Monday, July 29, 2013

Week 25 - July 23- 29

We had a zone meeting on Tuesday.  It had and interesting activity were we were each given one of our zone leaders precious letters from home.  The challenge was to  keep it dry while floating it in a bowl of water.  We were given plastic UNO cards and packaging tape and teams to work together on this project.  It was interesting to see all the different ways of keeping the letter dry.  All the letters stayed dry.   

Following the activity we were asked what we learned from this activity.  Some of the ideas we came up were:  Our zone leader trusted  us with something very precious to him, he had faith that we would take care of it for him and return it dry to him.  
We were taught that we need to build a relationship of trust with those we work with.  All the letters were returned dry to our zone leader but each was floated in a different boat.  It was interesting that there was not one answer but a different answer to this problem by each group.  Life is this way often there are many ways to get to the same place.  It depends on what you have to work with how you reach the end.
Wednesday we went to the International Center where we taught English classes and attended a Japanese language class.  We have learned a lot.  I can read hiragana and some katakana but may not know the words I read.  After our lessons were over we walked over to the covered shopping mall.  On the way we passed a little park.  It was a picture opportunity for me.
Terry and I have been learning more about addresses in Japan.  We still have a difficult time sometimes finding were we are going but guess that is true no matter where you live.  It can be difficult in the states as well.
Friday was the day for an apartment check in Shimizu/Tsuboi.  The Elders had a wonderful clean apartment and one of them had a birthday as well.
We had to celebrate with dinner at the MK restaurant and had "shabu shabu".  It is an order and cook your own, all you can eat restaurant.  
There was a pot of hot broth on the table to which you added your choices of vegetables and meats from the menu.  
It was a very enjoyable birthday party lunch. 
Saturday night we had the opportunity to attend the Roasso Kumamoto Soccer team game.  Kumamoto has a beautiful facility for the games and it was very fun to be part of the viewing crowd.  We enjoyed selecting dinner from the many choices outside the stadium while waiting for others in our group to arrive.

Sunday finished with a ward dinner in the Nagamine Ward which was a good-bye dinner for five young adults, 3 are going to BYU Hawaii, 1 to UVU in Utah and the fifth is marrying.  The ward will miss these wonderful young people.

Thursday, July 25, 2013


When I woke up yesterday my husband had written this quote on our little white board by the telephone.  "We are not obedient because we are blind, we are obedient because we can see" by President Boyd K. Packer.  Obedience bring blessing to our lives.
This can apply to many parts of ones life.  We have been taught that we should grow what food we can (even if we live in an eighth floor apartment).  For dinner last night we enjoyed a green salad with cherry tomatoes from our balcony garden.  What a wonderful reward for obedience.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Week 24 - July 17-22, 2013
Dear family,
This week was transfer week.  We had two missionaries leave Kumamoto, 
We were privileged to take one of them to the bus stop on Thursday.  The two new missionaries are Japanese.
Friday night was the Nagamine Ward Summer Festival or Natsumatsuri.  They asked Terry and I to provide a game.  We had a watermelon seed spitting contest.  The winner was an Elder who spit a seed past the end of the sidewalk.  
We had an interesting Ward Party in the Kumamoto ward on Saturday as well.  It was called a Nagashi Somen party.  Somen noodles for dinner are put down a bamboo trough for you to catch.  
The trough is set up so that water can be running through it continually.  One or two people slowly put cooked somen noodles (thin less that 1.5 mm dia.) in the water at the top and let them flow down with the water. You then catch them with your chopsticks and put the noodles in your bowl.  The bowl is filled has sauce, chopped vegetables and meats and coarsely grated cheese etc. of your choice.  You eat right where you are standing catching the noodles.  It was a fun experience.  The bamboo was fresh cut and very green giving the noodles a slightly different flavor. 
At our last interview with the mission President we ask for permission to have a “Why I Believe” fireside in the Kumamoto area.  He was excited as he had attended a “Why I Believe” fireside in Oakland, California before coming to Japan as a mission president.  He said he had thought about trying to do it in Fukuoka.   Travel distances in our mission make it impossible for all who desire to attend to do so in one place.
Sunday evening we had our first “Why I Believe” fireside in our apartment for the three wards and one branch in Kumamoto city.  The institute teacher was our guest speaker.  We also asked two recent converts from the Kumamoto ward to share their conversion story.  Our guest speaker shared two interesting scriptures.  The first one is Isaiah 18: 1-2 “Woe to the land shadowing with wings, which is beyond the rivers of Ethiopia:  That sendeth ambassadors by the sea, even in vessels of bulrushes upon the water, saying, Go ye swift messengers, to a people terrible from their beginning hitherto; a nation meted out and trodden down, whose land the rivers have spoiled!”.  The second scripture is  D&C 109:54 “Have mercy, O Lord, upon all the nations of the earth; have mercy upon the rulers of our land; may those principles, which were so honorable and nobly defended, namely, the Constitution of our land, by our fathers, be established forever.” 

