Monday, February 15, 2016

Seeing old friends!

February 8, 2016: Week 67
Area: Aomori

Companion: Payne Choro

Hey everyone! This week flew by! The time just gets faster and faster. It was great to hear from all of you! Sounds like it was a good week despite all of the snow back home. I think we are all ready for winter to end huh?!

This week was pretty good. Not a ton happened, but we were able to teach the most lessons this week than any other week this transfer. 

The first half of the week was a little slow. We spent a lot of Tuesday and Wednesday trying to find some less actives. It took us a while to find each of the houses, but when we finally found them, none of them were home so that was a bummer. 

It snowed a ton at the beginning of the week so we also spent a lot of our time shoveling snow at members' houses and at the church. On Tuesday night after shoveling a member's house, we were on our way home and saw an old grandma shoveling snow, so we stopped and asked her if we could help. With most Japanese people, if you offer to help them, they'll say they are fine no matter what the circumstances, so we were pretty surprised when she accepted our offer. We helped shovel snow in front of her store for about an hour. She was so happy watching us. At the end, she went inside her store and came out with two bags and gave them to us. She said that since we were too young to drink alcohol, she gave us something else. She ended up giving us each a bag filled with cans of iced coffee so still pretty useless. It was okay though; we didn't need a reward  for shoveling the snow and it was just fun to help someone out.  But yeah, I'm so pumped and looking forward to this winter to be over. I love shoveling snow and all, but I'm ready to be done. 

Thursday night was way weird. So there is a guy who's been meeting with the missionaries for about six months named Kenta Kun. He is 18 years old and is dating a member in the branch. He actually wants to be baptized but his mom won't give him permission so he has to wait till he's 20. So we went to get ramen with him and his member girlfriend. It was a little awkward because Payne Choro knows them pretty well so they just talked the whole time and and when they weren't talking to Elder Payne, they just flirted with each other. The good part though is that we were able to teach a lesson and commit him to come to church.  

But the highlight of the week was Saturday. I went on splits with Elder Brodie and it was way fun. We were at the Church doing a practice lesson with a member when we heard that President Smith was coming to do a leadership meeting with all of the leaders in the branches in Aomori prefecture, meaning that some people would be coming from Hirosaki, my first area. I got sooo excited at the possibility of seeing some people from that area. I haven't seen them since I was a new missionary. I love the members so much in Hirosaki. So towards the end of the lesson, I heard from the hallway the voice of Takaya Kyoudai, probably my favorite person in Japan. We ended the lesson and I ran out and saw him. He remembered me and gave me a big hug and even tried to kiss my cheek. (He's insane; it's so funny.) It was so fun to be able to talk to him normally because I hadn't seen him in almost a year and I couldn't speak Japanese really at that point. It was so awesome to catch up with him. I'm totally gonna Skype with him when I'm home. I got to see a few other members too which was great. It made my entire week. 

Later, we went to visit a less active with the branch president, President Murase. He's way cool; he's only like in his early thirties and a returned missionary so he relates with us really well. I feel really bad because we all judged him pretty hard. He seemed like he was never interested in us and wouldn't talk to us. But in the car, he was way nice. I think he's just shy. He's the youngest guy in the branch who has the Melchizedek priesthood meaning he is over men who are all older and more experienced. He was also called right after he moved to Aomori so he has a lot on his belt. I look forward to getting to know him. 

The visit was fun, but the LA's room was like a hot box. The member sure likes puffing his cigarettes so due to that, we about died after 10 minutes in there. So much smoke! Murase Kaicho tried spraying me with some scent killer because it was way bad, but it only made it worse. My jacket still smells like a chemical bomb or something. Don't smoke!! Lastly, for dinner, we bought a bunch of meat and vegetables and did a yaki niku party at the apartment. It was delicious.

Sunday was good. All of us missionaries bore our testimonies in sacrament meeting which was cool.

Lastly, last night we went to a member's house named the Kanai family. They are a cute young family with two younger boys between 5 and 8. I love seeing good, stronger families in the church. They are pretty rare to come by, at least in the areas where I've served. We had a fun time getting to know them better. Sister Kanai made us a feast too. We had guouza, some sort of sashimi cake thing, okonomiyaki, wanton soup, and some fruit jello stuff. It was amazing! I'm going to miss Japanese food so much when the time comes that I leave. It was a way fun night!

Other than that, it was a pretty slow week finding-wise. We are trying to find people to teach, but it's been pretty hard. We are meeting with a kid we met a few weeks ago so hopefully it works out. He's a little mysterious, but we will see. We will keep working hard and finish the last week of the transfer strong. I'm grateful to be out here and have the chance to learn from the Japanese people everyday. They are awesome! I hope you guys have a wonderful week! Love you guys! Talk to you soon!

Elder Nathan Didericksen 

It was so great seeing Takaya Kyoudai from Hirosaki.

Yaki niku party at the apartment.

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