Tuesday, December 16, 2014

He made it!

Nathan left December 15, 2014 to fly to Japan. He had a layover in Portland, then he flew to Tokyo and then on to Sendai. He was traveling for about 24 hours and lost almost a day, but he made it! Here he is with his mission president and the other new missionaries.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Sweet Columbus's Raven, I'm going to Japan!!

December 11: Week 8
Area: Provo MTC
Companion: Elder Hamilton

Konnichiwa everyone! How is everyone doing?! It sounds like you are all enjoying the Christmas season so far! This is a good time of year to be at the MTC. There are lights all over the court yard and it feels super magical. And we get to sing Christmas songs in Japanese which is super fun!

My week here has been pretty awesome! Nothing super special happened but we had a lot of fun. I've grown really close to my district and we are all pretty sad we have to say goodbye next week. Me and the other Chorotachi have a lot of fun. We had Christmas with our Kohai this morning! That was super fun, mostly cause we got to dump all of our crap we don't want on them, along with all of the relics that have been handed down and signed for years. So we got up at 5:30 this morning to get ready. Then we went to other hallway in the residence hall and set up the Christmas Trees and laid out the "presents" around the lounge. Then around 5:45, we started pounding on our Kohai's door to wake them up. Apparently we were doing it too loud cause a missionary in the room next to them came bursting out of his room! He flew out with his head on a swivel trying to find who was making the noise. Then when he saw us he just yelled "what the crap!" and just glared at us for like 10 seconds until he went in his room. We were all just laughing when he left! It was so hilarious, he was so mad and disoriented. It was the best. MTC "Christmas" is just fantastic.

The Tuesday devotional was really awesome. Elder and Sister Zwick spoke. But the best part is when that 12 year old girl Lexi Walker sang. She is incredible. I guess she has sung for the president, she's sung in Carnegie Hall, and she was in that Frozen video with Alex Boye. While she was singing, me and Calhoun were talking. We were like "man, she's twelve and doing all of these things, what have I done with my life!!" I for sure wasn't doing that when I was twelve. I probably was just watching Spongebob and being worthless. Hahaha oh well, at least I have a purpose now! I love how the MTC is starting to bring in musical devotionals. I think music is one of the best ways to bring the spirit and to learn of Christ and his example.The devotional was really good. Sister Zwick shared a video that her 4 year old granddaughter made on her iphone. The little girl told us how much she loves missionaries and that if we come closer to Christ, he will come closer to us. It was super cute.

Last night was super cool as well. We had our last skype TRC last night. We talked to a nihonjin member who actually lives in California. He was way fun to talk to. Hamilton Choro is way into computer programming and software and that is what he did for a living. I asked him if he preferred apple or android. It was a fun conversation. But anyway, we talked about how the Book of Mormon can help our lives and we all shared our favorite scriptures. He was telling us stories and giving us advice that he learned while he served a mission in Kobe. It was pretty cool and I could mostly say everything I wanted to say without notes. At the end, he told us our Japanese was pretty good. Hopefully he's being serious! But it won't really matter for a little bit. We got emails from our Senpai in Japan and they said they basically don't understand anything but that they are having a great time.

So I got my flight plans last week. We are leaving the MTC on Monday at 3:30. I don't know if we are driving to the airport or taking frontrunner. We are flying Delta and our flight leaves at 8:30. We fly to Portland first arriving at 9:39. We have maybe an hour until our flight to Tokyo leaves at 10:51. So I kinda doubt I'll be able to call in Portland which is kinda a bummer. Then we fly to Tokyo and we get there at 2:55 Pm on Tuesday which is super weird. We lose an entire day! Then the Sendai missionaries have a four hour layover in the Tokyo airport until our flight to Sendai leaves at 6:55 PM. Sounds like a really long day! We are way excited though, even though our flight to Narita airport is like 12 hours! I'm sure Matthew, Dad and Todd knows how I feel right now. Japan seems like such a different place and I know I'm gonna have no idea whats going on for a few months probably. I'm super nervous but pretty excited to get started.  

Well that's about all of the exciting things that I can remember that happened this week! We had some good lessons with our "investigators" and I'm learning how to be a good missionary!

Thanks for all of the Sports updates. It's nice to hear about the real world. That's so crazy Utah is ranked that high. It is kinda cool to think that I was able to play on that court at such a level during the tournament last year. Those were good times, I kinda miss it. Speaking of basketball, I hit the coolest deep three in this tall guys face the other day, you would have been proud! You are right though, I am kinda freaking out. I'm pretty scared to have my first door approach or my first street contact and having no idea what I'm doing. I just need to learn to embrace it and enjoy the ride. Thanks for your encouraging words though. I feel so uplifted when I hear from you guys. And when I read the card from the ward, I felt really good. It's cool to know that we are in everyone's prayers because we need all of the help we can get! 

I can't believe my time here is up! I'm pretty excited! Mike emailed me again this week and told me how excited he is for me to finally go over to Japan. That is so awesome that he is constantly taking the time to talk to me each week. He's a pretty cool guy. I will be so happy if he's my trainer! I'm so excited to talk to you guys on Monday! Hopefully everything works out! I've missed hearing everyone's voices! Then in a week and a half later, we will be skyping! That will be so awesome. 
Thanks for all of the love and support you and the family have sent my way these past nine weeks. It really helped me get through the MTC. I have loved being so close to home and feeling your presence so close. I'm sure gonna miss you being close and the Utah mountains. But I'm excited for this adventure to start for real. I can't believe a week from now, I'll be doing real missionary work. I felt extreme love and concern for our fake investigators as I've been here, I can't even imagine what it is like during the real thing. I'm nervous and anxious but I know ill be okay! I love you so much! I will talk to you in 4 days! 

