. It was a blast!

I love you all!

Elder Tolen
No Idea What Is Happening Here with Elder Tolen, Elder Livingston, and Investigator
"Sharampo" (Dumplings Filled with Meat and Soup Mixture)

Missionary/Member/Investigator Photo Funnies

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Week 10: Climbing Up Mountains and Falling Off Bikes

This week was good! Well, yesterday was a little bit hard, but the rest of the week was amazing!

A lot happened! I'll get the hard part out of the way first. So yesterday was such a hard day. We had an investigator come and watch a baptism, and he loved it! He said he loved how the Spirit felt, so I invited him to be baptized, and he said no. So I asked why, and he said it was a secret. I told him that we wanted to help him, but we can't help him unless he tells us what's going on, and after that he just said, "I'm going to go home now," which really bummed us out. And then, you remember that story I told in an email a few weeks ago about an investigator we had, and we had a great lesson, but we had to give him to the other elders? Well, we've been trying to get in contact with him recently, and he hasn't answered. We finally got a call from him, and he told us that he'll call us when he wants to meet, and if we call him again, he's going to call the cops. That was nice. It was a fun day.

But Saturday was amazing! I got to hike a mountain called Mount Takao! And I brought an investigator that I met on splits, and he brought his friend! It was great. I really feel like he is someone that I'm going to be close to for the rest of my life. And every time I meet him I feel it more and more.

Mount Takao was great, but there was a lot of ice and mud. So that made things kind of difficult, but oh well! It was all worth it once we got to the top and got to see the true Majesty of God's work. It really is amazing. It brought to mind that story that Cook Kyoudai told me in the MTC about how God created all of those mountains, so I could never have a problem that He couldn't fix. It was really nice.

We also had our president's interviews this week, which was awesome. President Wada is awesome. Some mission presidents get you to work hard, and some get you to work smart, but President Wada helps you work inspired. I learn so much from him; he is an amazing man.  
President and Sister Wada are like my Japanese parents; they are both so amazing. Sister Wada is like the entire mission's mom, always worrying about every missionary's health. It's funny--President Wada always says,"If you're sick, don't tell me. I don't care!" (He's kidding, kind of..hahahahahaha!) "Tell my wife. She will take care of you."  It's great.  

I also got into my first bike crash this week! It was pretty cool. I came around a corner and there was some black ice, so my bike decided that the best course of action was to go horizontal, so yeah! My front wheel is kinda weird now, but I'm good! I didn't even rip my suit! That was a miracle in and of itself. I just have a little bruise on my hip, but other than that, nothing! The Lord was looking out for me.

I hope you all had a great week! I love you guys! 

Elder Tolen
Ward Members, Missionaries, and Investigators at the Summit of Mount Takao
Investigator, Elder Tolen, Elder Livingston, and Investigator's Friend

Members, Investigators, and Missionaries Getting Ready to Hike Mount Takao

A Temple on Mount Takao

Ice and Mud While Hiking Mount Takao
Elder Suzuki

Elder Suzuki Making a Contact
Waiting for Others to Catch Up While Hiking Mount Takao

Elder Suzuki with a Couple Young Boys from the Ward, Hiking Mount Takao

Elder Suzuki on Mount Takao

The View from the Summit of Mount Takao

Tired Hikers at the end of the Hike up Mount Takao

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Week 9: Splits and the Zoo...Amazing!


This week was a lot of fun. I was on splits for almost the entire week! For those of you who don't know what splits are, it's when you temporarily go with a new companion for about 24 hours. So this week I went on splits with one of the Assistants to the President. His name is Elder Rockwood. And just so you know, he's about 2 meters tall [about 6'5"]. I don't feel like doing the math, so you're all on your own for that one. He is such an amazing missionary. I learned so much from him. Just on the trains back to our area, we were able to get 4 potential investigators. It was amazing! After that we taught a lesson to an 18 year old boy, and it went really well, and then we went and taught English class, then went home.  It was amazing. I learned so much from him. Nothing really specific, but just how to be a better servant for the Lord.

After that, I got back with Elder Livingston, then the day after that I was on splits with the Zone Leaders! I was with an Elder named Elder Etchu. He is Japanese, and he is so amazing. He has a smile that could cheer anybody up. It was very good practice for my Japanese, too. I learned so much from him! He taught me what it really means to love people. It's not like I didn't love them before, but he showed me how to really love them. It was amazing.

After splits it was Fast Sunday, and the ward had a ward Fast/Testimony meeting/prayer for missionary work. Let me tell you something. I have never seen so many miracles in one day. We were both so ready to work, and we had the chance to talk to so many people that day, and we also set up a lesson with someone we found on the street. It was [wait for it...] amazing.

So today, we went to the zoo! That's why I'm emailing so late. Sorry! But it was a lot of fun! We took our Canadian with us, and he loved it! We didn't get to see all of the zoo because it closed really early, but I still had a great time. I'll be sure to include lots of pictures. I hope you all had a great week! I love you all!

Elder Tolen
Elder Tolen and Elder Livingston at the zoo
Tom the Canadian investigator at the zoo


Hodogaya Sunset