How do you feel that these two scriptures are connected to Japan?

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Week 23 July 10-16, 2013

This rice field has a small bunch of seedlings in each group.  We have only seen the seedling hand planted but in the large fields it seems that there should be some automation.  Seedlings are grown in flats in green houses. 
Some of the fields are starting to dry up.  We occasionally see others fields still being planted.   I wonder if they have a long enough growing season to spread harvesting time out.
 The last picture looks like a grain storage unit.  It is huge and surrounded by rice patties.

The missionaries in the Kumamoto/Nagamine Wards came over about lunch time today with birthday cake and spam rice rolls made by the Sister missionaries.
Terry ordered three large pizza and we had a birthday party.  
I love the creative birthday card the missionaries made and then each of the Elders and Sisters signed it for him.  
At our zone meeting on Tuesday the lesson was on having faith.  This scripture in Alma 32:21 is a favorite of mine.  “And now as I said concerning faith - ‘faith is not to have a perfect knowledge of things; therefore if ye have faith ye hope for things which are not seen, which are true.’”  It reminds me of the little girl who brought lunch to her father who was digging a well.  Her father asked her to drop his lunch to him.  When he looked at it he noticed there was enough for two and asked her to jump down to him and join him for lunch.  She could not see him.  Her father reassured her he would catch her.  She jumped having faith that her father would catch her.  We need to be like the little girl and have faith that Heavenly Father will not ask us to do something we cannot do.  We need to take the first step and he will be there to help us accomplish what he has asked of us.  Terry and I have found this principle to be true in our lives.  We have often felt Heavenly Fathers presence as we take the step into the dark.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Week 22 July 2-9

Week 22-July 2-9
Today is Terry’s birthday.  We got up early and took the zone leaders to the train station.  They have training today in Fukuoka at the mission home.  Traffic reminded me of California rush hour traffic.  It took us an hour to drive what should have taken 25 minutes at the most.  I made him a oatmeal cake.  We chose no icing and only one candle.  
We are starting the celebration of Tanabata (七夕), people here celebrate this day by writing wishes, sometimes in the form of poetry, on small pieces of paper and hanging them on a bamboo tree.   This is a tree inside the International Center.  I wonder if it will have more decorations this week.  
This week we inspected the Kumamoto apartments.  Both the Sisters and the Elders received celestial ratings and both had time for lunch.  We enjoyed lunch together at the Gray Gull.  The army of God in Kumamoto is amazing.  We are truly blessed to have associations with them.
Saturday after Ekiwai we drove to Nobeoka.  It is a smaller city on the Pacific Coast.  Missionaries were taken out of the area because the numbers of missionaries when down.  This coming transfer there will be enough missionaries to have some there.  The branch members are so happy.  The zone leaders went to make sure the apartment was ready for the new occupants.  
Nobeoka has a beautiful little chapel owned by the church.  We enjoyed visiting two less active members with the branch president and one of his councilors Saturday evening after we got in town.  Sunday we attended Fast and Testimony Meeting, Sunday School and Priesthood/Relief Society.  It was wonderful to share testimonies with members of the branch and feel of their spirit.
We did enjoy the three and a half hour countryside roads.  
The countryside is beautiful.  The rice fields have really grown and some are starting to dry up.  We see very few cows or large animals at all.  The fields are mostly made into rice patties. 
We drove though many little towns/farm areas. 
This is one of a number to tunnels through mountains.  I love the beautiful art displayed.
We are taking a Japaneses class at the Kumamoto International Center.  Our teacher 
bought this beautiful children's book for us to read.  It is called Kaguyahimi.  
The book opens from the back and the text is right to left and top to bottom.  This is the 
first page. The book is about a princes found inside a bamboo tree by an old man.
Monday evening Terry and I biked almost to the train station to see if this bridge was open for traffic as it would save us much time Tuesday morning as we took our zone leaders to the train station for a training at the mission home.  As you can see we started our bike ride a little late.  
We are loving our time in Kumamoto!!!!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

11 Keys to good Visiting Teaching

Today in Relief Society our lesson was on how to be a successful visiting teacher.  These are the scripture references for each of the eleven keys to success.
1.  Work with your companion 
Ecclesiasles 4:9-10
     Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour.
     For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up.

