Sunday, January 29, 2012

January 23 - 29, 2012, Snow in Japan

Another enjoyable, busy week.

Monday Watanabe Choro and Uchida Shimai broke their first wish bone. The one with the biggest piece got their wish. Watanabe Choro would not tell us what he wished for.

We have met with our Japanese teacher for 5 months now. He works with us on Tuesday nights for a couple of hours. He is a very kind man. We are learning very slowly. We know he has learned more English than we have learned Japanese. We finally remembered to take a picture of him.

Maesawa Kyodai dressed warm to return home on his scooter.

Tuesday night as we finished our lesson we got a call from the Shimizu Choro. We took Oba Choro to the hospital. The flu is going around their apartment and it was his turn. Wednesday morning Tom took Villalobos Choro to the doctor. It was his turn. They are both doing well now as the doctor ordered them and Iino and Bagley Choro to stay in their apartment for three days.

Eikaiwa on Wednesday was very fun. We took the Class to Hawaii and to the Polynesian Cultural Center. We learned how to say Aloha and buy tickets. Tobias taught them a Tongan dance.

Tobias tells the class how the men in Tonga do all the cooking. That brought some smiles from the women.

Learning to dance sitting down.

Thursday as we drove from Chikushino to Nakatsu we saw snow again. It did not stick to the road so we enjoyed driving through it. We were checking the last six of the Fukuoka Zone apartments.

Snow in the Japan.

Chikushino Choro, Guevara and Ralston with their bakery treat. Good job cleaning!

Nakatsu Choro, Clayton and Sonntag. Keep it up!

The Kitakyushu Choro passed their inspection at dinner time so we treated them to supper! We were hungry!! Buckingham, Okada, and Bunderson Choro.

We stayed Thursday night in the new Toyoko Inn on the man made extension of the north Kyushu island about three mile off shore. All that was there was the hotel and the Kitakyushu Airport.

Friday, our first visit to the bakery with Yahata Choro, Monson and J. Williams. Tom is enjoying visiting a couple different bakeries each day!

Iizuka Choro, Cox and H. Watanabe. They did a great job keeping an old apartment clean!

Maebaru Choro, Harvard and Stevenson, get a new frying pan and a futon set to be able to enjoy their mission more.

Saturday we attended the temple and sped home to wish Uchida Shimai a Happy Birthday. She wanted cheese cake, so we picked one up at Costco.

Uchida Shimai blowing out 23 candles! S. Watanabe and Clements Choro and Fukino watching.

Bess and Carroll Shimai serving cake.

Uchida and Carroll Shimai, Clements Choro, Fukino, Watanabe Choro and Tom enjoying cake and strawberries.

Sunday was ward conference in the Nagamine Ward. Many good reminders to do better and work harder!

We need to look at missionary work as if it were public relations work. Missionary work is hard and many of us are afraid to open our mouths. Public relations work is fun as we just enjoy talking to people and learning about their beliefs and sharing ours. That was the message from ward conference. We can all do better at sharing the message of our Savior Jesus Christ's life and of His gift to each of us of the Atonement.


Grandma and Grandpa
Mom and Dad
Bess and Tom

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Jan. 16 -22, 2012, a week of spring in January

What a wonderful and warm week. Monday we hosted a Family Home Evening. Carroll and Uchida Shimai made hot taco rice. We played with the kids and got to know new friends.

Uchida Shimai and Crystal (a potential investigator?)

Bess and Zouza Shimai and her 6 month baby.

Carroll Shimai and Josephine and Zouza Shimai and baby.

Jurika, Uchida Shimai, Simoe holding Tuite, Crystal, Carroll Shimai, Bess, Zouza Shimai and baby boy, Tom, Josephine, Ron and Atu.

Taco Rice!!!

Tuesday was Kumamoto and Kagoshima Zones P-day. We spent the morning playing "taxi" and the afternoon playing with the missionaries.

Notice the pink ball?

Cub Scout Games!!

A game that, if you read the instructions it is easy. If you don't you look a funny following later directions.

Lining up for the relay.

A relay to get missionaries that are going home this transfer up and out the door.

Wednesday we had two Zone Mission Conference. Elder and Sister Ringwood of the Area Presidency taught us. They are the best speakers and people. (picture will come later) Elder Ringwood was Rob and Taralee's Stake President for a year while they were at the University of Utah.

Another great lunch at Conference. The Shimai in the Kumamoto Zone make the best lunches!

Wednesday night we had Eikaiwa and took the students on a Airliner. They learned the phrases they need while boarding, flying and going through Customs. It turned out to be alot of fun!

Passengers enjoying the flight while being served by Carroll Shimai and Brother Sopu.

Pilots McKinney and Clements Choro.

We taught English conversation to a student Monday and Thursday. He is learning fast and brings us a present each time he comes. The people here are so thoughtful!

Friday we went to the Fukuoka Zone and checked apartments.

Celestial Companions Montes de Oca and Kanaida Choro in front of the bakery.

Matsuhashi and Kageyama Shimai in front of their Celestial apartment.

