Monday, August 10, 2015

What time is it!? Summertime!

August 2, 2015: Week 41
Area: Kitakami

Companions:  Uehara Choro and Morris Choro

Hey everyone! It was great to hear about your week!  Our week was pretty good. We saw some small, but pretty cool things happen this week for which we are pretty grateful. People listened to us a little more than usual this week, so it was fantastic! 

Monday night for our work time, we did some housing, and when we were riding back to the apartment to do area book stuff, there was a random festival going on in the center of town. I think a high school was putting it on. They were doing traditional Japanese dances and singing. They also had a cheerleading squad doing routines. There were a ton of people gathered there. I had no idea that many people actually lived in Kitakami! But the highlight was the cheerleading routine. We were walking down the street when we heard the song they were dancing to and one which I wasn't expecting to hear. It was the "It's Summertime" song from High School Musical. I was so surprised to hear it and had no idea they had that in Japan. It was a lot of fun; we had a party jamming to High School Musical. It was pretty funny. It was the English version too so Elder Morris and I were the only ones in the whole festival that could sing along. We were also able to hand out some Books of Mormon and talk to some people too.

Speaking of festivals, this weekend there's going to be a way cool festival in Kitakami. It's one of the most famous in the mission. They have a huge firework show and dance where a couple hundred people do a traditional dance called Onikenbai, which literally means ogre sword dance. They put on these crazy scary masks and do the dance. It's a dance that the samurais did before going to battle. We are pretty excited.

Tuesday was pretty good. We visited a potential investigator. We were pretty scared to meet with her again. Elder Uehara has a suspicion that she belongs to a sketchy religion here called Mahikari. They believe in healing abilities, and we have actually heard stories where someone is healed by these people, but then they are sort of possessed by the power of the devil in a way. Pretty creepy stuff. We went to visit her and and we were able to teach lesson one on her door step and give her a Book of Mormon. She said we could come back, so she's technically a new investigator. We don't know how strong she is and she could be a Saran worshipper of some kind. I don't know, I'll just go with what Uehara Choro says on that one. 

We then went housing and a few minutes in, we approached a guy in his side yard chilling and he let us come sit down and talk to him. We were also able to teach him a lesson on the spot right there about the restoration and the Atonement. It was pretty cool; I've never had an experience like that when someone is totally willing to listen to us on the spot. It doesn't happen too often so it was awesome. I don't know how sincere he is, he kind of was just a nice guy, but we were grateful for the opportunity.

Wednesday morning we had district meeting. I'm way excited to work in the district. We have the Mower couple, two people from Okinawa, and I know Hanson Choro really well. It should be a ton of fun. 

Thursday, we found a bunch of old investigators and less actives who live in a town about an hour or so away called Mizusawa. The ride over there was soooooo hot. I about killed over I was so tired, especially cause I'm on a mamachatti bike which is way too small for me. But I made it alive! The first house we visited was interesting. A man came to the door in basically in his underwear and wasn't too happy to see us. I guess the LA who lived there moved and he was still there, but we didn't know that. He yelled at us saying to quit coming over, that we were annoying, and that he didn't need God or Buddha or anything, so that was fun. 

We went around visiting the people in that town all day. One cool thing that happened was we were looking for a house and a lady came over and asked if we're lost. We said we were missionaries and we were looking for a house. We were able to talk to her a little bit and tell her what we did. Next week we will try to visit her and teach her a lesson. It was pretty cool.

Saturday, we rode out to another far away town called Hanamaki to visit people. I got to meet a recent convert here who is already less active. She's way nice. Her problem is she decided to do this volunteer thing on Sundays which prevents her from going church, but she doesn't think it's a problem. We taught her about the importance of the sacrament and the Sabbath and gave her a talk from last October conference about the sacrament to read. 

On the way back to Kitakami, we decided to stop at this other town and try to meet with old investigators and less actives. We knocked upon one door and a grumpy Japanese man came in his underwear. When he answered the door, all he said to us was "Why?! Why!?" And then yelled at us to leave and slammed the door.

Something awesome happened again while we were trying to find a house. It was dark and we were in this pretty sketchy area of town. We couldn't find the house, so we knocked on one door. A woman came and we asked her if she knew the person we were looking for. She invited us in and starting searching the address on her phone. She then got her shoes on and told us to follow her outside. We walked a block with her, talking to her and introducing ourselves. We got to the end of the  street and she couldn't find the house, so she just walked up to the door and knocked on it without telling us. It was crazy; we were housing with a random lady we had just met. We couldn't believe it. A man answered the door and the woman told him that we were Mormon missionaries and were looking for someone. He told us that the person wasn't there anymore, but we all had a nice conversation. We said goodbye to the man and walked back to her house. We talked to her a little bit more about what we do. She actually gave us her business card and told us to call her anytime if we were in trouble or needed help. We then told her how we teach Eikaiwa and she got kind of excited. She said she has four daughters and that she and her daughters will actually come! It was crazy how things just fell together. 

After we left her house, we were talking and felt that we were in a sense guided to her. We weren't even planning on housing or anything, just trying to find an old Q, but it led us to this lady. We prayed and thanked God for his guidance and that we would be able to teach her. We all felt a warm feeling that only the spirit can bring. It was pretty cool. I know we can't get too ahead of ourselves, but I've learned you can't take things like this for granted, especially in Japan. We all felt it was a tender mercy from God, that he had seen us working hard and not seeing much success, but he blessed us with this small thing. Hopefully, something comes of it!

Yes, that was my week. It was pretty solid and we saw some promising things that hopefully turn into something good. I hope you all have a great week! Have fun in the summer heat. I can't believe it's August! Summer is starting to wind down a little bit. Time flies! Love you guys! Have a great week!

Elder Nathan Didericksen

Us with our song writing member. He's great!


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