Friday, April 15, 2016

General conference weekend!

April 11, 2016: Week 76
Area: Aomori

Companion: Kudo Choro

Hey family! It was so great to hear from you as always! The pictures of Avery and Dax at This is the Place looked really fun! I can't wait to hang out with those two when I'm home! I hope they remember me! 

This week was pretty good, with general conference as the highlight. I absolutely loved it and it made for such a good weekend. General conference as a missionary is pretty awesome and this was probably my favorite that I've seen so far. The talks were so powerful and brought the spirit so strongly. I came in with some questions and concerns and they were answered as if the speaker was speaking directly to me. It was pretty cool. It was really sad to see President Monson declining; nevertheless, he was able to deliver some powerful messages, even though they were really short. My other favorites were Elder Hallstrom's about being a child of God, as well as Elder Hale's about the Holy Ghost. 

For the first couple days of the week, it was just me and Elder Kudo all alone in Aomori. The other two elders were in Sendai so it seemed a little lonely. On the bright side, my new companion is unreal at cooking. He makes us a feast every single meal. He's made us okonomiyaki, karage, hamburgers, etc. I recently committed to be healthier and to get in the shape I was in before the mission, but he's not helping too much with that! Oh well though, it tastes really good!

Here's an update on our investigators:

We met with our investigator who says he wants to be baptized but his father is against it. He's an adult so he can get baptized if he wants, but he doesn't want to disappoint his family. He still hasn't really done anything about that situation so we don't really know what to do with him. He can't meet for two weeks so we will wait and see what happens.

Our other investigator who has parents against religion, came to conference yesterday! He really liked it, especially Elder Oak's talk, so we had a lesson after the conference and taught about prophets. It was a pretty cool lesson. He thought it was so cool that prophets and apostles are on the earth today. It was also a cool opportunity to testify about prophets while using the things we had all just learned in conference.

And then there's the gymnastics master who we recently picked up. We taught him the plan of salvation. I think it's kind of hard for him still but he really wants to learn about Christ. We learned this week that because he was so good and busy with gymnastics, he didn't really go to school. We discovered it when we asked him to read something. He's at an elementary students reading level. I can't read much kanji, but I could seriously read more then he can. K that's a lie, but I'm just saying he's a little slower. And he doesn't have much of a Christian background so we need to go slow with him. He's way solid though! His desire to learn and and to change his life is way cool. I hope he's able to realize that the gospel is the thing to help him realize it. He's also been reading and praying which is awesome!

That's about the highlights from the week.

I guess I'll just end with my thoughts on general conference. General conference weekend was a really cool and spiritual weekend for me. I felt the  presence of the spirit throughout the entire thing, and felt it very strongly at some specific points. I went into the conference with some questions and concerns and they were answered. One question was simply how I could find joy in missionary work and just missionary life in general. Sometimes it's hard to get excited to walk in the cold all day and get rejected by businessmen all day. Not every day is like that obviously, but there's some harder days. 

As I was thinking of that, I was really touched by Elder Donald L. Hallstrom's talk, "I Am a Child of God". He talked about how we know that doctrine, but unfortunately, we sometimes forget it or take it lightly. He said that when we encounter trouble or sorrow, instead of doubting our faith or withdrawing from God, we need to remember that we are children of God and He loves us. When he said that, I instantly felt the love that God and Jesus Christ have for me. I felt that when I get rejected or disappointed, feel alone or forgotten, that they are standing there with me by my side, and they love me. God doesn't want me to get sad or discouraged, feel alone or forsaken. He wants me to remember the greatest eternal truth known to this church and that is I am, and the rest of mankind, are his children. What a simple, but beautiful truth that is. 

I also felt a love for my family. A lot of conference was focused on eternal families. It really made me miss mine and made me want to see them again. I'm so grateful for how close our family is and how we are set on gospel principles. I also felt the increased desire to help and serve others after I return home from Japan, whether it be a widow in the ward or someone who is having a hard time. The things I learned at conference made me want to be better. 

And lastly, Elder Holland ended it with a home run, encouraging us to hold on to the things we learned and felt this weekend, and keep going and know that God is always with us. It was a powerful talk. 

With that, my third conference on my mission is over. It was a wonderful, spiritual experience. I should be here for one more in the mission and I'm excited for the next time I get to hear from our leaders. 

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

Elder Nathan Didericksen

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