That night we had dinner with Elder and Sister Rogers. We had Shyabu Shyabu. The dinner was delicious and the company even better. That night we went to a new Toyoko Inn down in Tenjin. It was not where the Navi said it was. We drove around the area ten times in the dark and then said a prayer. Tom got out and asked a lady if she knew where it was. She not only knew where it was, she spoke English and gave very good instructions. Another miracle on our mission.

Elder and Sister Rogers in front of the Cafe.

We dipped meat and assorted vegetables in the soup. They were good!

For dessert our waitress put rice, eggs, and spices in the remaining soup.

Saturday we checked three more apartments and stopped at Costco on the way home.

Tingey and Tagawa Shimai in their Celestial apartment.

Neki and R. Stratford Choro with their Celestial apartment reward.

Obayashi and Ushiro Choro with their Celestial apartment reward. Ushira Choro had a wisdom tooth taken out on Friday. Still sore!

Sunday Tom gave the Priesthood lesson. He was blessed by having the Area Public Relations Director Elder Niiyama in attendence. He helped alot with the lesson. We also met a new member of the Kumamoto Ward. Colonel Oaks who is working with Japanese Self Defense Force and is from Tacoma, Washington. He will be here for six months. It is great to have him here!

President Marion G. Romney:

“I feel certain that if, in our homes, parents will read from the Book of Mormon prayerfully and regularly, both by themselves and with their children, the spirit of that great book will come to permeate our homes and all who dwell therein. The spirit of reverence will increase; mutual respect and consideration for each other will grow. The spirit of contention will depart. Parents will counsel their children in greater love and wisdom. Children will be more responsive and submissive to the counsel of their parents. Righteousness will increase. Faith, hope, and charity—the pure love of Christ—will abound in our homes and lives, bringing in their wake peace, joy, and happiness” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1980, 90; or Ensign, May 1980, 67).

We believe this to be true! Thank you each of our children and friends who are doing this!!

Grandpa and Grandma
Dad and Mom
Tom and Bess

Sunday, January 15, 2012

A pictureless Week January 9 - 15, 2012

This week started out to be Bess's dream and Tom's nightmare! He took Bess, Carroll and Uchida Shimai shopping at Uniqlo. He found a long sleeved sweater to wear under his suit coats and then when Bess filled the basket the first time he decided she was finished and off to the checkout he went!! He found a bench that was already occupied (by another man) and stood close to it hoping the man would either vacate or the the Shimai would hurry. One more sweater and a few minutes later, the shopping was finished. We then went to the Best store to find Carroll Shimai an electronic Nehongo to English dictionary. Tom was very patient! Who says you can't teach an old dog new tricks?

Tuesday started with a quick call to Justin to wish him Happy Birthday and then District meeting and training. Stirland Choro, our district leader, is a very good teacher, we always learn just what we seem to need to face each week. Stayed for planning with Villalobos and Oba Choro. Stopped on the way home at the Sanki to get a cushion for Bess's study chair and also a new sweater that cost only 600yen. Everything is on sale!!!

Now she can walk after sitting and studying!

After eating a late lunch we picked up the Shimai to go visit a less active family. They weren't home so we stopped at Zouza Shimai's and visited with her. She is married to a non-member who works from 5 am to about 9 pm each day. She doesn't have a drivers license so she is home alone with her 6 month old son. It was a good visit, she speaks English having gone to all 4 years of high school in Sandy, Utah.
We returned home just in time for our lesson with Maesawa Kyodai at 6:30 pm, always a good end to a good day!

Wednesday we did a lot of preparation for the "New and Improved Eikaiwa". Clements and Watanabe Choro had the inspiration that we were to teach something other the book for this next 12 weeks. The students are going to learn how to take a trip to the United States beginning with passport and pictures. We have all been working on the new curriculum, looking for pictures showing where we are going to take them and writing word lists and sentences for conversation.
We were all excited when four members, who hadn't come before, three new non-members and most of the old students all showed up.
We all had a great time!
Elder Tashiro asked us to help him get his English conversational skills up to speed before Elder Dallin H. Oaks come in February.

Thursday started early morning jointing with Villalobos and Oba Choro at the Penwells. Penwell Shimai has injured her shoulder so the Choro gave her a Priesthood blessing. We returned in time to Skype with the Briggs at noon and then Elder Tashiro came at 1 pm for a couple of hours. Good day!
Thursday we also finalized plans and made phone calls to schedule inspections for the last week of January.

Friday, busy all day, called and talked to the Funks in Arizona, baked cookies and delivered them, mailed a package, worked more on the Eikaiwa passports complete with the pictures of the students that we took Wednesday evening, worked on getting things ready to send in the taxes and went to Sports Night. Only stayed a few minutes as there was nothing planned and hardly anyone there.

Saturday, study, a meeting to talk about Wednesday's Eikaiwa and then Saturday's Eikaiwa. Went shopping for our Family Home Evening meal on Monday with the Shimai and a few others, both members, less-active and non-members, a total of 14 including 4 children. Taco Rice and Jello!

