Sunday, February 26, 2012

February 20 - 26, 2012, Spring is just around the corner

We hope Mother Nature is not fooling with us, this has been a nice week.

We love it when it is clear enough to see the sunset.

Monday evening Tobias and Make and twins boys, Davis and Hennison came for supper and chocolate birthday cake for Make's 30th birthday. It was fun to get to know them better.

Sopu "Tech Twins"

Do you like the hashi "match" stick?

Make said that three candles were enough.

Takuzawa and Uchida Shimai with new Eikaiwa poster. Designed by Shohei.

Kids amusement center. Yes, Launa those are pigs waiting for someone to pick them up.

We were able to visit more members this week and hopefully help them in their lives. Thank you Brandon for helping with this.

Teaching Eikaiwa Wednesday night. We visited with Brother Oaks afterwards for an hour. It is so much fun to talk English with someone closer to our own age!

It was warm enough that we were able to go on a couple of walks this week.

It is spring, the ducks have returned.

Friday, Li taught us to cook five dishes: Chinese Dumplings, Fried Garlic and Pork, Cucumbers and Chicken, Deep Fried Bananas, and Black Mushrooms that grow wild on trees in Mongolia.

Li teaching us how to cook real good Chinese food!

Saturday we traveled to work at the Fukuoka Temple again. We love the spirit there and all the kind people that attend!

We talked to President and Sister Margetts after the Temple, Elder Dallin H. Oaks really liked the 15 minute Chocolate gluten free cake that she made him last week. It is the same one that the Cub Scouts love!! We gave them the flour mix and recipe two weeks ago. yatta! Thank you Ruth R. for sharing that recipe years ago.

Naoko and Bess. Youth versus old. Good friends!

Gluten free Queen, Kiyohara Shimai doing her magic again!

Dinner for the Oyamas. Tom's favorite pudding in left foreground. Annin dofu.

Brother and Sister Oyama are leaving to serve in the Kobe Japan Mission next Sunday.

They are the first couple missionaries from the Kumamoto Stake to serve a mission other than a Temple mission.

We love the Oyamas and wish them the best! We will miss them sooooo much!
We love to see the change that the Gospel makes in peoples lives. We love Missionary Work, which is just loving and serving people.

Elder Quentin L. Cook said:

"First, be a missionary all your life. President David O. McKay (1873–1970) taught that “every member is a missionary.” 4 That is as true today as when it was first declared.

President Gordon B. Hinckley (1910–2008) said it this way: “Great is our work, tremendous is our responsibility in helping to find those to teach. The Lord has laid upon us a mandate to teach the gospel to every creature.” 5

The Prophet Joseph Smith declared, “After all that has been said, the greatest and most important duty is to preach the Gospel.""

Love you,

Mom and Dad,
Grandma and Grandpa,
Tom and Bess

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Febuary 12 - 19, 2012 Elder Dallin H. Oaks

Another tired missionary on P-Day, Watanabe Choro taking advantage of our "recliners"

The is the week we have been waiting for! We have all been so excited waiting to hear from Elder Dallin H. Oaks. Monday and Wednesday we had English lessons with Elder Tashiro in his preparation to be able to visit with Elder Oaks. We also visited members and a part member family this week delivering cookies and rice crispy treats and inviting them to come to the special Stake Conference this Sunday to hear Elder Oaks speak.

Tuesday afternoon we delivered the goodies that we brought home from Iwakuni last weekend for the Shimizu/Tsuboi Choro. Poptarts and Cocoa Puffs!

Eikaiwa Wednesday night was based on Yellowstone Park, the weather and nature. We all had a good time learning new words and working a word search.

When Saturday finally arrived, we left for Fukuoka at 6:30 am to be at the meeting where Elder Oaks was going to talk to all the missionaries in the Fukuoka Mission. The missionaries in Okinawa would have a video hook up to watch and the rest of us traveled to the Fukuoka Ward building. We had the missionaries from Nobeoka, Burton and Hayase Choro, travel with us. We arrived at 8:00 and visited with old friends and new while we waited for the meeting to start.

