Sunday, July 29, 2012

The tears are starting to fall. July 23 - 29, 2012

Three weeks left and so much to do!  Monday Kikue Shimai helped Bess make cookies for Family Home Evening, while Tom took the Choro grocery shopping.  They made Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies.  They were so moist and good.  We also got to help Furusawa and Watanabe Shimai practice their English!  They are getting really good at speaking English.
One cookie maker and two cooky eaters.  Watanabe, Kikue, and Furusawa Shimai.
We had a new investigator at Family Home Evening.!
We played Signs and laughed at FHE
Tuesday the Shimai came for another hour of English study.  Watanabe Shimai had not eaten German Pancakes, (Monsters), so Tom fixed them for her.  Both Shimai enjoyed them!  We enjoyed the English lesson.
                                                        Well they said they liked them

Tuesday night we had a great time visiting with Maesawa Kyodai.  He has only been here a couple of times this month.
Friday morning we were up at 6 a.m.  At eight a.m. we started toward Nobeoka and Oita to check apartments. On this last round of apartment checks the apartments have been very clean.  These were no exception!

Nobeoka companionship, Bushman and Eckman Choro.
Oita companionship's, Everett and Gandy Choro and Peterson and Tipton Choro.
After finishing in Oita we drove into Fukuoka and tried for over an hour to find our new hotel.  It was an older Toyoko Inn and had a different look.  After much prayer and having the desk lady at a another Toyoko Inn put the address into our Navi we were still lost, so we stopped at a stop light and Tom asked the taxi driver behind us where it was.  It was two buildings to the right.  At about 9 pm we were finally in our room.  We are too old for 15 hour plus days! 

Sunset on the way to Fukuoka.

Triple layer traffic in Fukuoka.

Tom, trying to get our car 0ut of the parking lot Saturday morning.
The Maui Family

Saturday was one of the highlights of our mission.  We went to the Fukuoka Temple with the Maui family. They were sealed together for time and all eternity.  They were baptized here in Kumamoto 13 months ago.  They have also been instrumental in helping a family of five in Australia accept the Gospel and be baptized at Christmas time!  The Maui's are a great family!

The Sopu,family, Maui family and cousin Thor.  All from the islands.
Sunday, the Kumamoto Ward had a goodbye party for us after church.  There was a lot to eat, many friends, a movie of us, and speeches.  What a great time!
Furusho Kyodai made a movie from our pictures and read a letter he had written for us.

Tom, Tashiro Shimai, and Bess
Kumamoto Ward

Koide Shimai made Bess a Yukata. (Summer kimono) They spent a couple of hours on Sunday evening dressing up and taking pictures.  Also asking a lot of questions about our lives.
                                                                           Koide Shimai, Bess, and Koide Shimai

This has been a great week.  It is getting harder to leave as the time draws nearer, and harder to stay as, the excitement of seeing family and friends again increases.

Two weeks left before we leave Kumamoto........

As we watched the movie of our mission today at the party and remembered the joy, hardships, wonderful people, and the lives that have been changed, we felt even more grateful that we have had the privilege to serve a mission here in Japan for our Savior, Jesus Christ.  We love Him, and we love all of you.

Grandma and Grandpa,
Mom and Dad,
Bess and Tom

Monday, July 23, 2012

July 16 - 22, 2012, Last Transfer

Last week we had our last transfer for this mission. No more transfer day "blues."
Tom hates changes, but is getting so much better about it.  

Monday we took Sister Mueller to find the last of the presents she wanted to take home.  Yea, another shopping trip!  Tom is getting rather good at finding a place to sit and rest while we shimai shop.  We all found some things we liked.  

We enjoyed another Family Home Evening.  Bess made Carrot Cake and we served it with ice cream.  We played "Bunny Bunny" and "Name that Vegetable" again.  Those games are fun. Our district leader, Wada Choro and his companion, Swasey Choro, from Omuta, joined in our FHE.
Playing Bunny Bunny      
Family Home Evening crew.
Tuesday was the last District Meeting of the transfer and we lunched at the Kotsu Center. 
After lunch we jointed with the Choro to teach a wonderful single lady that has the most marked Book of Mormon, yet she tells us that she really doesn't have any interest in the gospel.
Lunch Group:  Front; Wada, Kano, Barros, Hansen, Lawson, & Watanabe Choro.

