Sunday, June 24, 2012

June 18 - 24, 2012, Our last Zone Conference!!

 This week has been a very spiritual, happy, sad, and oh no week.  We did not think about it being our last Zone Conference until President Margetts asked us to bear our testimonies on Tuesday.  Thursday we drove to the Yamaguchi zone to check apartments for the last time and said goodbye to 12 wonderful missionaries.  We also spoke at the Saturday evening Stake Conference session.  We spoke on "The Blessings of the Temple." Our mission is coming to an end too soon!  We are wondering how soon and where we will serve our next mission?  Bess says Japan, Tom says OK, if we can be in the office where he can speak to someone in English.

Monday we had a Kumamoto Zone P-day activity.  We picked up the Shimai and took them to the Kumamoto Castle.  We have been to the castle during each season of the year since we have been here.  It is always a spectacular sight.   It is interesting what the different groups of missionaries focus on.  This group liked the moat and water system.  We had a demonstration on water as we ran for the car in the rain.  It can rain so much and so quick here.  We picked up the Kagoshima zone missionaries that evening.
Mueller Shimai and one of the many characters that are at the Castle.

The water system with a lot of money that has been thrown in.
Jay Bishoff wrote a very good  book "The Boots of War".  Had lots of pictures of shoes and boots of different people in Iraq during the war.  We call this picture "the shoes of love".  Missionary P-day shoes.
Tuesday we transported more people and attended Zone Conference.  We were close to tears most of the day.  It was also President and Sister Margett's last conference in Kumamoto.  They go home next week and we will get to make more new friends, President and Sister Gustafson.
The Kumamoto Stake provide the very best dinners for Zone Conferences.
The angels that prepare the food.  They always prepare a special menu for Bess with her allergy to wheat.
So much good food!

We took pictures with missionaries we were seeing for the last time. Bess, Miyagawa Shimai, and Tom.

President and Sister Margetts saying goodbye to missionaries: Peterson, Jeffery, and Barros Choro.

The corn is very good here.  These are the serving sizes.  Our neighbors have planted corn for us to eat when we get home!  Thanks, Deb and Mark!!!
 Wednesday we prepared for Eikaiwa and had an appointment canceled.  So we visited Zouza Shimai and her son and a potential investigator before Eikaiwa.
Another heart attack.  Not sure how many more Tom can survive!
 Thursday in the Yamaguchi Zone we checked Ube and Yanai.  It is amazing how good these missionaries are in preparing for apartment checks.  They take very good care of their apartments.  We stayed in Tokuyama that night.

Ube Shimai, Hattori and Kodama.

Newman and Reed Choro, Tokuyama Apartment.

Kobayashi and Okada Choro had a clean apartment in Hofu.
Yanai Choro, J. Williams and Rhodes.

  Friday we inspected Tokuyama, Hofu, and Yamaguchi.  They were all clean, too.  We took the Zone Leaders out to dinner, before we traveled on to Shimonoseki for the night.  At Shimonoseki we went to the Kaikyo Yume Tower.  It is 153 meters high.  It has a great view of the water way between the Kyushu and Honshu islands.
Zone Leaders, Stirland and Koyama Choro from Yamagachi.
Sunset from the Kaikyo Yume Tower.

View from the Kaikyo Yume Tower.of the Toyoko Inn that we stayed in

A happy couple touring the tower.

Painting of an old couple we found at the top of the tower
Produce section in a grocery store.  Everything here is beautiful.

Saturday we helped move missionaries and get the supplies they needed for their new apartment.
We got home in time to go to the Saturday evening session of Stake Conference.  We were third and forth on the program.  We had wonderful translators, Watanabe Choro and Yoshimi, they must have translated very well as everyone kept telling us how much they enjoyed our talks!  We ended our talks in Nehongo. (Japanese)   Every speaker, including the 2nd councilor in the Temple Presidency and his wife, spoke on the blessings of the Temple. There are so many blessings we receive as we go to the temple.

