Companion: Watanabe Choro
Hey family! Its so weird to think that I'm the only Didericksen out on a mission now. It was so great to see pictures and videos of Kelsey coming home. I was so excited for you guys. I'm sure you are having fun showing Kelsey around and all of the stuff she's missed out on this past year and a half. I remember I really enjoyed doing it with Matthew when he came home. Anyway, I hope you are all having a good time being reunited again. Don't forget about me!!! I hope you are all enjoying summer so far. I was thinking the other day how it's already been two years since I graduated high school.....what the heck! It definitely doesn't feel that long!
My letter is going to be really short because frankly, I have nothing really exciting to tell you. It was one of those weeks where we couldn't meet with anyone and everyone we visited wasn't home so we didn't really teach very many lessons this week at all. And one of the recent converts in the ward, Brother Kumagai Toshikazu married another member in the ward in the Tokyo Temple this weekend so the entire ward went to Tokyo this week and no one was home. But, it is pretty cool to see how this recent convert changed his life. He was obviously a non-member when he met Yuri Chan, a member in the ward. They started dating and she introduced him to the church and the missionaries. Then he got baptized right before I transferred to Izumi last year. And after a year, he has already received his endowments and been married in the temple. They are a cute couple. Kind of a cool story. So with that, we spent all of the week going door to door and trying to talk to people on the streets all day every day, but weren't able to find anyone who was interested unfortunately.
I don't know why, but people were being really cold this week. Kelsey talked about the Spanish finger wag last week and I guess there is a Japanese one as well. A lot of people would just give me the hand, wave me off, even if I just said hello to them. It was a little ridiculous. So this week, we experienced a whole lot of rejection on the streets. I was letting it get to me and I was getting really discouraged. (Sometimes you can only take so much after street contacting for 7 straight hours.) I kept getting voices in my head saying things like "why try, they won't listen to you" and "you're wasting your time." I know those voices and thoughts were definitely not from God but It was really hard to put them off. I was constantly praying inside my heart that God would give us something, just something little to help us keep going, to let us know that we weren't just wasting our time and trying to talk to these people in vain. Like usual, God didn't answer that prayer immediately, but he did in his own timing. After a few more rejections, right when I was about to call it and be done for the day, I decided to stop one last guy and he actually stopped and was willing to talk to me. After talking a bit, we found out he is actually Catholic (you never meet Christians in Japan)! We were each able to share how believing and following Christ has helped us and we were able to give him a Book of Mormon. Unfortunately, he doesn't live in Izumi, so he didn't become an investigator, but it was cool to see God answer that small prayer. It wasn't answered with finding a golden investigator or something, but it was answered through one person who was willing to listen to me for a bit and that was enough for me. It helped me keep going and gave me another reason to believe that God answers prayers.
Last pday, we went over to the Sendai outlets where they have a bunch of designer stores from America like Vans, Forever 21, Gap, etc. It was the first time I've seen anything like that in Japan. Unfortunately, none of them were that good and they didn't have anything. Even if they did have anything good, nothing fits me here in Japan anyway so I guess I'll have to wait to buy cool stuff in 4 months. After that we played baseball in a park. It was fun to be able to put on a mitt and throw a ball for the first time in a while.
Honestly, that's the basic jist of the week. Not a whole lot happened so I'll spare you from my rambling.
I'm pretty excited for this week; it should be a lot of fun. Tonight I'm going to stay in Sendai because I have splits with Elder Mitabi, one of the zone leaders. I'm pretty excited to work in downtown Sendai; I've never been able to do that before, so that should be tons of fun. Then on Thursday, I will be going back to one of my old areas, Furukawa, for splits with a guy in my district. I'm excited for that. Furukawa is a silly place. Some of my craziest experiences on my mission happened in Furukawa like throwing a 6 month old pot of rotten soup in a river and running away or picking up a dead man's bones. It should be a great time! Then on Saturday, I might be going back to Furukawa again to do a baptismal interview! I'm a little nervous for that because its my first time and I heard the guy speaks really difficult Japanese, but I think it will be okay. Pray for me! So it should be a really fun/busy week.
I hope you guys all have a good week and enjoy the start of summer. I love you guys so much! Talk to you next week!
Elder Nathan Didericksen