Monday, September 5, 2016

Dedications and concerts

August 22, 2016: Week 95
Area: Izumi
Companion: Bruce Choro

Hey everybody! I hope you all had a swell week! This week was a pretty good week. We were able to teach some lessons and attend some cool meetings and stuff. The Sapporo Japan temple was dedicated yesterday so we got to see that, which was way cool. I'll get to more of that later. 

We started off the week going to Sendai to work with the Kamisugi zone leaders for splits. I got to work with Elder Okamoto again! We were together in Aomori like 4 months ago, so it was fun to be back with him. We worked really hard and talked to a lot of people. I about killed a lady on her bike though.... We were really focusing on talking to everyone that we could, so when I saw a lady coming towards me while we were walking in a neighborhood, I thought I would stop her. I swear, I gave her plenty of time to notice I was there trying to stop her so I wouldn't surprise her, but it wasn't enough apparently. She saw me and stared at me as she passed me, looking at me as she rode right into a curb and just wrecked on the concrete with all of her groceries going everywhere!.....whoops. We rushed over to help her up and gather her stuff. She didn't get hurt or anything, but it was still awkward. She got up and brushed herself off and politely said, "So what did you want?" I was like, "I'm so sorry, I was just gonna give you this pass along card or something." It was pretty funny, I'm just glad she didn't get hurt. But it was great to work with Elder Okamoto again and catch up on old times. He's an amazing and talented dude. I would not be surprised if he became a general authority someday. 

The rest of the week before the weekend was pretty normal. We just went finding most of the day. We got to talk to some nice people, but no one really wanted to hear the message. We will keep trying though!

But the weekend was super good. Saturday was full of meetings and events and we got to teach the guy again that we taught last Monday. The lesson didn't go so hot and I was pretty wrong on this guy's potential. He is definitely one of those guys who is being "blown around" by every piece of doctrine. He has studied lots of theories and philosophy, so his way of thinking is kind of messed up and confusing. But yeah, we were so excited to teach him, but as we started the lesson, we knew it wasn't going to go well. We asked him about how reading the Book of Mormon went and he started with all of the classic arguments that people come up with when it comes to the Book of Mormon. He said that there is zero archaeological evidence of the Nephites or Lamanites. He also had a beef with how it says that they had horses even though its generally accepted that there weren't horses in the Americas until Columbus. Later, he also brought up polygamy, black people and the priesthood, etc. He's basically looking up anti-Mormon stuff online and then contending with us, asking for explanations for everything. He also said he is talking to some ex-Mormons online who are also feeding him stuff about the church. He says he is on a search for truth, but in reality, he has too many doubts and things to even give it a try. He said that reading and praying and getting a witness from the Holy Ghost isn't good enough for him; he has to know from scientific evidence and stuff that it is true. Some of the theories and stuff he talked about were pretty ridiculous. I won't go into it, but some of the stuff he said, I was just like, "what are you even talking about". It was really sad to see how lost some people are with all of the different stuff about religion going around that they just get so confused and won't try to find truth without using the internet.

After that super frustrating lesson, we went to Sendai for a stake priesthood meeting. I don't have a lot to report about the meeting, but it was fun to see other members and missionaries. After the meeting, there was a concert at the church. I don't know if you have heard about them or not, but a group called Bless 4 came for a free concert. They are a group of siblings (two sisters and two brothers) who are Japanese, but grew up mostly in America so they are fluent in English and Japanese and are kind of a J-pop group. They are super famous in Japan. They were actually on a bonus feature for "Meet the Mormons" so you can see their segment at visitors centers around the world. They are incredible performers. One of the sisters is probably one of the best singers I've ever heard. It was so much fun. It was a legit concert too. They didn't just do church songs; they did most of their popular stuff. It was pretty awesome. Even President Smith was getting into it and dancing around. It twas a party. Even though I said I'd never get into J-pop, I will definitely get some of their stuff when I'm home. Plus, they do some of their songs in English too so its kinda cool. You should look them up when you have a chance. 

Then after that, we watched the cultural celebration over satellite. It was cool to see some cultural dances, as well as the history of the church in Japan, especially the Aomori and Hokkaido areas. Seeing it definitely increased my appreciation of the early faithful saints of this special country. Having another temple means so much to the people here. Even though it's really hard to see the growth of the church in Japan, it shows that it slowly but surely is progressing and that the people here are really excited about their new temple. 

Then for church, we went to Kamisugi again to see the temple dedication. President Nelson gave the dedicatory prayer. Elder Stevenson was also there. It was pretty cool to see. It helped me realize that even though I get rejected a lot and haven't seen any baptisms, I still have this awesome opportunity to be with some of the saints here in Japan, to learn their language and culture, and try to help them in any way I can. 

But yeah that's about it from me. It was a great weekend. This coming week we pretty much have straight finding all day everyday so wish us luck and pray for me! Also, there is a typhoon headed our way, so we will see how that goes! It should be fun! I hope you all have a great week! Love you guys! Talk to you next week!

Love, Elder Nathan Didericksen

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