Elder Tolen's Transfer History

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


Monday, April 4, 2016

Week 64 [73]: Onward, Ever Onward!

Monday, February 21, 2016

This week was fantastic! I'll summarize some of the highlights here pretty fast.

First! We had district meeting, and on the way back to the church to prepare district meeting Elder Brown and I both felt like we needed to go down a different road, so we started, and almost made it to the church, and we were wondering why the Spirit had led us down this road. And right as I was thinking that, I said hello to a man with headphones in. I guess he didn't hear me, because he didn't react, but in Japan it isn't too uncommon for people to ignore your existence in order to avoid you, so I thought he might be doing that. But as we kept walking, Elder a Brown tried once more, and got his attention, and it turns out, he has interest! We walked with him to the church and gave him a quick tour, and we were able to exchange contact information. It was a great faith-building experience for me.

Another experience we had was we were finally able to get an investigator we have been working with for a long time now to come to church! And! He had a great experience. He is literally a genius, and he is working for the Japanese equivalent to NASA, so it was great to work with him. We extended a baptismal date to him, but he doesn't think he's ready quite yet, so we will continue to work with him and help him increase his faith.

In today's letter, I would like to share a story that I received from a fellow servant in the Lord's vineyard. I think it's fiction, but it gets the point across nonetheless:

Does evil exist?

The university professor challenged his students with this question. Did God create everything that exists? A student bravely replied, "Yes, he did!"

"God created everything? The professor asked.

"Yes sir," the student replied.

The professor answered, "If God created everything, then God created evil since evil exists, and according to the principle that our works define who we are then God is evil." The student became quiet before such an answer. The professor was quite pleased with himself and boasted to the students that he had proven once more that the Christian faith was a myth.

Another student raised his hand and said, "Can I ask you a question professor?"

"Of course," replied the professor.

The student stood up and asked, "Professor, does cold exist?"

"What kind of question is this? Of course it exists. Have you never been cold?" The students snickered at the young man's question.

The young man replied, "In fact sir, cold does not exist. According to the laws of physics, what we consider cold is in reality the absence of heat. Every body or object is susceptible to study when it has or transmits energy, and heat is what makes a body or matter have or transmit energy. Absolute zero (-460 degrees F) is the total absence of heat; all matter becomes inert and incapable of reaction at that temperature. Cold does not exist. We have created this word to describe how we feel if we have no heat."

The student continued, "Professor, does darkness exist?"

The professor responded, "Of course it does."

The student replied, "Once again you are wrong sir, darkness does not exist either. Darkness is in reality the absence of light. Light we can study, but not darkness. In fact we can use Newton's prism to break white light into many colors and study the various wavelengths of each color. You cannot measure darkness. A simple ray of light can break into a world of darkness and illuminate it. How can you know how dark a certain space is? You measure the amount of light present. Isn't this correct? Darkness is a term used by man to describe what happens when there is no light present."

Finally the young man asked the professor, "Sir, does evil exist?"

Now uncertain, the professor responded, "Of course as I have already said. We see it every day. It is in the daily example of man's inhumanity to man. It is in the multitude of crime and violence everywhere in the world. These manifestations are nothing else but evil."

To this the student replied, "Evil does not exist sir, or at least it does not exist unto itself. Evil is simply the absence of God. It is just like darkness and cold, a word that man has created to describe the absence of God. God did not create evil. Evil is not like faith, or love that exist just as does light and heat. Evil is the result of what happens when man does not have God's love present in his heart. It's like the cold that comes when there is no heat or the darkness that comes when there is no light."

The professor sat down.

The young man's name — Albert Einstein

God is always with us. He loves us and supports us. Evil is made by man. Evil is a choice. And every man has a choice. Like it says, "Evil is simply the absence of God." God did not create evil. We are all here for a purpose, and Lord has given us our agency as a tool that we can use to find it. Agency isn't inherently evil, but it can be used in the wrong way. We always need to make sure that we stay focused on what matters most in the eternal perspective of things. Always remember who we are, and what we stand for, so that when the time comes, we too can "return with honor."

This Gospel is true. And I know it is with all of my heart. Every single one of you is an inspiration to me. I am so grateful for all of your wonderful examples to me, especially when my faith was lacking, and wasn't enough to support its own weight. I hope all of you have a fantastic week. You mean more to me than you can imagine. Keep pressing forward. Go to the edge, because that's where the miracles are waiting.

I love you all,

Elder Tolen


Elder Brown Eating Ramen

Fuchu District Meeting

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