Elder Tolen's Transfer History

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


Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Week 43 [52]: Adventure Is Out There!

Monday, September 28, 2015

Greetings! I'm short on time and I have a lot to say! Forgive any grammatical mistakes; I'll try and fix as many as I can!

I'm going to start this week off with probably one of the biggest miracles I've seen on my mission. Elder Burton and I have been trying to find a theme for this transfer, some sort of way we could work more effectively and more inspired. So we came to a decision. We decided, simply, that we were going to be exactly obedient. I know many of you might say, "You weren't being obedient before?" and my response to that is, I was being obedient before! But I guess sometimes it was more out of duty than out of love. So Elder Burton and I decided that we were going to completely consecrate ourselves to the Lord. So, we made this decision, and continued on. The VERY next day, while we were at a sports night with some members, we received an email from a man saying (this isn't an exact quote, but bear with me), "Hello! I live around your church, and I pass it every day. I've always wondered what you believe, and I have done some research on your religion, and I've wanted to talk to you for a long time, but I never had the courage, but for some reason, now it's different. I finally feel like I have the courage to talk to you. I want to meet with you and learn more about your religion, and eventually join, and maybe serve a mission myself."

Now, if you are like me, you see this, and you might think,"Wow, this is too good to be true. Nobody is that prepared!" But let me tell you, it is. We've already met with him twice, and we are meeting him again tonight, and he has told us that he will get baptized. We haven't set a date with him yet, because he says he would like to finish the Book of Mormon first. It is amazing. I've had my testimony strengthened so much about the importance of obedience. The Lord will truly bless us as long as we exercise our faith! I know with all my heart that this is true!

I'm out of time! I love you all! I'll talk to you next week!

Elder Tolen
The Day Elder Burton and Elder Tolen Got Lost in the Mountains!

Week 42 [51]: Baptism! and Transfers!

September 21, 2015

So! As the title says, we had the baptism! It was such an amazing experience! I had never performed a baptism before so that was an interesting, and very spiritual experience. I'm so grateful that I got the opportunity to play a part in that.

So this week we got transfer emails! And! Nothing is happening! Elder Burton and I are staying the same! I get to have another fantastic transfer with this Elder! We will be able to enjoy all the fruits of our labors from this last transfer! I'm very excited.

Big news about our Less-Active that we have been teaching! He had an interview with the bishop, and he is starting to change his life! He told us that he is starting to feel the Spirit again, and he is beginning to find hope. It is almost unbelievable hearing that from a man that was so devoid of hope when I first got here he wouldn't even let us enter his house. The Gospel truly can change people. It will change our lives, and I know that because I have seen it in my very own life.

In other news, we had to go back to the Clinic for my face, which is kind of far away, so that was fun. It took an hour to get there, and we sat in the waiting room for a couple of minutes, walked into the doctor's office, she said about three sentences to me, and we walked out literally three minutes later, then began the trek home. Needless to say it was awesome! We got some really amazing contacts on the trains.

This past week I've been trying to follow every single prompting  have, and I have seen so many miracles recently! I have found that as I show the Lord that I'm willing to act, he will put more people in my path to teach. For example, we were coming home from a zone meeting, and I sat down next to this man on the train and I greeted him, and tried to start a conversation with him, but he stood up and walked away. But I had prayed before and I knew I was sitting where I was supposed to, so I just waited. And almost immediately after he left, another man sat down in the exact same spot he was sitting, and we were able to have a fantastic conversation about the Gospel. I testify that as we show the Lord our willingness to follow His will, He will always prepare a way for us.

I love you all! I'll talk to you all next week!

Elder Tolen

District Lunch

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Week 41 [50]: The Apocolypse Is Nigh!

September 14, 2015

The title pretty much says it all! This last week has been crazy! So much stuff happening everywhere! It's a party! This week in Japan there have been earthquakes, landslides, typhoons, floods, and even volcanos erupting! Not to mention the weird disease I obtained on my face, which required a trip to the doctor! So needless to say, it has been quite a unique week.

But that doesn't mean we did not see miracles!!! Let's dive right in, shall we?

