Thursday, March 24, 2016

Happy spring!

March 21, 2016: Week 73
Area: Aomori

Companion: Daniels Choro

Hey family and friends! Happy first day of spring! I'm so excited to put away my winter stuff for good! Except it might be way cold here this week I've heard. Darn it. Anyway, it was great to hear from you guys! I'm glad you are all doing well!

Well this week was good I guess. We worked really hard and I think I got the most rejection this week than any other week on my mission. It was pretty crazy. But I'll get to that later. 

The week started out pretty good though on Monday night when Elder Daniels and I were invited over to the Kimura family's house for dinner because they thought Elder Daniels' bday was last week instead of this week. I love going to their house. They are really nice and make great food. Sister Kimura made sukiyaki which is one of my favorite Japanese foods. I'll miss that stuff when I'm gone because you can't eat raw eggs in America so you can't have the full experience back home. Towards the end of dinner, Elder Daniels wanted to take a picture so he set up his camera and put the timer on. When he ran back really fast to the table, he bumped it and a vase of water spilled right onto my lap and feet, me getting soaked in the process. I said I was fine but the Kimuras insisted that I wear a pair of Brother Kimura's sweats so my pants could dry. I finally gave in and put on a pair of sweats that belong to a tiny Japanese man. They were really small but they worked I guess. 

On top of that, when we left around 9:00, we were planning on Bro. Kimura driving us home, but apparently they assumed we came on our bikes so they didn't give us a ride. Since we were pretty far from our apartment (2 miles or so) and had a half hour before we had to go home, we had to run really fast to get there. Luckily, I was still wearing Bro. Kimura's sweat pants so it was somewhat comfortable! It probably was a weird sight to see a white guy in a suit coat, small sweat pants that reach your shins, and church shoes running home late at night! However, we made it on time! 

On Wednesday, we did a lot of finding. We got another referral from the sisters about a guy they housed who accepted the Book of Mormon. They said he might be a little "mentally unstable" but we went and visited him anyway. His apartment building was way sketchy but we knocked on the door and this guy answered and invited us right in. I understood pretty quickly that this guy's brain was pretty fried. He actually was way interested in Christianity and said he'd be down with hearing lessons from us and entering our church. He kept asking me if Christ would heal his mental disorders and stuff. I had no idea how to answer that one. So, we technically got a new investigator, but the dude is straight crazy and he's even entering a mental hospital in a few weeks so we won't be seeing him again.... Oh well, it was interesting that's for sure. 

After that we did some housing for a while but no one wanted to listen to us. We ran into a few interesting people, including an old investigator who used to live another area. He wasn't interested either though.

Thursday was fun. I got to be in a trio again for the day which I haven't done in a while. When we do splits in other areas, you can travel by yourself. Elder Kugai had a split with the APs so we dropped him off at the station and it was me, Elder Daniels and Elder Robbins in a trio. It was fun to be with those guys. We just walked around downtown and talked to people, trying to hand out the cards about Easter that we got. We had a good time. We walked up to this group of skateboarders and talked to them for a while. Elder Daniels asked if he could ride the skateboard and they let him ride it around. It was hilarious!

Recently, the mission has been exploding with people finding investigators and seeing success, and Elder Daniels and I were getting sick of not being one of those companionships, so we decided to try to just go crazy on Friday. We made it a goal to literally try to talk to every person that walked past us. We would try to stop them using Easter, ask a few questions, share a quick 1 minute message, and try to get contact info to make them an investigator. So we went to the Eki towards the end of the night and tried to do it. It was pretty hard to build up the courage to stop every single person, even if it was a really mean business man who usually reject you pretty quickly. We probably talked to or tried to talk to over 100 people. We got a ton of rejections. Half the people would just put their hands up and wave us off when we said hi to them. We were able to have a few good conversations, but no one was willing to learn more. Unfortunately, we, especially me, were pretty degraded at the end of the day. It kind of hurts when you literally get 50 plus straight rejections in a row on the street. It was almost like a game though, going from person to person. It was pretty crazy.