Well that's about it! I'm off to Japan! The MTC is a good place where the spirit is everywhere but I'm ready. I have learned so much here and I'm sad to leave the people I have come in contact with but I have to get started sometime! Talk to you soon!

Love Elder Nathan Didericksen 
ヂダリクセン 長老

The Elders (including the new Kohai) with Brother Shulthess. He's a counselor and he's is one of the nicest guys I've ever met. He really has helped throughout the MTC.

Our district

Starting to freak out!! One more week!

December 3, 2014: Week 7
Area: Provo MTC
Companion: Elder Hamilton

Hey my beloved family!!! How are you all doing!? It was so fun to hear from all of you this week. It sounds like you guys had a fun Thanksgiving! I'm sure it wasn't as fun as usual though cause lets be real, I'm the life of the party! Those pictures you sent me are so awesome! That is totally Matthew to be hiking in deep snow in shorts and chacos! I sure wish I could have been there to witness the weird looks he got from people! Today has been pretty good. We went to the temple first thing this morning again and then went to the temple cafeteria. Seriously, being at the MTC for so long, that place is definitely of the Gods. I know its a temple so it kinda is, but the food is such a nice change than from normal sack breakfast we get every morning. Then we did laundry and wrote letters. I finally was able to write letters to people this morning! So there should be a letter getting there in the next couple days! 

This week has been pretty good. The MTC is full of ups and downs. For example, yesterday we were teaching about repentance and the atonement. It went pretty well. In these lessons, I have been getting a lot better with teaching them with little to no notes. I write down the ideas I want to convey in English, and then I just translate them as the lesson goes on. It is pretty fun sometimes. But then last night I was humbled pretty hard core. We had another skype TRC and we taught a member lady who lives in Nagoya Japan. She wasn't super talkative so we had to do most of the teaching. It's much harder to come up with sentences on my own when I am talking to a real Nihonjin (Japanese person) in the heat of the moment. And they are kinda hard to understand too, adding on to the fact that we are talking through the computer. It still went well for the most part but it for sure is a humbling experience. That's why we are kinda freaking out a little bit cause we are gonna be experiencing baptism by fire in a little over a week! I'm really excited though just to see what the country looks like and to meet my mission president. Japanese is tough and its gonna take a while to get but it will come eventually. I just pray everyday to have the spirit and have the gift of tongues. I know you all are praying for that as well. 

Another awesome thing that happened was the devotional on Sunday. It was a pretty cool surprise. The MTC had Vocal Point come do the devotional. It was so cool!! They pretty much just sang and bore their testimonies for the whole time. Their first song wasn't even a church song. They did their famous 12 days of Christmas rendition. At the end, they sang part of it to the tune of Africa by Toto. IT was so awesome to hear sort of real music again. I miss it so much. When they did they chorus of Africa with all of the harmonies together, it was near to Angelic. Probably cause we have been so music deprived... Then they sang really awesome hymns like Nearer my God to Thee and other ones. It was a way fun devotional. I sure wish I was blessed with pipes like those. And there was a guy who looked just like Zac Efron so that would have been a cool blessing to have as well. Oh well. 

The rest of Thanksgiving was really good. We had an hour and a half long service project where we packed little meals for the hungry. It was pretty much a big assembly line. It was pretty fun. Then we were able to watch Meet the Mormons! I loved it! It was really good, partly cause it was the first kinda real movie I've seen in two months. Have you all seen it yet? I'm not going to lie to you though, one of the people they highlighted was a Mormon mom that lived in Draper who was sending a missionary off and that stuff kinda hits home for me. I really miss you guys but I know that I'm supposed be out here. The football part of the movie wasn't too shabby either! I miss sports.....like a lot!

Also, we got our new Kohai yesterday. I haven't been able to talk to them too much but I will be able to this week. Next Thursday is Christmas for them and we will be able to dump all of the Senpai's crap on them! That day will be glorious!

Well that's about all of the exciting things that has happened this week. I'm really excited to get out there and start doing the real thing and to start meeting the people and learning the culture. It's kinda weird being the veteran on campus here. It feels like I was just a newbie sometimes. BUt I'm out of here in a week! Its crazy! I love you guys and miss you! The church is true!!


Elder Nathan Didericksen

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving.....and Merry Christmas!

November 27, 2014: Week 6
Area: Provo MTC
Companion: Elder Hamilton

Hello family and friends. It was sooo good to hear from all of you this week. Thanks for all of the letters and packages. We have so much food in our room now and its amazing! I was so excited when you sent the cheese and crackers. Now every night, me and Nielsen Choro have our nightly cheese time where we eat cheese and crackers and talk about life. Its a great time. 

The end of last p-day was pretty cool. I was feeling pretty homesick, burned out, and inadequate. I prayed and asked God that I could get out of this funk and that I could feel better. Then probably no later than five minutes, one of our Senpai Racker Choro came in and just started talking to me. He didn't even know I was feeling the way I was. He told me that when he was in his fifth week here, he felt the exact same way I was feeling. He told me that we are not here to be perfect at the language or give amazing lessons to our "investigators". He just told me to be patient with myself and just not to worry so much about things. It made me feel a lot better. It was kinda crazy that right as I prayed, he came in and talked to me about it. God really does answer prayers.  

