Friday, July 22, 2016

Hot, humid and green in Japan

July 18, 2016: Week 90
Area: Izumi
Companion: Bruce Choro

Hey everyone! How are things in Utah? This week was pretty good, although for some reason, especially this past transfer, days kind of blend together and I can't really remember anything specific that happened. What I do know is that it's super super humid in Japan right now. We are dripping in sweat after riding our bikes or walking for like 2 minutes. And maybe since it's so hot here or something else, I don't really know why, but people in Sendai wear like no clothes here. It's pretty crazy; let's just say some girls aren't dressing as modestly as they could.... Also, I housed into some old dude who wasn't wearing any pants, just a long shirt...... Anyway... 

The good side is that it's super green and pretty right now. I'm learning to take some time and to smell the roses every now and again, trying to savor the last couple months I have left here.

Tuesday was a fun day. I got an email from one of my old companions from over a year ago saying he was back in Sendai to visit the mission and travel around Japan, so he met us in Izumi and we went to lunch with him. It was way fun to see him again since he went home last October. It was super weird to see him as a normal person with a huge, thick beard, but he was still the same guy. It was a good time. We spent the rest of the day knocking doors and were able to visit a less-active couple for the first time. We've been looking at the member records and have been trying to visit the less actives in whatever area we are in that day. For the most part, most of them want nothing to do with the church and usually aren't too stoked to see us at their door (I've been yelled at a few times), so I was pleasantly surprised when the couple invited us in and talked to us and stuff. They were super nice and we had a great visit with them. 

Wednesday was a little rough. We went out to a way far part of town to go tracting for the afternoon. The clouds didn't look too threatening so we didn't think too much of it, but we were super wrong. Out of nowhere, the clouds rolled in and it started raining really hard. We didn't have an umbrella or rain gear of any kind so we got pretty soaked. Also, since in this mission, we aren't allowed to ride bikes if it's raining (kind of a frustrating rule but we have to obey it) so we had to walk to our next appointment in the pouring rain for about an hour. We got pretty soaked, but it was a good time I guess! But when it rains this time of year, it feels you are literally drowning in humidity. I can't really explain it, but it feels super no bueno. I love the dry Utah weather!

On Thursday, I went on splits with Elder Robb, an elder from Spanish Fork who works in Furukawa. We worked in Izumi for the day and it was pretty fun. Since he is in a leg brace, we weren't able to ride bikes so we had to walk a ways to get to where we wanted to go. We spent most of the day knocking on doors again. Usually, housing for more than like 1 or 2 hours at a time is miserable, but it was super fun with Elder Robb. We didn't take rejection too seriously and we just laughed and joked around the entire time so the 4 hours of housing seemed to go by really fast. We didn't see any success whatsoever until the very last door (it's always the last door for some reason). We found another woman (gosh darn it where are the men?!) who was interested so we gave her a Book of Mormon and got the OK to come back. SO that was pretty cool. We also found this massive house that looked like a castle so we decided to house it and see what would happen. Elder Robb's door approach was something like "we are missionaries who are sharing a message about REAL happiness"(cause having stacks on stacks of money doesn't bring true happiness!)  She gave a pretty weird excuse of why she couldn't talk to us. Maybe it was legit, I don't know, but she was like "sorry, I can't talk right now, my dog is pooping." (Now that's a new one!) I guess I totally understand if that's actually what was happening because I wouldn't want my dog pooping in my castle, but, she didn't say she wasn't interested or anything like that and said something to suggest we could come back another time, but we will see. That would be way cool if we could pick up a super rich investigator; do lessons in their castle, drive in their fancy cars, etc! I'm getting ahead of myself, but that'd be legit.

Also, in other news; one of the investigators we found for the sisters last week has been dropped already. She was super interested and I guess she still is, but she told the sisters that her husband got really mad that she was even considering meeting with the missionaries so she said she couldn't meet with them so her family wouldn't break apart. It's kind of frustrating, a lot of the time when you finally find someone who will listen, their parents or the spouse shut it down pretty quickly, so that was kind of sad. 

