Monday, April 30, 2012

End of Transfer 10 Begining of Transfer 11, 23 - 29 Apr. 12

This was an up and down emotional week.  It was another transfer week!
We took the Tsuboi/Shimizu missionaries to Mt. Aso and Tsuetate Hot Springs.  We had a enjoyable day!  When we got to Mt. Aso, we waited a half hour for conditions to change so we could look into the volcano.  The wind was blowing the wrong way.  We couldn't see the bottom of the volcano this time because of the smoke and steam, but we could to smell the sulfur gases.

Kanaida, Bagley, Lawson and Christensen Fufu.
Bagley Choro fishing for Kanaida Choro's glasses in the river.
Bagley, Lawson, and Kanaida Choro after getting the glasses out of the river.
Bagley Choro, Bess, Lawson and Kanaida Choro on the bridge over the river.  The fish kites are between 8 and 20 feet long.

View of kites and Lawson Choro from the upper bridge.
Monday night we had family home evening with a couple of Eikaiwa students, our Shimai, our Ward mission leader, young Maesawa Kyodai and a ward missionary, young Koide Shimai..  We played a fun game that we call the Wink of Death, shared testimonies and ate banana bread and ice cream.  Good day!!
Tuesday we had our last district meeting before transfers.  The District gave Watanabe Choro a gift since he was going home.  He turned right around and taught us a lesson on how to be better missionaries.
front: Tokuzawa, Uchida Shimai, Bess and Tom.  back: Tanaka, Watanabe, Lawson, Yamada, Bagley, Beckstrand, Ikeda, Shimada, and Kanaida Choro after the lunch buffet.
Tuesday night we received a call inviting us to a squirt gun fight at 7 am Wednesday morning.  We said yes and had a great battle.
After the battle we went to our apartment and cooked a breakfast of sausage, bacon, and pancakes.  The missionaries received their transfer calls, Tom and Bess again get to keep the same companion and stay in Kumamoto.
Elder Tashiro came about 10:30 a.m. for an English lesson.  What a spiritual high it is to work with him!
Wednesday night after Eikaiwa the missionaries had a cream pie in the face activity.  Not sure what the priesthood purpose was.  Maybe to make sure Watanabe Choro feels well loved as he leaves his mission.  It is also a bit of a tradition!
Saying goodbye to Watanabe Choro, who is going home and Uchida Shimai, who is going to open the Shimai apartment in Nagasaki.
Tokuzawa and Mueller Shimai.

Watanabe and Beckstrand Choro.
After we got the new missionaries settled, we traveled to Fukuoka to have dinner, go to the temple and testimony meeting with the returning missionaries.  We returned home about 12:15. We really enjoyed the day!!!
Clements and Ahn Choro (APs), Kobayashi Shimai, Pehrson, Farb, Watanabe, and Obayashi Choro (returning missionaries)
Returning missionaries after temple section
Saturday we went back to the temple to work the 2:20p.m. English section.  We just love the Expressway!
This is brother Inoue.  He comes to church each week and sits by us.  He was invited by the two couple missionaries before us to come and he has been very faithful.  It took us a while to get him to let us take his picture.
Sunday night, Brother Oaks came to dinner.  We ate, laughed, and talked for many hours.  It is so much fun to visit with him!                                                                                              
 We love the people here.  The missionaries are the best.  When Watanabe Choro was traveling to Fukuoka, he talked to some ladies, gave them a Book of Mormon, and then phoned their contact information to the Shimai here in Kumamoto. We need to be more like him and always look for opportunities to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

We Love You!

Grandma and Grandpa,
Mom and Dad,
Bess and Tom

Saturday, April 21, 2012

April 16 - 22, 2012, White shirts are in suits are out, HA!

Elder Christensen is very happy...suits are for Sundays, Temple trips and Zone Conferences!! Short sleeve white shirts are the apparel for every day until Fall. The zone leaders gave him the the word on Monday. This welcome new came just in time, it warmed up this week.

After district meetings on Tuesday we had a
Shabu Shabu lunch with both districts. It was the first time this transfer that we have eaten together. We will eat together again Tuesday, since it is the day before transfer calls. After our lunch Watanabe and Beckstrand Choro took 30 minutes and taught us how to ride the Trolly (chinchindensha). It was so simple, we just got on and then paid 150 yen when we got off. We brought home the route maps to plan our next ride. We are hoping to ride the bullet train before we go home.

Tanaka, Watanabe, Lawson, Shimada, Yamada, and Beckstrand Choro, Uchida and Tokuzawa Shimai, Tom and Bess at lunch. Bagley, Ikeda and Kanaida Choro left for an appointment and were not in the picture.

Beckstrand and Watanabe Choro teaching us to ride the trolly.

