Monday, April 29, 2013

Week 12 - April 23-29, 2013

Tuesday, 4-23-13  was a zone meeting/activity at Kumamoto Castle.  We enjoy a bike ride to the castle with Sister Suzuki and Kurbayashi and games and picnic lunch along with transfer calls.  We also went as a zone to Kumamoto Prefectural Museum of Art.  The Elders enjoyed feeding bread to the Pigeons at lunch time.  Notice the castle across the field we had the activity on.  I did not realize the size of this beautiful park.
Wednesday, 4-24-13  Terry went to the committee board drawing at the city hall with Elder Wood and Tanaka.  I went to the International Center, which is next door, for our Japanese Class Lesson there.  Terry met me there after the drawing.  The two activities conflict since the time was changed from 8:30 to 9:30am.  We had three young women contact us from our advertisement to teach English lessons at the Inter National Center.  We start teaching them this coming week. 
Thursday, 4-24-13  was transfer day.  We started at 8:30am dropping off Elder Usui at the bus stop and did not finish until about  6:30pm when we dropped Elder Weber of at the train station to be with his incoming companion.  It was an amazing day.  This is a picture of the big bus station  when we were trying to decide what to do as one of the new green beans did not arrive as expected.  The green bean was from San Paulo Brazil area.  He had gotten off the bus one stop to soon.  After waiting a little while and having no one was there to pick him up he found a phone and called the mission office.  They told him to wait where he was and someone would come and pick him up.  In the mean time we had contacted our zone leader and he was in the process of organizing a bus stop search.  We were all very happy to receive the call from the mission office. 

Friday, 4-6-13 Friday was spent studying and then we went shopping for a study chair and futon for Elder Trane.  The missionary apartment here in Kumamoto went from a two Elder to a four Elder apartment, thus the shopping trip.  Terry and I hung up three more Eikaiwa posters on committee boards.  They were in parts of the city that we had not hung up posters in before and as a result not marked in our Garmin.

Saturday, 4-27-13  We started the day with a Skype language class from the MTC and then biked over to a softball game ward activity.  We had a good time visiting with an older lady that walked by the park.  She could not believe all the “gaijin”’s (foreigner’s).  She even had me stand up so she could see how tall I was.  We had a good time visiting with her.  
Sunday, 4-28-13  We enjoyed Stake Conference.  After Stake Conference we had the Elders and Sisters over for lunch between Stake Conference and Stake Leadership Meeting.  The Sisters and I went to visit a Sister in the Nagamine Ward.  In the evening Terry and I decided to go for a bike ride.  As we were coming home we ran into the Elders Morris and Rowel.  They asked us if we had any Eikaiwa fliers.  We gave them what we had and they started talking to a man on the bridge where we had stopped.  They have a teaching appointment.  

Monday, 4-29-13  We enjoyed a picnic and games with the Kumamoto Ward.  Terry and I biked to the picnic with Sister Suzuki and Kurbayashi.  Terry and then decided to bike down the river and see if we could find a beautiful place we had seen while putting up Eikaiwa Posters in Committee Boards.  

As we biked along the river disappeared and in front of us was a Baskens Robins.  We had to try it in Japan.  It was great but seemed a little on the expensive side.  It was very busy.  We had a fun bike ride ending up with Elder Tran and his new companion coming over to e-mail home and we made a quick trip to the best grocery store we have found.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Week 1 - February 4-10, 2013

We enjoyed the week at the MTC.  I did not take pictures.  This is our drive back to California.
A picture of Mt. Diablo in the distance.
Good by USA!  Hello Japan!

Week 0 - January 21 - February 3, 2013 Language immersion

Drove to the Missionary Training Center from our home in California.  We discovered real winter with snow.
Studying a new language twelve hours a day six day a week is work but it is an amazing experience
We enjoyed time in the tall lab doing language drills.
Winter is beautiful but very icy. 
We got individual attention (just two of us).  It was great!
New missionaries arriving.
Provo temple from the Missionary Training Center.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Week 11 - April 15-22, 2013

Tuesday, April 16 Terry and I had the opportunity to drive Elders Fukino and Elder Mabiuchi to a doctor appointment.  Elder Fukino had a doctor appointment with one of the doctors in the Kumamoto ward.  He works in a little country hospital.  It was a beautiful drive.  We then took the Elders out for lunch at a Ramym shop.  Doctors offices are in the hospital.  This is a picture of the doctors office and hospital we visited.

As you probably already know we bought bicycles April 15, Monday.  It has been a fun challenge to learn to ride mine in a dress.  It is done all the time in Japan but I lacked experience and the proper clothing, maybe.  I have bought a pair of black exercise shorts to put under my dress.  Talking to Gwen today, she said to try a pin in my skirt between my legs.  Remove the pin when you are not biking.  I am going to have to try a safety pin.  This is a picture of Terry riding his new bike in front of our apartment.  
On bikes we are able to go place we would have had to walk to before.  
 Look how you ride through the gate.  I have not been brave enough to try it in a dress but Terry enjoyed attempting to go through with some success at a slow roll. 
We saw a gray heron fishing in the river and a crow feeding there as well.
This is a trail along the river.  The rivers here are all cemented in.
The Azaleas are grown everywhere and make beautiful trimmed hedges that right now are filled with blossoms.   Soil must be slightly acidic for them to grow so well.  I have a hard time keeping mine alive at home.  We have to make to soil acidic for them to thrive.
My garden is expanding, I added a water melon plant this week.  My tomatoes are really growing.  I have them in four small pots. 