Sunday we had a televised session of conference. It was viewed by all the Japanese Stakes and Districts.  President Uchtdorf, Elder Oaks, Elder Gong, and Sister Wixcom  were the speakers.  From them we learned many things.  Once again they told us to pray and read the scriptures everyday.  President Uchtdorf talked about the joys of missionary work.  We love being missionaries and feel the need to work harder.  We have felt the joy and love of sharing the Gospel throughout our mission. 

This evening we had friends over for dinner.  The Shimai made the potato salad.  It was a "to die for" dish..  Bess made salmon, pork chops, and the Oaks family jello salad. Tom made the instant chocolate pudding.  We learned about the atonement and enjoyed each other.

"To die for potato salad".

A sample of the food.   Fukinokun, Mueller and Furusawa Shimai each think it is ready to eat!

Yasuhirokun, Fukinokun, Hoffman and Watanabe Choro, Furusawa and Mueller Shimai, Bess, Tom, and Li.

We love serving in Japan.  We love the people.  We love the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  We love you!!

Grandma and Grandpa,
Mom and Dad,
Bess and Tom

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Let the Rainy Season begin again, June 11 - 17, 2012

Monday night we had Family Home Evening.  We played Spoons and then tied the spiritual message into the game.  How does that work? We have partners when we play Spoons and we have partners in life, our Father in Heaven, Jesus Christ, and Holy Ghost.  We can not do well in the game of life unless we have a good partnership.  This also applies to marriage.  We are better with help!  We had oatmeal double chocolate chip cake and ice cream for dessert.  We had two potential investigators and a new member.  One of the PI's became an investigator on Saturday.  
Clockwise: Mueller Shimai, Tom, Watanabe Choro, Furasawa Shimai and Sho.
Yasuhirokun, Sayaka and Hoffman Choro.
Workers doing warmup exercises before going to work.  We see a lot of companies doing this.  This was the first time we've seen a construction company warming up with stretches.  It makes sense to us.
 Tuesday we met with Maesawa Kyodai.  We enjoy visiting with him.  Wednesday Adela and her daughter Meiko came..  We hope to learn the scriptures and English together.  Eikaiwa was also very fun.  Tobias was in charge of the spiritual message and game.  He reinforced the message of working together.  Thursday we practiced English with Tashiro Choro.  He is getting so good at speaking English.  We love to be around him.  After a month without being able to go, Bess went to dance lessons.  She is feeling less like a duck!  Friday Bess spent 8 hours baking cookies for sports night on Saturday and Family Home Evening on Monday.  We will have all of the Kumamoto and Kagoshima Zones here Monday night. We had a movie night Friday night.  We watched "The Stone Cutter" and "Mountain of the Lord".  If you get a chance we recommend them.  They are very good and make one think more about being diligent in serving the Lord.  On Saturday we got to help the Sopu Family move in one of the heaviest rains we have seen.  We got wet, but most of their things stayed dry.  As soon as they got moved, the rain quit.  We also so taught Eikaiwa and enjoyed sports night.

Sports night!  Over thirty people came.  Wow!
Sunday was Fathers Day.  The missionaries made Tom a cookie likeness, with hair and how about that nose.  They also gave him a card!  Great Day! 

We had Oaks Kyodai and his replacement Eric over for Sunday dinner.  Taco rice, lemon jello and darn good dessert.  Oaks leaves Kumamoto for good tomorrow.  We will miss him!

This week has been very fun and satisfying.  We shared our testimonies with others and several times were given the opportunity to share different aspects of the Gospel.  Sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ bring such a sweet spirit to us.