The students. We were just glad to be there. Why did we not learn this a year ago?

Our Japanese instructor was an hour late Tuesday night. He thought we would be gone so he didn't hurry home from Fukuoka. When he passed our apartment and saw our lights he came up. He is trying to get the people in apartment #804 interested in the Gospel. He rode up on the elevator with them last week and got to know them. He took the Shimai to visit with them Thursday and again on Friday. Hope they can make friends with them.

Wednesday we had a good turn out at Eikaiwa. We had a new student come. Tobias and Oaks Kyodai were there to help. Our new Nagamine Mission Leader was also there. He is so good and enthusiastic with missionary work!

Thursday and Friday we made banana bread for Family Home Evening next Monday (froze it) and made cookies and tried to take them to less active members. Not much success. One had moved and we could not find a new address. One was not home and one would not come out and talk to us, so we left the cookies at the door.

Saturday we enjoyed another good Eikaiwa and learned from our students.

Sunday we had dinner at our house for a part member family. The bishop's family and the missionaries also came. We ate taco rice, cheese cake, and two gluten free cakes. We played a get to know you game and had a spiritual thought. The evening was very fun!

on floor: Uchida, Takuzawa, young Koide Shimai, and baby Zouza
next row: Koide Shimai, Tom and Bess, Brother and Sister Zouza
back row: Watanabe Choro, young Koide Kyodai, Beckstrand Choro, and Bishop Koide

Grandma Bess and baby.

The Zouza Family

Families are very important to the Lord. He sent us down here to be taught in a family. We are so happy to see and be with strong families. We need to do all we can to strengthen our families and to teach them Gods Plan of Redemption and Happiness. We've learned that it is never too late!! Don't ever give up. Keep trying!

Grandma and Grandpa,
Mom and Dad,
Bess and Tom

Saturday, April 14, 2012

April 8 - 15, 2012, Sick Week

A low key week. Bess ate some lunch Sunday that was supposed to be wheat free. After she ate three helpings, a lady said there is a "little mugi" in the food! She was sick all week. Monday we did go for a walk at the zoo. It was a beautiful day!

The last of the cherry blossoms. Darn!

Bess felt good enough Wednesday to ride to Yastushiro and check the apartment. It was a nice rainy day, and the ride was good therapy. The Choro were wonderful.

Celestial companions from Yatsushiro, Yamada and Ikeda Choro. We enjoy going to the bakeries, too.
Wednesday evening we had a good time at Eikaiwa.

Thursday was another study and get better day. Tom is clear into Kings in the Old Testament. Bess and Yoshimi went to Japanese dance lessons at a non-member's home. Tom tagged along to see what it was all about. It took over half the time to teach Bess how to dress in a kimono. It is quite a process with several layers and bows and fans. The lady was very nice and Tom enjoyed himself. (Bess was way out of her comfort zone)

The dancers three. I bet you can tell who the teacher is. She is definitely not the one that looks like a pink duck.

Friday, Bess was taught more on how to dress and practiced the dance at home.

Trying to get the hang of all the belts and bows.

The final product is pretty. (can't breathe)

Yoshimi is a good teacher. See, this is what it is supposed to look like.

Saturday morning Watanabe and Beckstrand Choro came for breakfast, Tom fixed them Monsters, or German Pancakes. Right after breakfast we taught a new member family about Eternal Families. We had Eikaiwa that afternoon, then Bess and Yoshimi went shopping for material for a summer kimono, (yukata) while Tom visited with Oaks Kyodai. Missionary Coordination Meeting, at 7 pm, was the end of our day.

Sunday we fasted for family and invited Brother Oaks for dinner. Bess tried new recipes and they all tasted great.

We transported Oba Choro to the bus station. He is going to Honbu to be the recorder and will do a great job there! We will miss him here.

Oba Choro leaving the apartment where he has lived since before Christmas.

Oba Choro and two of three members that came to say goodby.

This week we have learned how fragile our health can be. Taking one bad thing into the body can make one sick for a long time. This also goes for our spiritual health. One or two sins could damage our spiritual health for not only decades, but for generations. Little sins matter. We need to do all we can to repent continually and not let Satan get a hold on us. We need to always pray to have the strength to overcome sin. Yes, this does include even our favorite sins.

We love all of you!
Grandma and Grandpa,
Mom and Dad,
Bess and Tom

Sunday, April 8, 2012

April 2 - 8, 2012, We love to see General Conference

The long wait is over, General Conference is finally here in Japan. We did take time to watch some of the Saturday conference before we watched it at the Stakehouse Saturday and Sunday. It is so good to get the messages from the Prophets!

