Elder Tolen's Transfer History

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


Monday, August 17, 2015

Week 37 [46]: Working in Takao!

Hello everybody!

This is my first P-day in Takao! It has been a blast out here so far! I'm literally put in the middle of nowhere. I love serving in really rural areas! I find people are more willing to talk to you out in these areas. Right now, I'm in a weird trio, because the group of missionaries going home this last transfer was so big that they had to split them in half, so half of them leave this Wednesday. So I'm with Elder Suzuki! I don't know if you remember him, but he was in my same apartment in Hodogaya with me. I'm so glad to see him again! He was always so funny!

The Takao ward is amazing! It is full of returned missionaries, so they are so helpful! We are actually going to play soccer and volleyball with a group of them soon. It will be a ball!

Not too much has happened this week. We have been really busy trying to help Elder Suzuki get ready to leave, so that has been a lot of fun. I came into this area, and we had like no investigators, so this transfer we are going to do a lot of finding and change that! We have already done a ton of finding in the time that I've been here and had a few potential investigators! So we will keep working and trying to accomplish what the Lord needs us to do here.

A miracle that happened this week! We have a potential investigator that loves to play ping-pong, and I do as well, so at our weekly game night, we dueled for a good hour-and-a-half, and after a close game, I came out victorious! I think I must have earned his respect, because he immediately came up to me after and said, "What's the purpose of our lives? Why do we exist?" And so I dove right into the plan of salvation, and taught him for a good 20 minutes about why we exist. And at the end he smiled and a sense of relief came to his voice. And he thanked me, then went home. So I was kind of surprised by that. I hope I was able to answer his question, because I felt the Spirit testifying through me.

I love you all!

Elder Tolen
Some of the Takao Ward
First District Meeting in Takao

Last P-Day in Tama

Monday, August 10, 2015

Week 36 [45]: Lions Among Sheep

Hello! I forgot to tell everyone that this week we had transfer emails! So! I'll cut right to the chase! I'm getting transferred! I'm going to an area called Takao. My new companion is named Elder Burton, and he is a transfer 10 missionary. So that will be a blast! I'm way excited to get this opportunity to serve out in Takao.

In other news, we have some sad news about our Iranian investigator. So, because his family is very opposed to him getting baptized, and if he gets baptized he will lose literally all of his money due to some reasons that are directly related to his family, he had to be interviewed by the Mission President. So after the interview, the Mission President told us he cannot be baptized at this point in time. It was very sad to hear that, but we are basically to treat him like a non-baptized member. So that will be a lot of fun. This man wanted baptism more than anything. So it was really hard to see that, but he came out of that interview with a smile on his face. This man is truly the definition of love and charity. He is always trying to serve other people in a country where he doesn't even know the language. He hands out Books of Mormon on the daily. He is truly a wonderful example to me in my life, so that's why I'm not worried about him. I know everything will work out for him.

In other news! I had a really interesting experience last night! I was on splits with my District Leader, Elder Dana, and we had just finished teaching an awesome lesson on the road, and we were walking home, and I just felt ecstatic! I was just so charged up on feeling the Spirit! We had had such an amazing day of work, I was exhausted, and I felt great! So we were on our way home, and this girl that was passed out because she had had a little bit too much to drink was getting carried out of this club, and I was a little confused, so I had a little bit of an interesting look on my face, and because of that, I think someone thought I was judging them, because from behind me I just heard a very angry and stern, "Hey man what's up? You got a problem?" in perfect English. So I just turned around and said, "Hey, how's it going?" Once I turned around I realized I was facing a very strong Japanese man who was much bigger than I. I think he was a bouncer for this club, but for some reason, that didn't really faze me, and I didn't even realize he was trying to start something with me. But the second I turned around and locked eyes with him, his eyes went wide and he apologized and walked off. I looked at Elder Dana, and he quoted a scripture, stating, "And they will go as lions among the sheep." It is very reassuring to know that the Lord will always protect us from danger. He is always looking out for us, and he has not forgotten us. "(For the Lord thy God is a merciful God;) He will not forsake thee, neither destroy thee, nor forget the covenant of thy fathers which He sware unto  them" (Deuteronomy 4:31).

