Thursday, December 3, 2015

I'm grateful to be in a district with a senior couple!

November 30, 2015: Week 57
Area: Kitakami

Companion: Mitchell Choro

Hey everyone! It was great to hear from all of you! I'm glad you had a great Thanksgiving! I sure do miss everyone's cooking! Also, those pictures from Bryce Canyon are absolutely amazing. We definitely need to do that next winter! And Erin and Todd, your house all decorated looks way good. It looks like the coziest family room of all time! I can't wait to see your house next year!

My Thanksgiving was actually a ton better than I thought it would be. It was one of the greatest nights I've had in a long time! With me staying in Kitakami for the holidays, it means that I get to spend the holidays with the Mower couple, who have basically become my missionary mom and dad for the last 5ish months! We had a great Thanksgiving, but I'll get to that later.

So with Elder Trane transferring, (He ended up in Miyako, which is in my zone. He was originally supposed to go there before he got sick. But I'll be able to see him at zone meetings so that's legit.) we spent a lot of the first half of the week packing and saying goodbye to people he wanted to see. Unfortunately, it was dumping buckets of rain for like 4 days straight, so we had to walk everywhere which took the majority of our time.

Wednesday was solid though. It was Elder Trane's birthday so we tried to have a little fun. We went out to his favorite udon restaurant for dinner. He loves that place and since we/he's been there so many times, he's like on a first name basis with all of the workers. He told them he was moving from Kitakami and they were all sad. It was pretty funny. After dinner, we were riding our bikes to Ekaiwa and we ran into Suzuki San on the street so we stopped to talk to him. We said we were going to set up for Ekaiwa and he told us he wanted to go, so we walked over to the church together. Then we were able to talk to him for a little bit and teach him a lesson. We read 1 Nephi 1 together and talked about it. It's still really hard for him to understand; I don't really know how to help him understand it more. Hopefully, he continues to read and pray and he'll start to receive answers and understanding. He loved Ekaiwa and said he wants to come again.

Thursday, Thanksgiving day, we went down to Sendai for a transfer meeting. So President Smith had everyone line up along the wall and he'd call up a missionary to the front and tell them where they were going and who their companion was. It was pretty fun to see everyone's reactions. My comp is named Elder Mitchell. He is fresh out of being trained so he's still pretty new. He played ball in high school back in Idaho so we have that in common. It should be fun. Then after the meeting. Sister Smith made us a Thanksgiving type lunch. She made us ham and turkey sandwiches and also homemade pecan pie and and pumpkin pie from Costco! It was awesome! Plus, I got to see all of my buddies from past transfers that I haven't seen in forever. It was great to catch up with them.

Friday night was incredible. The Mowers invited us over to their apartment in Hiraizumi for Thanksgiving with the Ichinoseki elders and a Filipino recent covert named Ofelia. Let you tell ya, it was one of the most beautiful sights on my mission! We had your typical Thanksgiving favorites such as stuffing, chicken (it looked like turkey!), mashed potatoes and gravy and rolls! I have no idea how Mower Shimai pulled it off in her tiny apartment kitchen. It probably would have been pretty funny to watch us elders see it and eat it. We looked like little orphan boys who had been eating bread crumbs for weeks. I've sure missed home cooked American food that's for sure. It was so awesome, I just felt like I was with my family in a way, my own little missionary family.  I feel so indebted to the Mowers; I couldn't believe they did it for us. They want to do something for Christmas too! I can't believe how lucky I am! I didn't think I would have a Thanksgiving or Christmas this year, but I guess I was wrong! We want to make something for the Mowers to repay them for Christmas, so we have about a month to figure out what we can make them through trial and error. Wish me luck!

Saturday night, we played basketball with the district and a few LAs and the Takahashi family. I actually played decent this time! A lot better than I usually do on my mission. I'm still awful now, but it felt good to get out there and hit some jumpers in people's faces. Speaking of basketball, it was weird to see videos of PG's team now and see Coach Mac. I sure do miss those days. It's weird to see the little sophomores that I know starting varsity. Times have changed I guess!

Lastly, Sunday was way stressful. I had a talk on tithing in sacrament meeting, and they decided to give me the Sunday school lesson as well (which is basically teaching the entire branch from the front of the room). It was a little stressful, but it all turned out okay. Then we had a shokujikai which is basically a food party thing after church, so we rolled out the tables and ate food with all of the members. And what was great was that Suzuki San came to church again!! And the members were so great with him, just laughing and having fun and treating him so kindly. It was way awesome! It was during that shokujikai when I realized how much I love some of the members here. Since I've been here for a long time, I'm pretty close with most of them, and I'm noticing their funny personality quirks that make me laugh. It was a great time to be with them. And I actually was able to feel their love for me too. I had several tell me how much they appreciate me and how they're happy I stayed in Kitakami and it made me feel way good. Although the work is hard here, I will definitely miss the members a ton whenever I leave this place.

Well that is about the jist of my week! It was a little slower due to having to walk everywhere, but we saw some good things happen. I'm so thankful for my opportunity to serve here and learn the things I'm learning and experience the things I'm experiencing. I'm also so thankful for my wonderful family who send their great support and for the love they constantly show me. You guys are the best! Enjoy the Christmas season with the lights and decorations and Christmas music! I love you guys! Talk to you next week!

Elder Nathan Didericksen

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