Grandma and Grandpa,
Mom and Dad,
Bess and Tom

Sunday, June 10, 2012

All Roads Lead to Kumamoto, 4 - 10 Jun 2012

The missionaries keep coming and going and getting better and better.  As we get to know these wonderful missionaries, we are in awe of the trials they have overcome, the strength of their testimonies and willingness to serve missions. They come from many backgrounds, but are here for one reason.  They are here because they love Christ and want to share His gospel of happiness throughout the world.  We love being here and being taught by these spirituals giants!
Tuesday was the last district meeting of the transfer.  We celebrated Shimada Choro's birthday with a banana and a chocolate cake. Bess made two kinds because Ikeda Choro promised not to eat chocolate for six months and has asked an investigator not to smoke during that same time.  Ikeda Choro is doing well, but the investigator is not doing so well.  After meeting, the two districts went to a buffet to eat together.

Shimada Choro and birthday presents.

Tokuzawa Shimai, Bess, Mueller Shimai, Lawson, Kanaida, and  Kano Choro, Tom, Watanabe, Barros, Cox, Ikeda, Wada, and Beckstrand Choro.  Shimada Choro was taking the pictures.

 After three weeks of lessons, we had a baptism in Kumamoto on Tuesday!  Yasuhirokun is a very remarkable young man.  A rugby player and an all around good person.
Mueller and Tokuzawa Shimai, Yasuhiro and mother, Watanabe and Beckstrand Choro.
Yasuhirokun and two old people.

The kids, even the girls, welcome Yasuhirokun into the church.
 Wednesday we had bacon, sausage, and pancakes together and waited for transfer calls.  When they came, we are staying together and in Kumamoto, we were sad and happy.  Some tears were shed and we went on to do the the many tasks at hand.

Waiting for calls.
We played a game for Eikaiwa which was a combination of Pictionary, Charades, Jeopardy, and Flyswatter.  That was a very fun night!
Some students saying good by.
Beckstrand was only here 12 weeks, but we will miss his smile.


Thursday, it was hard to watch the buses leave.

The dreaded bus stop!  We are are all trying to smile.  We will see Beckstrand Choro in a couple of weeks at Zone Conference.
The goodby friends.

Almost the last hug.

Furusawa and Mueller Shimai, Hoffman and Watanabe Choro, we love new missionaries.
  We fed German Pancakes to Watanabe Choro and Mueller Shimai.  Went back to pick up the incoming missionaries, Hoffman Choro and Furusawa Shimai, but they had missed the bus!  They were late, but safe. After we delivered them, we traveled to Fukuoka to say goodbye to the last of the missionaries that were here in Kumamoto when we arrived, Buckingham Choro.  We were too late to make the temple section, but attended the testimony meeting afterwards.
This picture is for you Launa

Sakamoto Couple finished their mission and are going home.
Guevara and Buckingham Choro returning home.

We stayed overnight Thursday and said goodbye to the missionaries.
Friday morning with Oba Choro's help we took the new car to the dealership for a check up.  
Buckingham Choro a good reason to travel to Australia.
We traveled home and had our transfer Eikaiwa planning meeting.
Saturday we prepared our talks that we are giving in two weeks, scheduled the rest of the months apartment checks, taught at Eikaiwa, and attended ward missionary coordination meeting.  Sunday, Bess made two cakes for the ward dinner. we attended church and then the dinner to say goodby to Brother Oaks.  Trouble was, he got stuck in Tokyo and was not there to enjoy his farewell.

In conclusion we would like to quote President Monson from April 2011 General Conference. “If you have not yet been to the temple or if you have been but currently do not qualify for a recommend, there is no more important goal for you to work toward than being worthy to go to the temple. Your sacrifice may be bringing your life into compliance with what is required to receive a recommend, perhaps by forsaking long-held habits which disqualify you. It may be having the faith and the discipline to pay your tithing. Whatever it is, qualify to enter the temple of God. Secure a temple recommend and regard it as a precious possession, for such it is.
Until you have entered the house of the Lord and have received all the blessings which await you there, you have not obtained everything the Church has to offer. The all-important and crowning blessings of membership in the Church are those blessings which we receive in the temples of God.”

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

Sunday, June 3, 2012

May 28 to June 3, 2012, we will diet next week.

