Sunday, July 31, 2011

Oh those Bugs are loud! July 25 - 31, 2011

Just jelling in our apartment on P-day.

The cicada bugs (semi) are here and very loud. Christensen Choro wonders why he bought hearing aids!
Monday we tried to get caught up before leaving again this week to inspect apartments. We were able to visit with the Gurrs, Poulsons and Jacob. What a treat! Some of the missionaries came and did their emailing and sleeping. Buckingham Choro and Oobayashi Choro were here three times during the day.

Finally, some flats that don't kill the feet! And cheap, too.

Tuesday we went to District meeting and went to the International Center to pick up some old US new papers for a young lady in the ward. On the way we found a shoe store with very reasonably priced shoes. Christensen Shimai's feet are saved. We then packed for our trip this week.

An apartment inspection consists of:

1. Finding the apartment and a place to park. Parking tickets cost $200, we found out in Hiroshima.
2. We show a training power point that helps them to know what to look for and how to clean.
3. We go through the apartment with them and check the items on the check list. They either make Celestial, Terrestrial, Telestial, or Outer Darkness. Anything less than a Celestial apartment and we schedule a revisit.
4. We take them to the store and buy needed or broken items for the apartment.
5. We buy them ice cream, if Celestial.
It takes from 1 &1/2 hours to 3 hours.

deHorras and Shino Choro in Nobeoka. Celestial!

Oh, those beautiful tunnels.

We have no idea why the trees were decorated with ribbons.

A shrine that just popped up.

Our two-way roads. We just pray that there will be a wide spot if we meet another car.

Ogita and Zaico Choro in Oita. Celestial!

Sure wish we could really show everyone just how splendid Japan scenery is.

Wednesday we traveled to Nobeoka, three hours away, and had a good inspection there. We then traveled to Oita, 1 &1/2 hours away. We had a hard time finding their apartment and had to ask directions. They were ready and had the apartment in tip top shape. They have two baptisms planned in the next week! We then traveled to Nakatsu to stay the night. The Navi took us on 8 KM of narrow road with two way traffic. The only comparison would be the Alpine Loop but smaller with dropoffs on both sides. It was beautiful scenery, except there was no where to pull off to enjoy it and the road was so narrow that Tom didn't dare look for fear of drifting a foot or so and falling off.
When we got to the Toyoko Inn in Nakatsu, 441 KM later, we were tired and hungry. We only found one restaurant and tried to explain that Christensen Shimai was allergic to wheat and to make the Okonomiyaki with rice (gohan). The lady said hi hi, (yes, yes). We got one that we hoped was made with rice flour. It was not. Christensen Shimai has paid the price all week.

Cox and Garry Choro in Nakatsu. Celestial!

Millie the Navi has a fit when we have to drive on roads that are stacked like this.

Pehrson and Newman Choro in Kitakyushu. Newman is "new bean". Celestial!

More tunnels.

Robert check out those trees! Still don't know how to trim them but will continue to study on it.

Ralston and Farb Choro in Yahata. Celestial!!

Traffic and no accidents, just patient drivers!

General Authorities room at Honbu. We love that Queen sized bed!! Ours is barely a double.

On Thursday we inspected the Nakatsu, Kitakyushu, and Yahata apartments. They were ready for an inspection and were delights to inspect. The Yahata Choro even took their tub out and cleaned the mold off the bottom of it! We traveled to Fukuoka and the Mission Home for the night, but not before stopping at a grocery store deli for dinner. Wheat Free Dinner.

We ate
breakfast with President and Sister Margetts Friday early. They don't require us to write a weekly letter like the young missionaries each do, they know that we will drop in often to visit.
We sure love those two!

Finally the second visit, DeJong and Rushing Choro at Chikushino are Celestial!

We traveled to Chikushino and hoped they were ready for us this week. They were! When we would check a item and it was clean, they would jump in the air and hit their hands together. We did not feel bad about buying the ice cream for them. We then traveled to Kurume and had lunch with Fluckiger and Hattanda Shimai and their male investigator. The dessert was the best we have tasted here. It was called Annin Dofu. We then helped them teach a lessen. We took the two Shimai with us to Saga and then to Kumamota for the night. They stayed at the church while we inspected the Saga apartment. In May the apartment was a mess. Montes De Oca and Munro Choro had it spic and span. We had to replace some things that were broken and buy more ice cream and we were on our way to Kumamoto. We got home about 6:30, unloaded the car and went to Sports night.

Montes De Oca and Munro Choro. Celestial!!

Montes De Oca, Munro ( Another Aussie), Christensen Choro and Shimai.

