Monday, January 18, 2016

I'm freezing right now!

January 11, 2016: Week 63
Area: Aomori

Companion: Payne Choro

Hey everybody! Wow, this week seemed pretty long with all of the traveling and new surroundings and stuff. It was great to hear from you guys. 

Just to let you guys know, especially for the sake of my mom, I made it safe and sound to Aomori traveling all by myself! It was a tad bit nerve wracking though. I'll first say that it is absolutely freezing up here! It's like a blizzard 24/7 and it's so cold no matter where I go; even the apartment is freezing with only one heater. Everyone in the apartment just gathers around it like a herd of sheep. I'm alive though, which is good! Of all times to go back up to Aomori prefecture--it's in the heart of winter......lucky me! Seriously though, I thought I'd escape a cold winter cause I did my dues last winter in Hirosaki, but then I transfer to the snowiest place in Japan! 

Like I said earlier, traveling was a bit stressful. So I left Kitakami on Monday night and rode the Shinkansen to Sendai by myself. It was super weird to be by myself for that long, I'm not used to that at all. I made it to Sendai safe, found my subway and rode that to Nagamachi where the mission home is. I got off the train and was expecting to meet the Nagamachi elders at the station so we could go back to the mission home together. But I got there and no one was there. I searched around the station for like an hour almost trying to find them, but in reality they never came. I was getting a bit nervous since I had no idea where the mission home was, and it was pretty late and we aren't supposed to be alone if we are on the streets, just when we are on a bus. So I wandered around a bit and eventually found a pay phone to call the mission home, but right as I did, other missionaries showed up on a train so we walked together to the honbu.

After my meeting with the other new leaders, I took a train to Sendai and rode a Shinkansen by myself from Sendai to Aomori. It was so cool to basically soar over all of Tohoku and see the area. It really is a beautiful area. Then when I passed into Aomori prefecture, the landscape got more and more frozen. I was like "uh oh I'm back!" I finally got to Aomori station (it only took like an hour and a half, whereas a bus would take about 5 hours! The shink is way fast!), met my companion Elder Payne, and went to the apartment. It's fun to be in a city for once! It's so pretty and majestic with the snow and tall buildings and stuff. I have yet to see the ocean and the harbor but I'm sure I will soon! 

So like I said, Elder Payne was born and raised in Tokyo and is a Japanese citizen who is African American.  His first language is Japanese, but his English is pretty good because he lived in Hawaii from ages five through nine. He's trying to remember and get his English back. We use both Japanese and English with each other so it's kind of fun. He is the funniest guy I've probably ever worked with. First, I'm just not used to seeing a black guy speak fluent Japanese like a native (that sounds a tad racist but it's true,) and he's hilarious! I've been laughing for like a week straight. He will be great!
Other than that, apparently Aomori is a pretty hard area and it's had some of the lowest numbers in the mission for a while. I got to the area and found out there aren't any records left behind or anything, so I have no idea what's going on in this area. There aren't any investigators or less actives to work with either so I'm kind of lost. We will just have to go finding, which is kind of difficult where everything is so far from the apartment and there's like 2 feet of snow with constant blizzards. It will be a good challenge. 

Some other highlights of the week was on Friday we had a Zone training meeting and afterwards we went to a famous fish market they have here. You just go through different vendors and can buy fresh sashimi and it was so good. I had some raw tuna, salmon, squid, with rice and other good stuff. It was the most Japanese type food I think I've had here. 

Church was good; I'm not used to having so many members at church, I'm used to like 18 or so. I was a bit nervous speaking in front of everyone, but it went okay. The members are nice I think; there's some not so friendly ones, but it'll be good. I guess I'm just used to the members in Kitakami whom I got so close to. But after church, my comp and Elder Kugai were getting sick so we went back to the apartment right after church and they basically slept the rest of the day. I studied next to a heater for a while which was a good time I guess. 

But yeah that's about it. Sorry it's a bit shorter but not a ton went down once I got to Aomori. I'm just trying to figure out what's going on and how I can help this area as a district leader. Hopefully, I can survive the brutally cold and snowy winter in apparently the snowiest city in the world! This week, we go to Morioka for a mission conference where Elder Yamashita from the seventy will come speak to us! I'm pretty excited for that; it should be way good! I hope you guys have a great week! You're all in my prayers! Love you guys!

Elder Nathan Didericksen

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