Saturday, May 28, 2011

May 23 to May 29, 2011, The Begining of the Rainy Season

This has been a very busy week. We have enjoyed it, but are very tired. On Monday we took three missionaries to Mount Aso as they had not been there. It was a rainy day and the volcano was threatening to erupt so we could not go up to the rim, we just had to look up from the visitors center. The good news is that there were few cars on the road. The bad news, it was so rainy that it was hard to tell the clouds from the volcano smoke. We then went 40 km to the bottom of a river where the fish kites were flying a month ago. No kites, but a real pretty drive and the Choro all had a well deserved nap on the way home. We then took the Choro on to the Crowther English School to cover the evening classes. Crowther-san's husband took off to the USA and she needed help teaching her students. We Missionaries are taking turns filling in until she can get the classes covered.

Houses built into the hillside above the riverbed.
More of the river. Buckingham, Christensen, Jeffery and Lyon Choro.

We then picked up Barraclough and Johnson Shimai and went to supper at Adachi Shimai's home. Koide Bishopu (Bishop) and his wife and son were there to help as Adachi Shimai is quite crippled with arthritus. The food was great and it was Young Koide's 18th birthday celebration.

Adachi, Koide Shimai, young Koide, Tobias, Tom front row.
Young Koide eating the first slice of his Birthday Cake.

After the dinner we stopped by Outreach at the church and enjoyed watching the Young Single Adults.

On Tuesday we went to the District meeting. Since there were 21 new missionaries coming into the Mission, the Missionaries had already received their transfer calls so we knew who was staying and who was transferring. After training, we each bore our testimonies, took pictures and then played a couple of games.

Tsutamori, Barraclough Shimai, Burton, Maeda and Baba Choro. front row.
Harada S, Tohara C, Johnson S, Battye and Kim C, Bess, Tom, Buckingham, Lyon and JefferyC.
Tohara C, Johnson S, Lyon and Burton Choro seeing how many marshmellos they could put in their mouths and still talk so their partners could understand them.

We then took two Shimai to their apartment as their bikes are not here yet and traveled to the Crowther English School where we taught three classes of students. Their ages varied from three to seventeen. It was fun, but a challenge. We got a taste of what Jacob did when he was in Korea teaching. We were very tired!

Wednesday we went to a farewell lunch for Johnson Shimai. The Buffet was excellent.

Barraclough S, Kim and Burton C and Harada S.
Tsutamori, Johnson and Christensen S, and Christensen Choro.
Tsutamori, Johnson and Christensen S with our new potatoe peeler.

Then back to the Crowther School to teach English. The kids are very cute! We got back to the church in time to help with the Brownie Eikaiwa. We cooked Brownies in rice cookers. The power in the church was not set up to run so many cookers at once, so it took about 1.5 hours for the first cooker to finish. The other cookers went home to finish cooking.

Instructions for Brownies. All in English plus a little Nehongo. (Japanese language)
More gifts from Sueyoshi-san.

Thursday started at 5 am. We picked the up missionaries that were leaving and traveled to the Central bus station. We said good by to Johnson Shimai and Lyon Choro, who are going to Okinawa. Lyon Choro is going Zone. We went back to Burton Choro's Tsuboi apartment and got his luggage. Shopped for a few items at the Trial store (walmart) and took him back to the Central bus station. He is being made a Senior companion after just two transfers. He is going to Hiroshima and was very nervous. We then traveled to the Army Base bus station across town and picked up two replacements, Ito Shimai and Obayashi Choro and took them to the church to meet their companions.

Li and his wife saying goodbye to Johnson Shimai.
Buckingham, Jeffery, Lyon and Kim C, Johnson S and Burton Choro at the Bus Station.
The Frog and Burton Choro waiting for his Bus.
Kim and Burton Choro with Bus driver trying to hurry them.
Ito Shimai and Kim Choro. Ito S is a whiz at ping pong.
Kim and Obayashi Choro, our two Zone Leaders.

Then off to Fukuoka to the Mission Home to have dinner with the departing missionaries and a Temple section with them. One of our Choro trainers was going home, Kurakawa Choro. First time to attend the Temple in Japan. Great experience! Got up in the Prayer circle listening to English through the headsets before we realized that the prayer would be in Nehongo. Just hoping the Lord understands.

On Friday we had breakfast with the departing missionaries at 6 am and said good by to them. The main reason we were there was to say goodby to Kurakawa Choro. We will miss him, but there was a girl that attended the temple section that had a interest in him. We think he will not be single long. He also promises to visit us and bring his wife.

We also met Takeyama Shimai who was returning to Kumamoto to see her Mom and Dad that did not support her going on a mission.

