Monday, December 21, 2015

One Year in Japan!

December 14, 2015: Week 59
Area: Kitakami

Companion: Mitchell Choro

Hey everyone! This week went by pretty fast; December is just flying by! I'll be skyping you guys in no time! I loved your emails and pictures. Thanks for all of them. I hope you are having a wonderful Christmas season so far. I loved the pictures of Aves and Dax with Santa and looking at the lights. Looks like a ton of fun! It doesn't really feel like Christmas here, not even December for that matter. It's been kind of warm here since it snowed tons last week. It's either warm and sunny or when it is cold, it's like a summer thunderstorm.

Also, tomorrow, I hit my one year mark in Japan! That's crazy! It's been an awesome year! It's definitely had some hard times, but I've gotten to experience a new culture, language, and people that I've grown to love so much. I remember stepping off that plane tired, scared and straight homesick. I thought I would be miserable forever, not being able to survive in this strange culture. But now I love it. I know I have a long way to go, but it's cool to look back and see where I used to be, a scared, deer in the headlights new missionary. I'm excited to see what the last 10 months hold!

My week was pretty solid thanks to one event so I'll just start with that. We taught Suzuki San, our twenty year old investigator, on Friday night. We were planning on giving the baptismal commitment and we were really nervous. I've never really had an investigator on my mission who is that sincere or at the point of considering baptism, so it was pretty much my first time. We were teaching about the plan of salvation and it was going good. I was a little flustered cause I was so nervous, causing me to not speak very well, but it was going good. Then when we got to the part of the atonement and I told him that in order to receive a full measure of the power of the atonement, we need to have faith, repent, be baptized and confirmed. He then asked what baptism was. Perfect! We taught a little about that, while reading from 2 Nephi 31. We read the part where it says "Follow Thou Me" and talked about we can follow Christ through baptism. I then extended the commitment, and to my surprise, he said yes!! So we set the date that we had prayed about earlier and for now it will be January 2nd! Wahoo! I don't know if we can make it by that time though. He still has a long way to go.

Frankly, I don't think he really understands much of what we are teaching, nor does he really understand the depth and the Importance of the commitment of being baptized. It's almost like we are teaching children because Japanese people have no idea about anything that has to do with religion or God or anything of the matter I want to make sure he is prepared and has received some sort of conviction through the spirit. He's definitely felt it I think, just doesn't understand yet what it is. But something I read in Preach My Gospel gave me some hope. It says that most converts who had no Christian background honestly didn't understand what they were being taught, but they did what the missionaries asked because they trusted them and felt good.

I guess I'm just nervous, I don't want to be the one who holds him back from baptism due to my weaknesses. Also, I don't want to create another less active for this area. There are so many less actives in Japan unfortunately. But for the time being, we have a date set, the first of my mission! I sure hope it goes through! It might not happen while I'm here in Kitakami, but I pray that he will realize the happiness that will come into his life through accepting the gospel. He did tell me he's not like most Japanese people, and he's sensed that this is something that could bring more happiness. He's doing good; he came to church again yesterday and has been praying. Now we just need to help him read the Book of Mormon more.

Church was way awesome yesterday. We had a member from the mission presidency come visit and speak. He gave an awesome talk about his conversion, the power of the atonement, and the birth of Christ. I felt the spirit pretty strongly while he spoke and I bet Suzuki felt it as well. Then, as we sang Silent Night, for some reason I felt it a lot stronger than usual. I think since I haven't had a normal Christmas for two years now, I haven't really had the chance to get caught up in the season. I've been able to focus on the babe in the manger, and God's love for us in the form of the babe in the manger. Without a doubt, I miss the music, the lights, and of course spending the joys of the season with my family, but like Elder Holland once said of his first Christmas as a missionary, you can come to
understand Christmas and understand God's love for us. It's been hard at times, but very rewarding.

Well, sorry for the shorter email, but that is about all that's on my mind today. This week should be fun. We have splits this Friday with the Ichinoseki guys and just enjoying the Christmas season with the members and missionaries. It should be a lot of fun. I love you guys so much! I hope you have a wonderful week! I'm so excited to Skype with you! Talk to you soon!

Elder Nathan Didericksen

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