Back; Takeda, Swasey & Cox Choro, Mueller & Furusawa Shimai, Hoffman Choro, Tom & Bess

Tuesday an 85 year old man who was introduced to the Gospel 40 years ago was baptized.  It was a wonderful day.
Tuesday's baptism. Mueller & Furusawa Shimai, Hoffman Choro, Tomomatsu Shimai, her father, Kouri Kyudai, H. Watanabe Choro, Bess & Tom.
Wednesday we fixed breakfast of bacon, sausage, and pancakes for the missionaries while we were waiting for the transfer calls.  Change came again!  The next change is when we go home in three weeks.  Not sure if we are ready for that much change all at once!
                                                            Another heart attack!

Elder Tashiro came for an English lesson.  The Choro jointed with us to teach Matsuda Shimai just before Eikaiwa.  We played Jeopardy at Eikaiwa.  Each team had to spell a word to get a chance at picking a category.  The young women did very well on the "Sister Mueller" category.  They love her so much!
Playing Jeopardy at Eikaiwa    
The Wednesday night Eikaiwa students and friends.
Thursday we started transporting at 8 am.  We took missionaries to and from the bus stop and made German pancakes for the missionaries that were waiting for their new companions.
Bess, H. Watanabe Choro and Tom at the bus stop.
Hashimoto Shimai and her daughter say goodby to Mueller Shimai.
If you do not have an umbrella, sometimes one has to use something else.  Kametani Shimai and Mueller Shimai.    

German Pancakes for the missionaries that were left behind.  

New companionship, A. Watanabe and Furusawa Shimai.
New Kumamoto companionship, Hoffman and Stirland Choro.
Into Hombu for dinner, a Temple session and testimony meeting with the returning missionaries.    We got home about 12:30 am.  Long day!
Missionaries returning home with honor, Montes de Oca Choro, Tustamori, Mueller, and Tingey 

After the temple, pictures. Beus, Oba, and Yamanashi Choro, Beus Shimai, Montes de Oca and Ahn Choro, President and Sister Gustafson, Tsutamori, Mueller, and Tingey Shimai. Clements Choro and Bess and Tom.
Friday, we received a pleasant surprise.  We received a Christmas card from the Briggs Family and also a graduation announcement from our granddaughter, Elysse.  That is a 2011 announcement!  Sometimes the mail comes through.  Tom also got his birthday card from his mother and his birthday is not for another two weeks.  That was fast!  We scheduled apartment visits to Kagoshima for the week before we go home.  Those will be our absolute last.

Saturday, we planned the next transfer's Eikaiwa lessons and also attended Eikaiwa.  It is so fun to learn from the people as we teach them.

Sunday was church and dinner at our home with Watanabe and Furusawa Shimai and Wang, a very wonderful Chinese lady.

At district meeting on Tuesday Sister Mueller shared a thought.  She told us to "not to give up on the Lord." Sometimes when things get hard we tend to give up.  We need to remember that we always have a friend in Christ.  We need to always try to do what he wants us to do and to not give up on him, because he never gives up on us!

Grandma and Grandpa,
Mom and Dad.
Bess and Tom

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Rain of the Century, July 9 - 15, 2012

This week we had the highest rainfall ever recorded in Kumamoto.  We received 20 inches on Thursday and an additional 8 inches on Friday.  Don't know how much on Saturday.  Yes, all the missionaries are safe, but there are at least 20 people confirmed dead and about 20 people missing. here in Kumamoto. President Fujita reported today that all active members of the Church are accounted for.

We postponed our apartment checks to Nobeoka and Oita on Friday as our garmin "Millie" sometimes takes us on questionable roads and we had to go over the Aso mountain range where the heaviest rains and mudslides were.  We will go check those apartments in two weeks when the rainy season is over.

Monday we took both the Choro and Shimai shopping.  The Choro for food and the Shimai for Muller Shimai to find a kokeshi doll to take home next week. No kokeshi doll, but Tom suffered through a clothing store.  Good stuff!   It was a good day and we had a lot of fun at Family Home Evening that night.  We played "Spoons" again and ate chocolate cake, banana bread, and watermelon.

Kikue and Furasawa Shimai eating goodies.

Since Japanese people have to walk a lot after shopping, they make handles to carry every thing that can not fit in a sack!  This limits the "watermelon busts."
Fun toe socks Bess found.  Tom bought some toe socks that were black, blue and boring.

Tuesday we enjoyed district meeting and celebrated Takada Choro's birthday with a chocolate zucchini cake. Only cost $5 to buy the 2 cups of zucchini required.
Happy birthday Choro!        