Like I said, it was the most rejection I've ever had on my mission in one day. I was feeling pretty disappointed because we had really had high hopes for a new investigator from it, but it wasn't the time for it. But after thinking about it, we did our part in raising the warning voice and offering the gospel, but it's up to them to choose. I was the boldest I'd ever been on my mission, trying to get everyone which was kind of cool. It hurts me to see all of these people rejecting the happiness that they could receive from the church. Hopefully someday, some of these people will recognize what is in store for them if they accept the gospel. 

Other than that, we had a pretty normal but good week. Last night, we ended it with district dinner at Sister Fukushi's house which was way fun. She is one of my favorite members in Aomori.

Now we are entering into the last week of the transfer. I can't believe it's gone this fast; it went by in a blink of an eye! Hopefully we can finish it strong.

Lastly, I want to give a shoutout to my dad because it's his birthday today! I love you so much dad and appreciate all that you have done for me. I don't know if there's a lot of people that can say their dad is one of their best friends, but I can say that. I really miss the bonding times we had--all those hours you spent with me whether it be early in the morning at the church gym rebounding for me, or watching Bball, or driving to games while listening to classic rock and roll, etc. I appreciate and thank you for all of the sacrifices and time you've given to help me in my pursuits and dreams that I've had throughout my life. I'm thankful for the influence you've had on my life and the things you've taught me. I love you Dad! I hope you have a good day! I can't wait to make more memories with you and the fam after Kelsey and I are home. Love you!

Well, thanks for all of the support and love you all give me. I love you guys so much. I'm thankful for this experience I'm having in Japan. I'm learning so much and I love it, even though it's hard sometimes. I hope you all have a great week! Talk to you soon!

Elder Nathan Didericksen

Aomori harbor

Did weekly planning in a parking lot 'cause it was warm for once!

Celebrated Elder Daniels' birthday at Eikawa.

I had no idea this picture was being taken, but the bridge looks so cool, so I sent it. 

Had district dinner at Fukushi Shimai's house.
She's the best; her house is filled with Michael Jackson pictures and CDs.

The dude we met from Osaka that came to church. This guy is awesome!

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Missions give you some weird experiences

March 14, 2016: Week 72
Area: Aomori

Companion: Daniels Choro

Hey family and friends! It was great to hear from y'all! I'm glad you had a good week and are enjoying the weather! Spring is on its way! And shoutout to Kelsey on getting a baptism! That's so exciting! I can't believe you're already on your last area now! Enjoy it while it lasts!

This week was pretty good. Nothing too crazy happened, kind of just a normal week. We were able to teach a lot of lessons, but most of them were to members because the investigators are still lacking. 

On Tuesday, we were able to meet with a few members and do lessons with them which was pretty fun. Tuesday night, we had a fun time with Murakami Kyoudai. He was recently released as one of President Smith's councilors in the mission presidency. We've started doing this fun thing with him where we buy fancy bread and cakes from bakeries and then do a lesson while we eat food every Tuesday. It's way fun. He was telling us that he is one of the representatives to help coordinate the cultural celebration for the Sapporo temple dedication. Apparently, it's the first one in Japan; they didn't have one for the Tokyo or Fukuoka temple so he's going through tons of video from other temple cultural celebrations to see how to do it because he says he has no idea. I'm pretty excited to see the dedication and celebration on TV in August. I bet a Japanese temple culture celebration will be really awesome because they are very proud of their culture here. It's pretty cool. People are getting pretty excited because Aomori is in the Sapporo temple district as well, so they will have a new temple to attend.

