Thursday, June 30, 2016

Transfer 14! And happy Fathers Day Dad!!

June 20, 2016: Week 86
Area: Izumi
Companion: Watanabe Choro

Hey everyone! It was great to hear from you! I'm glad Kelsey's homecoming went well. I'm super bummed; I missed both her farewell and homecoming! I hope you all enjoyed being with friends and family this weekend. I really wish I could be there and celebrate with you!

Also, I guess it's being played right now, but game 7 of the NBA finals!? Thats so crazy! I wonder if LeBron will finally get a title to Cleveland or will Steph Curry just go off again? You will have to let me know how it goes. 


I want to start with wishing Dad a very Happy Fathers Day!! It's kind of easy to forget because they don't take very many holidays seriously here. I don't think I heard anything about Father's Day at all this year, I have no idea why. 

But anyway, I just want to say how much I love you, look up to, and appreciate all the countless things you have done for me throughout my life. Some of the best memories I have in my entire life are shooting hoops with you whether it be at the church or in the backyard teaching me how to shoot, playing baseball in the backyard where you taught me how to throw a change-up, or taking scenic jeep drives while listening to some good old classic rock with you. (I will always appreciate you for raising me on the right music!) I've always cherished the relationship we have had since I was a little boy. I'm proud I can say that my Dad is one of my best friends and that we can talk about anything with each other. It means so much to me that you have sacrificed so much time, effort, etc. to help me achieve my goals and dreams including waking up very early to rebound for me at the church and then going go to work right after. You are the best Dad in the world and I can't wait to be able to shoot hoops with ya, talk to ya, and take drives in the Jeep while listening to some good Creedence Clearwater Revival, etc. with you. I hope someday, I can be a father like you are to me. That's a lofty goal, but it is the thing that I'm aiming for, because If I can do that, I think I will have succeeded. Love you Dad! I hope you have a special day. Sorry, I didn't eat level ten spicy curry for you this year (that about killed me when I tried that last year) but I will make it up to you when I get back! Maybe I'll eat Natto for you. You are my hero Dad! I love you so much!

Well another transfer has come and gone and it went very quickly it feels like. I can't believe it's the start of my 14th transfer, meaning I only have 3 more! Kind of weird to think about. So with the end of transfers we received transfer calls. It was kind of different than usual however. We had another Stake Conference in Sendai yesterday because the church had a special broadcast for all of Japan. So we watched the broadcast that originated from the conference center with Elder Maynes of the Seventy, Sister Burton from the Relief Society, Elder Whiting from the Asia North Presidency, and Elder Bednar. It was a pretty good conference. Since a lot of missionaries were there for the conference, President Smith just told us one by one what was going to happen right after the meeting. So I'm staying in Izumi for technically my third transfer. Some changes happened in the district however. I'm going from the only American in the district to it being a one Japanese person district with the rest being American. I'm pretty excited to have some English speakers back in my apartment! It was cool to have straight Japanese for six weeks, but it tires you out, no matter how long you've been out on the mission. 

So my new companion is named Elder Bruce from Oklahoma. He has been out almost a year. I don't know much about him but It will probably be fine. And then Elder Uehara will stay and a half Japanese/American named Elder Murakami from Salt Lake will come in. So it should be pretty fun. I have to come to grips that I have to deal with Izumi's ridiculous hills for another six weeks, but I guess it will help me stay in shape. 

This week was pretty normal, and a little busy with splits and a baptism that happened in Furukawa. 

Tuesday was splits with Elder Otani, one of the guys in my apartment. He was feeling kind of sick though so we didn't really do a whole lot. The times we did work, we just knocked on doors and tried talking to people on the streets, but no one was interested. 

Thursday was pretty good. I did the last district meeting of the transfer which went well I think and then I went on splits with Elder Thompson who works in Furukawa. It was the first time working with another experienced American missionary in a really long time so it was lots of fun. And the dude's a spiritual giant who is super sensitive to promptings and follows them. It was raining like all day so we couldn't do a whole lot. One cool thing happened when we were walking to the apartment for lunch after District meeting. We were just talking about stuff when a guy suddenly turned a corner towards us and without thinking I just stopped him and started talking to him. It went really well and we were both able to testify about the gospel, give him a Book of Mormon and commit him to read it. We didn't get his contact info though but it was a really good contact. I hope we can run into him sometime soon. 

The highlight of the week was definitely Saturday. On Saturday morning, we did "nagashisoumen" which you basically get a few beams of bamboo, cut them in half, sand them and make it all nice and smooth, hook them all together, then run water and noodles down them and you just line up and snatch the noodles right out of the bamboo and eat it. I still don't really understand why its such a big thing here; it seems way too troublesome to just eat noodles, but it was a lot of fun and it was a pretty successful activity. Several families that we have never seen before saw the flyers we put out and decided to come. They got to meet us, the members and see the environment of the church and things like that. One of the families will actually start hearing the lessons from the sisters from the looks of it. So it was a really good summer activity. 

Then right after the activity, our district rode a bus to Furukawa to attend Brother Katou's baptismal service. It was a great service and lots of people came. The baptism was really good though. It was cool to see him be baptized. He will be a great member. President and Sister Smith also came and after the baptism, Brother Katou was talking to President Smith, telling him his conversion story. He said about a month before meeting the missionaries, he had a heart attack and was dead for a few minutes. While he was in between life and death, he had like a vision or dream. He saw a big white building bursting with white. He tried to enter in but the man at the door said he couldn't, that he wasn't ready yet and to go the other way. He did so willingly and then he woke up. A month later, he met the missionaries. That's so legit right! He was super prepared. I hope I can be led to someone like that before I'm done. 

After the baptism, President and Sister Smith drove me and my comp home. On the way there, President leans over to Sister Smith and says "Why don't we go to Costco and buy these guys a pizza"! So we went to Costco and had pizza and ice cream with the Smiths! It was super great. Costco pizza two weeks in a row! I could get used to this! It was so fun to have a night out with them; they are super great. 

Well, that's about all of the stuff I have to tell you from this past week. I'm curious to see what this transfer holds. I still don't really know what to do to build this area up. It's still pretty dead and its kind of giving me some stress trying to figure out how to build it up from the bottom. I hope and pray that Heavenly Father will bless us with something to keep us going and we can see His hand in the work. I hope you all have a great week! Enjoy the summer for me! Talk to you guys soon!

Elder Nathan Didericksen

Our Nagashisoumen Party

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