Elder Tolen's Transfer History

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


Monday, March 30, 2015

Week 17: Elder Tolen, Child Whisperer

Hey everyone! So, because of the new ipads, it is kind of a pain to send new weekly emails every week, because if I wanted to do that, I would have to type in all 95 of your names, every week. I don't want to do that. Sorry.... But I'll experiment with it and see what I can do.

Anyway.... This week is good! It has been so warm lately! I love it. I love just walking around on the beach, and doing missionary work! It is the best! Today for P-day, my companion wanted to sleep, so Elder Harrison and I just went to the beach and played sports and stuff! It was great.

This week has been pretty busy.  We had a whole ton of meetings, and we got new I-pads! They are great. The one thing is we don't have Facebook for a bit, but that is all good.

Yesterday, there was an 8 year old baptism in the branch, and we had to go to another building, because our building doesn't have a font, but it was fun! There is this little girl in our branch named らんちゃん (Ran-Chan) and she is the sister to that little boy that I took pictures with a little while ago, and she is so cute. She never ever smiles, but she will always come up to me and grab my hand and drag me around church. It is fun. I took some pictures with her at the baptism because she just came and sat down in my lap and it was just too adorable. 

In other news, this week, I have my first baptism! He is great! He is going to be baptized on the 4th of April, and he is just a great guy. He asked my companion to do the baptism. I am so happy to have been lucky enough to help teach and guide this man the church. He is great. I don't know if I'm allowed to post his name or not... So I probably just won't post it.... Sorry. But we started teaching him a few days after I got into the area, and he has come so far. I am so excited for him.

In other news, I hit my six month mark this Wednesday! How amazing is that? I feel like time is going by almost too fast. It's actually kind of scary...

Other than that, I think I've covered all of the big things going on this week, and last week....

Recently I have been studying a lot from Preach My Gospel, and I have been studying Chapter 6. In Chapter 6 it talks about developing Christ-like attributes, and my favorite attribute is hope. I love hope. The definition of hope is having an abiding trust that the Lord will fulfill His promises in this life or the next. And the more I've read, the more I've realized that every Christ-like attributes can be traced back to faith, and of course, hope. I don't want to spoil any of it for you, but I would challenge you all to go and read that chapter, because I feel like it applies to everyone, not just missionaries!

I hope you had a great week! Keep being amazing! I loveyou guys!

Elder Tolen

Ran-Chan with Elder Tolen and Elder Nishidome

Elder Tolen and Ran-Chan

Elder Nishidome and Elder Tolen
Beach in Odawara

Study Area Panorama

Odawara Beach Panorama

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Week 16: Elder Nelson Comes to Tokyo

 This week was amazing! But then it got kinda junkers. I've been sick recently, like the past three days..... Bleh. I think I'm finally starting to get over it, which is way good. Yesterday, on the Sister's orders, I was forced to sleep all day, which was lame. I want to get out there and work. I only get two years to do this! I want to make the most of it!

But other than that, this week has been pretty mellow. The weather continues to get better, which I love. It's almost the time of the year when we can wear short sleeves! I'm so excited.

This week we had the combined Elder Nelson conference! It was so amazing. We also learned that we are getting new Ipads on the 25th, but that also means for the next few months, we won't have Facebook, which is kind of lame, but I can see the benefits. I just need to tell a lot of my investigators that if they want to get ahold of me, they will have to email me.

So for the Nelson Conference, Elder Nishidome and I live in the most southern area of the mission, so to avoid waking up at like 2 in the morning, we went and stayed in an area called Fuchu! It was a blast. They had bunk beds there, which actually weren't all that comfortable. The futons are much nicer. That will be hard to adjust to when I get back, but that doesn't really matter.

I will be hitting my 6 month mark here I think next week! How weird is that? I'm already almost 1/4 of the way done with my mission. It is actually kind of scary.

So anyway, I got way off topic. The Nelson Conference was amazing. He is one of the smartest people I've ever met. Like really. He shook all of our hands at the beginning which was amazing! I've shaken two apostle's hands in like a month! That is crazy! But anyway, I was able to learn so much from him, but probably one of my favorite parts is when he said, "What does 'Always' mean?" And he explained how sometimes people don't really understand how often always is. And then later he said "Always Remember Him," which has so much more meaning to me now. Literally everything I do should be focused on what He would do. It was great.

I hope you all had a great week! I love you all! The Gospel is true! I love you guys!

Elder Tolen
Elder Tolen Meets Up with MTC Friends Elder Lee and Elder Law at the
Elder Nelson Conference
Elder Nishidome orders the "King-Size" Beef Bowl...
...And He Finishes It!
Elder Tolen at a Cake Shop with an Investigator
Elder Nishidome with the Investigator at the Cake Shop

The Sister Missionaries Gave Elder Tolen and Elder Nishidome
Small Hair Gifts...They Were Very..."Appreciative"...

Monday, March 16, 2015

Week 15: Rainy Days and a Lizard

This week has been rainy. I don't know if many of you know this, but I'm not really a fan of the rain. I don't really know why. I just don't really like it. Other than that not much has happened.