I love you all lots! We saw lots of miracles today! So I'm emailing a little bit late... I'm sorry! I promise I'll do better next week!

Love you!

Elder Tolen

Tama District Meeting in 100-Degree Heat!
Elder Tolen's Last Week in the Tama Ward

Elder Tolen and Elder Parberry with a Book of Mormon...and a Giant Moth?

Friday, August 7, 2015

Week 35 [44]: Dripped Til We Dropped!

Monday, August 3, 2015

Well, if you look at the subject, you will basically understand how this week went. I have never had to consume so much water in all of my life. Seriously. It was, and still is, a ball.

So I have news! Our Iranian [Iraqi?] investigator is progressing so well, that we are going to move his baptismal date up! The problem: because he is from Iraq, if he gets baptized and goes home, he could die. So our Mission President is going to be interviewing him this Saturday to make sure this is really what he wants to do. It is definitely an experience I never thought I would have on my mission. So there is that. We have been with him almost every day this week, so most of the pictures I'm going to send will have him and our other Japanese investigator in them.

Some more news...We seem to have lost contact with our Filipino investigator who was going to be baptized soon. So that is troublesome. We are trying everything we can to get back in contact with him.... But we don't know what to do at this point, so we will just pray that he will come back!

Yesterday we went to a testimony meeting where all of the missionaries that are leaving in a week gave their dying testimonies and it was great! What was even better was, halfway through the meeting, a Japanese man sat down next to me. The entire meeting was being held in English. So guess who got their first experience translating? You guessed it! Me! It was a ball! I messed up a ton, but there was one part when the Mission President was speaking, and words were just flowing into my mouth. It was one of the most interesting sensations. I felt the Spirit so strongly during that meeting that I almost started crying while I was translating for this man, and he almost did to. It was an amazing spiritual experience. I just want you guys to know that the Lord will always be there for you, and he will always lift you up. As long as you take that first step, he will raise your other foot behind you and help you keep pressing forward. He doesn't give us trials to hurt us; like Lehi told Jacob prior to his passing, "Nevertheless, Jacob, my firstborn in the wilderness, thou knowest the greatness of God; and he shall consecrate thine afflictions for thy gain."

I love you all so much; thank you for all of the support. If you have doubts, or you feel like God isn't there, get on your knees and pray. Because if you honestly pray, you will realize how close to you God actually is. Keep pushing forward!

Much love,

Elder Tolen
Elder Tolen and Elder Parberry at the church with the Iraqi Investigator

Enjoying Cheesecake Made by a Member

Week 34 [43]: Cooking Lessons and Repentance

Tuesday, July 28 2015

This week we have been so busy! This week was Temple P-Day, so that's why I'm a little bit late.

Right now we have two investigators getting ready to be baptized, so we are trying to prepare them, and we also have a ton of other investigators that were trying to help bring unto Christ! So it is quite the party! I've never been so busy!

This week, we had a fun meal with our Iranian [Iraqi?] investigator. He said he was going to teach us how to cook, and he told us to bring about 10 people. So we had everything lined up, but once we got there, only 5 of us showed up. He was kind of upset, because we promise him 10 people. So I said a quick and very fervent prayer that everything would work out. We felt prompted to call some people, and so we did! Soon after, after a head count, we got exactly 10 people to come! He was so excited! Then, after that, we taught him a great lesson on repentance, and we were able to relate it to our experience we had at trying to get people to come to the meal! It was one of the best lessons I've ever taught. This man wants to be baptized so bad, we might be moving his baptismal date up about a month--so in about two weeks! That's crazy. I've never met someone so prepared. It is such an amazing blessing to be able to watch this man change.

This week we also had a ping-pong party with the members, and that was a blast. It was fun to be able to continue to strengthen my relationship with the members. That about wraps it up this week. I love you guys! Sorry for the short email; we've got a lot of cleaning to do today! We're finally moving over from our old apartment to a new apartment! So that will be nice!

Keep being awesome! If you have any questions, feel free to email me!

Elder Tolen
Sharing the Gospel with Every Creature...Including a Cat Statue
Posing with a Strange Saxaphone Statue

Looking Out over Tama
Picturesque Scene Overlooking Tama