Elder and Sister Oaks, Elder and Sister Hallstrom, Elder and Sister Ringwood, Elder Tashiro, and President and Sister Margetts arrived at 9:00. They first formed a line and we each got to shake their hands. This took about 35 minutes. We were seated at the end of the line where Elder Oaks was standing. It was so much fun to watch the interactions and expressions of the young missionaries! We also got to shake their hands. Wish we could have seen our own expressions. Both the Hallstroms and Elder and Sister Oaks remembered, as we told them we were from Annabella, a young man named Magleby that they had met in an airport just recently also from Annabella!!

President and Sister Margetts talked to us first. Sister Margetts read Doctrine and Convents 84:88. Talked about angels being round to help us with the work and the importance of reading the scriptures daily. President Margetts read the Dedicatory prayer from the Fukuoka Temple: "We pray for the missionaries, both those from Japan and those from other nations, that they may be magnified, that they may be rewarded in their labors, that their faith may be strong and their testimonies of Thy work sure and certain. Lead them to those who will accept the truth."
He then talked about Doctrine and Covenants section 1.

Elder Tashiro told of the change in his live when he joined the Church 40 years ago. Said we need more members helping with the missionary work.

Sister Hallstrom instructed us about standing upright be for God and read from: Job 1:1, Amos 7:7-8, and 2 Chronicles 20:12. We need to stand upright before God and keep our eye on Christ so we can do what we should.

Elder Hallstrom asked us what we expected from this meeting and read from D&C 43:8-9 about why we hold meetings, to instruct and edify and have a desire to do better, If we are edified, we stop something we are doing or start something we should be doing.

Sister Oaks told us how there is a very fine line between happiness and misery. Used D&C 35:24-27 and Ephesians 4: 4-11 & 15 as references.

Elder Oaks instructed us on desire. What we desire will come to pass if we want it enough. To truly be happy we should all desire Eternal life. Desire comes from within each of us. We cannot give desire away to anyone else. We can only do all we can to awaken desire in others only if it is within them.
Then he talked about the importance of commitment. If we repent and come unto Christ with a full purpose of heart (commitment) we will be forgiven of our sins. He talked about timing. The most important thing is to do the right thing at the right time. D&C 64: 32 "But all things must come to pass in their time." Do all you can and then wait on the Lord.

Dendo Power!!

More power!

Bagley, Jeffrey and Mitton Choro.

Missionaries headed back to their areas.

We traveled in a snow storm! We did not know that the storm would effect our Sunday activities. It snowed for three days in Fukuoka. The old timers cannot remember the last time it did that. Sunday morning there were three inches on the ground and Elder Oaks and Elder Ringwood needed to travel to Kumamoto for Conference. The Expressway was closed, so they had to take side roads for 30 minutes before they could enter the Expressway. Their driver, Elder Triffit from Australia had driven in snow only once before, Saturday! While we waited in Kumamoto, Elder Triffit was white knuckling the slick roads, and loving every minute of it. They arrived safely, only about a half hour late!

At conference today, Elder Ringwood talked about singing a hymn in your mind to control thoughts. He taught about Nephi and how he did what the Lord commanded, see I Nephi 3:7. Nephi had a desire to learn from the Lord and followed through on that desire. He then received many blessings. Nephi also prayed for his brothers when they made fun of him. Have we ever thought of doing that or just of fighting back? He also reviewed the story in Luke 19. Zacchæus wanted to see Jesus so he climbed a tree. Jesus came to the tree and called him by name and wanted to eat with him. We learn from this story that Jesus knows us each by name.

Sister Ringwood (Elder Nelson's daughter) spoke on the importance of reading the scriptures everyday.

Sister Oaks reinforced her love for the Nehonjin people. She switched from Nehongo to English so quickly that her translator had a hard time keeping up with her. She taught us that all of our afflictions in life will be turned for our own good if we endure them well. See D&C 98:3.

Elder Oaks taught us how to be happy in this life. Acknowledge that God exists. Be faithful to Him and His teachings. We must have a correct understanding of Gods nature and attributes. We each need to know the path we are pursuing is in accordance to His will.

We left Conference so filled with good thoughts and a desire to share what we have learned with others so there you go!

Bishop Koide and family.

