Elder Tolen's Transfer History

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


Thursday, June 2, 2016

Week 73 [82]: Be a Hero!

Monday, April 25, 2016

Hello everyone! His week was busy! We had to go to Kichijoji to pick up our new companion! His name is Elder Abe! He is the best! He is from the northern portion of Japan, but he is definitely one of my favorite companions by far! He has so much energy! He's great. It will be a great transfer.

So I would just like to share a super awesome miracle that happened last Preparation Day! So, I don't know if you all remember or not, but we went and hiked up Mt. Takao last week! I don't know if I mentioned this, but on the way down, Elder Laird, a missionary I happened to be talking to, sees a guy who didn't look too Japanese, so he said, "Excuse me, do you speak Portuguese?" Turns out the man was completely Japanese, and spoke no Portuguese, but we were able to have a nice conversation with him, but then we had to continue our descent. Now you are probably all wondering why I am sharing this! I'll tell you! That night, we went home, and started proselyting, and Elder Ishikawa and I felt a very distinct impression to turn down a road. So we did, and as we were walking I saw someone that looked a little familiar. This is a pretty common thing for me, especially when I've lived in an area for about three months, and I walk down the same streets almost every day, so I greeted the man, and tried to talk to him, but he just ignored us and kept walking. As I started to walk away I felt like there was something else that I needed to do. So I turned around, and opened my mouth, and said the first thing that came to my mind, "Wait! Do you speak Portuguese?" I have never seen a man pull a 180degree turn so fast in my life. Before I knew it, he was right there talking to us. And you want to know who it was? The very same guy we met on a side of a mountain earlier that afternoon in a completely different city about an hour away from the mountain. He was very surprised, and all I could say was," You and I both know that this is destiny. There is no other explanation. So, because this is destiny, and God wanted us to meet again, will you come to church and see what a weird American like me is doing all the way over here in Japan?" And even more to my surprise, he said yes! So I hope there is even more to add on to this miracle next week! But it was an overall amazing experience.

I would also like to share a short spiritual thought. I would just like to share two scriptures. They come from Luke 1:37, and then Moroni 7:33. They say,

"For with God nothing shall be impossible"

"And Christ hath said: If ye will have faith in me ye shall have power to do whatsoever thing is expedient in me."

These are the two verses I decided to use for the district theme this transfer. As I was reading this, I started thinking about what these scriptures meant, and what they could be related to. And, as I thought about it, the only thing that came into my mind was Super Heroes. Now, bear with me, I know it sounds pretty cheesy, and it kind of is, but it gets better, I promise. A super hero is someone who has exceptional power, might, wit, and tenacity. Someone who is willing to throw their life on the line for the gain of others, and do whatever it takes to help those around them find peace. That's why the theme I decided to go with for the transfer was "Be a Hero."  Excel in your talent, put it all on the line, and go out and save your brothers and sisters. I hope that we can all "Be a Hero" in our own stories, and overcome the powers of the adversary, and truly help bring those prepared souls home. The Lord has truly given us control over our own destinies. We decide how it ends. Now, the real question is, who are you? That's what it all comes down to. What kind of hero will you decide to become? What epic adventures does life have in store for you yet? Only God knows, but with Him on our side, boundaries, barriers, and limits are nonexistent. We may not get to decided what happened in our adventure, but we all get to decide how it ends. So get out there, and find your destiny, and then, make your dreams a reality. Be a Hero.

I love you all and hope you have a fantastic week! I hope it is full of love, adventure, peace, and joy! You are all amazing!

Elder Tolen

Elder Tolen and Elder Ishikawe with Elder Abe

New Missionaries at the Mission Home

Week 72 [81]: My Firstborn in the Wilderness

Monday, April 18, 2016

Hello everyone! It's been a pretty good week! My companion was down with a fever for a good chunk of the week, though, so that was interesting! It gave me lots of study/pondering/ area book finding time! It was very good! I learned a lot. This week was a lot of fun, and we even went to hike Mt. Takao with a bunch of other missionaries today! I even got to see Elder Hunsaker again! He is one of my best friends out here. We were able to talk a lot, and have a good time. He actually goes home this week, so that's a pretty weird thought! It's interesting seeing all of these missionaries who aren't that much older than me going home. It's quite a strange feeling! Pretty scary!

So we got transfer emails this last week, and I will be staying with Elder Ishikawa! But, there's more! We are having a son! We will be training a new missionary together! I'm so excited for this. I have always wanted to train, and I'm so grateful that I will be getting this wonderful opportunity to help a new missionary adjust to life in Japan. He will probably be American, but he might also be Japanese as well, so we will see! It would be interesting to live an apartment of more then two people, but still only be able to speak Japanese. We'll see what happens!