Wednesday was good as well. The sisters found a pretty good potential investigator a few weeks back who was a 19 year old male so they passed him to us. They said he seemed way interested and that we could come back. We visited him like a million times and he was never home, so we decided to give it another shot but go in the morning and he was finally home! We were able to teach a bit about the restoration on his doorstep and then get his phone number. He was being a little shy and awkward, but we figured it was because it was the first meet. Plus, I figured the fact that he gave us his number meant he wanted to meet again and was interested. So we were pretty excited at the prospect of finally having a new solid investigator. However, I texted him last night to set up an appointment and he said he wasn't interested at all...... That was a major let-down. It's a little tough getting your hopes up for something that's finally going to go well and then they get shot down pretty quickly. Oh well I guess. We'll find someone soon. 

But on Wednesday night, we met perhaps the coolest dude that I've ever met in Japan. We stopped him while walking on the street and he was way awesome.  He is kinda like a hippie. He lived in Perth, Australia for a year and a half, so his English was really good. He was way down to talking to us and it was just a comfortable, easy going conversation. We introduced the Book of Mormon and gave it to him. He was pretty stoked. We tried to set an appointment with him but he said he wasn't from Aomori...... He came up from Wakayama near Osaka to sell mikkans which are basically small oranges. However, he wanted to meet with us before he had to go home next week, so we set an appointment for Saturday night. We were so happy after we met him, I don't really know why. 

The next day, we randomly ran into him again on the other side of town, which was fun. On Saturday, he called and said he couldn't make it to our appointment on Saturday night but asked if we were open around noon on Sunday. I said we had church and he said he wanted to go! I was so surprised! He didn't come to sacrament meeting because he had to work, but he showed up for the last 10 minutes of gospel principles. We wanted to teach him for the third hour but he said he had to go in like twenty minutes. We were able to teach a short version of the restoration, testify, and invite him to meet with the missionaries where he lives. He was so nice and funny. I'm super bummed he can't be my investigator, but hopefully he finds them in the Kobe mission. We are going to try and send him as a referral so we will see what happens. I'm grateful I got to meet him. I don't know why, but even though we barely even knew each other, I felt a love for him and a desire for him to find the gospel, a stronger feeling than usual. I just hope and pray that he will. Also, he added me on Facebook so I'll hunt him down after the mish! But why can't he just live in our area!? Dang it!

The last experience I want to share may be one of the weirdest/funniest/strangest memories from my mission. So last night, we were out streeting by the station and Elder Daniels wanted to stop someone to take our picture and maybe use it as a way to talk to people. So, we see this girl walking towards us wearing a short skirt, piggy tails with bright pink hair. When you see girls like that in Japan, it's best to avoid them. But regardless of that, Daniels Choro stopped her and asked if she would take our picture. I was like oh boy, this is gonna get weird, but it got a lot weirder than I thought, because when "she" answered, it was the deepest "yeah sure" that I've ever heard. Yeah, "she" was actually a dude. 

We thought we maybe heard wrong, so Daniels Choro asked "her" where "she" was from. "She" responded in a very deep voice saying Hirosaki. Yep, it was a teenage dude dressing up like a Barbie who knows what. I just lost it, I started laughing so hard and I couldn't control it so I walked away while Elder Daniels kept going. He got to the point where he couldn't handle it either so he looked at his camera and said, "oh never mind, I already have a picture! Thanks bye!" And then we ran away because we were laughing so hard and slightly disturbed at what we just experienced. You see some interesting stuff on the mission. Holy cow! I haven't had a ton of super crazy experiences when it comes to finding investigators and baptizing people, but I've certainly had a lot weird stuff like that! I'd much rather have the other! 

Anyway, I'll end with something I learned this week. I've been studying about personal revelation and why it feels like my prayers aren't answered and that I'm not being guided. Someone shared D&C 98:12-13:

12 For he will give unto the faithful line upon line, precept upon precept; and I will try you and prove you herewith.

13 And whoso layeth down his life in my cause, for my name’s sake, shall find it again, even life eternal.

It hit me that God doesn't always answer our prayers immediately or in the way that I want, but He wants to try us and see if we are willing to continue to work and "lay down our lives" and continue to seek and search for answers. I've had to learn a lot about aligning my will to Gods and accepting it. I've learned that we have faith for certain things to happen, but when they don't, we have faith in the fact that God knows best and He'll take care of it.