We stopped at Costco and then returned home. For Sports night we got to see Ito Shimai play table tennis against the pro, Oyama Kyodai (brother). She held her own. There was a college group from Southern Utah University there that night. For two years their instructors have been bringing a group to Japan to learn about nutrition and human relations. The one instructor, Sean, served a mission in Kumamoto 20 years ago. The ward helped them cook a great meal and they were able to visit with our Young Single Adults.

Ito S. and Oyama Kyodai with Kouhei in the background.
SUU group plus YSAs and Missionaries. New Choro, De Freitas, from Brazil in yellow on front row. A medical student who we are hoping will help Buckingham C. get feeling better or convince him to get medical help.

Saturday we had our first of the transfer meeting here at the apartment. At the end of the meeting Kim Choro's phone rang. Takeyama Shimai, who we met yesterday, was on the phone and things were not good at home. She needed us to come, pick her up and let her stay with the Shimai until Monday when her plane leaves for Tokyo. We found her and her mom out side of their apartment talking loudly and crying. After picking her up we took her with us to the Kumamoto University Hospital to pick up Tsutamori Shimai who is having tests. Tsutamori S. needs to stay in the hospital for a couple of weeks to do this. She is released on weekends. We took them all back to our apartment so Tsutamori Shimai could email her family. We went shopping for food while they cooked us lunch.

Tsutamori, Harada and Takeyama Shimai. Cooking really takes it out of you!

After lunch we took them to the Shimai apartment and picked up Kim and Obayashi Choro and traveled to Omuta for three baptisms. The service was great and we got to see our first inflatable font! We drove home to Kumamoto and read scriptures and died in bed.

Baba Choro, (also the Branch President and District Leader) and the inflatable font.

Sunday we got up late and went to Kumamoto Ward Sacrament meeting. Christensen Shimai then went back to bed, fighting an infection and weariness. The 5th Sunday lesson in the Nagamine Ward was on Emergency Preparedness. After the meeting we had lunch made with ingredients coming from food storage items and no heat, except of course a cooker full of rice. Christensen Shimai made Mom's bean salad for her dish.

They can make even food storage food look pretty! Japanese MREs.
Sopu Kyodai, ever the missionary, and new nonmember family from an island near Tonga.

We don't know if we have helped anyone else while here on our Mission but our marriage is stronger and better than either of us could have imagined. Could it be that we are strangers in a strange land? Maybe, but we believe it is the Lord's way of blessing us.

We love you all. Thanks again for the emails, we look forward to them so much.

Dad and Mom
Grandpa and Grandma
Tom and Bess

Saturday, May 21, 2011

May 15 to May 22, 2011

This was a very busy, but very enjoyable week! Monday Christensen Shimai went to her Relief Society basket weaving class! She had a ball and taught the Shimai English while they were making baskets. Christensen Choro took some missionaries, that had not been to Kumamoto Castle, to the castle for the day. There was a very small crowd and the missionaries meet a man that went to their Eikaiwa (English) class. He was a volunteer guide and he took them on a free tour and spoke in English. The tour was very informative and interesting.

Buckingham Choro's eye, Lyon Choro and Eikaiwa student guide.

Different views of Castle with Burton and Kim Choro.

Castle and wedding pictures .

Tuesday we attended district meeting and then packed and traveled to Fukuoka
Honbu. We were able to see Nishio Choro who left Sunday to be the new MSM (Mission Support Manager) at the Mission office. We went with President and Sister Margetts and Elder and Sister Rogers to the Hard Rock Cafe for a steak dinner. It was heavenly! President Margetts ask them to turn down the music if they could and they did it. That made it so conversation was possible. We stayed in the General Authority room again. We love that room!!

Wednesday we were preparing to travel north when Christensen Choro looked down and saw another 5 inch long centipede running across the floor in the bedroom. He stopped it with his journal while Christensen Shimai got a paper towel, pick it up and flushed it down the toilet! Two in two weeks! We had breakfast with the Marigetts and traveled to Shimonoseki. What a beautiful city! There were four missionaries there, Masson, Tipton, Barton and Mitton Choro.

We traveled on up to Ube to find Takahama and Uchida Shimai's apartment. Brand new and very clean!

We traveled to Hofu to see Wise and Ward Choro, theirs was a very clean apartment. They were dying of the heat and had no fans. We bought them two new fans.

We then traveled to Yamaguchi to the Toyoko Inn. It is in a quiet part of town, across from the train station. We took a long walk and ate at the train station.

Artwork on the wall of the under the road walkway.

