Saturday, March 24, 2012

March 19 - 25, 2012, We love the Missionaries

This week Tom took the car to get the oil changed and tires rotated without needing any help from the missionaries. How much we have learned and grown this past year! Bess, again, made cookies for us to deliver. It is so much fun serving others. When we first came to Kumamoto we gave a dozen cookies to our service station attendants. We now give them regular installments of cookies. When we pull in we get the royal treatment. They bow and hurry to check us. When we walk down the street they wave and bow to us. It seems that giving rewards works much better than cracking the whip!

When we first started checking apartments, we did not find many well cleaned apartments. We did a lot of training. We also started to treat the missionaries that passed Celestial using the cleaning check form we and they have. The missionaries are now excited to see us come and work very hard to make sure they get the treat! Why is it so hard to remember to reward rather than punish?

Our Zone's transfer theme is "All You Need Is Love". The lesson from our new district leader, Tanaka Choro, is to show our companion how much we love them through doing acts of service each day. He calls us each night for our report of how we showed our love to our companion during the day. Some days we really have to think to report what we did! It has been an eye opening experience for us.

Wednesday night Tobias taught the group some songs about friendship. It was fun and left a good message.

Tobias and his ukulele. All the office Elders have bought ukuleles and were practicing them when we were in Fukuoka this weekend.

Thursday we were in Nagasaki, Isahaya, and Sasebo doing cleaning checks. We ate at the Mongolian Barbeque on the base with Brother and Sister Priddis, Montes de Oca and Maxfield Choro and their Japanese Branch Mission Leader. The food was delicious! We pay by the ounce for the food. Friday we traveled to Saga and then up to Fukuoka. We attended our two sessions and a training meeting at the Temple before returning home Saturday night. Is it funny how we are calling Kumamoto home now. It is such a nice place.

Nagasaki Choro Ahn and Ikari.

Happy companions from Isahaya, Ward and Monson Choro.

Checking the refrigerator condensation drip pan in Isahaya.

Montes de Oca Choro, Branch Mission Leader and Maxfield Choro.

Sister and Brother Priddis paid for all of the meals. They are the BEST!!

Happy after a meal at the Sasebo Club.

Sasebo companionship Maxfield and Montes de Oca Choro

Celestial companions from Saga, Williams and Nakamoto Choro.

Sunday we invited Brother Oaks and Elder Tashiro here for a roast beef dinner. Elder Tashiro's wife is in Chiba helping with a new baby grandson! We laughed a lot! Remind us to share the Oaks family jello recipe with you. It is oishii!!!

Bess, Tom, Elder Tashiro, and Brother Oaks.

All this world needs is Love. Love is a verb. See who you can show love to today!

Mom and Dad,
Grandma and Grandma,
Bess and Tom


This is the sign you look for to find a rest room along the highway! It took us the first 6 months to figure this out.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Transfer Week, 12 - 18 March 2012

We still dread/look forward to transfer weeks. This week we said "see you later" to three Choro from our first district. Nishio-Japan, Triffitt-Tasmania, Lyon-Utah.

Monday, we and Masuda Shimai took the Kumamoto Choro and Nagamine missionaries to Mount Aso. The wind was blowing the wrong direction so we weren't able to see the lava very well. It was a quiet day, few tourists. After eating a quick lunch and buying a few souvenirs, we traveled across the wheat growing country and over a mountain to a quarter mile long walking bridge. As we walked across the bridge we could see three beautiful waterfalls.

Masuda, Uchida, Tokuzawa Shimai and Bess overlooking Mt. Aso.

Tom, Bagley and Watanabe Choro, Mt Aso.

Quarter mile long walking bridge. Beautiful but scary walking for those of us that fear heights!

We loved the bridge design and the beauty surrounding it.

Masuda, Tokuzawa, Uchida, and Christensen Shimai and Bagley, Watanabe, and Christensen Choro on an outlook.

Looking out over wheat country with Mount Aso in the background.

We love seeing the Japanese sunsets.

At District meeting last Tuesday we learned about an elephant that was staked to a small peg. From the time it was a baby the elephant has been staked to a peg, so now that he is grown he doesn't know that he has the strength to break loose. He has given up trying as an adult elephant because he couldn't break the bond as a child. How much are we like the elephant? Through our faith in Christ we can each accomplish anything!! We can break the bonds that hold us regardless of what they are if we have enough faith!