Anyway, probably the most eventful things that happened this week happened today and yesterday. I'll start with yesterday. So I finally have the first vision in Japanese memorized! It was pretty hard and I still need to look sometimes but for the most part I have it. I even wrote it all out in Hiragana from memory, it was pretty cool. I would of taken a picture but I didn't have my camera with me. That night, we had our first Skype TRC where we skype with Japanese members who live in Japan. It was a little scary but it went pretty well for the most part. I did say a few dumb things though. When she asked me how old I was, I got the numbers mixed up and I told her I was 80 years old! She said something like, wow you sure look great for an eighty year old. It was pretty funny. We didn't have a whole lot of time to teach cause we just got to know her the whole time and asked about her family. She lives in Kobe and she has a son who is going on a mission next year. She said there is a kid in her ward who is coming the MTC on Monday and then he is going to Sendai so we are probably flying out with him in a couple weeks. It was pretty fun. 

So last night when we were going to bed, the Senpai kept telling us that tomorrow was Christmas as well as Thanksgiving. We kept asking them what they meant but they just said that we will see. So this morning we hear a bunch of pounding on our door at around 5:45. We got up and opened it and all of our Senpai who leave on Monday were there and shouted Merry Christmas!! Then they led us to the other side of the building and we found a bunch of wrapped presents and stuff all around the lounge of the building. They had even set up a little Christmas tree in the middle (I have no idea where they got it from). Then when we were trying to find our presents, one of our Senpai named Fletcher Choro came out in a Santa hat, a pillow stuffed up his shirt, and shaving cream all over his face. It was hilarious. So now I'll explain how this all came about. So this Japanese zone I'm in has been doing this for a long time. Basically, all of this random crap has been passed down from generation to generation. And whoever owns it has to sign it when they leave, and then pass it down  the Kohai of their choice (the younger set of missionaries). There is so much random crap and none of it makes sense but it so hilarious. So each of the guys in my room got a bunch of stuff thats been handed down for a long time. SO in two weeks, we get to host our own Christmas for our new missionaries in our zone! So this is what I got: a random cane in which I have no idea where it came from, some sunglasses, a shirt that says "you can't handle my swag", a big land of the rising sun Japanese flag (That usually goes to whoever had lived in Japan before the mission. But since no one in my district did, Boetcher Choro gave it to me cause we are good friends and I'm the district leader), and finally a blow up Pirate sword. Then all of us got a bunch of boxes of candy and random crap that we have no idea how old it is such as a half eaten jar of peanut butter and a box of cereal. I'll send you some pictures of it, it was hilarious. I think we are the only zone in the MTC who does stuff like that! They are so awesome. 

So the devotional today was way good. It was Elder Bednar and he was way good. Come Thou Fount was way cool. It was Mack Wilberg's version and it was amazing. I thought we did pretty well. When Elder Bednar got up, he said that they were going to hand out a bunch of cell phones. Then they gave us the number to his ipad that he had with him. So we were supposed to text questions we had for him and he would read them off his ipad and then answer them. Also, the missionaries watching from the other MTCs could email him their questions as well. So we basically just had one big Q&A session with Elder Bednar. It was pretty awesome and the spirit was there pretty strongly. He is such a sharp and intelligent guy. It amazed me how he could take any question and answer it right away while using scriptures and doctrine. It was amazing.

Mom and Dad!
Hey guys, thanks for all the continuing support and love you send me! Dad, I wish I could be there to try all of your food. The thanksgiving lunch here was good, but no where near to the stuff we have at home. It's okay though, I will be fine. Today has been pretty good actually! Thanks for being such great parents. I love you guys! And dad, I will keep shooting those threes! Love you. 

Well that's about it. I hope you all have a great Thanksgiving!! I wish I could be there but I know I'm supposed to be here. It is crazy to me that I'll be in Japan in a little more than two weeks! Have a good week! Talk to you soon!


Elder Nathan Didericksen

It's a Small World

November 20, 2014: Week 5
Area: Provo MTC
Companion: Elder Hamilton

Hello family! It was sooo good to hear from all of you! This week has been pretty good for the most part. First off, I want to tell you about a funny story that happened this week. On Friday night, I had the biggest epiphany I have ever received ever. So it all started with talking with our Sensei Watanabe Shimai. She told us a while ago that her little brother Will Watanabe played football for Timpview and she would always tell us about is games. For the first month, I never thought anything of it until Friday night, it hit me like a car (haha see what I did there)! I suddenly remembered that the Sheffields were related to a Watanabe family from Provo. And last summer while I was in Oakley with Mark, his cousin Will Watanabe ,was up there with his dad and we hung out with them. I put it all together and I figured out that my Japanese teacher in the MTC is related to the Sheffields!! I met her brother and her dad over a year ago in Oakley, Idaho. My mind was completely blown! The next morning, I asked her about it and she said she had a Clark and Polly Sheffield as her aunt and uncle. It was crazy. I know its not actually that cool but you have to find small things to get excited about in the MTC. 

This week hasn't really been much different than the other weeks. Just a whole lot of studying. Some days are really good where I feel I am learning the language and doing good, but there are other days that I feel like I don't. I just continue to pray and work hard in order to learn the Japanese language. I just hope I know enough by the time I fly out in a little less than four weeks. ITs crazy its kinda creeping up on me. I'm just excited to get to the real world! Also, it was way cool seeing bro and sister Hancock. I wanted to just stand next to them as they texted back and forth with Mom. Its really nice seeing familar faces around here. 

There is some exciting times coming up here at the MTC with it being Thanksgiving. Word on the street is that Elder Bednar is coming to speak but we don't know for sure. But one of the coolest parts is the song we are singing for it. Bro. Eiget, the choir director, told us last week that: "we have never sung this song at the MTC cause it is way hard and you need a lot of time to prepare but we are gonna do it anyways, we are gonna sing Come Thou Fount!" I'm pretty excited cause that is my favorite song. We will see how it turns out! 