Monday, April 15, 2013

Week 10 - April 8-14, 2013

Today is my mother’s birthday.  My mother, grandmother and I all shared the same birthday month.  That always made me feel special as a child.  Mom and I seemed to share the events of Easter on our birthday often as well.  I love this picture of my mother.  This was taken in 1955.  I was six years old which meant I would start school in the fall.  There was no kindergarten when I was five.  Kindergarten in Wyoming started when I was six.  My friend Lynette (who was one year younger) went with me on my first day of school.  I saw her get on the bus and go home.  I was in tears as I thought I had been left at school.  I was quickly reassured that a bus would come for me later when my school day was finished.  The years have changed our physical appearance but the bonds of love have become stronger with time.  I did not realize how blessed I was to have the experience of farm life as a child and often call on what I learned there in what I do today.
When I was about six years old Grandma (Lydia Luetta or Lettie as known in life) Gibbons came to live in my childhood home with Grandpa Gibbons.  Grandpa needed more care than Grandma could give him.  Grandma and I enjoyed this birthday month for many years until she passed away when I was a sophomore in high school.  She bore her testimony to me though her favorite song “I'll Go Where You Want Me to Go”.  She would sing it even when her mind was clouded with Alzheimer’s.  I always knew how she felt about the gospel of Jesus Christ.  This is her wedding picture.  She was married and then waited two years while grandpa serve a mission for the church.  She worked in her father's store while she waited.
When I married Terry another great lady shared my birthday month and that is Terry’s mother’s. The picture is Juanita and Orin holding Terry.
How could I be so blessed to share a month with all these special ladies and I cannot stop here as blessings keep coming, I now share this month with one of my beautiful granddaughter.  April is a special month for me because of all the memories I have of these special women in my life. 

We did not take many pictures this week.  Terry took this picture from our eight floor balcony as the sun was setting. 

On Friday, April 12 we had a second Eikaiwa meeting with the new coordinator for the Kumamoto Ward.  Sister Suzuki and Sister Kurbayashi stopped by the church on their way home from the sister’s conference in Fukuoka.  They both had suitcases on wheels they were pulling along.  The meeting was a little long so they decided that they needed to get started home before the close of the meeting to be home by nine p.m...  I felt impressed that I should offer them a ride but did not do it.  Elder Morris the zone leader asked Terry and me to give them a ride. 
Here General Conference from Salt Lake City, Utah it is translated in the Nihongo (Japanese) language and recorded.  The people listen to conference a week late at a more reasonable time of day.  There was a clothing exchange and free curry meal on Saturday.  The missionaries from Shimizu and Tsuboi came to be part of this even.  They stayed with Elder Morris and Elder Usui.  We felt inspired to invite the Elders and Sister to our apartment for lunch between sessions of conference on Sunday.  Here there is only a one hour break between sessions.  I made sandwiches and soup and then had chips and salsa (Costco special) and brownies.  It was nice to get together as missionaries. 

We are figuring out what a missionary couple in Kumamoto does but sometimes we need a wonderful zone leaders help.  It is such a privilege to work side by side with such dedicated young missionaries. 

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Week 9 - April 2-7, 2013

Wednesday - we went to the Kumamoto International Center for our Japanese language class, as we were leaving the center we passed some street vendors.  One was making Takoyaki.  I enjoyed the Takoyaki made by the Young Men and Young Women for a church activity so bought some for my lunch.  The Takoyaki has octopus meat inside each ball and things put on top to make it look very appetizing and add flavor.
Thursday - we took the “Queen Arrow” ferry from Kumamoto Port to Shimabara Port on our way to Nagasaki to check two apartments there.  It was a fun ride.  We checked two apartments in Nagasaki.  We had a little extra time in the evening so we went to the "Peace Park".  What a fitting remembrance of the tragedy of war.  The park is a beautiful place.

Friday - We check one apartment in Isahaya.  After we finished we drove to Shimabara.  We had a little time to spare before boarding the ferry.  We decided to visit the Shimabara Castle.  We walk through it's 5 levels of museums and around the castle grounds.  It is a beautiful historic museum today for the Azuchi-Momoyama period of history in Japan. 

The castle has a moat around it.  The stone work used to construct the walls of the moat is amazing.  The buildings on top of the walls are made of wood.  

I took this is a picture while we were driving our car on to the ferry.  We were the last car to board this ferry.

We enjoyed going on the top deck of the ferry and watching others feed the sea gull.  When the ferry started for the Kumamoto Port the birds flew about as fast as the boat went and feeding continued.  These birds must get lots of exercise every day for their free meals.

Sunday -  was General Conference for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  It started at 1 a.m. in Japan.  We are going to watch it in English on the internet this week at and in Japanese next weekend with church members here.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Week 8 - March 26 - April 1, 2013

Friday Terry and I drove to Amakusa on the smaller island of Shimoshima with Elder Morris and Elder Usui.  It is a smaller island in the Kumamoto Ward boundaries.  There are about 50 members living there.  It is the area that claims to be where Christianity started in Japan.   In 1549, Francis Xavier, a Jesuit priest, arrived in Japan. His stamina, zeal and willingness to suffer resulted in thousands of conversions.  This is a beautiful Christian Church we passed.

Farmers are getting ready to plant their fields.  Notice the cemetery on top of the hill.

                                       This area had small streets like we saw in Brazil.

At District meeting today the district helped me celebrate my birthday.  Elder Morris and Usui asked Sister Kribayashi and Suzuki to make a cake.  Elder Morris and Usui head a cook book with Traditional recipes in it, a card and a mix to make okomnomiyaki.  The district sang happy birthday to me, a fitting end to a wonder full week.