I love you guys so much! I hope you have a great week! Enjoy the warm weather! Talk to you next week!

Elder Nathan Didericksen 

Aomori harbor

The dude we met from Osaka who came to church. 
This guy is awesome!

Monday, March 14, 2016

I'm a bean (new missionary) again!

March 7, 2016: Week 71
Area: Aomori

Companion: Daniels Choro

Hey y'all! How are you guys? It was great to hear from you. It sounds like it's already summer over there! It's starting to warm up over here too! I'm so happy! There's something about feeling the sun for the first time in a few months that really brings a ton of joy. It's awesome! This is one of the best times of the year I feel...just coming out of the winter, March madness begins, the playoffs are soon, etc. I hope you enjoy! 

It's funny you guys mentioned the whole Trump and Clinton ordeal. I guess the news of their debates and how ridiculous they are has hit Japan because before church started, an older member came up to me and started talking to me about the election. She's like "Trump is a terrible person and he's winning. Good luck in America!" She said the exact same stuff mom told me in her email. I was like yeah, my mission ends in October, but I might just stay here or go to Canada or something. It was pretty funny. Seriously though, I'm considering it......

This week was a slower one. A lot of stuff fell through again, and a lot of the week consisted of us walking in random, massive snow storms all day. It was insane. It would be sunny and nice and then all of a sudden it'd start coming down so hard with really strong winds, and then stop, and then come again and so on. Hey, but for the past few days it's been very nice. I'd forgotten what sunlight feels like; it's so awesome. Everyone is saying that spring is right around the corner so we are really excited.

Last pday was pretty fun. It was nicer weather then usual so we decided to get in our shorts and boots and play football in a snow covered park. You couldn't throw it very far or run in the snow very well, but it was really fun. It made me miss wearing normal clothes and playing sports with the buds. 

On Tuesday, I had a really dumb moment (several moments) that made me feel like I was a brand new missionary again. It was pretty bad. So Elder Daniels and I, after a day full of walking in snow, decided we'd end the day at a tonkatsu restaurant, one of my favorite Japanese foods. I don't know why, but it seems like right after we got in the restaurant, our brains stopped working. We blamed it on the fact we were in the cold all day! Plus, the restaurant was a lot fancier than I thought, and for some strange reason, it was much more difficult to deal with. Apparently, we couldn't handle it. Haha!

Anyway, we got in there and the waitress said something to me and I, for some reason, didn't understand a thing she said. I figured she told us to go to a booth so I just started walking over to one and after I got there, I looked back and saw my comp standing by the hostess still, with the hostess looking at me like I was an idiot. So I went back and sat in the waiting area. There's strike one. 

She then told me to write my name on the waiting list, but for some reason, I wrote my full name in cursive, despite the fact they can't read English, let alone a signature. Strike two. 

Once we got to our table and ordered, I gave the waitress my order, then she asked me a question, and again, for some reason, I didn't understand a word. When you get in a rut like this, the usual "go to" is to just respond and hope that response makes sense with what the question is. I thought she maybe asked me how I wanted the meat cooked or something or what I'd like along with it, so I just asked her what her recommendation was. Well apparently that made no sense in answering her question because I got the biggest, "you're an idiot" look I've ever had in my life. Strike three. 

I felt so flustered and out of it. I hadn't felt like a bean in a long time. Just to top it off, Elder Daniels had one or two moments like that too, including them having to chase us down after paying and leaving because Elder Daniels left his bags at the table. I'm sure everyone was really happy to see us leave. They probably thought we were the dumbest Americans ever. Nothing like one of those moments that tells you that you aren't as good as you think you are! It was way embarrassing and awful, but we got a real good laugh at it afterwards. We probably won't ever go back to the place though; they probably wouldn't let us in anyway....