Another funny thing that happened was that on Sunday, one of our Branch Presidency members was interviewing me last week. He looked at me and said: "Elder, its time we called a new district leader.....wait just kidding that's next week. Forget I said anything". So I'm starting to get the feeling that I'll be the new district leader on Sunday. Me and hamilton Choro's other calling is that we just called to be the Sacrament coordinator people. SO we just prepare the sacrament I guess. Also on Sunday, I taught District meeting and it was about enduring to the end. I actually used Jeffrey R. Holland's talk Cast not Therefore your Confidence a whole lot in the lesson. It went really well I think. The spirit was strong. Our lessons are going well with our investigators. On Monday night in TRC, we taught a Japanese lady named Emmy for probably the third time now. She said our lesson was really good and that our Japanese is improving a lot! So that was a big confidence booster. What me and Hamilton Choro are trying to work on is getting to know what the needs of the investigator are. It's hard to do that in Japanese cause you might not know how to say much or how to respond but we are gonna have a little get to know you session with our "kyudosha" tonight. 

We got to host again yesterday. Again, they assigned way too many hosts. They were extra prepared cause around 700 missionaries entered yesterday cause of Thanksgiving next week. I only got to host one again. It was way fun though cause they had free hot chocolate and I just stood out there drinking free hot chocolate talking to the guys in our zone. It was a party. The guy I hosted is from Orem and he's going to Chicago. So again, my person I hosted will leave long before I do. Oh well. Well that's probably the most exciting things to happen to me this week. One exciting thing I've been meaning to tell you is that they have Blueberry muffin top cereal here. It is absolutely glorious. I remember I would have those all the time when I was younger but they suddenly disappeared from stores. But now they have returned! It's like the Prodigal Son. It was very sad and depressing when the muffin tops decided to leave my house, but when they finally returned....oh how joyous the occasion!! Muffin tops time is happy time for sure!

Thanks for all of your letters and treats! We love them! Lets see, in answering your questions: 1. No, I haven't dared to partake of the forbidden fruit, I don't want to know what its like. 2. I think the cream soda tree is real. We asked one of our teachers about it and he says he doesn't really smell like cream soda so I don't know. I don't even know where it is. 3. The foods good but you get really sick of the routine of the food here real fast. That's why we love going to the temple cafeteria for a change. I have been thinking about that lately too. I miss singing and jamming with you, especially that Mariah Carey song where she is basically yelling at me that its Christmas. Seriously Mariah, we know Christmas is here and that I probably care about it. You can just chill out. I told mom this this morning, but yeah that probably was me on Sunday. I was wearing a blue tie and a grey suit and I was doing a temple walk around the time you said you drove past. That is so cool!! I wish I could've seen you guys!! Well I love you a ton. GOod luck with school and preparing for the mission. DOn't go crazy while shopping like I did. Love you so much! Have a good week! Talk to you soon!

Ahhh!, I want to go biking sooo bad! I want to go do stuff so bad in the outside world! You probably know how it is in the MTC. It's good and fun, but it doesn't compare to being in the real world. I'm just excited to get to the field and you probably were too when you were in my position. You are right though, it is pretty neat to learn a new language. It's hard and frustrating at times but I learned that our motivation needs to be out of this world cause we need to study hard so that we can communicate with the Japanese so they can hear the gospel. Its kinda cool to think about in a few weeks ill be talking to the Japanese people and teaching them. Its pretty exciting.  Love you! Talk to you soon!

Sounds like life is busy at the Fugals like usual. And Daxton is turning one in a couple weeks!!? That is so crazy. Is he almost walking? Does he still scream and squeal constantly? I hope so cause that was way cute. Tell Avery I love her and miss her. She looks great in her Captain America costume!! Also, give Daxton a big hug and kiss for me! Have a great week! Love you guys!

Thanks for your letter and all of the sports updates. My zone craves for news of the outside world and I'm their guy thanks to you! But it sounds like the Jazz are fun to watch this year! Maybe I should send home a tape recording of me speaking Japanese. I still don't really know much and all I really know is gospel related things though. Maybe I'll send one when I'm a little more fluent! I will get to speak to you guys in just a few short weeks though!! Things are gonna pick up here at the MTC in the next few weeks. I think we start Skype TRCs on Wednesday where we skype with native Japanese members in Japan. I am terrified for that cause they speak so fast and are hard to understand. It will be fun though. I think my best advice for your Sunday School class is to get a habit of prayer and scripture study while they are young. I didn't really do a great job of that before the mission and I regret it. Scripture study here has been way cool for me just because I am seeing things that I never saw before the mission and how it actually applies to me in our day. Also with prayer, to just learn to say real meaningful prayers each day and growing that relationship with Heavenly Father. Another thing is love and charity. Before my mission, I had never prayed for more love and charity. I never thought it was important. But being in the mission field, love and charity is missionary work. Love and charity is actually the converting power for the investigator. That was very surprising when I learned that in preach my gospel. I think just encourage your students to pray for love, and to learn to see everyone how God and Jesus see everyone. I have been praying for that a lot and I have received some of that love and charity. It is pretty amazing. I think those are some of the most important things to learn I think. I hope that makes sense. Good luck with your lesson Dad. I love you!! You are my hero and always have been. Have a great week and I will talk to you soon!

Thanks for all of the love and support and prayers you have sent my way. It really helps me get through the tough times of the MTC. We really do have an awesome family. Mike wrote me again today and he told me to gear up for the best two years of your life. He told me how much the gospel has changed his life and the people he has taught. I'm excited to be able to do the same thing. Don't worry about me, I'm doing great. I'm not getting fat either, I think I've lost weight even. Boetcher Choro, the one from Orem, got me to go running around the temple at six yesterday with a couple of other Elders. I think we are gonna do that every day cause its way nice to get out of the walls as much as possible. And the temple looks way cool when its lit up. Love you!