This week there was supposed to be a music night back in Hodogaya that I really wanted to go to, but we needed an investigator, and it was the day of, and we still couldn't find anyone. I prayed, and I just felt like everything would just work out. So we kept searching and I was expecting to find someone. I was like, "The Lord told me it would work out, which means we will find someone." That was way wrong. Nobody would pick up. No one would answer the phone; no one would answer the door. We got to the end of the day, and we weren't able to find anyone. I got home that evening, and I was really bummed. I was so excited to go see all of my old friends back in Hodogaya. I was like, "Why did He make me feel like we would find someone, when we didn't?" But in reality He told me that everything would work out. It was a really weird experience. We got a call a few minutes later to find out that the music night was canceled. It wasn't going to happen until later in April. The Lord knew it wouldn't work out, and that is why no one answered. That was a real testimony builder.

On a different note, we lost an investigator this week. We had just housed into him early in the week and he was really interested in the church. It was amazing. We just talked to him for hours. After that we told him we would come back again. So we were able to get in touch with him last night, and taught another great lesson! It went amazing! But after he was like, "Well, thanks! I think I've learned enough about your religion! I don't want to join it, I just wanted to learn about it." That killed me. In Jacob 5 it talks about the Lord of the vineyard and it says, "He wept and cried out, what more could I have done for my vineyard?" That verse means so much more to me. I did everything I could. What else could I have done? It really hurt because I was like, "This right here will make you happier than you can ever imagine. Please just try it!" But it wasn't meant to be. I've only had two investigators actually drop me, and they always hurt.

Well, to end on a happier note, Elder Harrison got sick this week, so we went on splits and I stayed back with him. He didn't want to sleep anymore, so we decided to clean. I was cleaning by the front door, and was moving shoes when I picked up a pair of shoes and found a lizard. I still don't understand how it got in, but it was there. We caught it and put it on my companion's desk. It was fun.

I love you, family and friends! hope you have a great week!

Elder Tolen

Lizard Found While Cleaning

District Meeting

Elder Nishidome and Elder Tolen with His "Less Intimidating" Fake Glasses

Monday, March 9, 2015

Week 14: Enoshima, Exhausted, and Essays!

Hello friends! Today was great. We were eating lunch, and this member calls us and asked us if we wanted to go to the island called Enoshima. So we were like, "heck yeah." So I got a ton of pictures there. But it started pouring rain as we were walking back, so we got soaked. It was fun. Typhoon season is coming up. That will be a ball...

So this week we didn't really do too much..... Just lots and lots of Japanese. Which is fun, but I always come home exhausted. I've never had to think so much in one day as I do with a Japanese companion. It really tires me out, but it is all worth it.

Last night we had a meal with a family in the ward, and we were almost half an hour late because we got way lost and we had the wrong address. So that was kind of awkward, but everything worked out in the end. When we got there, one of the kids I had been playing with at church came running up and just sat on my lap. The parents were so surprised because he is usually so shy. What can I say? I know how to work with kids. So that was fun. He took my iPad and started taking selfies, so that was really fun.

Elder Tolen with the "usually shy" member's child.

Let's see... Another story from this week. We had games night, and a guy that I had become really good friends with at English class came, so I just got to bond with him a ton. We started talking about temples, so I showed him some pictures of temples and he thought they were beautiful, but he was wondering who the guy was on top, so I was like, Boom! That's my in. We started talking and I gave him a Book of Mormon and he said he would read it. After that we started talking about this essay he is supposed to write for a job application about why he is qualified for the job. He is already late in writing it.  So I told him that if he prayed, he would know what to write about. Now I'm praying my guts out so that his prayer will be answered. After that I shared some scriptures with him about prayer, and taught him how to pray. It's up to him now!

I hope you all had a good week; I love you guys!

Elder Tolen

Impromptu P-day Visit to Enoshima

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Week 13: Adjusting to Odawara

So I may have forgotten to mention that we had temple P-day again this week....Oops! I'm sorry! I'm really bad with this sort of thing....

But anyway, this week has been way good! I love my new companion! His name is Elder Nishidome, and he is so great! This transfer is going to be difficult, because there are only 2 people in this district who aren't Japanese: me, and Elder Harrison. Everyone else is Japanese, so that's a lot of fun. I'm going to learn so much this transfer, and I've already learned a lot. I've never been so tired when I get home. It's just straight Japanese, all day every day, except when we're going  to bed and I get to talk to Elder Harrison.

Not much has really happened this week.... Just trying to adjust to life in Odawara. There isn't a ward here; it's just a branch. That is really weird.. I've never seen a group so small, but it is still great! I feel like I will be able to bond with them all really fast.

We have a castle in our area, and a beach. It is great. We went to the castle the other day, and I met this guy, and we just started talking. We talked the entire way around the castle. We talked about religion, and he told me that he is Buddhist, but doesn't really believe it. He said that after this life he wants to go back and live with God. I was like, "Well do I have something to tell you!" Turns out he doesn't live in our area, but we still got his phone number which was good. He said that if he was ever in Odawara he would give us a call. I also took a picture with a samurai which was a lot of fun.

Well that's about all that happened this week! I hope you all have a great week! I love you! Keep being awesome!

Elder Tolen
Elder Tolen and the Samurai
Elder Tolen and his new companion, Elder Nishidome

Elder Harrison (maybe?)

Zone Conference