Other than that, I don't have much to report on. It was a good week even though nothing too crazy happened. I only have two weeks left of the transfer and then I will enter my last two which seems so weird; like it's already halfway through July! What the Heck?!

Anyway, that's about it from me! I hope you all have a wonderful week and a sweet pioneer day. I have been reading a bit about the pioneers lately and throughout my mission and it's helped me realize the blessings I have thanks to all of those faithful saints who gave up everything so that they could worship God. Especially being from Utah, it's made me super proud of my heritage and grateful for the blessings that the pioneers gave to us. So I hope you have a great one blowing stuff up and stuff! Haha! Now I'm off to play some of the young men in basketball! It's the first time playing since January so I hope I'm not too bad! I love you guys! Talk to you next week!

Elder Nathan Didericksen

My old companion, Elder Hill

Finding young moms!

July 11, 2016: Week 89
Area: Izumi
Companion: Bruce Choro

Hey everyone! It was great to hear from y'all and all about your 4th of July! I love Japan, but it has also helped me realize how thankful I am to be from America and how awesome of a place it is. It may be going kind of crazy right now, but it's still a pretty awesome place. 

This past week went by super fast, I feel like pday was two days ago. We are already half way through this transfer and I hit 21 months this week which is crazy! Time is flying!

My week was pretty good. My days still consist of hunting down less-actives and knocking on doors all day. We were actually able to find two new investigators this week by knocking doors! Unfortunately they are both women and we can't teach them so we will pass them to the sisters, but it feels pretty great to finally find someone. 

So on Tuesday, we got a media referral from a guy named asking for a Book of Mormon. I was so surprised because first, you never get referrals in Japan really, and second, it was an American dude. We tried to find his address, but since he is American, he probably doesn't understand Japanese addresses super well because it made no sense. We ended up in some neighborhood in the middle of nowhere so we just did some tracting around the area. While we were housing an apartment, a lady got out of her car and started talking to us. She asked what church we were and stuff like that. She didn't think Mormons could eat meat or things like that, so we told her a bit about the church and the Book of Mormon and things like that. She was super chill and way easy to talk to. I gave her the Book of Mormon and she actually asked to get our number to meet again! That doesn't ever happen! So we exchanged contact information and plan to go next week. We can't teach women, so like I said, we will pass her to the sisters. It's a bummer we can't teach her, but I'm glad we could finally find someone who would listen!

It rained all day on Wednesday and our mission has a rule that you can't ride bikes in the rain, so we basically walked around all day because everything fell through. Eikaiwa was pretty good though. A new student came so me and Elder Murakami basically taught him one on one. We asked him what he wanted to learn and he's says, "tell me about Utah!" So Elder Murakami (who is from Salt Lake) and I gladly taught him about all the beauties of Utah. It was awesome. It made us both way happy to talk about where we come from. Like I said earlier, I love Utah! So that was pretty solid.

On Thursday, Elder Bruce  and I found this area we really want to house like all over. We went over there on the previous Monday and were able to find a lady who accepted a Book of Mormon so we thought there might be more like her. It's a pretty wealthy area with some probably not so humble people but we went anyway and tracted for a long time. Housing for a couple hours straight is pretty tough, but we are able to make it fun. It's not too bad when you have a comp that likes a lot of the things you like so we are always talking and joking about random stuff. Anyway, we met a pretty young mom with 3 adorable kids. We said we had a message about families and how it can strengthen families.  She had heard stuff from missionaries of a different christian church so she knew the Bible and had somewhat of a background. We taught her a bit about the Book of Mormon and how the gospel blesses families, gave her a Book of Mormon and made an appointment for this week! Again, she is a woman so we have to pass her to the sisters, but It felt good to find someone! Why can we find only young moms!? Oh well, hopefully we will find an investigator that is a dude soon!

I'm trying to think of other interesting things that happened this week. Not much really happens besides us knocking doors and such, which isn't a bad thing, just nothing worth sharing! I hope you all have a wonderful week! I love you all! Talk to you next week!