Like this elephant and the stake? He could be free if he would but try.

Kanaida, Watanabe, Shino, Oba, Christensen, Bagley, Villalobos, Shimada Choro and Tokuzawa, Uchida, and Christensen Shimai. District transfer picture.

Wednesday we taught the missionaries how to make Watanabe-don for lunch. This is a secret recipe passed down to us by Kim Choro. Everyone loves it!

Bess, Uchida and Tokuzawa Shimai, and Bagley and Watanabe Choro.

Thursday we said good by to Villalobas Choro and hello to Beckstrand Choro. We took Bagley Choro back to Tsuboi and traveled to Fukuoka to eat supper, attend the Temple and say goodbye to the 10 homeward bound missionaries.

Oba and Kanaida Choro, an investigator, Villalobos Choro, and a member at bus station.

New companionship, B.Beckstrand and Watanabe Choro.

br: Lyon, Maeda, Nishio, Abe, Harvard and Ecchu Choro. fr: Hirano, Triffitt, Anderson and Hayase Choro.

Oh, the strength of just one missionary. Nishio and Nagafuchi Choro. Temple parking lot.

Brother and Sister Gunstafson, new mission President in July.

Friday night there was a two ward Relief Society Birthday party. We had lots of investigators there! It was fun and there was alot of good food.

Nagamine Relief Society Shimai singing.

Teaching the Ward Members to dance.

We hope you all have a great week!! Thanks again for the emails and letters.


Grandpa and Grandpa
Dad and Mom
Tom and Bess

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Hiroshima, Mar 5 - 11, 2012

Watanabe Choro and Bagley Choro, goofing off!! Companions until this Thursday.

We were on the road all this week. After our Choro and Shimai got through emailing we drove the five and a half hours to Hiroshima. We arrived about 5:30 and checked Hikari Zone Leaders, Anderson and H. Watanabe Choro's apartment at 6:00. They did so good that we took them out for Okonomiyaki. We go to a cafe there that makes Bess's on rice so she can eat it. Sorry, no picture!

Tuesday we went to one of the District Meetings. We learned a lot about obedience from Elder Mitton, the District Leader. After District Meeting we went back to the Okonomiyaki cafe and treated the Hamada and Saijo Choro to lunch. We gave the Hamada Choro a ride home, about a two hour ride each way. After the checking their clean apartment we traveled back to the Toyoko Inn at Hiroshima for the night.

Everett, Okada, Strother, Reed, Mitton, and Bushman Choro and Miyagawa and Mueller Shimai. "The District."

Snow over the mountain to Hamada.

Hamada Choro, Reed and Strother.

Wednesday we checked three apartments, Yasufuruichi Choro and Shimai and Takasu Choro. They were all close by and had all cleaned very well.

Yasufuruichi Choro Okada and Everett were very fun to visit with in their clean new apartment.

Miyagawa and Mueller Shimai from the Yasufuruichi apartment wanted ice cream.

Mitton and Bushman, Takasu Choro, helped us find a dinner we could eat.

Young boy waiting for train to pass by.

Thursday we went to Mihara and Saijo. The apartments were so clean we were through early and decided to walk around the shopping mall before going back to the hard bed at the Inn.

Mihara Choro "new bean" Ikeda and his trainer Wada Choro. They enjoyed the bakery.

Evans and Farb Choro from Saijo.

Friday we scheduled extra time at Kure since this is a new apartment and we would need to shop for items they needed. The apartment is a great apartment and the Choro are keeping it clean.

Kure Choro, McKinney and Kano.

We then went on to Hatsukaichi where we visited with DeFreites Choro. He served several transfers in Kumamoto and we do miss him. He has a great companion Ikari Choro. DeFreites Choro told us his mission call to Japan said he was called to teach in Portuguese. While in Kure doing splits he met some people from Brazil! His MTC name tag was in Portuguese.

Hatsukaichi Choros Ikari and DeFreites filled their bag.

When finished with apartments we traveled to Iwakuni Marine Air Base for the night. A heated room and perfect bed. We also wanted to check in with Tomo to see how he was coming on reading the Book of Mormon. We missed him, he was working the graveyard shift.

