Companion: Watanabe Choro
Hey guys!! Let me say one more time how great it was to Skype with you last week. I loved seeing your faces and hearing your voices. It was awesome! And in other news, I hit my 19 month mark yesterday! Pretty crazy. Also Happy Birthday Todd!! I hope you had a good birthday man!
This week has been a bit crazy. It felt super duper long due to transfers and me moving to the southern side of the mission from the most northern part of the mission. We got up early on Tuesday and I rode the bus for 5 hours by myself to Sendai. I've done that ride a few times by myself and I really enjoy it. It's nice to be alone and to have some thinking time to myself. That's something you don't really get as a missionary very often. I finally arrived at the Sendai station and then rode the subway with Elder Otani, another missionary going to Izumi, to the Izumi station where we met our companions. Elder Otani was actually attending Hirosaki College when I was a new missionary there and came to the Hirosaki branch.
My companion's name is Elder Watanabe from Tokyo. He is a third transfer missionary so he is pretty new. He's a good guy. I also found out the other day that he is cousins with my MTC teacher, Sister Watanabe, who lives in Provo, and that Watanabe family is related somehow to the Sheffields if I remember right. I met the dad and the brother at Oakley one year. So that means my Japanese comp might be somewhat related to the Sheffields! Thats pretty crazy, its a small world. Anyway....
It's been pretty weird to be back in Izumi after pretty much a year. Looks like I'll be spending both summers on my mission in Sendai, which is cool I guess. As far as the work goes here, it's kind of dead right now. Neither of the elder companionships have any investigators, so it's kind of the same as when I arrived in Aomori in January. It was super dead. It looks like we will have to start from the bottom to build this area up again. It kind of happened in Aomori, but we won't have blizzards everyday in Izumi so it shouldn't be quite so bad. I sometimes wish I could transfer into an area with something to work with, but I guess I'll have to work with what I've got. That's the way it is. It should be fun to spend our days walking around and talking to people or knocking doors (for the most part....). You are bound to find someone, or at least have something funny/weird happen.
So with that, Elder Watanabe and I have been doing a lot of finding. We were able to have some good contacts and give out some Books of Mormon this week, but no one would give us their contact info so that we could meet with them. We will keep trying. Its pretty fun to work in a city like this though because there are people everywhere. There were a lot of people in Aomori as well, but most of them were over 80 years old, whereas Izumi has colleges and younger people and families all over the place. There is also a big soccer stadium pretty close to our apartment. It's home to the Vegalta, the pro team in Sendai. They had a game on Saturday and there were people everywhere. Im not gonna lie, it got me pretty trunky to go to soccer and basketball games when I'm home. I really miss professional sporting events. We should hit up a REAL Salt Lake game. The game looked and sounded way fun. There is an eikaiwa student here who is a huge Vegalta fan and is actually a sponsor of the team and there has been talk of getting a bunch of tickets through him and do an activity type thing where we go to a soccer game!! I really hope that works out; that would be legit.
Also, they just put a Costco in our area like 2 months ago. It's kind of far from our apartment, but there are several members who say they'll be glad to take us there when we want to, so I'm way pumped for that. I hear it's pretty much like going to a normal Costco in the states.
Im trying to think of stuff to talk about, but when you have zero investigators, its hard to come up with stuff to report.....
Being back in the Izumi ward at church was pretty fun. Surprisingly, a lot of them remembered me from last year, even though I was only there for six weeks. They said they remember that I was tall and had a really long name that no one could say. I'm way excited to be in this ward again. The members are fun and nice and there's actually young people here too. Our ward mission leader wants to help us do activities and stuff, so I'm way excited to do some summer activities with the Izumi ward members.
One piece of really disappointing news that I got is that the Chapman family, the awesome family from Utah that lives here decided to move back to Utah right as I come back. They actually left on Saturday. I got to see them once before they left, but that was it, so that was super sad. But before they left, their kids' school, Tohoku International, put on a play for the end of the year and all of the Chapman kids were in it. I was here last year for their play and I got to go again this year. This year was "The Cat in the Hat" by Dr. Seuss. It was a lot of fun. There were Americans and all sorts of nationalities there. It felt good, especially being in an all Japanese apartment, to be with some people who spoke my language and had the same background.
Which brings me to my next point. It's definitely different being the only English speaker in the apartment. It's kind of hard at times because all they talk about is Japan stuff in which I have no clue. And even though I'm kind of a grandpa missionary now, I still have times where it's hard to keep up in a conversation in the apartment and be able to be a part of it. Its definitely been an adjustment so far moving from Aomori where I had so much fun and was seeing some success. I'm hoping it will get better as I start to get used to it and as time passes.
Lastly, I want to end with something about Mothers Day. Since I didn't have much time last week to give a proper shoutout out to my mother on Mothers Day, I'm gonna do that this week!
The other day at Eikaiwa in Aomori, I did a Mother's Day theme where I had each person talk about their mothers, especially why they love them and what their mom taught them when they were young. It was fun to hear everyone's personal tributes so to speak about their mothers. I too was able to say a little bit about my mom. I said she would even go rebound for me when I went shooting at the church because she really wanted to help me reach my goals pertaining to basketball. They were so surprised to hear that my mom would do that. I don't think many moms would do that for hours at a time for their son. I'll always treasure those times spent shooting the ball with my mom at the church.
That's just one of the many things my amazing mother has done for me throughout my life. She is the most selfless person that I have ever known, always sacrificing what she wants or her time in order to help someone else succeed or someone who needed her whether it be playing the organ in the temple early in the morning, or staying up late to help me with the paper or project that I unfortunately procrastinated on..... The mission has helped me learn and realize a lot of things so far, and one of them is how amazing my mother is. I realize I could have been a lot nicer, a lot more helpful (especially when I see you cleaning the house or something and instead of helping, I decided to be a useless bum and watch TV or something), a lot more (add any other favorable trait) towards people but, especially to my Mom. I promise to come home and be a much better son than I was before. Im not saying I was necessarily a bad one, but I could have been better.
People say through serving a mission, you actually grow closer to your loved ones, even though you are separated for two years. I think I can say that between me and my mom. I love you mom! Thanks for being the best mom ever and for being such a positive influence in my life. I can't wait for the day when I can give you a hug, hang out, talk about life during our car rides, sing around the piano, and have fun together again in 5 months. Until then, we can do that through email I guess. Anyway, you are the best and I love you so much! I hope you had a terrific Mothers Day!
Thats it for me this week! I hope you all have a wonderful week! Talk to you soon!
Elder Nathan Didericksen 長老