Elder Nathan Didericksen

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Half way through the MTC....sort of!!

November 13, 2014: Week 4
Area: Provo MTC
Companion: Elder Hamilton

Ohaiyo Gozaimasu Minasan!!

It was so good to hear from all of you. Sounds like you all had a good week! Its so crazy to think I am pretty much halfway through. It feels like I've been here forever but it seems like I just got here at the same time. It is kinda weird how time passes in the MTC. I'm starting to get pretty excited to go to Japan though. I got an email from Elder Mike Anderson today and he was asking when I would be flying out. He said how awesome Sendai is and it got me so excited! But yeah I still have a while... My week was pretty good, its hard to come up with excited things to say cause like I said, we do pretty much the same things everyday. But I will tell you about some of the cool things that happened this week. 

Yesterday, we were able to host the new group of missionaries coming into the MTC. Apparently last week, they didn't assign enough hosts so they didn't have hosts for the huge groups of missionaries, so this week they made sure to have enough. But it was kinda dumb since there were so many hosts, I only got to host one missionary. He was from West Valley going to Chicago. It was kinda funny that I am his host and he will have been in Chicago for almost a month by the time I leave the MTC. Oh well. It was kinda awkward though cause I think he was super scared and sad that he left home so he wasn't very talkative. I tried to reassure him that he was okay and it will go better. I hope is doing okay. We will probably have plenty of more chances to host though. I guess a huge group comes in next week so hopefully we get asked to host again. 

My Japanese is coming along well. It is kinda cool how much we have learned in only 4 weeks. On Tuesday, I memorized the purpose of a missionary in Japanese. I thought it would take forever but it only took like 20 minutes. Now I want to work on memorizing the First Vision. That will be a lot harder but it will be good. I can sing most hymns now which is fun! I think I have both Katakana and Hiragana down and now its just a matter of having them register in my brain quicker, and of course writing them.  And me and Elder Hamilton aren't using as many notes during our lessons. It feels awesome when I can say grammatically correct sentences without notes during lessons. Japanese is a pretty cool language!! I can't wait for the day when I can speak easier. But I know I have to be patient with myself and the Lord and it will eventually come later down the road. 

So mom asked what my Sunday schedule is like. It is a pretty chill day. We have to be in the classroom by seven and we pretty much just study till we have priesthood around 10:45. I'm not gonna lie, it is pretty hard to stay awake during Sunday mornings! After priesthood, we come back to the classroom for our district meeting or Sunday school pretty much for about an hour. After that, we have lunch and more study till Sacrament meeting at 2:30ish. Sacrament meeting is kinda terrifying cause they always call out two people to give a talk. So we all have to prepare a talk each week just in case we get picked. So far, I have avoided it cause most of our Senpai haven't spoken yet so President Butler usually has them speak. But we will see I guess. 

After Sacrament meeting, we have the temple walk from about 4 to 4:45. I love the temple walks! Its so nice to get out of the walls and just walk around. It's also fun cause we always see families and different people walking around. It is sometimes nice to see people who have normal lives. After the temple walk we go back for dinner early so that we can make it to choir. Our whole zone sits together during choir and it is a lot of fun! Then we have the devotional.This past Sunday, we sang Mack Wilberg's arrangement of "Praise to the Man" in the devotional as a choir. That song is the ultimate testimony of Joseph Smith. While rehearsing it, our choir director talked about WW Phelps when he wrote that song. You can really tell through his lyrics that he knew Joseph Smith was a true Prophet of God. When we sang that song, it was really awesome!  

After the devotional, they have a list of church movies being shown in different buildings we can go to. This past Sunday, we were gonna go to a talk by Elder Holland, but it was super packed when we got there so I went with the other half of our zone to some random movie somewhere else. Let me just tell you it was the worst most cheesiest thing I've ever seen. It was a TV show called Road to Zion where this lady goes around to Church history sites and takes tours. I can't even explain how cheesy it was. We were all just laughing the entire time.  

Kelsey, I know exactly how you feel about feeling nervous for your mission. I'm not gonna lie, it was really hard for me leading up to it because how close I am with our family. But as I've been here, I have learned so much about the gospel and about myself. I can see why God has things happen the way they do. I can see why I have the companion I have (because before the mission, I lacked a lot of patience), why the experiences I have happen. I have come to see God's hand in my life and I am so thankful for it. I can't tell you to not be nervous and scared because you probably will be; however, I can tell you that you will have awesome experiences when you get started. You will meet some of the coolest people and you will learn and grow in ways you couldn't imagine. I know I've only been out a month, but I have experienced some of those things and I know that it will get even better once I leave the MTC.

Hey Dad!, I love that story you told me about John Moyle. Actually, last week I watched the movie the church put out about him. His dedication to the Lord was remarkable. I can't imagine doing the things he did. He is a great example though of hard work and diligence to your calling. I hope that I can learn from him, because a mission is the Lord's time and i don't want to waste it! I need to continue to work hard and give it my all! 

Hi Mom!
All is well here and I am happy. I am learning a lot about having patience and love for others and I think I am improving. Sometimes I still let things irritate me and bug me though but I am working on it. It is hard to be here sometimes but there is no other place I'd rather be. What Jenna said is right. Missions are great and if I can bring at least one person to Christ, it will be a success. I am just excited to serve those people in Japan. It will be an awesome experience. It seems like everyone is doing well though. I pray for you guys every morning and night! I love you guys so much! I will talk to you soon!