Elder Nathan Didericksen

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Under the Weather and Turning Twenty!

July 4, 2016: Week 88
Area: Izumi
Companion: Bruce Choro

Hey everyone!!! Let me start with saying Happy Bday to Matthew yesterday!! That's probably the best birthday I can think of, spending it in Hawaii! I hope you had a great day! You've always been a role model for me and someone I've wanted to be like! Thanks for your great example and for always hanging out with me. I can't wait to continue our shenanigans in 3 months! Love you buddy!

Also Happy 4th of July everyone!! Its kind of hard to be patriotic here, but I'm doing my best. We sang all of the patriotic songs in the hymn book for comp study, and my screen on my iPad is the statue of Liberty so I'm feeling the Patriotic spirit! I hope you all have a good one tomorrow!!

I'm not gonna lie, my week was just a little rough. First of all, I'm in my twenties now which freaks me out. I'm still in denial about that. I'll get to my bday later, but also, I got some nasty virus on Monday night and it basically knocked me out for like 4 days so there's not a lot of missionary work to report on. 

So on Monday night I rode my bike down to Sendai to do splits with the Zone Leaders again. We got there a little early so we went to the station to talk to people. As we were headed back to the apartment, there were two white people shouting at as and waving. They seemed really nice and like they wanted to talk to us so we went over to see them. They were super super nice people. They were just a young couple on vacation here from Oregon. They actually knew the church; their friend is a Mormon and they have actually taken all of the missionary lessons and have had the missionaries over to their house for dinner several times. It was so refreshing to have a conversation with chill American people. They were super nice and it made my day. You don't get to have conversations like that too often as a missionary here. 

I slept in the Kamisugi apartment that night and woke up the next day feeling awful. Elder Mitabi, the elder I was to go on splits with woke up sick too, but we decided to go out and work anyway. It was raining all day so walking all day in the rain for 8 hours probably didn't help our sickness. We basically housed and streeted all day. It was pretty miserable because we were feeling awful, but we were actually able to see some good things happen. We found a new investigator and were able to hand out a few copies of the Book of Mormon.

The next day, I woke up feeling even worse. We rode our bikes back to Izumi where I found Elder Murakami sick with the same thing, so we ended up staying in the apartment and resting for the day. In the end, we were stuck in the apartment for like three days. We tried to make the best of it. We made pancakes and had some silly conversations while on our death beds. We definitely grew closer over those three days. It was pretty bad though. It was so hard to sleep it off cause we had no medicine and were so congested. We are finally starting to get over it now though which is good. So yeah, that was rough.

Also, President Smith called me this week saying he wanted to come to my District Meeting last week, so that caught me way off guard and caused some stress. I think it went pretty well though, despite the fact I was coughing like every sentence I said. But yeah, I have no idea why he came. 

Lastly, I graduated from my teen years and turned twenty on Friday. It was a pretty good B-day. Birthdays are definitely not the same as a missionary, but it was pretty good. I loved the bday package that Mom sent me, I've been going to town on the Oreos! I found out that Oreos are my number one weakness when it comes to food. Also thanks so much for that little book y'all made for me; that was so nice! It's pretty crazy that was my last bday on the mission! 

But yeah, that is honestly about all that I have. I was basically dying inside all week (haha) so I don't have much to report. Ill try to make it more exciting for next week's email! I hope you all have a wonderful week! I love you all so much! Have a great Fourth of July tomorrow!! Love you!
Elder Nathan Didericksen

Getting my Japanese culture on with the mask.
Also, my district gave me this shirt for my birthday.

Lunch with the elders in my district. 

Monday, July 11, 2016

Weddings and Crazy Dudes

June 27, 2016: Week 87
Area: Izumi
Companion: Bruce Choro

Hey everyone!! It was so great to hear from all of you! It sounds like it's been super hot in Utah! We got straight rain like everyday this week so it was kind of a bummer. When it rains, the humidity in Japan goes to ridiculous levels. Seriously, this country is so humid!!

