Elder Tolen's Transfer History

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


Saturday, December 5, 2015

Week 52 [61]: Tis the Season!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015
First of all, I would like to dedicate the beginning of this letter to a very special person in my life: My dad. His birthday was this past week, and I just want him to know exactly how much I appreciate him. He is such a wonderful example to me, and has always shown me what it really means to be a father, even when I treated him with much less of the respect than he so deserved. I love you Dad. You mean the world to me. I look forward to campouts, fishing trips, and campfire talks when I get home! Love you to the moon!

This week was busy! And next week is going to be even more so!

We had the opportunity to go caroling at a place we do service at every week, and that was amazing! In Japan, caroling isn't a thing. In fact it's kind of weird. So it really is a lot of fun to introduce people to a different culture, because a lot of people have never left their own country before!

After that, we had a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner with our Stake President. It was actually the day after Thanksgiving! For our actual Thanksgiving feast, we gathered as a district, and because we had no plans with members we went out to an all-you-can-eat Okonomiyaki place! It was divine! After that, we went to the church and started preparing for a musical number we have at Zone Conference, and the Stake President walked in and started talking to us, and we just had a great discussion with him! Just so you know, the Stake President lives in our ward, so this isn't too unusual. But anyways, he asked us if any members invited us over for a Thanksgiving meal, and we said no. The members around here are all really young couples, so everyone is busy with work and things, so he just said, "Oh". And changed the subject.

Then that night, he called us up and invited us over for a Thanksgiving feast at his house the next day! It was amazing. I really look up to our Stake President. He is about the same age as my dad, so I kind of view him as my Dad that lives in Japan. He reminds me a lot of my actual dad!

Today we went to the temple, so that's why I didn't email yesterday! So instead of P-Day yesterday, as a district, we went out to the furthest inhabitable place in our area, and did a "No-splits blitz"! It was awesome. We saw a lot of miracles from that. It really was just out in the middle of nowhere! It was beautiful! I'll try and send some pictures home. It's hard to look at nature, and life, and think that God didn't create it all! I started pondering about how Jesus felt as he walked on the Earth, how it felt to walk upon your own creation, and see the beauty in everything. Every sunrise was astounding, because He painted the sky himself. Every petal of a flower had beauty locked in it, because He had woven it. I've realized how I want to try and appreciate the blessing I have been given more. Everything the Lord does for us is to draw out the beautiful potential He knows we have. Just like a flower bud contains a flower, he knows what we contain, and he knows the beauty we hold.

I love you all. I hope you all had fantastic weeks, and a wonderful Thanksgiving. I know I did.

Much love,

Elder Tolen

Having Some Fun on "No Splits Blitz"

Elder Tolen and Elder Burton Having Some Fun

Christmas Caroling in Japan!
Elder Inumaki and Elder Tolen at Church Headquarters near Tokyo Temple

Temple P-Day

Week 51 [60]: Striving Servants

Monday, November 23, 2015

This week was remarkably busy! Where to begin!

One Tuesday we had zone meeting, and then I had the opportunity to go on splits with someone from my MTC group that day! So we spent the rest of the day by the mission home so he could get his retainer! It was a lot of fun! We were able to meet lots of amazing people! And we met a tour guide that said he would give me a tour of Okinawa after my mission! That was a lot of fun!

Then that night, we had to hurry back because Elder Burton and I had the opportunity to go on splits with the Assistants! That was a lot of fun! I was able to spend time with a missionary named Elder Murakami! We then had to run back for our Volleyball night that we had! And our new investigator showed up! It was amazing! He is from the Philippines! He is awesome! He loves sports and video games. So we met him, played volleyball, then taught him about the importance of families, because he is a father himself!

It was fantastic! I was able to learn so much from Elder Murakami. He is a fantastic missionary. He goes home in about two transfers, so I was able to learn so much from his plethora of experience!

After that, the next day was literally chaos. We were supposed to end splits at about 3:30. Just to show you how hectic it was, the splits didn't end until about 8:30. We had to run all over the place! Assistants really have their work cut out for them! It was a blast! I was extremely stressed, but I never had so much fun just running around!

We have some sad news. Our recent convert has decided to stop coming to church, because he really doesn't like Japanese people. Which is interesting, because he is Japanese. But we are trying our best to help him find charity for his fellow man.

Something I've really been pondering this week is the importance of trials. I know everyone knows why we have trials, but that doesn't make it any easier. But recently I received a quote from my father
that I would like to share:

Sacrifice is not just about giving things up. The roots of the English verb sacrifice mean 'to make something holy.' Sacrifice includes taking something that is precious to us and offering it to God, making it holy because we give it to the Holy One. (Voices of Hope by Wendy Ulrich)

The reason a trial is a trial is because in our trials we always have to sacrifice something. That's what makes trials difficult! But when we take those sacrifices and try and consecrate them unto the Lord, that's when a painful trial turns into a wonderful period of growth! I know this is true! Keep striving!