Watanabe and Clements Choro attacking the Chinese dumplings. See the steam?

Wang and Watanabe Choro.

Li and Wang, the cooks, holding the deep fried bananas.

Tonight was an excellent finish to a wonderful day. Li and Wang invited us to supper. The most delicious Chinese food ever!!!

Grandpa and Grandma
Dad and Mom
Tom and Bess

Saturday, February 11, 2012

A taste of America. Feb 6 - 12, 2012

We had several highlights this week! Monday we had a movie day here at the apartment. Big screen showing of "17 Miracles." Very good movie!!

Tuesday we posted Eikaiwa posters at different businesses with Uchida and Tokuzawa Shimai. Later we met with Tashiro Choro for 3 and a half hours and worked on his English conversation. He is learning so fast! Had a late supper and Maesawa Kyodai stopped by late and worked with us on Japanese. What a wonderful day!

Tokuzawa Shimai, Bess, and Uchida Shimai after posting at a Lawson convenience store.

Uchida Shimai, Tokuzawa Shimai and Bess, after not being able to post at a store.

Wednesday we met with our new district members at District meeting. The district is made up of the best missionaries in the mission again! Shimada Choro is our new District leader and is serving for the second time in Omuta. He gave the best lesson on obtaining Christlike attributes. We then went to visit Zouza Shimai and her 6 month old son. Bess could not get enough of playing with him. For Eikaiwa that night, we took the class to Washington state and then played Jeopardy with special host Elder Clements.

Clements and Watanabe Choro hosting Jeopardy. Like the Moustache?

Thursday and Friday we went back on the road checking apartments. The apartments were very good this time and the Choro and Shimai were the best.

Thomas "new bean"and Lyon Choro at Shimonseki. Elder Lyon is going home after this transfer.

Ube Shimai, Ito Shimai gave us a spiritual thought all in English! Tingey Shimai is a great teacher!

In Yamaguchi, Shima and Peterson Choro cleaned up on some new supplies and we had dinner with them that night.

This is how we stopped a running faucet in Hofu until the plumber could arrive.

Hofu Choro, Murakami and Kusakabe. Kusakabe Choro guided us through the Tokyo Airport when we first came to Japan. We could not have made it without him!

Tokuyama Choro, Kwon and Beckstrand. Two wonderful, positive Elders of the Lord.

Yanai Choro, Unice and Tanaka with their selection from the Little Mermaid bakery for a clean apartment.

When we finished Yanai apartment we went to Iwakuni Marine Air Base for the night. It was so fun to get back in an American setting for a few minutes. We enjoyed the people and the warm room and soft bed at the Base Hotel! Bess enjoys shopping where she can read the labels. We were checked into our room by the nicest young Japanese man named Tomo. He saw our name tags and asked the right questions. We, of course were willing to help him understand a little about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Bess gave him a Book of Mormon which he was glad to receive. He has been thinking about contacting the missionaries but has been nervous about doing so.

Saturday started with a American breakfast of bacon, eggs, hash browns, toast, and orange juice with Sister Wilson. She is the wife of the Branch President who was in Tokyo at a high school basketball game. It was fun to get to know her. She said she would check on the young man we met last night. We then bought some groceries and traveled home dropping some food off at the mission home.

When we got home we found out that we were the proud grandparents of a beautiful new granddaughter!

Little boys area in the woman's rest room. Good idea! The washbasin comes up to Bess' knees.
Each time we share the Gospel with someone we feel so happy. We know and have seen the joy that comes into the lives of those who accept and live the Gospel. We feel it such a privilege to serve the Lord by sharing the Gospel with those who are seeking the truth.

We love you all!!

Grandpa and Grandma
Dad and Mom
Tom and Bess

Saturday, February 4, 2012

It was cold so we had to eat a lot, Jan. 30 - 5 Feb 2012

Picture from our Conference with Elder and Sister Ringwood in January.

This was a cold snowy transfer week. We still do not like transfer weeks. We need to look at the opportunity to make new friends and not think about saying good by to old friends. Monday we had lunch with the Nagamini Shimai and the Kumamoto Choro. We ate sushi and enjoyed being together.