A lot of the rest of the week was not too exciting. We had a few appointments with an old investigator who didn't show up to any of them, which was a bummer. We also received a really solid referral from the sisters so we've tried to visit him several times, but he's never home and since he lives like a 45 minute walk away, it's taken a lot of our time unfortunately. So, it was another kind of a bummer of a week. But on the bright side, we had a zone training meeting on Friday and Elder Hanson brought us a bunch of food from the air base in Misawa. So now I have a huge box of Captain Crunch, Pop Tarts, and a massive jar of peanut butter! (Japanese peanut butter is really bad!) I'm living the good life right now! 

After the zone meeting, we went to this really famous fish market called Nokedon. It's such a cool, traditional Japanese place. There's octopus tentacles, fish heads, clam shells, etc. lying around everywhere. And the sashimi is so fresh. You see them take out a fish, cut it up all fancy like and give it to you straight from the cutting board. It's so delicious too! A year an a half ago, I never would have eaten anything like that; I would have thought it was nasty, but it's really grown on me. If we ever come back to Aomori as a family, I can't wait to take you guys there. It's an experience!

Well that's about all of the exciting stuff from this week. We are still just trying to find some people to teach. It's been pretty disappointing at times. It's funny, because in Matthew's email, he quoted from Joseph B. Wirthlin and I've been studying some of his stuff this week. Matthew quoted one of my favorite parts saying God will always compensate us, even more than is deserved. We all have hard times and disappointments, but we learn to love our circumstances and as we try to learn from adversity, it will turn into a blessing. I feel Aomori is right around the corner to seeing success; we just need to push through the disappointments. Wish us luck!

I'm really having fun though. Even though the work is slow and disappointing at times in Aomori, I really like this area and my district. We are having a lot fun with each other! So it's all good.

I love you guys so much! I hope you have a wonderful week! Talk to you soon! 

Elder Nathan Didericksen 

Pday football game... the snow!

And the blizzards continue!

So good!!

Friday, March 4, 2016

Sorry for the boring email...

February 29, 2016: Week 70
Area: Aomori

Companion: Daniels Choro

Hey everyone! How are y'all doing today!? Happy leap year day! Can you guys believe it's about March! Time is flying by! I'm kind of jealous of the warm temperatures in Utah; I would love some of that over here. 

This week was pretty good. It wasn't the most exciting week, but it wasn't bad. We did get to go to Morioka to attend a conference with Elder Choi from the Asia North Area Presidency and his wife, which was pretty good. I'll get to that later. 

Wow! I'm trying to think what else happened this week, but it's kind of hard to come up with anything exciting. On Tuesday, I went on splits with Elder Kugai. It was okay; not a ton happened. We tried to visit a couple of less actives, but they didn't really want to talk to us. We also had a lesson planned with Elder Kugai's investigator, but he didn't show up, so that was a bummer. So yeah... there's not too much to report on that split.

On Wednesday, Elder Daniels and I went out to try and find some old investigators' and less actives' houses. I think I've mentioned this before, but Japanese addresses are near impossible to find. On top of that, we were trying to find it in a huge blizzard. Unfortunately, none of the old Qs were home and after trying to find the LAs house for an hour, we finally found it, but they weren't home either, so that was pretty rough. But it was all okay, because afterward, we went to a really good bakery and had this huge cheese bread thing which was amazing, so it's all good.

Thursday and Friday, we were in Morioka for a conference with Elder Choi from the Seventy and Asia north area presidency. Thursday afternoon we boarded a bus and rode for about 3 hours to Morioka. We somehow managed to fit like 14 missionaries in a small apartment, which was crazy. None of us were able to sleep too well, but it wasn't so bad. The conference was good though. Elder Choi and his wife are from South Korea, but they spoke some English. There were some parts that were harder to understand, but for the most part, their English was really good. He talked about a lot of things that I've been thinking about and that I needed to hear. 