Cherry Blossom viewing time is here. This our second time to see the cherry blossoms in Japan. The cherry blossom viewing time is the height of the Japanese tourist season. We went to the Kumamoto Castle again this year to see the sakura (cherry blossoms). It was a wonderful day and we visited with people from Taiwan as well as with some from here in Kumamoto. We also traveled to Kurume, Oita, and Nobeoka this week and saw the beautiful sakura all along the 450 kilometer trip!

Same place we had a picture taken last year.

Kanaida, Lawson, Bagley, Oba, and Christensen Choro entering the Castle grounds.
Sakura on the Castle wall.

Beckstrand and Watanabe Choro caught up to us.

The tour group.

Lawson Choro showing his patented moves.

Kanaida and Bagley Choro. We love the red hedges here in the spring.

Oba and Lawson Choro.

Tuesday was a two zone Zone Conference. We finished transporting Choros to their apartments Monday night at 11:30 and started transporting again Tuesday morning at 7:30. At the conference we learned how to commit investigators to be baptized and how to hear or feel the Spirit. Tom committed to write in his journal again and Bess committed to act when prompted, without second guessing.
Bad spot on the camera.
Sister Margetts, Sister Sakamoto, and Bess. The Sakamotos and Margetts go home in June.

A test of faith. Apina Choro, on the ladder, is deathly afraid of heights. He exercised faith by falling backwards off the ladder.

Kobayashi and Miyagawa Shimai. Like those jowls? Round puff balls.

A picture of President and Sister Margetts on the cake at lunch. Not at all flattering!!

Wednesday, lunch with Uchida Shimai, Beckstrand Choro, Watanabe Choro, and Tokuzawa Shimai. Shabu-shabu at the MK cafe. oishii!

Stennett and Fujisawa Choro, Kurume celestial companionship. (bad spot on the camera lens gomen!)

Takahashi and Everett Choro, Oita celestial apartment.

Eckman and Gregory Choro, Nobeoka celestial Choro

Scenery along the highway. Forsythia bushes and sakura.

There are lots of bridges in Japan. Aren't they beautiful!

Saturday and Sunday we watched Conference. The teachings that jumped out at us were:
The atoning sacrifice that Christ made for us and how we need to use it everyday to become better.
How we gain promptings from the Holy Ghost and how we should act on them as soon as we get them.
The importance of the family and how we need to put them first, after Gospel, in our lives.
We need to enjoy all members of the family and mend any problems with family members.

We are looking forward to studying the teachings, learning more and putting the things we learned to use in our everyday life. We are so blessed to be here in Japan and have received so many blessings and have learned so much about the Gospel, ourselves, and the people of Japan!

Remember, President Monson tells us, "You can't be right by doing wrong, you can't be wrong by doing right".

We love you!
Mom and Dad,
Grandma and Grandpa,
Tom and Bess

Sunday, April 1, 2012

March 26 to April 1, 2012, Wordless Week

A week of pictures. Aprils fools!

A view of a Japanese bakery. Everything looks so good. Tom says, "they are good". Bess wishes she could find out.

Omuta Elders Shimada and Tanaka after a clean apartment check.

People moving out of apartment #805 used these moving vans. Just the right size for Japanese streets. New people in #805 came last night to introduce themselves. Things are looking up!!

Tom thought he was going to get out of paying the Baskin Robins price for a clean apartment. He got fooled by Shimizu/Tsuboi's Bagley, Kanaida, Oba, and Lawson Choro.

The Kumamoto Zone Leaders did not let us down on their cleaning check. Watanabe and Beckstrand Choro in front of the bakery.

The Nagamine Shimai, Tokuzawa and Uchida, had a spotless apartment.

We spent Friday at Huis Ten Bosch, Japan's largest in area theme park. It is located by Sasebo. We had a very relaxing day and two nights in a soft bed at the Navy Lodge at Sasebo. Did we mention that there was a Far East Bazaar there on Saturday? Bess enjoyed the shopping experience! Some of the profit went to the school. We shopped for the school! (and for the fun of it)

The slowest moving ferris wheel we have seen. We made one slow revolution on it.

With all the wind mills and tulips we thought we were in Holland.

Found a french fry to eat.

Love these hats.

A view from the top of the ferris wheel.

Another view from the top of the ferris wheel.

We thought these were only in the Wii.

Saturday night we attended our first baptism since Christmas. Hope for many more. Six investigators also attended.

Tokuzawa Shimai, Ward Mission Leader, Kametani Shimai, and Uchida Shimai.

We will listen to LDS General Conference next week. Being a day ahead and needing to wait for the conference to be translated, causes this to happen. We will listen to some this week as we have time. Conference has taken on a deeper meaning since we have been here. We wait with anticipation for six months for the next conference. We love to listen to and study the conference talks to see what the Lord is telling us to do!

Mom and Dad,
Grandma and Grandpa,
Bess and Tom