Watanabe and Clements Choro, Tom, Bess, Uchida and Carroll Shimai at the sushi bar.

Some of Bess's salmon sushi.

Bess's pineapple dessert.

Choro framed in the pineapple.

Tuesday at District meeting we celebrated Uchida Shimai's birthday, reviewed the lessons we have enjoyed this transfer, took pictures, and went to eat at a buffet. Bess made cookies and handed them out to the missionaries before district meeting.

Uchida, beautiful Birthday Girl!

The two Districts. Shimai (leaving for her mission to Australia at the end of the month), Bess, Tom, Takaku Choro (going home this transfer), Carroll and Uchida Shimai.
Stirland, Unice, Shino, Bagley, Villalobos, Oba, Watanabe, Clements, Yamada, and Iino Choro.

Elevator doors at the Hotel.

Buffet lunch at the Hotel.

Saying goodbye..

Last of the dessert!!

Back of garbage truck. Things are clean and cute here.

When we arrived home from lunch we taught English conversation to Elder Tashiro and learned Japanese from Maesawa Kyodai. Busy, late day!

Wednesday, we prepared for Eikaiwa and took the students to California. They learned how to ask and give directions and learned about the state of California.

Carroll Shimai talking about California.

Thursday we woke up to snow. We did not think much of it until we took Carroll Shimai to the bus stop and there were no buses. We got a call from the APs telling us that because of the snow, the buses were not traveling to Fukuoka and to take Carroll Shimai to the Shinkansen (bullet train) station. We got her there in time and said goodby. She was going to Naha and had to catch her plane in Fukuoka.

Picture of snow from our balcony. It lasted about 20 minutes.

Bess, Carroll Shimai, and Tom at bus stop.

Watanabe and Clements Choro and Carroll and Uchida Shimai at bus stop.

Because of the snow Tokuzawa Shimai's scheduled pickup also changed from the bus station to the train station. We received a call telling us she would be there at 12:09, about 5 minutes later the other AP called and said she would be there at 12:53. We took Uchida Shimai to our apartment and had a breakfast of German Pancakes. We were just getting ready to go back to the train station when Villalobos Choro called from the train station and said that Tokuzawa Shimai was there. She had arrived at 12:09. We hurried to the station could not find her for about 15 minutes. We hate that to happen!!!! When we arrived in Kumamoto a year ago, the people that were going to meet us were late and we wanted to get back on the bus. We have always done everything we can to be there on time to welcome new missionaries.

After we took the Shimai to their apartment, we taught English to Elder Tashiro and then went to a sushi bar with him to have dinner and practice his English. After eating we picked up the Shimai and went to Sports Depot so Tokuzawa Shimai could buy a bike. While we were waiting for the bike to be assembled we drove the Shimai to the home of a less active member and then to the 100 yen store to buy a bike lock. It was after 9 pm before we arrived home.

Uchida and Tokuzawa Shimai at train station.

Tokuzawa Shimai with new bike in our car trunk.

Friday we spent most of the day studying and recovering.

Saturday, we had the transfer Eikaiwa planning meeting and then taught at 2 o clock. Brother Oaks came and gave us a hand. He is really good with people and is a good teacher. He said he could teach next week when we will be in Yamaguchi doing apartment checks.

Sunday was Fast Sunday. Good meetings, we need to visit some less inactive members and encourage them to come. The Priesthood and Relief Society's lessons were both on Elder Eyring's First Presidency message about prayer. We have found that this testimony by Austin is also true in our lives.

Powerful Prayer

Prayer is one of the greatest and most important ways to connect to, talk with, and be comforted by our Heavenly Father.

While I was saying my prayers one night, I thought about what my family was in need of, what I was grateful for, and also what I needed to repent of. Right after closing my prayer, I thought about the many worldly things that could easily distract me from my goals.

But during my prayers, I feel that if I pray sincerely and humbly, my burdens are lightened, my sins are washed away, and my problems have answers. I realize how close to God I feel while I say my prayers. It shows me how important we all are in God’s eyes. I testify that prayer is one of the most powerful and important things that we can do.

A big orange!


Mom and Dad,
Grandma and Grandpa,
Bess and Tom