For example, one of the things he took a lot of time talking about was respecting the culture, even learning to like the food here that you don't like. He talked about how when he was a missionary in Korea and the foreigners wouldn't eat kimichi because they thought it was gross. (Kimichi is actually way good though.) He had to work with his comps to get them to like kimichi. He said one thing that I really liked. When it comes to the culture or your circumstances: "If you don't like it, like it!" He said life is a lot better if you learn this one lesson. He said we need to not fall victim to our own circumstances. He told a story when he was a mission president in Seattle a couple of years ago. Missionaries came complaining to him saying they couldn't talk to people on the streets because it was always raining and they didn't want to stop people in the rain. He told them to walk out in the rain, look up, drink the "water from heaven,' like it, and go talk to people. That was something I needed to hear. With all of the bad weather in Aomori, it's easy to make excuses and give up, but we just need to buck up and do it anyway. 

The conference really motivated and encouraged us to be better and recommit ourselves. Elder Robbins and I were talking after the meeting about how we've both been out a while and still haven't seen any crazy experiences to fortify our testimonies or seen any success at all and how we don't want to go home like that. Like Elder Choi said, we can create our own success if we are diligent and work hard. We just have to open our mouths and be bold and let God do the rest.

This weekend was pretty good. Elder Daniels and I have been working on doing the things we learned in the conference. We have been trying to literally talk to every single person that passes us, to not let anyone pass without letting them know who we are, whether it be rain, snow or sunshine. We've had some awkward moments, but oh well, that's not a bad thing I guess. We've had other good conversations as well where we were able to teach about the restoration on a doorstep or on the street which was good. 

Also, the sisters found a guy in college who is pretty interested in the message and passed him on to us. We tried to visit him yesterday, but he wasn't home. Hopefully, he'll be a new investigator by the end of the week. 

That's about all I have to report. We are just going to keep working hard and not get discouraged and we will find some people to teach. I'm grateful for this opportunity to work in this area and in Japan. It's been hard and trying, but I've learned a lot and it's helped me improve as a person and a missionary. I love you guys! Have a wonderful week! Talk to you next week!

Elder Didericksen

My two missionary sons

We were happy to get out of this for a couple of days!

A Battle of Doctrines

February 22, 2016: Week 69
Area: Aomori

Companion: Daniels Choro

Hey family and friends! It was great to hear from all of you! I'm glad it's been warmer in Utah! I'm getting a little tired of the cold here. A ton of the snow has melted, but then it will decide to hit us with a blizzard every once in a while. At least there's not ice everywhere so we're no longer slipping and falling. 

This week was pretty good. We worked hard and were able to meet the mission standard for the third week in a row, as well as the rest of the district, which is pretty good for Aomori. We didn't find any new people to teach; they all fell through, but we will keep trying to find more people because we really need an investigator. Hopefully, with the start of a new transfer and some hard work, we will find someone.

With transfers happening, Elder Kugai and I said goodbye to our companions and got new ones. So, on Tuesday morning, we walked to the station, sent them off and became companions for the day until our new companions arrived. The snow was absolutely ridiculous on Tuesday. It's so hard to find and talk to people when it's a straight up white-out. We visited a less-active and taught a member in the meantime and then went back to the station to get our companions at night. Our companions were way surprised with how snowy and cold Aomori is. Welcome to the Himalayas! By the time we were home, we were exhausted. Elder Kugai and I walked so much on Tuesday! 

My comp, Elder Daniels, is from American Fork and is super funny. He's a fourth transfer, so he's still pretty new. He's been giving me the rundown on what I've missed and what's happened in the states for the past year and a half or so. One night, he did this one thing that was apparently all over Twitter or something called the Kylie Jenner lip challenge, (never heard of that) where you basically get a small glass and put your lips in it and leave it there for like 10 minutes. Apparently, it makes your lips massive as if you just got plastic surgery (I'm kind of scared to go home and see how ridiculous the world has gotten.) When he was finished, it was sooo funny. His lips were absolutely massive. We were dying of laughter. 

