Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Apostles and Walk-up songs

May 30, 2016: Week 83
Area: Izumi

Companion: Watanabe Choro

Hey Everyone! It was so great to hear from you! I'm glad you had a great Bday Erin! Also, I hope you all enjoy Memorial Day. I don't think my Memorial Day this year will be as nuts as last year; nothing can top that. If you don't remember, I spent my last Memorial Day at a Japanese man's cremation where I picked up his burnt rib cage with a long set of chopsticks........ Yeah, I'm still forever scarred from that. Now every time I smell burning wood or incense, those haunting memories appear!  

Well this has been kind of a crazy week! I'll just start out with the highlight of the week which was the much anticipated conference we had with Elder Yamashita of the Area Presidency, Elder Gong of the Presidency of the Seventy, and Elder Gary Stevenson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in Sendai on Thursday. I can't believe I had the opportunity to hear from 3 people of that spiritual magnitude and with such a high position in the church in one missionary meeting. It was something I'll remember for the rest of my life. 

First of all, everyone in the entire mission came down from all over Tohoku to see this conference. We haven't had that kind of meeting since I was in my third transfer over a year ago, so it's very rare. It was so awesome to be able to see everyone again. One thing I realized on Wednesday is how grateful I am for all of the people that I've met here. I've met some people who have become life-long friends and who I am really excited to chill with after we go home and become normal people. It's weird to think that if I didn't come on a mission, I would have never known these awesome people existed. I was so happy to be able to see all of my mission buddies that I haven't seen for a while. It was pretty awesome.

But even better than that was the meeting itself. When the three General Authorities sat on the stand with President and Sister Smith, I could literally feel a power radiating from the stand. It helped me realize even more that those three are chosen servants of the Lord. Also, another super cool moment was when all of the missionaries stood and sang the EFY Medley to those sitting on the stand. The Spirit was so strong. You could see Elder Gong, Elder Yamashita, Elder Stevenson, and President all crying. You could really feel the love they had for us. There were a ton of missionaries crying too. It was a super cool experience. 

The talks which were given were super good as well. At times, I felt as if they were speaking directly to me. This transfer has been kind of difficult and a bit of a challenge. I've been feeling some disappointment and stress with being transferred to another dead area.  I've been wondering why I'm back in Izumi and why some things recently have happened. But one thing Elder Stevenson's wife talked about was that we are all where we are for a reason. It was received through revelation and was inspired by God. That I'm in the Japan Sendai mission for a reason, that I'm with President Smith for a reason. It helped me realize something that Kelsey wrote to me last week. Our missions won't be what we expect they will be, that the unexpected will happen. I may not understand it all but God does. 

I also felt so much power when Elder Stevenson spoke. It was so cool to see him get up without any notes or anything and to watch him just talk and teach while relying on the Spirit. It was so powerful when he left an Apostolic blessing on our mission. I really felt that they will be fulfilled if we do what is required. He promised that God's elect will be led to us through our obedience. He also said that no matter the burden we are carrying as missionaries, that we will be able to continue pushing on and that the burden will be made lighter. That was a promise that I really have been needing recently. It was such an amazing conference, a type of meeting that I will probably never attend again. I'm so thankful that I had that opportunity.

The next day, Thursday, was pretty good. I went on splits with Elder Uehara who lives in my apartment. He is a more experienced missionary as well, so it was really fun to be able to work with him. We were able to hand out quite a few Books of Mormon and knock on a lot of doors and talk to a lot of people. It was good. 

Friday was pretty awesome too. A guy in the ward invited us to go to the Rakuten Eagles baseball game in Sendai. The Rakuten Eagles are the professional baseball team in Sendai. It's funny; in English, the team name is the "Optimistic Eagles." I've never really heard a name like that for a sports team, but it's nice to know they always have a positive attitude. The game was really fun though; it felt great to be at a professional sporting event again. 

I have to tell you something really funny about it real quick. So in baseball, each player has their own song that they pick to play over the sound system when they walk up to bat. The song is special for them, one that pumps them up and gets them going. It may even show a bit of their personality. So with that in mind, every single Japanese player, when they steppeTd up to the plate, their songs were some Japanese pop music that makes you want to punch something (I really don't like J-pop). I thought that was pretty normal. But there was this one big black dude from America on the team named Zealous Wheeler. His walk up song was a bit different. It went from J-pop to a rap song called "Big Papa" by Notorious B.I.G (I think that's the guys name)! The only black guy on the team would walk up to the plate with blaring thug rap music. I was laughing pretty hard. He then preceded to hit a double. I felt a bit of American pride right there. It was a way fun game; It got me way excited to hit up a Jazz game or a Bees game in the next little bit. I never thought I'd ever get to the chance to go to something like that on my mission so it was really awesome.

The rest of the week was full of finding; knocking on doors and trying to talk to people on the street. We've still not been able to find anyone who will listen to us but we will keep trying. I'm learning recently that its not my job to force them to listen to me, I just have to open my mouth and invite them. I appreciate all of your support and prayers though in my behalf.

And it looks like the Didericksen family has some pretty exciting things happening this week! I can't believe Kelsey is coming home! I'm so excited for you guys! But don't have too much fun without me before I'm back. You'll have to send me plenty of pictures and tell me how it is picking her up! I wish I could be there! Oh well. I hope you all have a wonderful week! I can't wait to see you guys all together! Love you! Talk to you soon!

Elder Nathan Didericksen

Us with Fukutsu Shimai. She is a member who is like 96 years old and
still comes to church every week! She is awesome!

Baseball game

 The conference with Elder Stevenson and Elder Gong.
 I'm on the right side kind of in the middle.

A pretty field of flowers. 

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