2.  Pray before you visit
II Nephi 32:9
     But behold, I say unto you that ye must pray always, and not faint; that ye must not perform any thing unto the Lord save in the first place ye shall pray unto the Father in the name of Christ, that he will consecrate they performance unto thee, that they performance may be for the welfare of they soul.

 3.  Reflect love
Alma 38:12
     Use boldness, but not overbearance; and also see that ye bridle all your passions, that ye may be filled with love, see that ye refrain from idleness.
Galatians 5:13-14
     For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love, serve one another.
     For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love they neighbour as thyself.

4.  Be sensitive in what we say
Mosiah 4:30
     But this much I can tell you, that if ye do not watch yourselves, and your thoughts, and your words, and your deeds, and observe the commandments of God, and continue in the faith of what ye have heard concerning the coming of our Lord, even unto the end of your lives, ye must perish. And now, O man, remember, and perish not. 
1 Timothy 4:16
     Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them:  for in doing this thou shall both save thyself, and them that hear thee.

5.  Notice sister wants and needs
Alma 34:27
     Yea, and when you do not cry unto the Lord, let your hearts be full, drawn out in prayer unto him continually for your welfare, and also for the welfare of those who are around you.

6.  Listen to those you visit
May 2001 Ensign Jeffery R. Holland "Witness unto Me"
     "If we listen with love, we won't need to wonder what to say.  It will be given to us-by the Spirit and by our friends."

7.  Report through proper channels
D&C 72:3-5
      And verily in this thing ye have done wisely, for it is required of the Lord, at the hand of every steward, to render an account of his stewardship, both in time and in eternity.
      For he who is faithful and wise in time is accounted worthy to inherit the mansions prepared for him of my Father.
      Verily I say unto you, the elders of the church in this part of my vineyard  shall render an account of their stewardship unto the bishop, who shall be appointed of me in this part of my vineyards.

8.  Do not listen to rumors
Matthew 12:36
     But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.

9.  Choose a better way and report quickly
D&C 70:3-4
      I, the Lord, have appointed them, and ordained them to be stewards over the revelations and commandments which I have given unto them, and which I shall hereafter give unto them;
      And an account of this stewardship will I require of them in the day of judgment.

10.  Think how wonderful Relief Society is
II Nephi 28:30
     For behold, thus saith the Lord God:  I will give unto the children of men line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little; and blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts, and lend an ear unto my counsel, for they shall learn wisdom; for unto him that receiveth I will give more; and from them that shall say, We have enough, from them shall be taken away even that which they have.

11. Take advantage of opportunities
III Nephi 13:20
     But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Week 21 - June 25-July 1

Week 21 – June 25-July 1

We have been watching the landscaping of our Stake Center the past few weeks.  It is finally completed.  The Sister missionaries commented on what people on the street are saying about the church.  They felt it was a mess before and that it now looks great.  Not having a gate and bushes up to your chest does make the building look friendly. 
Thursday we drove to Saga for an apartment inspection and then on to Sasebo Friday.  The country side is beautiful and green.  I always enjoy to drive.
We stopped at the 100 yen store outside of Saga and I bought two friends for my patio. 
I have ripe cherry tomatoes now.  Something in my garden is producing.  The watermelon and the Japanese zucchini have been learning experiences.  I have hopes for the zucchini planted from seeds sent from California.  They look good right now. 
Terry and I drove to Sasebo on Friday.  In the evening while in Sasebo we were able to go to a lookout point where we could see some of the many small islands off shore.  South Korea is about 100 miles away.  
The two boats give tours around the islands and looked very inviting.
This little shop had kayaks and scuba gear.  It reminded us of our California home.
This little watermelon was on sale.  I bought it and it tasted delicious.  It is very small (notice the fork and small plate).  I was surprised at the size of the rind.  We do not see seedless watermelons at all here.
We went bicycling again today.  Japan always surprises me with beautiful flowers and today was not exception.  These flowers were growing wild along the creek.
They were in blossom in purple and in yellow.