Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Getting Dendoud (people proselyting to us) and Sketchy Coffee Shops

October 3, 2016: Week 101
Area: Hirosaki
Companion: Livermore Choro

Hey friends and family! I can't believe it's already pday again; this week flew by. My last three weeks are pretty much filled with meetings and travel so just like this last week, they are going to fly by. It feels kind of weird.

Well, I hope you all enjoyed seeing conference. I've yet to see it because we are waiting until its translated into Japanese so we can watch it with the rest of the missionaries and members. And since we don't have a church, I'll be going up to Aomori for the weekend and watch conference there, which is the same place I watched it last April, so that will be fun. 

This week was pretty good I guess. We had a ton of appointments cancel on us and a few weird/silly stuff happen, so I've got some good stories to tell!

Well, Monday and Tuesday consisted of mostly finding. Not much to tell there, but we had one funny thing happen. We needed to set up an appointment with a less active member named Brother Koizumi. He's one of my favorite people here. He has no top teeth, so when he gives us the famous Koizumi Kyoudai grin, I die laughing. His Japanese is pretty hard to understand and I remember teaching him when I was a new missionary and not being able to pick out a single word. It's pretty fun to teach and talk to him now because I can understand what he's saying and he's a way funny guy. 

Anyway, for some reason, he is always without a doubt hanging out in this mall by the train station, so if we ever need to talk to him, we just go to this mall. So, we went to the mall and sure enough, he was there. We were talking to him when all of a sudden, this lady shows up and sits next to us. I guess she sort of knew Koizumi Kyoudai, so she came up and sat down. Then suddenly, she pulls out this pamphlet and starts talking to us about her Buddhist religion. She was reading from this pamphlet asking if we'd heard about it and saying stuff like "if you join this church, you will be really happy!" She said their leader back hundreds of years ago was set to be executed and the people tried to behead him, but he was so powerful that they couldn't cut off his head. She then proceeded to slam us saying Christ wasn't powerful because people killed him. (Sad misconception.) She gave us these pamphlets and told us to study Buddhism.The next day, we saw that lady again where she ran us down and told us to read that pamphlet she gave us. I don't think she realizes that we can't read it because the kanji is too insane. Oh well.

The other interesting story happened on Thursday. We met with the guy we found on the street the week before who speaks English. We met him in front of the station and he said there was a shop nearby that he likes to go, so he suggested we do the lesson there. We said that was fine and we went. It turned out to be a super sketchy coffee shop. When we walked in, I had a pretty eerie feeling. It was dark, filled with cigarette smoke, and had some sketchy people in there. It just was an unsettling atmosphere. Well, we were talking and drinking some hot chocolate (which cost me 4.50$!), but then things starting getting a little weird. 

Elder Livermore and I noticed that all of the people were looking at us, talking about us and such. They didn't think we understood Japanese; they were saying things like, "Hey those people are those missionaries that wear dumb helmets and try to talk to you on the street" and things like that. It was just an uncomfortable situation. Then one of the guys came in and sat with us and started talking to us in English (his English was surprisingly good) and started asking us about the Church. He had some huge misunderstandings and heard a ton of stuff about the church and specifically missionaries. He said people at his work (he is a teacher) tell their female students to stay away from those white guys in white shirts and ties because they are going to go after you and try to talk to you and hook up with you.

 While we were talking to him, the people in the back were still talking about us and mimicking what we said and then one girl covered in tattoos and not wearing modest clothes came and tapped me on the shoulder asking if I would come play some sort of game with her. At that point, I said we had to leave because we couldn't take the weird atmosphere with all of this attention on us. We were worried that it would escalate to something bad so we finally left with our investigator. We tried to see if he wanted to meet again, but he said he's not really interested in the gospel and is never planning on changing, so we lost him. It was just an overall weird, uncomfortable situation. When that was over Livermore Choro and I looked at each other and all we could say was "what the heck just happened?" We were a little down after that because we lost an investigator and it made us sad that is what some people feel about missionaries. 

What happened next made us feel way better. We got to meet with a new investigator named Kudou San. It's kind of cool how he was found. About 2 or 3 weeks ago, Elder Livermore  and I were housing and I saw Kudou San walking on the street, so I contacted him. He was really nice, but seemed in a hurry and not so interested, so I gave him a pass along card and that was it. But two days later, the sisters were housing and they saw the same Kudou San and contacted him. They asked him if he'd seen missionaries before. He was like "Yeah, like two days ago! I have this card!" and pulled out a temple card from his pocket. They talked to him, gave him a Book of Mormon and set an appointment to meet with us. In the lesson, when I asked him why he decided to meet with us after telling us no the first time, he said something like "I was so surprised to be contacted by missionaries two days after the first time, I thought I should listen this time. Maybe God has something to do with it." We taught him and it was a really good lesson. When we asked if he had any questions, he just said, "I love what I'm hearing. These are some pretty awesome teachings!" and stuff like that. So, we are super excited to teach him. We are meeting him this week on Wednesday. Pray for us so that it goes well!!

So yeah, that is what mostly happened this week. It was a bummer losing an investigator, but being able to teach Kudou San makes it so much better. This week (and the rest of the transfer) will be super busy. Tomorrow, I have splits with the Odate elders. I'm going to Odate to be with Elder Mendoza who will go home with me so that should be fun. We also have a meeting for new missionaries and trainers in Morioka on Thursday, then we have conference in Aomori for the weekend. Should be tons of fun. I'm excited to see what the last three weeks have in store! I hope you all have a great week! Love you guys! See you all soon!

Elder Nathan Didericksen

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