Saturday, December 28, 2013

Week 47 - December 23-30, 2013

This week I rode with Elder Koberstein to the bank in Fukuoka.  On the way back to honbu he took me over this mountain.
We went through an amazing little park with beautiful stone paths/roads.
I pushed by bike up the steepest part. Can you imagine why?  I suggested that next time we should take the low road with only a slight hill for Fukuoka.  We usually bike around this park.  I know why.
This week was Christmas.  In Japan people work on Christmas.  It is not a holiday.  We did have the day off and were able to talk to many of our children.  We had the opportunity to attend a brunch at the mission home.  The mission president has one of his son's families here for Christmas.  We also had the opportunity to provide computers for the sisters in Fukuoka to Skype their families.  In the evening we enjoyed Eikaiwa (English class) with some of our students.  We watched "It's a Wonderful Life" in English.  It is one of my favorite Christmas movies and I love watching it every year.  These activities made for a wonderful Christmas Day.
Here is Elder Koberstein sporting a warm stocking cap that fits under his helmet and keeps his head warm when we bike.  We so appreciate our daughter who sent them to us, they are very helpful during the very cold winter here.  Not as cold as Logan, but much colder than Antioch.
One of our granddaughters sent us this beautiful Christmas Card.  Thank you for taking the time to think of us so far away.  We love you and had a wonderful Christmas.

 I had an interesting experience Friday Morning.  The mission received an e-mail from the Tokyo South Mission about an Elders Christmas package that had been sent to them from another mission in Japan.  This Elder was not in their mission so the mission secretary e-mailed all the Missions in Japan to see if she could find out where this Elder was serving.  We happened to have an Elder by that last name who had called the day before asking about his Christmas package.  We had told him that we had not seen it.  So I e-mail Tokyo South Mission to let them know he was in our mission.

A little while after I sent the e-mail the mission secretary called me.  She asked if I was so and so's mother?  We had a nice visit.  She said she knew we were in Japan but had not expected our paths to cross.  It was fun to visit a few minutes about our connection.

Saturday has been a lazy day in which we have done laundry, clean the apartment, prepared Sunday School lessons, shopped, watched the BYU bowl game, attended a baptism and enjoyed some down time.
The office secretary before me left a beautiful display of second hand store dishes.  She said that Japan is famous for beautiful dishes and if she was going to live here she wanted to enjoy them.  Today I picked up a dish with cranes on it.  I love that many dishes often have designs inside, not just on the outside.  The dishes are then beautiful on the shelf as well as when in use.

Scriptures for this week
You say - "It's impossible"  
God says - "...The things which are impossible with men are possible with God."  
Luke 18:27

You Say - "I'm too tired"
God says - "Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me: for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."  Matthew 11:28-30

You say - "Nobody really loves me"
God says - "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."  John 3:16

You say - "I can't figure things out"
God says - "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart: and lean not unto thine own understanding.
In all they ways acknowledge him, and he shall direst they paths."  Proverbs 3:5-6

You say - "I can't do it." 
God says - "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me."  Philippians 4:13

You say - "I'm not able."
God says - "And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:"  2 Corinthians 9:8 

You say - "It's not worth it." 
God says - "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God..."  Romans 8:28

You say - "I can't forgive myself."
God says - "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."  1 John 1:9   

You say - "I can't manage."
God says - "But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus."  Philippians 4:19   

You say - "I'm afraid"
God says - "For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind."  2 Timothy 1:7   

You say - "I'm always worried and frustrated."
God says - "Casting all your care upon him, for he careth for you,"  1 Peter 5:7

You say - "I am not smart enough."
God says - "But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:  1 Corinthians 1:30 

You say - "I feel all alone."
God says - "...he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee."  Hebrews 13:5 

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Week 46 - December 15-22

This week I made pizza.  The couple who lived in the apartment before us left pepperoni and grated mozzarella cheese.  It needed using so I made pizza.  It is amazing what you can bake in a toaster oven.
For those of you who or looking for different ideas for Christmas, my friend show me how to make scriptures from miniature chocolate nuggets bars.  The BIBLE scripture she choose was Luke 2:11 "For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord" and the BOOK OF MORMON  scripture is Moroni 10:5  "And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things".  Nice eatable party favors for this time of year.  
This week we had the opportunity to take a new military relations couple to Sasabo.  They will be working with the military base in Sasabo.  The mission opened a new apartment for them.  They now will be inspecting the Nagasaki Zone apartments.  We will have no more trips to that side of the island.  It was a beautiful evening to drive to Sasabo.  We enjoy the sunset on the way there.
The weekend found us in Kumamoto.  Saturday we had a Christmas luncheon for the nine missionaries currently serving in the Kumamoto and Nagamine Wards.  We followed the Japanese tradition of celebrating Christmas with Kentucky Fried Chicken and Christmas Cake (from Costco).  Pictured is the the Kentucky Fried Chicken store where we bought lunch.
This is the Christmas Cake from Costco we enjoyed.  It had delicious strawberry filling between the layers.

None of the Elders and Sister in Kumamoto were transfer during the last transfer time.  Transfers happen every six week in this mission.  At that time some missionaries will move to new areas to work.  I think it is rare to have all the missionaries stay in an area.  Next transfers happens the end of December.  We had worked with all nine missionaries in Kumamoto before coming to Fukuoka to work in the mission office (honbo) last November.