There are miles of green houses on the north end of Kumamoto. Some are tall enough that there are trees growing in them. Fresh fruit and vegetables year round!


Saturday we traveled home only stopping for a few minutes at Costco. We got home just in time for Tom to go to Stake Priesthood meeting. Atu was presented to become an Elder in the Church and Tom had the privilege of conferring the Melchizedek Priesthood on him and ordaining him to the office of an Elder. Brother Oaks assisted Tom in this. Now in just a few short months Atu and his family can be sealed in the Temple for Time and All Eternity.

We learned this week that through obedience to God's laws we receive blessings. Through strict obedience we receive miracles. We need to be more obedient for we need several miracles.

Mom and Dad,

Grandma and Grandpa,
Bess and Tom

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Feb 27 - Mar 4, 2012, We love Spring

Spring continues this week. We visited Kumamoto Castle with the young missionaries on Monday. The first plum blossoms are out. Tom thinks that some of them are cherry blossoms. We love to go to the Castle and see all the beauty during the different seasons.

Tom, Junichi, Clements and Watanabe Choro, Uchida and Tokuzawa Shimai posing with a very old tree at the Castle.

Nagano-san, a PI, and Tokuzawa Shimai. Nagano-san speaks very good English!

Uchida, Tokuzawa Shimai, fierce warrior, Clements and Watanabe Choro, Bess, Tom and Nagano-san.

Blossoms and Uchida Shimai. Both beautiful!!!

Our stone at the Castle. Corny!!

We made more cookies and made the rounds again this week. Zouza Shimai said she actually shared some with her husband this time. It is so much fun to visit with them!

On Thursday and Friday we had special two Zones training conference.

AP Triffitt Choro training us! He goes home to Australia next week. He promises he is coming to Annabella next October during a break in his playing season. We are seriously considering a trip to Australia to watch him play.

Thank Heaven for sweet talented Shimai. Uchida and Kobayashi Shimai.

The Sakamoto couple stayed with us Thursday night. It was really fun! They do not speak English and we do not speak Japanese. Tom was late getting home since he was transporting missionaries. After a chicken salad and muffins supper we played UNO. It is a fun game that we all knew. We ate dinner and played UNO until bed time. We laughed a lot and had a very enjoyable time! Sakamoto Choro fixed the lock on our toilet room door. No more uneasy missionaries.

Sakamoto Shimai and Bess fixing muffins. Pamela's Baking Mix.

Sakamoto Choro and Tom, no language barrier with UNO!

Koyama, P. Stratford (Kagoshima ZLs) and Burton Choro. Second day of training.

Saturday we drove to Fukuoka and took the train to Dazaifu. We went with President and Sister Margetts and Elder and Sister Rogers, Stratford and Usui Choro.

Usui and Stratford Choro, Tom, Bess, Sister Margetts, Sister and Elder Rogers. President is taking the picture.

The "older" missionaries including President.

Bonsai plants. Enjoy Rob!!

Dazaifu has all sorts of fun things to watch.

Sisters Rogers, Okumura, Margetts and Christensen.

Dazaifu Shrine and blossoms.

Yep, those are dogs with pants, not strange children.

Usui Choro guarding our loot after a long day of shopping.

Grandson and Grandpa Tashiro Choro.

Uchida and Tokuzawa Shimai and Watanabe Choro saying goodbye to Clements Choro. He is Honbu bound. New AP!

Oaks Kyodai giving Clements Choro a goodbye.

We will miss Clements Choro....he has been here in Kumamoto since the end of May. Almost all of our mission. Watch out Honbu, he doesn't need too much sleep.

D&C88:34-35 Gives five degrees of disobedience. See if you can identify them.
34 And again, verily I say unto you, that which is agoverned by law is also preserved by law and perfected and bsanctified by the same.

35 That which abreaketh a law, and babideth not by claw, but seeketh to become a law unto itself, and willeth to abide in sin, and altogether abideth in sin, cannot be sanctified by law, neither by mercy, djustice, nor ejudgment. Therefore, they must remain ffilthy still.


Grandma and Grandpa

Mom and Dad

Bess and Tom