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