Elder Nathan Didericksen

Friday, November 14, 2014

Another week at the MTC

November 6, 2014: Week 3
Area: Provo MTC
Companion: Elder Hamilton

Hey everyone!! It was so great to hear from all of you! It's starting to to be hard to think of what to tell you guys about cause we do pretty much the same thing everyday! It can get a little repetitive. I'm just so excited to finally get to Japan. I just hope that I will know what I'm doing by then!

I'll start with Halloween. It was actually a pretty good day! For some reason, Japanese was clicking and making sense to me a lot more than before and it was fun to see. I've been kind of struggling with the whole weird sentence structures in Japanese but it has started to make sense and its getting easier to put sentences together. It's a lot of hard work though! That night we taught our "investigator" about prayer and how it can strengthen her family and bring them blessings. I thought it was our best lesson yet. I had to do a lot of it cause my companion was still feeling pretty sick. But it was kind of a fun experience. That night when we got back to our room, all of our senpai (missionaries who have been here longer, our "elders") were in our room all dressed up in ridiculous costumes that they put together. They had thrown candy and swedish fish all over my bed and room and we all had a dance party. Someone was flickering the lights to make a strobe light and we all just partied. It was really fun. It was nice to let loose and be a normal teenager for once. It made me kinda miss hanging out with my friends and having a good time. It was way fun. The Japanese elders are really cool. That's one of my favorite parts of being here. I get to meet a lot of cool people from around the world. A lot of them are planning on going to byu when we are home so that would be cool to keep in touch.  

Like I said, we were stuck in the room all day. My companion was pretty sick and i wasn't feeling that good either so I basically studied and slept most of the day. Monday was full of ups and downs. We had study and while we were preparing the lesson, I my companion was struggling to focus so I basically did the whole TRC lesson by myself. TRC was way awesome though. We were assigned to teach about how we can make our prayers better and have a better relationship with our Heavenly Father. First we taught these two Japanese college students who were brother and sister. I can't remember the exact reference but I shared when Alma is talking about how you can pray anywhere and for anything. I told them that to always have a pray in your heart. Then we encouraged them to pray to Heavenly Father every morning and night. So yeah, this weeks TRC was a lot better than last weeks. After TRC, we went back to class and my companion and I were scheduled to teach one of our investigators as well. So we went in there and we began to teach her about how Christ established his church but it was lost when He and the apostles were killed. We were wanting to teach about the Restoration for the rest of the time but then she started asking all these wacky and confusing questions about the Priesthood. I realized that trying to explain the Priesthood is hard enough in English let alone in Japanese. Pretty much my brain blew a fuse and I couldn't think of anything to say. My brain was pretty melted from preparing and teaching two TRC lessons so when she was asking about the priesthood I was just like "I'm done". From then on out, the lesson was pretty awful. We only had like two minutes to explain and testify about the First Vision but I was already flustered so the whole lesson was kind of a disaster. So that was kinda disappointing and frustrating.

Tuesday was pretty good. We started our morning by going to the BYU clinic again! I've been there like 5 times cause my companion is constantly sick. I think I saw Polly's car there but I couldn't find her in the building. Yeah we were able to go to the Marriott Center to the devotional Tuesday morning. I was searching for Matthew and Kelsey the whole time hoping I'd see them but I guess you guys weren't there:( It was good though. Elder Evans from the seventy spoke. He talked about being diligent and not giving up, even when you may feel inadequate. It was nice to be in the Marriott Center again. I'm sure gonna miss watching basketball games there. Later that night we had our normal Tuesday night devotional. I performed in the choir again which was fun. Elder Christoffel Golden and his wife spoke. Sister Golden talked about that a happy missionary is a successful missionary. It's so true but hard to do sometimes. Some mornings you wake up and say "oh this is so hard and I'm tired, I don't want to be a happy gun-ho missionary" But I try to always have a good attitude, even when I am irritated or frustrated. It goes a long way. Elder Golden was my favorite talk so far. He is from South Africa so he has a cool accent and he is just a funny guy. He talked about when he was called into Gordon B Hinckley's office after serving as an area seventy for a while at age 48. He was expecting to be released. However, he was called as a member of the first quorum of the Seventy. When he walked out of the meeting, he felt unqualified and inadequate. He thought about calling President Hinckley and asking him if he was sure he called the right guy. But then he figured he didn't want the prophet thinking he just called a "fruitcake" as a new general authority. He told us that some of us may be feeling inadequate and he said welcome to the club. But he told us to remember that we are called of God, and we are endowed with power. It was a pretty cool talk. After the talk, my companion was still feeling sick so he asked President Butler, our Branch President if he could have a blessing. Later that night in our room, I gave him a blessing. It was kinda nerve racking and scary at first but when I started doing it, I wasn't scared and I knew what to say. It was pretty cool. Now he is slowly and finally starting to get over his sickness. 

Yesterday was good, nothing special happened. Except those delicious cookies you sent me; they are magnificent!
Some of you were wondering my P-day schedule. So I get up at 6:30 and we go start our laundry. Then we go print off our emails and grab a sack breakfast. Then we go back to the laundry room and read emails while we wait for our clothes to dry. Then we come write at about 10. Then we usually go out to the field with our zone at about 11:45ish to play foursquare or frisbee. I think today might be the last day we can go there though.... I usually go running around the block with Boecher Choro (I don't know how to spell his name). He is one of our zone leaders and he actually played basketball for Mountain View so I played against him a few times during summer league. He's way cool and really nice. His dad coaches basketball at SUU and he used to be an assistant for BYU womens basketball I think. He said that his dad would let him go play on the Marriott Center floor a lot and he said that since his dad still has hookups there, we could go play there after our missions while we are at BYU. That would be awesome! Anyway, after a couple hours at the field, we head back to get ready for the temple. Then we head to the temple around 2:30 and get out around 5. Then we have class. You asked about the food here. It's not bad. We have a ton of things to choose from. I can see why people can gain so much weight here cause with sitting in class all day added onto people pounding food each meal. The obesity potential is pretty high! 

