Elder Tolen's Transfer History

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


Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Week 20 [29]: Lots of Rain, Lots of Lessons

It's Mail Time!!!! MMMAAAAIIIIIILLLLL TIIIIIIIMMMMMMEE. I miss you guys! How is everyone doing? Did you like the Blue's Clues reference? Cool. Me too.

This week has been good! We taught a lot of lessons this week, which was really good. It is nice to actually be teaching instead of trying to find people to teach. I feel like I'm emailing way early today.  I guess I kind of am.

For some cool news, for a baptism the Sisters have this week, I've been asked to play the piano for a piano solo. Guess what I'm going to be playing? Homeward Bound! It's great. I have to finish learning the last part but I've almost finished it, which is nice.

It has rained a  ton this week. Like a TON. And I need to buy a new rain suit, because the other one was kind of cheap so it ripped long ago. But that isn't really important. Rain here is so different compared to Utah. In Utah it rains for like 5 minutes. Here it rains for like 5 days. So I'm still adjusting to that, but it's fun!

A cool miracle from this week is while we were walking around the beach talking to people, this guy just walked up and didn't say anything, so Elder Cluff was just like, "What's up!", and the man was just like, "Oh nothing much." I was blown away. Turns out the man is from China, and he also spoke English, and no Japanese. That was fun. I don't think I have ever had to teach the Gospel so simply, but he was pretty interested! He said he was going to look more into it back in China. He was a really cool guy, and right after that we started talking to a French guy, but I don't know French, and his wife didn't want anything do to with us, so we didn't really get to talk to them. But their little baby loved us! He was adorable. It is weird how such small little parts of your day can bring you so much joy in your life as a missionary.

I love missionary work, and if you aren't enjoying yourself while you do it, you are doing it wrong. But don't get me wrong, I'm not talking about being a bad missionary and doing things you aren't supposed to, but missionary work literally is the best, and just by walking around you can have so much fun with your companions, and you can also be there to help bless people's lives when the Spirit needs you to. You always need to be worthy of the Spirit, because you never know when the Lord will need you, and when He needs you, He needs you immediately. So I challenge you all to be worthy of the Spirit at all times! It will make you so much happier!

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

Elder Tolen
Elder Tolen and Elder Uamura

Interesting Japanese Ad

Interesting Tokyo Ad and Skyline

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Week 19 [28]: Food and Fake Facial Hair

I just want you to know that while I write this, I'm currently standing on a train, and it is very difficult to write, and try and balance on a moving train. So bear with me. I forgot to mention that today was temple P-day, so I apologize! I always forget to mention that.... And I'm also emailing really late because we got kind lost around Tokyo while looking for a place to eat. That was an adventure.

So I became a trio this week! And it has been a blast! We are all so different, that we just all have so much fun with each other! It is a blast.

This week we had General Conference! I love General Conference! I mean, don't get me wrong. It was way good in the MTC, but I feel like I have grown so much spiritually since then, that this Conference just blew me away! Of course my favorite was by Elder Holland. He blew me away in the first few minutes! I'm so glad I was able to learn so much. It really makes me feel bad for all of the times I slept through conference at home.... Thank goodness for repentance!

Really not much has happened this week besides that. It has been raining a ton lately, so people don't really like to talk while it is pouring rain. But we are still doing our best! I feel like my Japanese has improved, but sometimes I feel like I haven't improved at all since the MTC, but it is just really hard to see your own improvements sometimes. Maybe one day I'll be able to master this language. My new companion, Elder Cluff, knows the most Kanji out of any other person in the mission (except of course the Japanese people), so that is really amazing. It has been really helpful. He is also a really fun guy.

On our first day together we went out to lunch at a place called Sukiya, and you can get giant bowls of food for really cheap! So we got the biggest sizes! It was so much food! I thought I was going to die.

Elder Cluff, Elder Uamura, and Elder Tolen with their giant bowls of food at Sukiya
Another fun thing we did was at our district meeting, we all wore fake mustaches. That was a ball. I'll be sure to include pictures. Other than that, this week has been kind of slow.

I hope you all have a great week! I love you guys, and miss you!

Elder Tolen

Digging in!
Finished! (and full!)

Fake Mustaches at District Meeting

Fake Mustache (and Fake Glasses)...

Monday, April 6, 2015

Week 18 [27]: Baptism, Blossoms, and Building Faith

This week was pretty slow at first, I'm not going to lie. BUT! It did  pick up!

So the day before the baptism, we get a call from the traveling AP's and they told us that they prayed about it, and they wanted to go on splits. They called us back later and told us that they didn't even know that we were having a baptism! It's funny how the Spirit works sometimes. It was awesome. So the traveling AP's came, and they slept in our house, and that morning we left for the baptism!!!!!  It was so great. Elder Nishidome baptized our investigator, and it was so funny because when he baptized him, he forgot to tell him to bend his knees, so there was a huge splash, and some of the kids on the front row got a little wet. It was so funny. Our investigator was so ready. He bore his testimony, and it was so great. I felt the spirit so strong. It was amazing. Baptisms are the best. I'm so glad I was able to play a part in his conversion. And by "play a part," I mean being a warm body that the Spirit could work through.
Investigator, Members, and Missionaries before Baptism

Investigator, Members,and Missionaries before Baptism

In other news, today we got our transfer emails! So, first, a little bit of a back story. So Elder Nishidome has to go back home to get a little operation for his nose, nothing too serious, just like a kind of growth. I think something like that. Anyway, while he is gone, we are becoming a trio, so I'm going to become a trio, and help finish training Elder Uamura with a missionary named Elder Cluff. I've met him before, and he is a ball of fun. I'm so excited.

This time of year, you can see the Cherry blossoms here in Japan for about 2 weeks!! They are so pretty. I took some pictures, so I'll be sure to send some pictures.
Cherry Blossoms in Odawara

Another interesting story: This week, we were handing out flyers for English class, and this American guy walks up and starts asking some weird questions, and wasn't really giving us any information, but I didn't really feel weird about it. We eventually found out he used to be a member, and he actually used to be a missionary! It was way cool. He took us up to his office, and we just started talking and told us his life story. It was way fun. But it turns out he really hates the church. He loved us, and he loves the members, but he hates the church. He had been doing some research, and I think he stumbled upon some anti-Mormon literature, and he began to feel betrayed by the church. After his story, I didn't know what to say. But all of the sudden I was talking, and I just told him, "I don't care if you don't join the church again. My purpose as a missionary is not to force you to come to church. My purpose is to help you come unto Christ. So my challenge for you is whatever you have to do, don't lose your faith in God, and in Jesus Christ. I know that they live and love you." And he got really quiet, and just said, "Thank you so much. I really needed to hear that." That was an amazing experience. His feelings towards the church haven't changed, but I believe that his faith in God increased. The Spirit really is an amazing thing.

I hope you all had a great week, and I hope you have another one. I love you guys!

 Elder Tolen
Elder Nishidome in the Yellow "Service" Vest Before a Service Project

Some Members of the Odawara Branch