Elder Burton and I came up with a theme for our districts this transfer, and it is "Strive". Strive to be the best you! Love you all!

Elder Tolen
Elder Tolen and Elder Murakami at Volleyball Night

Photos on the Train

Photos on the Train

Service with Elder Burton

Takao District at the Mall

Climbing Mt. Takao with the Ward

Week 50 [59]: Ping Pong Party!

Monday, November 16, 2015

This week has been busy! I am exhausted! First of all, I want to thank you all for the birthday wishes! They mean a lot! I'm 20 now. That's weird. I still feel 18. Anyway. Moving on to the actual important things!

This week, Elder Burton and I had quite the interesting experience! We were handing out English flyers, and a remarkably intoxicated man came up and started talking to Elder Burton. He continued for about an hour, and it got to the point where I ran out of flyers, so I went over to Elder Burton, and by this point, the man was just sitting on the road, in the middle of this train station. I came up, and we just started talking about his life, and before we knew it, we had a whole bunch of people around us! Nobody knew what to do, so eventually we got the man a taxi. A lady that was helping us remarked at how impressed she was with our kindness.

As we were walking away to go home, a man came up. He had been hanging around for a little while, but we were a bit preoccupied so he waited until we were done. Then he asked us if we knew a missionary he had been texting, and it was none other then our beloved zone leaders! We said of course we know them! After talking for a minute, he said how impressed he was by our willingness to serve, and we got his phone number, and he left. After that we called the zone leaders, and wanted to know if they knew this man, or if he was a potential investigator.  It turns out that he was one of their actual investigators, and they had been trying to get in contact with him for a long time, and he had actually just called them after we met him and set up an appointment! I'm so glad that the Lord always puts us in the right place at the right time! It never ceases to amaze me.

Other than that, this week we had game night, and it turned into a birthday party, and we just had a lot of fun. I played lots of ping-pong. I really do love ping-pong. A lot of P.I.s came, and they were able to become friends with the church members! It was a great experience!

Thank you all so much for all that you do! I love you all! I hope you have a great week!

Much love,

Elder Tolen

Out to Dinner with the Elders

Birthday in Takao
Birthday in Takao

P-Day Fun in Takao

Week 49 (58): Fall Is upon Us!

Monday, November 9, 2015

It has been quite the week. I am exhausted. But it is all for a good cause.

This week was transfer day, but that didn't really effect Elder Burton and me, since we are staying together, but we now have two new members of our district, Elder Inumaki, and Sister Hayashi! They are both Japanese, so it is a lot of fun. A great opportunity to work on my Japanese.

On Saturday, Elder Inumaki and I went to get flu shots at the mission home, so we went on splits for that day, and we saw quite the miracle. Elder Burton and I had been housing in this area the day before, and saw a miracle where we were able to teach a lesson to a man, and he became a potential investigator (PI), and Elder Inumaki and I felt prompted to go there again. So we went, and saw little to no success. At first. We almost decided to go to another area, but we decided to go back to a building that we didn't think we were allowed to go into again. And it turns out, we were allowed in! So we started housing, and on the second door we rang, somebody answered. The conversation went as follows:

Me: "Hello! We are missionaries for the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and we are sharing a message about Jesus Christ! Have you ever met missionaries like us before?"
Our New Friend: "No."
Me: "Oh really? We'll have you ever studied about Jesus Christ before?"
Our New Friend: "No, but I'm Buddhist so...."
Me: "Oh really? What sect of Buddhism are you affiliated with?"
Our New Friend: "(A certain sect of Buddhism)."
Elder Inumaki: "Oh wow! That's the one that my Grandfather practices! I really respect his beliefs, and we believe in supporting other people in their beliefs, and we think it is good to know what other
churches believe! I don't love my Grandfather any less because he is Buddhist."
Our New Friend: "Oh. Wait one minute please."
*comes to the door and opens it*
"Okay, please come in!"

And we were able to teach him the entire first lesson right then and there, and he said we could come back and visit any time! It was amazing! He was even in the middle of cooking dinner, so we taught him while he cooked, then tried to give us coffee! It was really funny--we also got to teach him a little about the Word of Wisdom!

In other news, fall is coming, and it is beautiful up here in the mountains of Takao. I think that about wraps it up.... I love you guys, and I hope you have a good week! Hope to hear from each of you soon!

Elder Tolen
Takao District

Takao District

Fall in Takao