Companion: Kudo Choro
Hey everyone! Happy Monday!
With it being April 15th last week, I've hit my 18th month as a missionary! It's crazy how fast it's been going lately. It's strange to realize that I might actually have to leave Japan here pretty soon. The clock is ticking!
On Tuesday, I went on splits with Elder Okamoto, one of the zone leaders in my apartment. The guy is a stud when it comes to the work. He's also super smart and mature. Everyone loves him. He's already like 22 so he knows how to act around people really well. He also majors in music and plays the clarinet in college. He let me play his clarinet the other day and I completely forgot how to play that thing. I think it has been over 5 years since I've touched my clarinet! Anyway, he was a lot of fun to work with.
We went over to the Aomori College campus and went finding all day. We were able to talk to tons of people, including a lady who is Christian and was really nice. We talked for a while and she said we could come back some time. We also met a young man who plays baseball for college. We asked if he believed in God and he said he thought there was a "baseball God" who helped you if you worked hard... That was something I've never heard before. Anyway, he said we could come back so we are going to visit him again today! But yeah, the split was super successful. We were able to find an investigator, hand out a few Books of Mormon, and teach a few lessons on the street and on doorsteps. I sure learned a lot from Elder Okamoto. He's a boss. The way he could talk to people on he street, make them feel comfortable, as well as connect the gospel to their lives was way cool. I hope I can better at that someday!
The next three days were pretty rainy and windy so we were rather limited because we couldn't ride bikes and no one was outside. On Thursday we rode the train to a neighboring town to visit a member. The town was very quiet and in the middle of nowhere. It was nice to be in a quiet little town again; it reminded me of Kitakami. It was kinda fun. We got lost for a while, but we were able to finally find the house.
While we were looking for the house, we passed a group of like eight year old boys playing soccer. I said hi to them in English and they got way excited. Usually, kids that age are a little scared of me because they aren't used to white people, but these kids weren't. They surrounded me and started asking me a bunch of questions like why I was here and if I could speak Japanese and stuff like that. Then one kid asked if most Americans are super muscular and I said that wasn't the case. Then one kid grabbed my arm and literally said to me, "let me touch you!" Then they all started shouting in unison, asking if they could feel my biceps. In no means am I a muscular dude. I'm just tall and lanky, so I don't know why these kids were so set on feeling my muscles. Well I couldn't really stop what was happening so I proceeded to stand there as I was surrounded by a group of like seven kids feeling my arms and stuff and yelling at me to flex. Haha! It was super funny, but really weird.
On a more serious note. We were able to meet with gymnast investigator twice this week and were actually able to set a baptismal date for May 29th for him. He still has no idea what's going on I'm pretty sure, but he said yes! At least we have a goal now. It's going to be pretty hard for him to be baptized though because he's insanely busy all of the time and will soon be traveling all around Japan for gymnastics tournaments. On top of that, his mom isn't really down for it. All they want him to do is focus on gymnastics. But nevertheless, we were able to have some cool lessons with him and he still has the desire to learn and follow Christ. He told us yesterday that even if he can't be baptized here in the next year, he wants to go back to Sapporo after high school and meet with the missionaries there. So that was pretty cool to hear.
Lastly, this weekend was highlighted with zone conference on Saturday, and then with President and Sister Smith coming to sacrament meeting and then holding a fireside later in the evening. Zone conference was good. We talked a lot about the light of Christ, and how we are the message. If we live Christlike lives and develop his attributes, we can shine that light and the Japanese people will see that light. He told a cool story about Sister Dalton's son who served a mission in Brazil. He was walking down the street with his companion when a lady came up and stopped them, telling them that her grandmother really wanted to talk to them. So they found and met the grandma. She was in a wheelchair and was blind. When she was sitting towards the window, she said she saw two very bright lights. She called her granddaughter over asking what it was. She responded it was just two young men in shirts and ties. She responded saying,"go get them! They have what we need!". She was able to see the light of Christ through them, even though she was blind. Pretty cool story.
The fireside was good too. It was fun to hear from President Smith and his counselors. He has a pair of amazing counselors who have been a real blessing to the church in the Tohoku area. I'll have to tell you the story of one of them, President Seza, sometime. He has an amazing story. But after the meeting, I was able to talk to some of the members from Hirosaki, my first area! It had been a year since I'd seen them. When I was there, I couldn't really speak Japanese so it was way fun to actually get to talk to them.
At the Taikai, President showed a video called "thank you from Tohoku". It was about the tsunami that hit this area five years ago. It showed some clips of places that I have actually been to that got devastated by the tsunami. I still remember the day it happened, watching the news live on tv. It now has a special significance to me now that I get to live and serve among these people who suffered so much. In the video, it showed how nations from around the world came to Japan to help them. It showed different Japanese people saying thank you to the world. While we watched it, everyone one in the room was crying. It was cool to see how the world comes together and helps each other when disasters like that hit. I felt such a special love for these people here in the Tohoku area. It's a privilege to be able to be among them and serve and love them for two years. I bet the video is on YouTube so I encourage you to watch it sometime.
Well, that's it from me. It was great to hear from you guys! I love you all! Have a great week! We get to Skype for the last time in three weeks! Wahoo!
Elder Nathan Didericksen