Hi mom! Thanks for all of the things you do for me. They really help me a lot and I can feel all of the love and support from home. Its crazy to think that in a little over a month, ill be in Japan. I just hope I know what I'm doing by then!

Dad, thanks for telling me about the talk you read. I actually watched that talk the first Sunday I was here. It was amazing. His talk resonates a lot of what they teach us here. We are constantly reminded that love and selflessness and charity are major converting powers. It's sometimes hard to not be selfish and to worry completely about someone else but i am learning to be better. I pray for more charity and love every day.You are the best! Love you!

Well I gotta go. I love hearing from all of you! I hope you all have a great week! Love you guys!
Elder Nathan Didericksen

1. Halloween party with Elder Calhoun
2. Elder Calhoun dunking on Elder Nicholsen, im holding the hoop
3. Marriott center
4. Got him sleeping!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Two weeks down!

October 30, 2014: Week 2
Area: Provo MTC
Companion: Elder Hamilton

Hello everyone! It was so great to hear from you!! Those packages absolutely made my day. It felt like Christmas getting three packages in one day! My district is super jealous cause they see how much you guys support and love me. It really helps me a lot to hear from you guys! You guys are the best! Erin, we love the Nerf hoop; we have actually been talking about wanting one since we got here. And mom, we are excited to have a little Halloween party with all of the Halloween toys! Also, I don't know if you know, but Sister McArthur sent me a package yesterday as well. She sent me a box of doughnuts and a new tie! The significance of the doughnuts is cause when she was our primary teacher, we would all go to each of our baptisms and then she would take us to Maceys to get doughnuts afterwards. Also, she told me that the tie she sent is the same tie she sent Jade and Mark. She has been keeping these ties for each guy who goes on a mission who was in our primary class. So she still has one for Daniel Tebbs. So that's kinda cool. 

My week has been good. The downside to it is that I caught what my companion has. I've had it for about two days now, which is just a cold and a cough. Also, while playing basketball on Tuesday, I rolled my ankle pretty good so I've been hobbling around for the past couple days. It's starting to feel better though. I love playing Basketball in the mornings though. I still don't have the 3pt shot that I used to have but my mid-range stepback is still pretty solid! It's a lot of fun cause a lot of people in our zone like to play so its fun to play some pickup games. This week we were able to teach quite a few lessons. I'm not gonna lie, a few of them were a bit of a baptism by fire type deal. They got kinda awkward. I told you earlier that we would have TRC on Monday, where they bring in members who speak Japanese and we teach them a twenty minute lesson. We didn't have a whole lot of time to prepare and we didn't really know what to expect so we went in kinda blind. We had heard that the investigator would ask us a lot of questions so we felt like it wasn't a terrible thing that we didn't really have a lesson plan. MAN WAS I WRONG! I first lesson was with a guy named Jordan. We went in there and had some small talk. Then I asked him what his concerns were and how we could help him. I was expecting that he would give us something to work with but nope. He said he didn't have any. After he said that, I pretty much had no idea what to talk about or how to say anything. So I frantically looked through the scriptures and I found a scripture in Alma talking about prayer and how we can receive answers. I then asked him what his experience was with prayer. He then went on rambling for about two minutes. So just picture this dude with a European accent, speaking rapid Japanese and then me looking wide eyed and confused. After he was done, we had no idea what he just said. So we just proceeded to smile and nod our heads in agreement. Jeez those twenty minutes could not have passed any slower. After him, we taught a Japanese woman named Emmy. This one went a lot better. She didn't speak a ton of English but I had an easier time understanding her. We talked about faith and prayer. Then she asked if we could teach her how to pray in English. So she handed us a little notebook and we wrote down each step. After the experience with her and the Japanese women at the temple, I'm really starting to look forward to talking with and helping the Japanese people I'll meet over there. But yeah, TRC was a very stressful but good experience. 
Lets see...... its hard to think of what to tell you cause we pretty much to the same thing every day.

Another thing that happened is that I got to say the opening prayer in Priesthood on Sunday. I think I did well on it. Something funny that happened was when I was praying at the end of class with our district. I was trying to say I was thankful for the gift of the spirit. (Serei no tamamono ni kansha shimasu) but instead I said Igen no Serei ni kansha shimasu which pretty much means we are thankful for the spirit's tongue. So that was kinda awkward but we had a good laugh. 

I'm getting used to the whole process here now. You guys wanted to know my basic schedule so here it goes. We get up at 6:30 and head to gym for about an hour. I usually play basketball or run the track. Then we go back and get ready then head to breakfast. After breakfast we usually have personal, companionship and language study for about 3.5 hours. Then after lunch we have class from 230 to 530. Then after dinner we have another class from 630 to 930. During class we are either learning language skills or teaching our "investigators". 
It's still hard to stay awake a lot of the time but we manage. I heard that you are probably gonna be tired for two years straight so you might as well get used to it. We are still learning how to plan and look for the needs of an investigator and addressing those needs. It's kinda hard with the language barrier but we are improving everyday. Good news! I can kinda sing hymns now! I can sing them as long as they are a little slower. It's hard to sing a fast song and have the hiragana characters register in my mind quickly. I just started Katakana which is for foreign words. I don't know what the Chinese and Japanese people were thinking coming up with these alphabets; they are super confusing. I'm actually learning them pretty well though. 