Hanna Nakagawa (Gospel English student) 11 years old.

Saori, an investigator and Kawasaki Takuya who was baptized several months ago but had not been out since his sister left for BYU Hawaii. Kim Choro got special permission from the President so that we could give him a ride home as he lives quite a ways from the church.

Fluckiger Shimai and Saori.

Simoea Maui and little Josie.

Tobias Sopu, Atu Maui and sons. ( must get their names)

Saturday we went to watch a Missionary sponsored ping pong tournament at the Tsuboi/Shimizu Ward building..

The champion Hiro kun whopping Oyama Kyodai. We still wonder if Oyama Kyodai didn't lose on purpose.

Hiro kun and brother? Yoshi kun. These are our jugglers at Sports night.

Serious foursome at Ping Pong.

On the way home we bought groceries and prepared for the Temple Preparation Class that night. Tobias was well and helped us teach. Buckingham and DeFreitas Choro sat in on the lesson. It went OK and we will teach them again on Tuesday.

Sunday we went to the Tsuboi Ward to go to Church with the two Shimai. They were late so we called. They had been stopped by the police and questioned about their nationality and passports, etc. We had warned them Saturday to expect opposition as they prepare to go to the Temple. They made it in time for a twenty minute Sunday School class and then we went to Sacrament Meeting. Sister Kawabe spoke for the first time ever and did a great job! We then went home to the Nagamine Ward and helped answer questions in the fifth Sunday lesson on Couple missionary work.
What a week!! Only on the road three days next week! That was all we were on the road this week. Seemed like much longer.
As we were preparing the lesson for the Temple Prep Class we read in 1 Nephi 17: 3,13 of the promises and blessings that God will give us if we but obey His commandments. We have been so blessed and have so much joy every day that we know He keeps His promises.

We love you all, Thanks for the emails, mail and calls.

Mom and Dad
Grandma and Grandpa
Tom and Bess
Elder and Sister Christensen

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Busy Week July18 - 24, 2011

This was another busy and rewarding week!
Monday started with Nagamini Ward missionary meeting. The first we've held in a month. We then went to the Kumamoto Choro's apartment for a recheck. They took us serious this time and did a good job of cleaning it up. Good enough that we bought them ice cream.

Oobayashi and Kim Choro

We hurried back to the church for Christensen Shimai's basket weaving class, no class. We think that since the Relief Society was having a pillowcase class on Tuesday they cancelled the Monday class. Seems we lose something in translation quite often. The Shimais and Choros were through emailing by 2 pm. This is the fastest they have finished since we have been here! Monday afternoon we were able to relax and get some ironing and cleaning done. The buses from Kagoshima were scheduled to start arriving Monday evening at 6:56 and 7:15. The missionaries were coming in for Leadership training on Tuesday. The first group called and said they were not able to make the bus and would arrive at 9:58 pm. So Christensen Choro went to wait for the 7:15 bus. The missionaries were not on the bus. Seems they were not able to get on the earlier bus, but did not call. So he waited another hour for them to arrive. The second bus was on time. It was good to see old friends again and make new ones!

Monday evening looking out from our balcony.

Tuesday started early when the phone rang. Baba, Fontanet, Zaico and Ogita Choro needed a ride to the church for the Leadership Training. Christensen Shimai taught her pillow case class at eleven. Thank you Kim for the pattern! There was a very good turn out with one investigator and several less active Shimais in attendance.

Pillowcase class, notice the size of the Japanese pillowcase. Wish we had a picture of all of them.

Christensen Choro took advantage of the down time to walk for an hour and then when Christensen Shimai received her massage he walked for another hour. That evening he started the train station and bus stop runs again to send the missionaries back to their areas.

Wednesday we left early and traveled to Iizuka, Chikoshino and Fukuoka to inspect apartments. Iizuka Choros were able to make standard after we worked with them for an hour. We also bought them some supplies. One Choro was on crutches from a basketball accident.

Iizuka Elders, Frazier (on crutches) and Freeman Choro. Fog in Japan.

The Chikashino Choros were lucky we were coming up again next week. All they had done in two weeks of preparation was make a bigger mess. They called the Mission Office before we arrived and made excuses. Rushing Choro will be a great used car salesman! Hope they don't have any excuses next week. The Fukuoka Shimai apartment was nice and clean, but when we walked into the bath room the smell knocked us over. After some investigation, it seems that the drain pipe was "fixed". The repairman left his hacksaw behind. When the repairman fixed the pipe, he put a smaller drain pipe into a large main drain pipe and had not sealed between the two pipes. That left a gap that let the sewer gases into the room. We stuffed some plastic around the pipes to try to slow down the fumes and asked the MSM to have the repairman come back.

