Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Festival Season

August 10, 2015: Week 42
Area: Kitakami

Companions:  Uehara Choro and Morris Choro

Hey everyone! Wow! I can't believe it's already Monday again; this week was pretty fast. This weekend was the big festival here in Kitakami and the parts that we were able to see were pretty dang awesome. Japanese culture is pretty incredible; I've never experienced anything like it. Unfortunately, we didn't get to see a ton of it, but I'll get to that later.

Monday night, we had a joint lesson with our investigator. She believes in God,but is having trouble believing Christ is the son of God and is our Savior. We were talking about faith in Christ and it was going good, but then one of my comps invited her to baptism and and it kind of threw her off a bit. She fired back at my comp saying, "if a Buddhist missionary came to Utah and just said over and over that he knew it was true and then told you to convert to Buddhism, would you do it?" It turned pretty awkward and we just said we aren't forcing her to believe in anything, that we are here to teach her and it's up to her to make a choice. So we are going to just slow down and go at her pace. Even though it was an intense lesson, it ended fine and we were able to find her needs.

Tuesday was pretty solid. We met with a less active named who went less active a few months ago because she was offended by a member (who is also less active) and stopped coming to church. We taught her how through the atonement of Christ, he can take away the hurt and the pain and it can change us. She started to cry and told us how she felt and the hard times she's been having. It was a pretty cool lesson. 

Later in the day, we visited with a lady whom we are hoping will become a new investigator. She answered the door and right as we were about to teach her, her husband pulled into the driveway. We were kind of bummed, thinking he was going to be like most Japanese men and tell us to leave. Instead, he started talking to us and asked what was going on and we told him who we were. He was all good with it and listened to our message too. We testified how the gospel has blessed my family and how it will bless theirs. It was pretty cool, and we made both of them investigators! The one thing we are worried about, like I said last week, if they are Mahikari, they will listen to any religion cause they believe all religion is right and good, but they don't convert. We will see what happens.

Friday was pretty cool. I went to Morioka for the first time since April for zone conference. I guess once you are in the Morioka zone, you are stuck there forever: it's called the Morioka black hole. Pretty much every missionary in the Morioka zone is there for a very long time, so I could go there a lot in the near future. We had a good training from the ZLs. Our zone is crazy young; basically the whole mission is. It's tiny too. Our ZL, Elder Nebeker, said when he was new, there were like 200 missionaries in the mission, but now there's like 87 or something. We talked about President Smith's new assignment for all of us. So, a month ago, he decided that the mission would memorize every principle, word for word, in PMG in Japanese. It's really hard to do, but we have already seen how much it helps when we teach. We obviously don't recite it when we teach, but like it says in D&C about treasuring up the words of life, it helps a lot. 
We got back to Kitakami that night right as everyone was getting ready for the festival to start. It's weird, during the festival, everyone in the city comes out of their caves and comes to the center of the city, but after it's over, the city goes back to being way quiet with no one around. Anyway, Friday night, I got to see some onikenbai, the ancient samurai dance. It wasn't the main onikenbai; this one was high school students but it was still pretty cool. It's like the Japanese version of the Hal's. They're were wearing these cool ogre masks, wielding swords and shouting and moving intimidatingly. It was cool to see.

Saturday, we did weekly for a while. Saturday night was going to be the biggest part of the festival with the main onikenbai performance. There were going to be over 200 going at the same time with swords and all sorts of awesomeness, but we couldn't see it. For some reason, we scheduled an appointment with a less active way far away at the same time. We were pretty disappointed we couldn't see it, but we had a good time at the family's house. We had an outdoor barbecue. It was fun to get to know them and help strengthen them.

Last night was way cool. Two members, wanted to see the firework show with us, so we all went together. It was sooo crowded! Everyone gathered at the bank of the Kitakami river where they launched the fireworks on the other side to music. It was pretty legit. We felt super bad though. Apparently, the members didn't really understand the sabbath day. They kept buying us food and we didn't know what to do because we couldn't just tell them, "you're breaking the sabbath!", so we just rolled with it... The fireworks were amazing though. I love festival season!!

It was a pretty solid week! We got to see the festival and found two new investigators! Well, I hope you are having a good day and have a great week! I love you guys; you're in my prayers!

Elder Nathan Didericksen

Me and my sexy ride. This thing is way too small for me.

The Kitakami Festival

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