Thursday we traveled to the Yamaguchi Choro apartment. Ekins and Abe who are the Zone Leaders. The have a ground floor apartment and only had to do some spot cleaning. Bought them a fan also. We then traveled 2-1/2 hours to the top of the island to Hamada. We had a little trouble finding the apartment, but were rescued by Saito, Shimada, Buck from Tokyo and Saunders Choro. On then to the Toyoko Inn in Hiroshima. The country that we saw the last few days has been very green with beautiful mountians and lots of tunnels. The travel was really enjoyable. We took another long walk and ate at the train station again. Great food! Getting to be a good hand at picking the right food.

Flooded rice fields. A family of wild boar. 2 of about 20 small children dressed alike.

Friday we went to the Takasu apartment and saw Kurakawa Choro and his new "Bean" Ushiro Choro. Kurakawa Choro (dies) goes home next week so we were glad we were able to spend some time with him and take the two of them out to lunch, Sushi.

Ushiro and Kurakawa Choro!

We then traveled about an hour to find and get on the Expressway. The Navi "Millie", said "travel 344 kilometers and exit left." Long way home! The travel was great and we were able to help and teach missionaries. Great trip. We got home about 6 pm and dragged ourselves over to Sports night. Great day!

Kim and Burton Choro, monopolizing the air conditioner.

Saturday the Shimai wanted to try making rice cooker brownies before we made them Wednesday at Eikaiwa. They and the Choro showed up about 10:30 and started making chile for lunch. It was very good. They mixed up the brownies and put them in two rice cookers. They cooked over two hours with mixed results. We will have to cook brownies a different way Wednesday.

Sunday was the long awaited Roast beef dinner for Kim Choro, the darn thing burned itself beyond recognition!! So we had pork chops.

The clean up crew, Tobias Kyodai (brother)and Kim Choro. Burton Choro thinking?

We've realized even more this week that we can't get ahead of the blessings the Lord gives us as we give service to others. Speak kindly to and of others, this brings such peace to our hearts as we know it does to all of you who do this.

We love you all, have a good week and thank you to everyone for the emails and letters and calls. We look so forward to hearing from you.


Tom and Bess



leave a message and we will get back to you as soon as we can.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Three months on a Mission!!!

Monday was a was another special Mothers Day for Christensen Shimai. She received cards from home and the Choro and Shimai give her a special surprise. We also attended Singles Outreach Night down at the Church.

Oh, the simple but fun games they play!

Tuesday we attended District Meeting and practiced a song for two hours that we sang in Stake Conference this Sunday.

Wednesday we traveled to Kurume and Fukuoka to inspect apartments and enjoyed going out to eat with Elder and Sister Rogers, the Office Couple. We stayed in the General Authorities room at the Mission Home Wednesday and Thursday night.

Sister Yoha, Taralee and Rob you know of her.

Thursday we inspected the Fujisaki and Maebaru apartments. We went to the Roger's apartment and enjoyed a salmon dinner. Their apartment looked very homey and comfortable. We need to improve our apartments appearance to keep up with the Rogers. We visited with President and Sister Margetts back at the Mission Home before bed. When we walked into our room after visiting, a 5 inch long centipede was going across the floor. The President rescued us from the villain. I guess they are very poisonous here.

Friday we traveled to and inspected the Saga apartment. We then traveled to Sasebo to buy groceries and an oven for the Rogers. It was great to be on the base again. Food was cheap and there were new ships at dock. We got home in time to catch the last of the soccer game at sports night and deliver the extra large bike helmet we had picked up at Honbu for Tobias Topu. He couldn't find anything big enough here in Kumamoto!!

Sports Night on a Dirt Soccer field.

Oh, that fresh sea air smell wonderful!!

Expressway on the way to Hario. The strangest things pop up sometimes.

Saturday we cleaned and worked on the Apartment and attended some of Conference. There are two General Authorities at the conference, Claudio R.M. Costa, from the presidency of the Seventy and Kaichi Aoyagi from the second quorum of the Seventy, who have been touring Japan this past 11 days.

Sunday we attended Stake Conference. It was privilege to sing both with the Missionaries and the Nagamini Ward Choir. It took some doing to be able to sing the right sounds, let alone the right notes. They kept saying to concentrate on singing the words right but right now we still don't recognize what are words.

Parking lot of the Church 3/4ths empty an hour after Conference was over. They have parking Ushers and really pack the lot tight.

Buckingham and Burton Choro showing off their robots that Johnson Choro from the Fujusaki Apartment sent back with us.

We love all of you and encourage you to follow President Faust's advice to:

1. Have family prayer morning and night.

2. Study the Scriptures together daily.

3. Have family home evening once a week.

He promises that your children will not be lost if you will do this! It is never too late to start!


Tom and Bess

Elder and Sister Christensen

Mom and Dad