Thursday, May 14, 2015

Happy Mother's Day!!!

May 10, 2015: Week 29
Area: Furukawa

Companion:  Hill Choro

Because Japan is 15 hours ahead, Elder Didericksen skyped with us during his email time on his pday, which was Mother's Day here and Monday for him. Therefore, he didn't write and send a letter this week. It was so awesome to see him and talk with him. He even spoke to us briefly in Japanese. He is doing great and loving Japan and the Japanese people.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Furukawa: A real "happening" town!

May 3, 2015: Week 28
Area: Furukawa

Companion:  Hill Choro

Good morning everyone from Furukawa! It was great to hear from you guys this week! It sounds like you all had a good week. My week was pretty good, although it seemed kind of slow with all of the moving around and adapting to a "newish" lifestyle. I'll get back to what Furukawa is like later, I'll tell you about the earlier part of the week first.

So Tuesday morning, I taught Narita San for the last time. It was sad to leave him; he's pretty cool and the most American Japanese man in Japan. The way he talks and acts is totally American. I love it. It was funny; he gave me a hug when he said goodbye. I was caught off guard because no one hugs each other in this country. He's a way cool guy and I hope that he will realize the blessings of the gospel and progress someday.

After his lesson, we went to the station and took a train to Odate. I was supposed to go to Odate on Tuesday and go on splits with two missionaries who were going to Sendai too. So when we got to the station, Nakabayashi Shimai texted us asking when I was leaving because she wanted to see me. I guess everyone thought I was leaving on Wednesday. She was surprised to get a text that I was already gone. So, I gave her a call and talked to her for a little bit. I'll really miss some of the members in Hirosaki; they're awesome. So after that, I said goodbye to Elders Canepari and Larsen and set off with Elders Law and Koide to work with them for the day. We played volleyball with a bunch of people that night; it was way fun. I discovered that I'm awful at volleyball!

The next morning, we got up early and rode a bus for 5 hours to Sendai. I hope I get to serve in that city someday. It's huge with a ton of 
people and looks way fun. We walked through this way crowded strip mall and it was pretty cool. I'm not used to seeing so many people in one place. Then, we had some delicious aburasoba; it was fantastic. Afterward, we went to the church. ( I got to talk to Elder Erickson and Mike for a little bit, which was cool.) Then I met up with my new companion, Elder Hill. Elder Hill is a cool guy. He's from Indiana and he goes home in October. I'm excited to work with him; we will get along just fine.

So Furukawa is pretty different compared to Hirosaki. It's pretty small and doesn't really have a ton going on. It's not as traditional Japanese either because it's a newer town with new and nice houses. The branch here is pretty small; there's about 20 members or so, and there is one youth, a 17 year old boy. It's way nice though because the church is right next to our apartment. We are so close that we can pick up the church's wi-fi if you stand next to a specific window in the apartment. Also,our apartment is right next to where the Shinkanzen (the bullet train) drives by and they come by every ten minutes or so and get pretty loud, but it's not really a problem.

So, we have 4 investigators right now. Chiba San, Kano San, Uno san,and Atsuko San. We actually have a baptism date for the end of May! Chiba San has had all of the lessons, but his job makes it very difficult to come to church and he still needs to come three times, so we have to work on that. We taught him about tithing and the law of the fast on Friday and he agreed to keep both of them. He also told us he really wants to go to the temple. He's a way cool guy; hopefully he can get to church.
 It's pretty nice, two of our investigators are actually pretty interested and are progressing really well. In Hirosaki, we had a bunch of investigators, but none of them would keep commitments or want to progress, so this is a nice change. I still haven't met everyone we are working with, so I'll give you more updates later. 

That being said, I don't know a whole bunch about the area either. There's a ton of rice fields, which is pretty cool, and I guess it gets very hot and windy in the summer (the short sleeves are finally out!!) Other than that, it seems very small with not a ton happening. I don't really know the branch that well either. Elder Hill was feeling sick, so we went home for the rest of church and I didn't really meet a lot of them. I was able to get up and speak in Sacrament meeting, which was good and went well.

One weird thing that happened was when we visited a less active named Yujie Shimai. I guess she's been in LA for a long time. She believes that as long as you are Christian, you are fine if you go to a Christian church. It was strange though, because she was telling us about priesthood blessings and that the church she goes to doesn't have those, but we do. She says when she gets priesthood blessings, she feels better and feels the spirit. She then asked if we could give her a blessing, so we did. Then when we were praying before we left, she said how grateful she was that we had the authority to give blessings and act in the name of God. We are so confused, because she understands that our church has God's authority, but it doesn't compute in her head that it's the only true church. We were kind of baffled. The weird part though was before we started the lesson, she brought out these pictures to show us. Apparently, her granddaughter is a 
J-pop star in Tokyo and she performs with her little group in Tokyo all the time. She's fifteen years old and is a pop star! It was pretty weird when she was showing us pictures of her famous granddaughter, and what I thought from those pictures is that she is kind of a (how do say this??) racy.... little teenage pop star. Let's just say that if my granddaughter were her, I wouldn't be a very proud grandma. It was pretty weird.

Anyway, besides that lesson and a few with investigators, all we did was ride around and do housing. Let me tell ya, housing is kind of tough. I didn't do much of it in Hirosaki, but with us hurting to find things to do and having a lot of finding time, we have plenty of opportunities to house. I'ts not the most fun going house to house getting rejected. A lot of them, when they ssee our tags or hear the words "Jesus Christ," shout out Buddhist and slam the door. I'll admit, it's not the best time. Also, in Japan, they have these things called Kekko boxes where basically their doorbell has a camera and a microphone so they can reject us from inside their house. One time, I barely even said three words when I got a big high pitched "Sayonara!!" and they hung up the Kekko box. So that is one big difference in my new area, we do a lot of finding and get rejected a lot. I'm not used to that yet. It's kind of hard because I read my friends' and others' emails and how much success they're having with investigators and baptisms in their missions, and in Japan, we are scraping to find someone. It's a very humbling experience. I'm learning a lot about having the faith to be successful and keeping a good attitude and to just keep trying your best. I'm excited to work here though and get to know everyone and learn from them.

Well that is about my week. It was kind of weird to be in a new area again; it felt like I was starting over from the beginning. I'm adjusting now and having fun still. It was great to hear from you guys! I hope you all have a great week! Love you!

Love,Elder Nathan Didericksen

 It's not the greatest picture, but the sunsets here are cool.

Partaking of the wi-fi window