Monday, we cleaned and caught up on the laundry, then traveled to Mt Aso with Brother and Sister Aoki and the Shimai.  We stopped on the way to eat lunch at an all you can eat Buffet next to a poppy field. The buffet was very good.  We traveled a completely different route and saw more pretty parts of Japan.  We couldn't go to the top of the crater as the wind was blowing the gases the wrong way, but we had a great drive.  When we got back to Kumamoto we picked up Beckstrand and Watanabe Choro and went to Yushida-san's for dinner.  She is an investigator and a very good woman.  We had Sushi. The Choro then went to a teaching appointment and we packed for our trip to Hiroshima the next day.
Tom, Takuzawa and Mueller Shimai, and Bess.

Bess and Sister Aoki.  Field of poppies.
Yasuhiro-kun, Watanabe and Beckstrand Choro, Yushida-san, Bess and Tom.

Yes, that is a Monkey Crossing Sign.
Hamada Choro, Clayton and Strother.
Yasufuruichi, Ushiro Choro with his garden..
Ushiro and Tamura Choro

The clean apartment at Takasu made the Elders happy.  J. Beckstrand and Tipton Choro.

Ito and A. Watanabe Shimai.  Hikari Shimai.
This picture is for Ward Choro's Mother who does not get to see enough pictures of him.  He is doing great.  Tom gave him a hug for you.
Hikari  Choro, Ward and Anstead Choro and Tom with the Okonomiyaki cooks.  Saying our last goodbyes!

Thursday we headed to Mihara early.  We were stuck in traffic in a tunnel for about 30 minutes.  It was sure good to see daylight again.  We had good inspections in Mihara, Saijo and Kure.
Mihara Choro, Fitt and Takeda and treats.

Saijo Choro, Bagley and Evans at Joyful for lunch.

Kure Choro, Bunderson and DeJong, Empty Baskin Robbins cups.
Friday we traveled to Hatsukaichi and checked their apartment.  They saved their p-day for Friday so they could take us to the Miyajima island.  They fixed us lunch and we traveled by trolley to the ferry.  We met Dorothy, their investigator on the trolley. She joined us for the day.  We spent a great afternoon on the Island and climbed to the highest peek.  Our knees will never be the same.  We now have a much better idea of Japan's dense jungles and steep mountains.  This would not be a good place to have a ground war.  We have a better understanding of what both armies endured during WW II. 
Riding the ferry across the bay,  De Freitas and Eliason Choro, Tom, Bess, and Dorothy.
Miyajima Shrine at low tide.  At high tide, it has water around the base.  It is having some restoration done to it.
Asian Deer
Tom, Elaison and Freitas Choro and Dorothy on the tram.
View of the rugged terrain.
The Eternal Flame of Love.
The top of the mountain!! De Freitas and Eliason Choro, Dorothy, Bess and Tom..
Saturday we joined President and Sister Wilson of the Iwakuni Branch for breakfast at the Club.  We really enjoyed visiting with them.  We hope they will be able to connect with Tomo and help him to meet with the missionaries.   He is a very good young man.  
We stopped in Fukuoka to pick up Tom's new suits and arrived home just in time to go with Mueller and Takuzawa Shimai to eat dinner at a members home. We will go on a diet next week!  We had a great dinner and played a fun game.  Karin played her bassoon for us and Hanna played her electric guitar.  A very fun day.

Karin, Azusa Arika R., Kokoro front row.  Furikisa, Mueller Shimai, Tom, Bess, Hanna and Takuzawa Shimai..

Sunday was fast Sunday. Sopu's blessed their baby girl.   We enjoyed Church and a quiet night at home!

We are all human and make mistakes.  What we do after we make these mistakes show what kind of person we can become.  Do we repent and learn from the mistakes or do we justify, and repeat them?  The only one we can change is ourselves.  We hope we can all 
repent and learn from our mistakes and come closer to our Father in Heaven and his son Jesus Christ.

Grandma and Grandpa,
Mom and Dad,
Bess and Tom