Since Elder Daniels got here, we've just been focusing on finding because we still don't have any investigators. It can be pretty frustrating, especially after going a whole transfer without teaching a real investigator. It's kind of hard not to get discouraged and feel hopeless sometimes, but we've been trying to talk to people on the streets and knocking on a lot of doors. We haven't found that person yet, but we will keep trying. 

We have been going through our area book and calling basically every old investigator. Elder Daniels is way awesome because since he wants to practice speaking Japanese, he wants to call every single person. He called one guy and actually set up an appointment with him for Saturday. Unfortunately, he called the guy without reading his record and after we set the appointment, we read his record. It said that he and his wife just want to prove us wrong. It said they see it as just a battle of our doctrines and their only intention is to convert us to Buddhism.  We didn't know what to do, but we carried through with the plan, hoping that maybe they have changed or that we could help them feel the spirit. The chances were slim, but we went for it anyway. We definitely should have canceled the appointment though.

So Saturday came and we were getting ready for the lesson when they showed up. The couple and their friend came, so now there were three. My comp and I were super nervous at the fact that we might be bashed by three pretty hard core Buddhists. At first, they seemed really nice, getting to know us and stuff, but then, they pulled out their notes and pens and stuff and the bashing and questioning began. 

The dude started grilling me on Joseph Smith, so I calmly explained and testified of the restoration. They were asking all sorts of way ridiculous and deep questions. I honestly didn't know how to answer most of them, so we just bore our testimonies to answer every question. It was hard to keep up because they were using some Buddhist terms and words. I had my doctor komaru out the whole time, trying to keep up with the conversation. 

It just got worse from there. Their friend came in and basically attacked us. She was saying that Christianity is the source of all wars and that Elder Daniels and I weren't happy. She kept saying "are you happy?! Are you happy?! You're not happy, don't tell me you're happy! Your religion can't bring you happiness!" That's when we got pretty mad. We had had enough and were ready to stand up for ourselves. Elder Daniels, with fire in his eyes, in broken Japanese, testified how much the gospel has blessed him and how happy it has made him, causing him to come to Japan and learn Japanese and to share it with others. It was super powerful. Then I did the same thing, testifying that there is a God who loves us and answers our prayers. We shared experiences to back it up. It shut them up pretty fast. I know I should have been more Christ-like and more loving, but I about lost it at someone coming to the church and telling me that I wasn't happy, that my faith wasn't a source of happiness. If this was in English, I probably would have lost it a bit, cause I about flipped a table. 

After that, I said we were done with the meeting and had to go. The wife then pulled out a pamphlet on the Buddhist religion and explained why their religion is better and gave it to me, telling me to "please learn about Buddhism". Yeah ripped that up right after they left. It was the most frustrating 30 to 40 minutes of my mission. I couldn't believe that these three people would take pride in bashing on two Mormon teenagers from America in a language that we are trying to learn. Pretty low stuff. I think we held our ground pretty well though. I did learn however, that I need to learn to love this culture even more, even those people who reject and belittle me, telling me Christianity is a a joke. Christ loved those who rejected Him, so I need to do the same.  I probably should have ended the "lesson" right as it began, but I learned from it and will do it differently if this happens again.

When Elder Daniels and I talked about it afterwards, we felt better. We had the opportunity to stand up for our beliefs, and to basically defend the name of Christ. It felt pretty awesome. But still, it's not worth it. But, that's an experience I'll remember from my mission. Everyone has at least one of those probably. 

Well, that was the highlight of the week for sure. With that happening, I can't really remember the rest of what happened. I'm just happy it's over. 

This week, we have another seventy coming to our mission, Elder Choi, who is in the area presidency. We will be going to Morioka on Thursday night and attending the meeting on Friday morning. We are way excited for that. Other than that, it should be a normal week. I'm excited to work with Elder Daniels. We are working and praying so we can see some miracles because we really want to build Aomori from where it is right now. I hope you all have a fantastic week! I love you guys! Talk to you soon!

Elder Nathan Didericksen

Winter in Aomori... It never ends!
The Aomori missionaries before transfers.

Apparently, we Americans need instructions.