Watanabe and Takada Choro after cleaning check in Yatsushiro.
Zone Leaders split out after district meeting, so Watanabe Choro got to help get Yatsushiro apartment in shape!
Like the Frog?
Shirakawa river running high and muddy Friday, the day after the 20 inches of rain, floods and mudslides.
Saturday, picking the Choro up at the bus stop.
Roads in Kumamoto on Saturday.  Yep, still raining.
Mueller, Hashimoto and Furasawa Shimai and Tashiro Choro.
Hashimoto Shimai was baptized by Tashiro Choro Saturday night.  She was first introduced to the Gospel 17 years ago.

Yea!  Bess was so relieved to be finished teaching the last Relief Society lesson that after church she was surprised to be asked to teach the Young Women on Fast Sunday.  One good thing, she only has to prepare 15 minutes of lesson as the translation takes the other 15 minutes. 

Oh, thank heaven for good music to touch the hearts of those listening.  Bess shared the children's song "The Things I Do" with the Relief Society Shimai today.  It is not in the Japanese Children's Songbook.  The message was perfect for the lesson "Doing Our Part to Share the Gospel."  4th verse;  "In everything I do they'll see I am what I profess to be.  Then when the elders find their door, they'll say, "Come in and tell us more!" 

As Church members so many people are watching us and our actions...if we truly value the Gospel we will do our best to live by all of it's teachings. If we do this we will be doing missionary work.  Please prepare to serve missions,  the world needs missionaries!  We each need the blessings, and we can tell you they are many!

Grandpa and Grandma
Dad and Mom
Tom and Bess 

Sunday, July 8, 2012

A week in Kumamoto.

It was great to spend a week at home.  Kumamoto has become the place we like to be. The people and missionaries are very good to us.  The bed is uncomfortable, but it makes thinking of the bed waiting for us in Annabella even better.
Monday we hosted another Family Home Evening.  We played "Spoons," had a spiritual thought, and had treats.
The game of "Spoons."  We were eliminated early!
Our FHE crowd.     

We had the best day of inspecting apartments on Tuesday!  All three were very clean and so were the missionaries.
Celestial, Hoffman and Watanabe Choro, Kumamoto Zone Leaders, won a trip to the bakery next to our apartment with their clean apartment.

Furasawa and Muller Shimai, Nagamini, liked the bakery too.      

Barros, Hansen, Lawson, and Kano Choro, Shimizu/Tsuboi, got triple scoops for the price of a double scoop at Baskin Robbins 31 flavors.
 Wednesday we transported missionaries in preparation for meeting our new Mission President on Thursday. We finished the final preparations for the 4th of July Eikaiwa class.  We did an American History word search and vocabulary.  We also played a "name the states" game.  The Japanese people really know our states.  We sang the National Anthem and Yankee Doodle and then  treated everyone to Twinkies and Strawberry Twizzlers.  Having access to a military base is very handy. Some of the students said the Twizzlers tasted like plastic.   After the prayer Watanabe and Tipton Choro played their guitars and everyone sang along.  We did not have fireworks!   Fun 4th of July!! 
Furusawa and Mueller Shimai giving the spiritual message.

The States game winners.
 Thursday the Kumamoto Zone met, were instructed and interviewed by President and Sister Gustafson.  The Gustafson's are full of energy and ready for the challenge of leading the Japan Fukuoka Mission.  Since we have been on our mission, we have been amazed at how we have been blessed with the ability to instantly love so many people.  This was one of those instant love days for all of us!

Bess made Swasey Choro a chocolate oatmeal birthday cake.  He got the cake and a song at lunch.

Twins? Lawson and Everett Choro at lunch.

We ended the week buying Elders apartment supplies, visiting members and others, attending Saturday's Eikaiwa, attending church, and having 6 guests for a Sunday dinner of roast beef, potatoes and gravy, green salad with ranch dressing, corn, (not cob), creamy orange jello, fresh banana bread and watermelon slices.  Not a serving left!  Sure hope this blessing of cooking good food comes home with us. 

 We even had dry weather Saturday afternoon and Sunday!

We love the many colors of cars here in Japan.  Here are a few that caught our eye this week.

We love it here in Japan.  Slow down time!  We love bearing our testimonies of the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ.  We love him and want to serve him to the best of our ability.  We love all of you and pray that you will embrace the Gospel of Jesus Christ fully in your lives.

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