Friday, March 4, 2016

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.

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