Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Another Transfer Come and Gone

February 15, 2016: Week 68
Area: Aomori

Companion: Payne Choro

Hey everyone!! I hope you all had a grand Valentine's Day with lots of chocolate and calories! My Valentine's Day was pretty normal. They celebrate it here, but only the girls give stuff to guys, so it's kind of a sexist holiday. Haha! 

I'm sorry to hear the inversion is so bad in Utah right now. That's the one thing I don't miss;  there's no inversion here! 

The weather has actually been sort of warm the past couple of days! The majority of the snow actually melted off the streets and sidewalks. Elder Payne and I were thinking we'd go out running this morning to celebrate an early spring, but then we woke up to another snowstorm.... Looks like we will have to wait just a little bit longer. 

This week was really good. The entire Aomori district was able to hit the mission standard again, which was awesome to see.

Well, another transfer has come and gone. So with that, I'm now in my 11th transfer, which is nuts; it's going by so fast. President called right after church and I learned that I'm staying for another one in Aomori, but Elder Payne is leaving to go to Ichinoseki. I was sad to hear he was leaving; I was hoping so much we'd have another six weeks together, but I guess not. He was so much fun to be with and I sure learned a lot from him. He's so good at talking to anyone and making relationships with people. The people in Aomori love him. I honestly felt like he was training me instead of the other way around. But we will probably see each other and we will definitely see each other after the mission. He wants to live in America so we will see, or I'll come visit him and we'll travel Japan, maybe go to Hokkaido to visit his grandparents. He will be missed. We are also losing Elder Brodie too. I'm going to miss this apartment; it was probably the most fun district of my mission. I was laughing for six weeks straight basically. 

So my new comp is Elder Daniels who is a fifth transfer I think. I don't know anything about him, but it will be good. Apparently, he and his comp have been killing it in Ishinomaki, so hopefully he brings some of that success up here. I'm ready for this area to explode; hopefully we can start to find some new people and pick this area back up. It slowly has been picking up; it was completely dead when I got here, but the numbers are slowly starting to rise. I'm excited to see what will happen.

Like I said, it was a solid week. We were able to meet with a lot of members and less actives and teach them. We were also able to hand out quite a few copies of the Book of Mormon, which was awesome. We also met with a potential investigator on Wednesday, but that didn't go so well. 

We met the kid a few weeks ago streeting and got his number and stuff. When we contacted him, we did translate dendo which means I stopped him and talked to him in English the whole time and Elder Payne translated. We were a little nervous to meet with him because he's kind of strange and he was saying some weird stuff in his texts to us, but we went with it. We went to this famous fish market and ate lunch while we talked to him. So, during the conversation, he basically acted like I didn't exist. He probably thought I was just some foreigner who didn't know anything or what's going on, so he talked to Payne Choro the whole time. He is studying philosophy so he knows a ton about religion, but we got the feeling that it is kind of preventing him from feeling the spirit; he makes things too complicated. He also tried to talk about girls a lot of the time so he was pretty frustrating. At one point, when Elder Payne started teaching, he looked at Elder Payne, pointing at me and said, "he has no clue what's going on huh?" I answered back and said I knew exactly what's going on and started teaching too. He was pretty surprised! We taught a lesson, but he didn't really want to meet with us again, so that was a bummer, I thought we'd finally have a new investigator. Oh well, we'll keep on trying. 

We also had some solid finding opportunities. We met this one family housing and they looked like a great family. They had two cute twins and just looked way solid. We taught the mom about families on the doorstep and gave her a Book of Mormon. She said she couldn't change her religion, but she was really nice and said she'd read the book so we will follow up later! We also were proselyted by a Buddhist guy in the street. I stopped him and tried to talk to him and share the gospel, but he was really against that. We'd ask him questions about life after death and stuff like that, but he didn't know or care. When we were letting him go, he tried to get us to convert to Buddhism. He said if we were ever interested in being Buddhist, to look up some website and he'd send me Buddhism books. Honestly, I'm not sure I will ever understand Buddhism. I love Japan, but the one thing that stands in my way of loving it more, is Buddhism. It just makes zero sense. So that's one of my goals is to respect the culture and customs here more. 

Also, I finally got to do my first district meeting of the transfer. It was the first and last of the transfer because we've had so many conferences and stuff this transfer. It was good I think, I was way nervous for it though. I did a training on hope and looking to the future with faith. I did it because everyone's a bit disheartened because this area has been pretty low for a while, so I just wanted to give them hope that things can change. I even used bits from "Oh the Places You'll Go" by Dr. Suess. It was kind of like a send off to everyone for transfers. 

Saturday was pretty awesome. We had a Valentine's Day party with some less actives and we made little Oreo like balls which were pretty good. Then we had a cultural night for Eikaiwa where we all brought food. Since I didn't know how to make anything Danish, I just made Mom's cookie recipe. They turned out pretty good; I was proud of myself. Haha!

Yesterday after church, an eight year old boy in the ward was baptized. It was so awesome to see a baptism again and the little boy was so funny and excited to be baptized. There were a lot of people there to support him, which was awesome to see. It was a spirit filled meeting so it was great. 

Also, last night, the four elders went to the Kimura family's house for an FHE and dinner. We had some oden and gyouza and it was so good. Also, I think I told you this before, but their daughter actually was an exchange student in Pleasant Grove about five years ago and attended PG High So, Kimura Shimai showed me the 2011 PG yearbook. It was so weird to see. I never expected that a family in one of my areas on the other side of the world would have a yearbook from my high school, especially one that Kelsey helped edit. It was fun!

Well that's about it from me. We are doing transfers tomorrow and then we start again. Hopefully with the start of a new transfer, we can see some success here. Keep us in your prayers! I love you guys! Have a great week!! Talk to you soon.

Elder Nathan Didericksen 

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