Yoha and Mueller Shimai, Fukuoka.

More fog and rain in Japan.

We grabbed some food at a grocery store deli for lunch/supper and headed for Honbu. We were just settling down to go to bed when President Margetts called and invited us to come in for Nishio's Choro's 25th birthday party. We went in for stories, laughter, cake and ice cream and then a Hymn and prayer. It was fun and well worth the rest we missed.

Christensen, Abe, Bingham, Watanabe, Sirrine, Yo and Nishio Choro, Sister and President Margetts.

Thursday we took care of business in the office and inspected the Office Elder's apartment. It was tiny and clean.

Nishio and Sirrine Choro.

We stopped at Costco for supplies and bought a massage table for the Aoki Nozomi that gives Christensen Shimai messages. She wants to start her own business and needs a table to start. The only one she could find on line in Japan were about $1,000. The one in Costco was $200. We hope her business works for her! We traveled to Omuta and inspected their apartment. It passed, but not high enough for ice cream. We arrived home just in time to throw together a birthday cake for the Nakagawa family and have English class. The cake was Gluten free, so Christensen Shimai made two and we kept one.

Friday we attended a Middle School Band competition in the Kumamoto Prefecture Theater Beautiful Building!! The bands started competition a 9:30 and the competition did not end until about 6:30. They each played about 10 minutes. The 14 year old Nakagawa Shimai played in her school band. We went with the Nakagawa family. The only thing we have heard to compare with it the music was when Jace was in middle school and we went to his concert.

Our first try at making Okonomyaki. Very tasty, but we have a long way to go.

Sports night was a lot of fun. We learned that Suenaga Yoshiaki was being baptized Saturday night at Shimizu Ward.

Yoshiaki and his mother at Sports night.

Our friendly juggler. Must find out his name.

Nickolas from Montreal Canada came again to Sports night, talking to Buckingham Choro.
We met him about 3 months ago.

Sports night games.

Saturday we traveled back to Fukuoka to attend the temple. We attended one session and were the Officiator in the English Session. This was our first time and all went OK, with room to improve next month. We went straight to the Shimizu Ward Chapel for the Yoshiaki's baptism and then taught the Temple Preparation Class. Both went very well and we made new friends. We got home about 10 pm and died.

Yoshiaki's mother and Kawabe Shimai. Buckingham and Everett Choro, Yoshiaki, Clements and DeFreitas Choro.
Yoshiaki was an exchange student in Montana for a year staying with an LDS family. He attended church all year with them. When he returned to Japan he started to attend Eikaiwa classes and met the missionaries. Jeffery and Clements Choro taught him until Jeffery Choro was transferred to Sasebo and then Everett Choro helped teach him.

Sunday morning we picked up Oobayashi Choro and traveled to the Omuta Branch for their Sunday Meetings. Oobayashi is a Zone leader and zone leaders go to Omuta once a transfer. He also talked in Sacerment Meeting. After the meetings we traveled with Fontanet Choro to take the sacrament to two people that could not make it to meeting. The first was 96 year old Nishida Shimai, that had heart surgery three months ago. We visited her two transfers with Maeda Choro. The Second Shimai lives about 20 km from the Chapel. Fontanet Choro had a map and very vague directions. After about an hour we were able to find her. Her husband was bed ridden and quite sick, but happy in spite of the condition he was in. We visited with them for about an hour and learned about their family and her conversion. They had one daughter serve a mission. Oobayashi Choro was a lot of fun to be with, we got to know him much better. We then traveled home to call it a week and rest up before we hit the road again for the next couple of weeks.

Little Mina from Omuta. Japanese don't normally wink! She can wink with either eye. Love that little girl!!

Getting ready for parade in Omuta, too bad we had to take Oobayashi Choro home instead of staying for the parade and fireworks.

We are still wondering why the Lord sent us to Japan and sometimes we question His reasoning as Tom can't hear the people as they speak so quietly and Bess can't remember what she hears.
The scripture D&C 18:16 may explain it all.
And now, if your joy will be great with one soul that you have brought unto me into the kingdom of my Father, how great will be your joy if you should bring many souls unto me!
It may very well be that we are the ones that we will bring into the kingdom of God. We know that we have grown spiritually and have learned to love so much more than we ever could have imagined possible. We are have had so many blessings!

Elder and Sister Christensen
Mom and Dad
Grandma and Grandpa
Bess and Tom