Sunday, only 4 hours of Church and 1 hour of jointing with Clement and Watanabe Choro teaching Li.

We are so happy to hear of the young missionaries that are coming out on their missions! As we reread Elder Jeffrey R. Holland's talk from the Priesthood Session this past October we plead with those of you both young and more mature to prepare to serve the Lord by serving missions. There is so much work to do and Satan is influencing so many to be "at ease" sitting at home. You are needed!! Please prepare and come as quickly as you possibly can.


Grandpa and Grandma
Dad and Mom
Tom and Bess

Saturday, January 7, 2012

2012, the years just keep getting better. Jan 2 - 8, 2012

Happy New Year! On Monday we celebrated! We were invited to eat lunch with the Nagamini Shimai and the Kumamoto Choro at the Aokis home. Good company and great food. We all ate until we could not eat any more and then took home enough for another two meals.

The stove in the middle of the table was for a big pot of stew. There were three more trays of food that didn't fit on the table.

After lunch we missionaries hurried home to our apartment to watch the Muppet's Christmas Carol. Shimizu and Tsuboi Elders came also. Clements Choro got permission from President Margetts for us to watch it. We borrowed Ikegama Kyodai's projector so we would not have to watch on the computer screen. It worked great!

Bess and Villalobos, Bagley, Watanabe, Clements and Iino Choro.

A full house!!

After the movie and popcorn, we went with Carroll and Uchida Shimai to dinner with Matsuzaki Kyodai and Shimai. They took us to the best sushi restaurant that we have been to. The dinner was good and so was the company. Sister Matsuzaki asked Tom what kind of bread he liked best. He said raisin bread. Saturday they showed up to give him Melon Pan and Raisin Bread. They were very delicious. He ate alot that afternoon for lunch.

After we finished with the sushi we went with Villalobos and Oba Choro to teach a joint lesson in Shimizu. What a way to start the New Year!

Tuesday slowed down some. We attended District meeting and then went to lunch at Bishop Koide's home. The meal was to die for and Li Gang had the day off and was also there!

front row: Koide, Carroll, Uchida Shimai, Bess and Tom. back row: Li, Clements and Watanabe Choro and Bishop Koide.

Wednesday was the day we had been waiting a year for, Tom passed the driving test on the third try. We had been fasting and praying for him to pass. Tuesday night he received some inspiration in the form of questions. Should he or should he not brake when going into a turn? He had been told both ways and had not been braking. When turning right which lane should he turn into when there are two lanes going in his direction? He had been turning into the inside lane as taught in the US. He was up late into the night studying these two issues. He found out that he was doing both wrong on the tests. The driver is to brake going into a turn and is to turn into the outside lane, not the inside lane. He changed his driving and passed the test, but only got 70 out of the 100 points. The bare minimum to pass! He did not check his blind spot on two turns and drove a little too slow. Thank goodness for fasting, prayer and the promptings of the Holy Ghost!

Doesn't he look happy, maybe relieved? Bess, Tom, Carroll and Uchida Shimai.

Thursday and Friday was spent studying, Eikaiwa meetings, baking and taking out banana bread. Bess also had the help of a good friend and cut her own hair.

Saturday started with a 9am Ward missionary meeting. At noon we learned to write Kanji. There are only 13,000 kanji so we did not learn alot, but had fun and learned that we could draw them. Thank you Brother Honda!

Honda Kyodai

Bess, Carroll and Uchida Shimai.

Bess with her Kanji name Be-su

Tom with his Kanji name To-mu.

The completed projects! Uchida and Carroll Shimai, Tom and Bess, Honda Kyodai, Watanabe and Clements Choro and Furusho Kyodai who is waiting for his mission call.

At 2pm we taught Eikaiwa. We learned about the Japanese New Year traditions. We found out that we didn't need to go through all this work to winterize our apartment. All we needed to do was buy a few cases of saki to keep us warm each night. We had a hard time keeping a straight face when we were told that.
At 4:30pm we met Villalobos and Oba Choro again in Shimizu at the Penwell's house to teach a joint lesson with them. W hat a pleasure!

Sister Priddis in Sasebo called to see when we would be home as she is shipping the Pamela's Baking mix that finally made it across the pond. Yeah, we will be having pancakes and muffins next week.
We stopped at what we thought was a grocery store Saturday evening after the joint in Shimizu, it turned out to be the best Daiso (dollar + store) that we've found in Kumamoto. We picked up little round tins to bake muffins and birthday presents for grandchildren. We can't find muffins tins here.

Sunday we committed to bear our testimonies in Sacrament meeting in Nihongo. We practiced all week. In fact Brother Maesawa spent all our Tuesday's lesson working with Tom. When it came down to the time to do them, Bess was first and then Tom, he panicked halfway through and babbled the second half. Clements Choro understood and translated it to the English speakers perfectly. Need to keep practicing.

We broke our fast with a delicious meal of creamy chicken and cheese soup, salad, and baking powder biscuits (gluten free).

Good Food! We ate like gluttons.

We love you,

Grandpa and Grandma
Dad and Mom
Tom and Bess