That's so funny about my phone! I doubt ACDC had anything to do with it. That song is too awesome for it to cause it to break. When I read that I immediately thought of Harry Potter of how a wand only works for the wizard or witch it belongs too. I guess my iphone just recognized I was gone. Remember Kelsey, the person doesn't choose the phone, the phone chooses the person. I sense my phone owes its allegiance to......someone else. But that's cool that you guys figured out how to fix it. Apparently my phone changed its mind about me! 

Yes all of my PG buddies left this week. It was always super awesome to see them and talk to them. They will be awesome missionaries. The only people I know here is Jeremy Jensen's younger brother Jared and the guy who would text me entire epistles everyday. Every time he talks to me though it's only Hungarian. For some reason he thinks that I know what he's saying so I just nod my head and say "cool"! 
Also, I'm really jealous you all went to Thriller. I would give anything to listen to a little MJ and do the Thriller dance. 

Thanks for all of the news about the outside world. Everyone one in the zone is constantly begging to our teachers about the sports world. They wouldn't tell us the world series score cause they like to see us suffer! That's a bummer that the Royals lost though, that would have been cool to see them win. Thanks for your letter Dad. There is really no advice like a father's advice. Thanks so much. I love you guys so much! Sometimes I look out the window at Mt baldy and wish I could be there with you going on walks with Zoe but then I have to remind myself I'm in the right place. I love you guys more than you could imagine. Our family really is awesome! I hope my future family can learn how to support each other like we do. I love you guys! Talk to you soon!

1. As you can see, i'm excited for dunk ball
2. some of the guys from the temple walk. The short one in the middle is the manliest man I know besides dad. He ran a 62 mile race in one day. The guys an animal. H'es good at basketball too.
3. I can almost read my tag, not quite though.

Love you guys!! Talk to you soon!
Elder Nathan Didericken

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

First week of the MTC!

October 23, 2014: Week 1
Area: Provo MTC
Companion: Elder Hamilton

Hey family!! It was sooo good to hear from all of you! Thanks for all of the packages and letters, they really helped me out a lot and make me feel a lot better about being here. I miss you guys so much! It kinda sucks to look out the window and see the streets I would drive all of the time and that I could basically walk home in an hour. That kind of makes me homesick but I try to not think about that and try to focus on studying and stuff like that. 

So yeah about the emailing thing. This morning we went and put in our laundry (which went fine by the way) and then went to the computer lab to print our emails. Then we can read them while the our clothes are drying and then we can come back and write for about an hour. The computer doesn't shut off but we are told to just keep it to an hour. So I don't have to worry about the computer shutting off which is nice.

I know you already kind of heard from me in my letter but I will kinda recap whats been happening. The first and second days here were pretty rough and hard for me. They felt like they lasted for weeks and it was only two days. I was feeling really homesick and wondering why the heck I just got myself into this. I continued to pray and to read your letters and quotes you left me and they really helped me out a lot. I got a lot of confidence and I felt your love and support. Man you guys are the best! My third day here, me and Hamilton Choro had to teach a lesson to our investigator "Yuki-san". It was so awful but it was pretty fun and kinda funny. We went in there with our script and we were telling him how God blesses us with families and how we can be together forever. I'm sure our "investigator" was just laughing inside listening to our super broken Japanese. OH well we did our best. He then would answer and ask questions and we would absolutely have no idea what he was saying. We would have to frantically look through our dictionary and try to find out what he was saying. Eventually the lesson ended up being one big game of charades. We teach usually every day. We can start to understand him better but its still pretty hard to come up with sentences cause sentence structure in Japanese is so weird. But my language skills are slowly coming along. I'm here for 9 weeks for a reason.

We have language class and study for about 8 hours a day. Sometimes it's hard to keep at it and focus but we try our best. I can already pray in Japanese and I can sort of bear my testimony. It takes a lot of thought and sometimes I need my notes for that one. But I do have praying down. Two days ago, I started to work on studying Hiragana (one of the alphabets). There are about 46 characters and I can recognize about 38 of them or so. My goal is to be able to recognize all of them and sing a hymn in the Japanese hymn book by Sunday. The tough part is that you have to know one of the other alphabets too. Its called Katakana, and they are basically used for foreign words. There are about 46 of those as welll. Then there is Kanji which are pretty much chinese characters and those are basically impossible to learn. There are thousands of those. But yeah Japanese is going okay. Theres some kids in my district that are pretty good at it but I'm trying to not to compare myself to anyone. 

My district is pretty cool. My zone is super cool as well. They are all hilarious! Every night, they come in our room one by one and hug us and tell us they love us in Japanese. It's really cool!

I'm probably closest to Calhoun Choro. Hes the guy from North Carolina. He played basketball and tennis as well. During class, we are always singing Les Mis and other songs all the time. He's kinda of a male version of Kelsey when he comes to that. It's pretty fun. We also play basketball during gym together when I'm not running the track. 

Pictures: I don't exactly know what order they come in so Ill just explain each one.

Two of them are from the temple walk. Apparently there are five poses for Japan and those are just a few of them. I'll break the other ones out later, they are quite perfected! Then there's me and my companion in front of the temple. Then there's one with me and a Japanese lady in there. As Elder Hamilton and I were leaving the temple, she came to us and started speaking to us in Japanese! It was kind of fun. She didn't speak much English and we couldn't understand her some of the time but it was a cool experience using the little Japanese I know and speaking to a Japanese lady. The gift of tongues is real and it is so crazy how much I've learned in just a week. Well family it was great to hear from you! I love reading all your letters! They strengthen me more than you could every imagine. I'm almost out of time so I'll send a letter telling you about the devotionals here. They are awesome! I hope you guys have a great week! Talk to you guys soon!

Ai shitte masu minasan!!
Elder Nathan Didericksen