I'll start off with the miracle we were able to witness today! It involves a less-active we've been teaching. He is currently suffering from depression, and has had a lot of trials in his life, but Elder Burton and I have  been working very hard with him. We have not been seeing to much progress, but he wants to obtain hope more than anything! So in our last lesson when he told us that, I decided I needed to be more bold with him, because he has told us this before, and we tell him he needs to gain faith, and then he tells us, "Well I already have faith. I used to be a Stake President. I already believe everything." So, when I heard him say it this time, I don't know what changed, but I knew I would have to be a little bit more bold than I usually like being. So, I looked him in the eyes and said,"If you want hope, you need faith, and faith is a principle of action. If you really want to gain hope, what are you willing to do for it?" That's more or less the exact quote. It happened almost a week ago, so I forget exact phrases. Then the even more surprising part happened. Nothing. His attitude didn't change, he just continued talking, but I knew I said what I needed to say, and I witness the proof today.

Today, we received a call from him, and he said, "Thank you so much for always believing in me. I'm going to call the bishop right after this and set up an interview with him. Thank you for the advice." I have never been happier on a phone call. That made my life. My companion just started jumping around in the apartment! Literally! It was amazing.

Another miracle this week. We have been teaching a man who only wants to learn about the Gospel for educational purposes. Or so he said. He told us right from the beginning when we first met him that there was no way God existed. And slowly but surely I have witnessed this man change. He's not there yet, but he is on his way. Yesterday, during our lesson (we've been meeting with him for about 2 months now, every Sunday), he told us, if there is a God, I would want it to be a God like the one you are talking about right now. Coming from a man who said God could never exist, so it doesn't matter what He's like, this was a pretty big change.

This next Saturday I have to opportunity to baptize the sisters' investigator! So that is really exciting! It will be the first time I've baptized someone!

Well! That about wraps it up this week! Transfer emails are this Saturday, so I might have some big news next week! I love you all!
Elder Tolen
A Group of Kids Who Wanted to Play with Us!

Week 40 [49]: Every Day Is a Miracle!

September 7, 2015

Hello! This week wasn't too packed, just had lots of time to go out and work, but I'll tell you about a few of the interesting things that we were blessed to see this week!

So yesterday, we had dinner at a members house! It was awesome! Want to know what made it even more awesome? Their youngest daughter is a professional percussionist! And she is fantastic at marimba. Well, fantastic doesn't really do it justice. At an international competition, she placed third. In the world. So she is pretty good. And she even performed for us! It was so cool! Before that, they had me play snare drum for a little while, so that was a blast. We were able to talk about lots of cool drum stuff. I doubt you guys would understand. It's just drum stuff. It was way cool!

Another cool miracle we were able to see this week! We were housing, and, after finding a giant caterpillar that threw up like a billion times all over the place as a form of self-defense, we started knocking some doors, and we were seeing zero success. After about 30 doors getting slammed in our faces, we decided to pray before we started the next floor. We thought we would kind of "dedicate" the floor for missionary work.


It worked.

The second door we knocked, a guy came out and was one of the friendliest people I have ever met! He was so happy to see us, and he loved listening to the Gospel. He told us if we ever needed to go to the bathroom, and we were in the area, he said we could come use his bathroom. That was the first time I have even been told that. So that was really interesting. He told us to come back whenever. So that was a great way to end the day. We talked to him for an hour, and by the time we finished, we had another appointment we had to go to. It was awesome to see that.

I know that if we continually prove to the Lord our willingness to follow His will, He will lead us to where we need to be. He will bless us beyond our comprehension. I love you all; have a fantastic week!

Elder Tolen

The Family with the Percussionist Daughter

Photo from the Sister's Baptism

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Week 39 [48]: Summer Festival

This week was so busy! It was insane! First, it started off by me going on Splits with my zone leader, Elder Seiboch! That was a blast! We didn't get to do much proselyting because he had to do a baptismal interview for an area about an hour away by train, but I was able to learn a lot from him! After that, an investigator that has been in the Philippines for the past month came back! He is 16, and is completely fluent in English. It's awesome! He is such a great kid; he wants to spend all day with us, so we just take him with us while we do missionary work! And it's great, because he isn't Mormon, but loves to help people, and help them find the joys that come from knowing that there is a God! It's a blast!

After that, we had a Summer Festival! It was a blast! We do volunteer work for this one place, and they invited us to help them! So we were able to volunteer at the Summer Festival! It was so much fun! I'll be sure to include pictures! After that, we had a lesson with one of our investigators! Usually I haven't been there to teach him before, because we like to have a Japanese Elder there, because he uses really hard Japanese, but we couldn't do it this time, so the two American Elders decided to take on the challenge! And it was so amazing! It was a very successful lesson! Usually, he is very against hearing anything that we have to say, because he has gotten into a lot of "Anti-Mormon" material, so I don't know what it was, but I was able to show him that I was willing to hear him out, so he was willing to listen to us! And now he is reading the Book of Mormon! It is so great! I don't know what it is, but I'm just way happy! Takao is such a great area, and I've already seen so many miracle from finding and teaching. It's given me a boost to continue to push hard! It's the best!