As for a spiritual thought for today, I would like to kind of continue my thoughts that I shared recently about the Sakura trees! Recently, as you know, all of the Sakuras are gone! I was so sad. I was very sad because this was the last 桜季節 that I would get in Japan. But as I was walking down the road with Elder Ishikawa the other day, I saw some Sakura flowers blowing around in the street. It actually looked like a Sakura tornado! I was very impressed! But upon seeing it, my mind was brought back to some revelation I received a couple of weeks before pertaining to Sakura trees blooming, and spiritual light and knowledge. I think I might have already shared those thoughts with you, but anyways, I saw these Sakura blossoms swirling around, and I started thinking about how Sakura blossoms are only on the trees for like a week! That's it! Then they fall off! For good, that's it, bye-bye, see you next year. I thought about how our spiritual experiences are like that! They come in just a fleeting moment! We have to be ready to see them, or we miss them. But I started thinking about this Sakura tornado that I was witnessing! I thought about all of the different trees these Sakuras could have originated from. I doubt they all came from the same tree! Then I thought about how, in our lives, we will probably have lots of Spiritual experiences, or in other words, lots of different trees! But eventually, the leaves from the trees will fall, but that doesn't mean it's done! What I was witnessing right now was all of those Spiritual experiences, being controlled by an unseen force, wind, or at least in this たとえ話, God, swirling together to create something beautiful! All of the knowledge and spiritual light we were able to gain from the trees wasn't lost when  our "霊的な桜季節" ended! It was all there, so that when then time came, the Lord could use it to influence others! So we need to make sure that we get everything out of our それぞれ霊的な桜季節! That way, when the time comes, the Lord can make a beautiful "Sakura Tornado" and use us and our experiences to impact others, and help them see what the Gospel can really do!

I really do love his gospel. There really is a such thing as a second chance. As I have served as a missionary, I have truly come to understand what the Lord means when He says He is full of mercy and grace, because I have seen so much of it out here! Everything in this life is a blessing from the Lord! Every trial, and hardship was made to make the small things easier. We have big challenges occasionally so we can tackle our daily battles with ease. The Lord truly does love each and every one of us, and everything he does is for our benefit!

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

Elder Tolen


Ran into a Friend at the Temple Last Week!
A Friend at the Temple Last Week!

Pictures from the Hike!

Pictures from the Hike!

Week 71 [80]: Casting Lots

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Hey everyone! I'm short on time, and very tired, so I figured I would just share a little spiritual message his week! I hope that's alright!

So this week, I was reading in the book of Jonah, again! I really love Jonah; there is so much we can learn from this section of the bible. But anyways, we all know the story of Jonah! Jonah gets called upon by the Lord to teach the people in Nineveh, but Jonah gets scared and flees to a boat as its departing from shore, and gets on, and begins journeying on the sea. On the boat, the crew encounters a huge storm, and they know that it is not a natural storm, but rather from God. In order to find out who is causing God's wrath to fall upon them, the crew, along with Jonah, all gather to cast lots, and then, as we know the lot fell on Jonah.

I read this and I thought to myself, "Now why on Earth did they decide to cast lots? There were probably much more effective ways to find the truth! Interrogation, and things of that such could have also led to them discovering that the source of the trouble was Jonah, so why do they play a game of chance?" 

But as I was pondering this, I started thinking about what casting lots really means. You put your faith in something completely out of control.  Now before I continue here, I want everyone to know that I do not condone gambling, or anything of that sort!  

Alright, so to continue, casting a lot meant putting everything in the hand of chance. You take the human influence out of it, and put in the will of the Lord. Casting lots was not taking a chance, it was a show of complete faith. Faith the the Lord would accomplish what He needed to accomplish. So, when Jonah and the crew cast lots, it was them showing their faith unto the Lord that everything would work out in the way it needed to. They took themselves out of the picture, or in other words, they took their own personal opinions out of the equation, and left the rest to God. I thought that was really interesting! Now I'm not telling everyone to start casting lots to make decisions! That's not what I'm trying to say at all. What I'm trying to say is put your faith in God, and His plan! Everything will work out in the way it needs to! Don't let the little things bring you down, just go out, and work hard, do everything you can, and then leave the rest up to the Lord, because He will never, never let you down. I know this is true. I have seen it in my own life. I know this Gospel is true, and I love each and every one of you! Keep fighting, because you are fighting the good fight.

Love you!

Elder Tolen
Fuchu District with President Wada at the Tokyo Temple

Elder Tolen and Elder King at the Tokyo Temple

Elder Tolen with a Member's Wallet?