Companion: Kudo Choro
Hey family and friends! How are ya doing? I'm glad you enjoyed conference and got to see Shawn and Tawna! I miss those guys! Also, the pictures you all sent were way fun!
Recently, the mission has been focusing on getting transfers done as quickly as possible so we didn't have a whole lot of time to prepare. Elder Kugai had to leave for his new area on Monday afternoon so Elder Robins was in a trio with Elder Daniels and I for the rest of the day. It was pretty fun; it had been a while since I've been in a trio companionship.
In Aomori on Monday, there was a big Australian cruise liner that had ported in Aomori port, so the streets were just crawling with Australians all over the place. It was fun to see a bunch of clueless white people all over the place instead of me being the only clueless white guy. We tried to talk to a fair amount of them, but it was hard. We could barely understand their Australian English. Their accents were so thick and they were using expressions that I'd never heard before. And it's just awkward trying to talk to people in English now, especially when you are trying to share the gospel with them. I realized I'd be screwed if I served in America or something. I'm too awkward!
Anyway, that same night, we went out to eat with an Eikaiwa student and his girlfriend. He lived in California for a while so he's pretty good at English. He took us to this fancy, Japanese restaurant. We had a bunch of super traditional Japanese foods like sashimi, fried onigiri, fried garlic cloves, soups, etc. It definitely wasn't cheap. When the waitress brought out the bill, we were all pulling out our wallets ready to drop some serious money, but it was only five dollars for the five of us. I guess his girlfriend has hookups at the restaurant so we got a 125 dollar meal for five dollars! Heck yeah!
The next morning on Tuesday, I rode the five hour bus by myself to Sendai for the trainers meeting. That was weird. I hadn't been by myself for that long since I've been home. It was kind of fun and adventurous. Finally, I got to the mission home and we had a meeting on training new missionaries. I was a bit nervous and anxious the whole time due to the fact I was training a Japanese bean; I didn't know what to expect. The meeting was good though. President gave some good trainings and insights and as always, Sister Smith brought the humor. She's the best.
After the meeting, we all piled in the vans with the APs and President and Sister Smith and drove to the Sendai airport to pick up the new missionaries. That was super weird going to the airport. It was the first time being there since that cold December night about a year and 4 months ago. It also freaked me out that I'd be there again in six months to fly back to the States. Weird thing to think about. It was pretty fun to be on the other side of things instead of being the jet-lagged, scared new missionary out of the MTC. The new missionaries finally arrived and we drove back to the mission home, had dinner made by Sister Smith, and went to bed.
Early the next morning, we had another meeting, an orientation for the new missionaries which was fun I guess. It was a long meeting and then they had to get set up with their iPads and finances, so it took a while. Finally, after it ended, Elder Uehara, an old comp/new AP drove us to downtown Sendai really fast so we could catch our bus. I slept way hard on the bus which was awesome. Also, one cool thing...on Wednesday night when we arrived to Eikaiwa, there was a white guy with his son teaching a class. I guess he served in Aomori twenty years ago and was visiting his areas with his son during spring break. He's a dentist in Kaysville, really nice guy.
On the work side of things, we had a pretty good week. We were able to pick up 2 new investigators! One was an investigator who stopped meeting with the missionaries a year ago. He actually really wants to be baptized but his dad is super against it and he doesn't want to destroy his relationships with his family. So that is a little frustrating and we don't really know how to help him there. Hopefully his father's heart will soften.
The other one randomly showed up while we were playing ping pong for pday last week at the church and said he wanted to learn English because he really likes America and really wants to live there. He's unreal at gymnastics. He's the best in his category out of everyone in the Tohoku/Hokkaido. Anyway, he came up to us during Eikaiwa and said he wanted to take the lessons. He's interested in Christianity because he links Christianity with Americans and since he's so interested in America, he wants to learn why we believe what we believe. So, we taught him last night about the restoration. He has an absolutely non-existent Christian background. He didn't even know what the Bible was, or that Christ and a cross has any sort of relationship with each other. So basically, we started from ground zero, going very slow.
That's one thing I've learned how to do here is to teach the gospel very simply. It doesn't need to be complicated. Obviously since its in Japanese, I have no choice but to be simple, but on top of that, no one knows a thing about Christianity, so you need to take it simply. The lesson was pretty good. He's kind of quiet so we don't know how he feels about it yet, but we are going to teach him at least twice this week so we will see how it goes! At least I have some people to teach finally! It's a start!
That's basically the jist of the week. We're all still trying to get used to our new circumstances. I absolutely loved being with Elder Daniels. We worked really well together and had a ton of fun. The whole district was just awesome. It's different now and I'm not really used to it yet, but hopefully we will get there. For the time being, I'm just trying to be a good example to my new companion and teach him the best I can.
Also, I'm way pumped to watch conference this weekend. Conference as a missionary is the bomb! I hope you guys enjoyed it already! I can't believe it's my third general conference on my mission! Wow! Anyway, I hope you guys have a great week! I love you all! Talk to you soon!
Elder Nathan Didericksen