Well, I've had some questions that were wondering what my Daily Grind is like, so I figured I would tell you my schedule!

6:30: Arise and Shine!
6:30-7:00: Get fit! Exercise!
7:00-8:00: Prepare for the day!
8:00-9:00: Personal Study! I've been studying "Charity" recently. It's a great topic. I would highly recommend it.
9:00-10:00: Companion Study!
10:00-11:00: Language Study! Gotta learn that Japanese.
11:00-12:00: Lunch!
12:00-9:00: This part of the day is always changing! But usually involves teaching, and or finding.

Dad! The Japanese is coming great! It's definitely been hard, but it's coming! A member told me the other day that I have the most Japanese-sounding Japanese out of any not-Japanese missionary he has ever met. So that was pretty nice. It still has its challenges, but it is definitely getting better. My current companion's Japanese is great! He is way good!  My current companion is Elder Burton! He is from Lehi! He is 21, and went to BYU for a while, and he is pretty good at a video game called "League of Legends." He is way good at soccer too! So that's a lot of fun! He is really good at making jokes in Japanese, but his puns in English are also quite good. He is a great guy! I like him a lot.

Mom! I got the package! Thank you! I love me some good old Mac and Cheese. You don't really need to send a box [an empty package with the instructions; I (mom) empty the boxes into individual baggies to save weight and space when I ship)]. I know how to make it better than I know how to speak Japanese. :) haha.

Well, I would like to end on a more spiritual note.

As I said before, I am currently studying Charity. So, to do that, I followed Elder Bednar's counsel. I took a soft cover copy of the Book of Mormon, wrote my question about Charity, color coded my marks so I know why I marked things, then I just started going. I've been doing this for about a week. And I'm at about 1 Nephi 3. I have found something I can relate to Charity in almost every verse of scripture that I have read. The thing that has stuck out to me the most is how charitable the Lord has been to us. All of the things he has prepared just for each of us, individually. He took to the time to plan out each and every one of our lives, with a very particular sense to detail. "If you ever feel alone, or unloved, you never are... The Lord has promised Angles on your left and on your right to bear you up, and the Lord always keeps his word." -President Henry B. Eyring

I love you guys! I think about you every day! I pray for you every single night! I hope you all have a great week!


Elder Tolen
Elder Tolen and Elder Burton at the Summer Festival
Elder Tolen and Elder Burton at the Summer Festival

Stake Conference Photo

Photos in a Cool Park in Hachioji

A Cool Park in Hachioji

Week 38 [47]: Lots of Lessons, and Rugby Fun!

Hello! I was playing Rugby all day, and lost track of time! By the way, if you haven't played Rugby before, do it! It is so fun! I'll talk about the miracle that came from that later!

This week was hot! But not as hot as it has been! That was really nice, except it has been raining a decent amount!

This week, we had an amazing experience. We had a day that we had no lessons planned, so we were kind of sad about that. But we woke up that morning and got up a little early so we could go to seminary. At seminary, we received a call from a less-active man whom we called the night before, telling us to come over that day. After that, we did a lesson with a member, then after lunch we went back to call some people. So we called a few people in our area book without any success, but then we called this one man who told us to come over as soon as we could, so of course we booked it over there. We got there, and sat down, and before we could even introduce ourselves, he dove right in with his questions about Jesus Christ! It was fantastic. Then we booked it over to our less-active's house, and had another fantastic lesson.

We got there, and he was acting like he didn't really want to have us around, but I received revelation that I needed to share a very specific video called, "The Savior Wants to Forgive, " so I did. And by the time the video ended, he was almost in tears. And he told us, "Please help me find hope." So we promised him we would always be there, and he thanked us, and we left. The Spirit was so strong in his home when we left. I'm excited to work with him.

So today while playing Rugby, we saw three guys just staring at us, and we asked them if they wanted to play, and they were elated! We played with them, and they said they would come again!

Sorry! I'm out of time, and next week is temple P-day, so my emails might be a bit short then too, but it doesn't mean I love you any less! Keep being amazing! By the way,  technically I live in a city called "Hachiouji", but the ward is the "Takao Ward." I live by a train station called "Hazama." I love you guys!

Elder Tolen
P-Day Rugby Fun in Hachioji