Companion: Kudo Choro
Hey there family and friends! Can you believe it's already May?!?! Man it's going by fast. I feel like I arrived in snowy Aomori just yesterday, but that was like 4 months ago; it's crazy. I don't really feel like we've had spring yet, it's still just been super cold for late April lately. I'm so ready for summer, I can't even explain it! I'm pretty pumped for this week though, I mean we've got May the 4th (be with you), and cinco de mayo! We will have to figure out something to celebrate the occasion.
Well this week was an interesting one. I had a couple of pretty funny experiences this week that I will get to later. This week consisted of a lot of finding, mainly knocking on doors. I used to absolutely hate knocking on doors all day when I was a younger missionary, especially a year ago when I was in Furukawa because that's all we did for a whole transfer; however, I don't mind it too much anymore. Yes, we still get a fair share of rejection and doors slammed in our face telling us they hate Christianity, but on the other hand, we have been able to see some funny stuff along with some good successes. We were able to find 2 new investigators through housing his week! It was way awesome!
I wrote about one of the guys we found last week a little bit. We knocked on his door and he actually let us in! He is about 85 years old, but he let us teach him and his wife in their genkan last week. We weren't able to make a return appointment then but we visited him again on Wednesday and he was in his yard doing stuff, so we taught him about the Book of Mormon and were able to give him one and commit him to read it, thus turning him into a new investigator! I don't know how promising he is 'cause he is pretty old but we will take it for what it is!
The other guy, we found in a tiny town a ways from Aomori called Aburakawa. We've discovered recently that the place seems to be a gold mine because we've found several potential investigators there. So we went housing out there and we were able to find a man named Yamada San. He was out in his driveway cutting wood when we approached him and talked to him. He actually knew what our church was when he saw us. There is a member family, the Sasaki family, that lives in the town pretty close to his house and he knows they are members (sweet, already have a good connection!). We taught a light version of the restoration and gave him a Book of Mormon. He gladly took it and actually said, "alright, I'm gonna read at least 10 pages before I go to bed tonight". He also asked where our church was and said he wanted to go sometime and that he was interested! He says he's super busy with work and stuff but said that it was okay for us to visit him and teach him and possibly his wife! I'm not getting my hope super up but that was pretty exciting!
On Friday, we had zone training meeting where we talked about our commission as missionaries and what kinds of blessings we are receiving from the restoration. It got me thinking about what was made possible through the restoration of the gospel Jesus Christ. I was able to bear my testimony about this in sacrament meeting yesterday. We have the Book of Mormon, the priesthood, living prophets, etc. We have lots of blessings from the restoration. But with the recent excitement about the Sapporo temple around here, I thought about the knowledge of eternal families and temple blessings. I talked about how I always loved going to the many temple open houses while growing up in Utah because there's so many different temples and how I loved going to the celestial room. The reason for that is the two mirrors placed in the room that reflect of each other to make it look like they continue forever. I love the symbolism for eternal families right there. I'm so grateful for that doctrine and that Mom and Dad are sealed in the temple, meaning we all are sealed as a family.
Thursday, we had another meeting in Sendai for trainers and new missionaries. It was kind of a follow-up orientation, so we got up early to catch the five hour bus to Sendai. I was looking forward to seeing the beautiful radiant colors of spring in northern Japan but it was dark and rainy the whole way down. The meeting was good. It was like the fourth time I've been to one of these meetings so I heard the same stuff again, but it was good. We talked about the importance of righteous leadership in D&C 121 as well as having Christ involved in any relationship we are in, whether it be a companion on a mission or a marriage or whatever.
After the meeting, since mine and and Elder Price's areas are in Aomori prefecture, we got to take the Shinkansen back! That's always fun. We were in a huge hurry in buying the tickets and it was stressful. Elder Price's bean can't handle public transportation or anything slightly stressful for that matter, so he was freaking out, and the added stress with lack of time and trying to buy the right ticket, I screwed up. Let's just say our tickets were strangely a lot more expensive than usual, but I didn't really think about it because we were in a hurry. Elder Price and I bought the same ticket for the same car so we went together while our comps were in another car. We get in our car and see that it's way fancier than another car. I was like, "wait did I read the ticket wrong?". So we asked one of the workers and he said it was the right car. So yeah, we accidentally bought first class tickets for the Shinkansen! We stood out and looked so silly as two tall, white, teenage Americans rolling in first class with these rich business men and women. It was so funny. It's not everyday you ride first class on the fastest train in the world. Unfortunately, it cost a lot of money. I won't tell you how much, but it was ridiculously expensive. I'm scared to call the mission office and ask for a reimbursement for a first class ticket! We will see if I do it. So there is my whoops moment of the week.
Last story is that I crashed my bike super hard the other day. Surprisingly though, I wasn't hurt at all really, which is quite a miracle actually. Part of it was probably I'm pretty good at crashing gracefully. I've had a few good crashes mountain biking where I was able to not hurt myself as bad as I could, but I was protected this time. I was riding pretty fast down a hill standing up (my seat had water in it so I couldn't sit down) when basically my chain suddenly exploded so to speak. With that, my tires randomly like stopped rotating. It was super weird. But before that happened, with the sudden jerk of the chain freaking out, my hands came off my handlebars. Miraculously, I didn't crash immediately. Somehow, without holding onto the handlebars and while standing up, my bike seemed to glide by itself like someone was guiding it. It was super weird, I can't really explain it. It glided by itself long enough for me to get a little control back and then I crashed. I went rolling over two or three times before I stopped. When I went down, I thought to myself, "welp, I'm screwed. This is gonna hurt really bad". But I didn't get hurt at all. I only have a couple of bruises. It was way legit. God protects His missionaries! I really felt that this past week!
Anyway, that's about it. It's the last week of the transfer so by the time we talk, I'll know what's going on. I think I'm leaving Aomori since I've been here for almost half a year, but I guess we will see! And it's Mother's Day next week! I'm so excited to talk to you guys! And it's my last Skype which is pretty crazy! I love you guys! See you in person next week! Love you!
Elder Nathan Didericksen