So this week was super fun! It was the first week of the transfer so we were able to welcome two elders into our group here in Izumi. My new companion is named Elder Bruce from Oklahoma. He went to BYU for a year before coming out and is hitting his hump day on my birthday this week. He is striving to be a fighter pilot after the mission so that's pretty cool. We have a fun time together. The other Elder is Elder Murakami. He is from Salt Lake and is a lot of fun too. Both of the guys love basketball, classic rock, and funny stuff. 

Like I said, a lot of this week was rainy and when it rains and the ground is wet, we aren't allowed to ride bikes, so we walked a lot and knocked on a lot of doors. We still haven't found anyone who will listen to us but since I have a comp that is easy to talk to and fun to be around, we still have a good time so its all good. 

So I don't have a ton to tell you guys about but there were a few funny/cool things that happened this week. 

So this past Saturday, a choir from BYU Hawaii came to Sendai and did a fireside/concert in Sendai and we got to go to it. When we walked in the building, it was filled with American college students and it totally freaked me out. I've gotten to the point where I almost feel like a Japanese person in a sense because white people kind of scare me. And talking to them is even worse. I feel so uncomfortable and awkward! It's so bad! So don't be surprised when I come home and I'm a way awkward RM! So I had a pretty scary wake-up call to having a social life once again. Fortunately, I still have a little time before I have to worry about that. But the concert was way good. They sang songs about Christ from all around the world. They sounded super good. Also, the president of BYU Hawaii and his wife spoke at the end. I didn't realize until the end that Sister Tanner was once the General Young Women's President of the church. It was cool to hear from them. The spirit was really strong too. They also had a few members in the choir who had served missions in Japan so they got to give talks in Japanese. I was thinking how cool it would be if I could do that kind of thing but then I realized that I can't sing soooo yeah. 

After the concert, we went back to Izumi and went street contacting for a bit. We had a couple of interesting things happen. First, we basically found a new investigator but he unfortunately lives in Tokyo. I stopped him and gave him a pass-along card and he said that he had thought a lot about the purpose of life and life after death. So we pulled out the Book of Mormon and read a few scriptures with him. He said he was interested but he unfortunately was in Sendai just for a day and actually lives in Tokyo. We gave him the book and encouraged him to hear more back home. Its a tad frustrating that most of the way good people I've found don't live in my area. Oh well, hopefully someone gets to see the fruits of it. But he was a super cool dude.

A few minutes later, we were still walking around and we saw this normal looking guy sitting on a bench smoking, so I said hi to him and he just started talking to us. So, thinking that it was a good opportunity, we walked over to him thinking that he knew the missionaries or something. But turns out he was one of the craziest guys I've ever met. He started just going off on some story (I couldn't understand a thing he said, he was using some crazy accent/dialect thing). After sitting there for 5 minutes listening to this dude blabber, I kind of just said we had to go and ran away. As we ran, he continued on talking as if we were still there. It was super weird. Gotta love crazy people. 

Church was super good, then afterwards, we had like a wedding reception type thing for Kumagai Kyoudai and Yuri Shimai. Kumagai Kyoudai is the guy who got baptized last year and married a member in the temple last week. They are a way happy couple. It's cool to see how Brother Kumagai found the gospel and has a temple marriage all within a year of each other. It was such a fun party. Sister Yuri's family lives near Costco so all of the food was from Costco. We had tacos, cake, cinnamon rolls, etc. It was pretty awesome!

But yeah, that is about it. I am really liking this transfer so far; its been a really really nice change. The work is still a little slow but we will keep trying to find people to teach. This week should be good. Elder Bruce and I are going to Sendai to work there with the zone leaders for the next couple of days and then my bday is on Friday! I'm in denial of the fact that I'm turning 20 and how its already been a year since my last bday which I spent in Izumi. It's super weird. But yeah, it should be good! I hope you all have a great week everyone! Love you!


Elder Nathan Didericksen

Chilling at the wedding reception with Elder Bruce

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