Wednesday, October 19, 2016

An Amazing Ride!

October 17, 2016: Week 103
Area: Hirosaki
Companion: Livermore Choro

Hey everyone!

Well, this is it! It's my last full week as a missionary! I can't really explain how I feel right now. I'm both super excited and anxious on one hand, but nervous and sad at the fact that I'll be leaving Japan, its people, and won't be able to use their language anymore. It's definitely a mixed bag of emotions. But it's been an amazing ride that has pushed me to my limits, but in hindsight, it has blessed me and helped me in ways I never imagined. I've grown to love a people that I never really even thought about before my mission, but who turned out to be some of the most amazing and caring people I've ever met. I've even learned how to speak their ridiculously hard, but beautiful language (to an extent!), but most of all, I've come to know a loving God who loves His children, and Jesus Christ, who is always standing by our side. It's been an amazing ride, one I will never forget. 

Well this week was pretty good. I'm kind of low on time, so I will make it quick; plus I can tell you about it next week, so this will hopefully suffice! 

I was in Aomori from Monday night to Wednesday morning doing splits with the zone leaders. I got to go on splits with Elder Hawkley who was actually a bean when I was in his district last fall, so it was fun to work with him again. We basically just rode our bikes around trying to talk to people and went housing. It was a good time. We also got caught in a rainstorm at night and had to walk like 2 to 3 miles home so that was fun I guess!

Then on Thursday, I went back to Aomori for my last zone conference with President and Sister Smith. I'm sad it was my last one; they are always way good and I was able to learn a lot from all of them. And it's fun to listen to Sister Smith's funny comments from the back when her husband is doing a training. This time, we talked about becoming Christ-like teachers. The church has been focusing a lot on that topic, saying if we are to become like Christ, we need to teach like Him too. I also got to give my last testimony at the end (they always have the dying missionaries do that at the end of zone 大会). So it was a good day. Plus, some random elder in the zone gave me a package of some massive tortillas!! So I was stoked about that. They wouldn't fit in my bag, so I got to hold them the whole way home. It probably looked weird to see a white guy standing in a packed train with nothing but tortillas in his hands. 

Friday was pretty solid. We met with our investigator and Elder Livermore and I were determined to set a baptismal date with him. We taught the gospel of Jesus Christ going through faith, repentance, baptism, etc. After we taught it, he was very accepting and the spirit was definitely present when we were testifying of it. I then asked him when he knew it was true if he would be baptized and he said yes!! So for now, his date is November 26th (I obviously won't see it if it goes through, but i hope it does!) It is still pretty early in the process; we have only taught him 3 times, but he is a really solid guy looking for peace and joy in his life. I'm so blessed to be able to find and teach him my last few weeks.

I also got to speak in Sacrament meeting yesterday because it was my last Sacrament meeting before I go home. (We have district conference next week.) Originally, I wasn't scheduled to speak, but I got a call like an hour before church and was asked to speak for 10 minutes. I was a little stressed with that, but I was able to throw some thoughts together and was actually able to give probably my best talk I've given on my mission. I had to rely on the spirit a lot and just told mission stories and the things that I've learned through these two years. It was also a cool gift of tongues experience too because I was able to just speak and not really think about what I was saying. The Japanese just kind of flowed out smoothly from my mouth. It was really cool. It was fitting to be able to give both my first and last talks in the Hirosaki branch. It was cool to see how far I've come and grown these past two years. Afterwards, a lot of the members came up to me and thanked me for serving these past two years, especially for spending 25 percent of it in Hirosaki. It was a cool moment; the members here mean a lot to me. 

Lastly, we had the opportunity to watch a devotional put on my Elder David A. Bednar that was broadcast in Tokyo last night. He talked about finding joy in the gospel and having the right priorities. It's so fun to watch Elder Bednar in a devotional like that because he kind of lets his hair hang down and has a lot of fun. It was really good.

This week should be pretty busy as we have splits in Odate, district conference in Aomori and Misawa and other stuff. Its going to  be crazy. I will write a short email next week, but for the most part, this will be it! Thanks so much to everyone who has supported me and followed me throughout my mission. I appreciate your love and support so much! See you all next week!

Elder Nathan Didericksen

 Eating grilled squid (There was still ink in it, it was way weird!)

 Grilling fish

 At the barbecue

My last Zone Conference

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