It was a wonderful holiday weekend visiting our friends in the Nagimine and Kumamoto Wards.  Saturday night we attended the Nagamine Ward Christmas party.  It was fun to be part of the celebration the the Saviors birth with the ward members.
Sunday evening we enjoyed Beethoven No. 9 Symphony at the Kumamoto Prefecture Theater.  This picture was taken in the parking lot before we entered the theater.
Our Japanese teacher at the Kumamoto International Center, was part of the men's choir that sang.  He also sang with the men's choir  in the Vatican last summer.  I have more appreciation of Beethoven and the love the Japanese people have for his 9th Symphony.  It is commonly preformed throughout Japan this time of year.  The performance sung was in German.  The message in the words is wonderful.

Oh friends, not these sounds!
Let us instead strike up more pleasing
and more joyful ones!

Joy, beautiful spark of the divinity,
Daughter from Elysium,
We enter your sanctuary, burning with fervour,
o heavenly being!
Your magic brings together
what custom has sternly divided.
All men shall become brothers,
wherever your gentle wings hover.

Whoever has been lucky enough
to become a friend to a friend,
Whoever has found a beloved wife,
let him join our songs of praise!
Yes, and anyone who can call one soul
his own on this earth!
Any who cannot, let them slink away
from this gathering in tears!

Every creature drinks in joy
at nature's breast;
Good and Bad alike
follow her trail of roses.
She gives us kisses and wine,
a true friend, even in death;
Even the worm was given desire,
and the cherub stands before God.

Gladly, just as His suns hurtle
through the glorious universe,
So you, brothers, should run your course,
joyfully, like a conquering hero.
Be embraced, you millions!
This kiss is for the whole world!
Brothers, above the canopy of stars
must dwell a loving father.
Do you bow down before Him, you millions?
Do you sense your Creator, o world?
Seek Him above the canopy of stars!
He must dwell beyond the stars.

This nativity is made out of wooden chopsticks. 
Scripture of the week
Luke 2:11

"For unto you is born this day
 in the city of David a Savior, 
which is Christ the Lord"

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Week 45 - December 8-14, 2013

 This week we experience our first beautiful sunset in Fukuoka.  The picture is taken from our balcony.
This week honbu was very busy getting everything ready for Christmas.  On Tuesday Sister G. ask me to help tie ribbons for the presents from the mission president and his wife.  I spent the afternoon on Tuesday tying ribbons and visiting.  It was a fun change from secretary activities.  While we were there Sister G. said she hope that they would finish cleaning the temple before Christmas.  When we biked into to the office of Friday we saw a truck blocking our entrance to the office as they were taking down the scaffolding on the temple.
It will be beautiful again for Christmas this year.
We rode our bikes around to the back entrance to the temple and front of honbu.  I took this picture of the entrance to the zoo that shares the same little circle drive with the temple on the way
 This is the road we bike on to go to the back side of the temple and honbu offices. The temple entrance is on the right hand side of the road.
We got a package from home this week.  It had just the right size Christmas tree and decorations for it.
The package was complete with a nativity.  We are enjoying it on our table.
Saturday we attended two Japanese classes.  I took this picture when we biked to the morning class.
It was at the fire station education center.  We learned about all kinds of emergencies and what they felt like as well as what we should do. It was a wonderful training to be part of.
 One part of the building had a display of firefighters uniforms from around the world.
One of the displays was from Oakland, California.  It made me wonder if Oakland is a sister city to Fukuoka.
Terry liked this early fire engine on display.
I enjoyed the activity of putting out a fire but the picture does not show the fire we were trying to put out.  We learned that there is only a limited amount of water and that you target the base of the fire, not the flames.  We also experienced a magnitude seven earthquake and typhoon winds up to 30.  We had to escape a smoke filled building.  It was a fun educational class in Japanese.
We passed this art display of two crabs on the way home.  It is fun to bike and be able to see things up close.
Terry and I had to take a picture of this sign on the sidewalk before a blind road entrance.  We wonder if there had been accidents at this site.  Japan has lots of blind road entrances which challenge driver, bikes and pedestrians to use safety.

Scripture of the week:
"Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel."

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Week 44 - December 1-7, 2013

The weekend of December 1 we spent in Kumamoto.  It was fun to see our friends there again.  As you can see houses are being build on our taxi cab parking lot.  One is almost finished on the outside.  It is the only house in the area with a red tile roof.  The house next to it is also started.
 We enjoyed the sunset from our Kumamoto apartment balcony one more time.
I decorated the very small Christmas tree that was in the apartment.  There was only a very regular size star to put on the top.
Terry and I enjoyed being out of the office and seeing the beautiful fall colors that are still visible on Kyushu.
These beautiful colored leaves are on the hill behind of Honbu (mission offices) and in front the temple.  On Thursday I took this picture on the walk to the Fukuoka Botanical Gardens which is up the hill from Honbu.  The Fukuoka Children's Zoo is on the other side of the office.  Everyone in Fukuoka knows were the zoo and botanical gardens are and weekends find this a very busy place.  The zoo, garden and temple all draw crowds of people.  Many drive cars and find parking hard to find.
Terry and I had heard a lot about the wonderful shopping at Tenjin  Core which is the main part of the downtown Fukuoka.  We decided to go see it Friday evening.
There were beautiful decorations everywhere.
This is the building that has Rainbow Plaza on the eight floor.  There are lots of small stores and beautiful decorations everywhere.
We rode the escalator up to the eighth floor enjoying the sights.  When we decided to take the elevator back down but it was shut down for the night at eight p.m.  The escalators were only running down, thank goodness.  We were being told that it was closing time, I think, but did not understand the Japanese message.
This is a big bus station in the Tenjin area that we passed as we were going home.  It was a fun adventure.
Saturday we biked to a 10 am. Japanese class.  This is picture I took from one of the bridges we rode across on the way.
We also attended a 7 pm Japanese class but drove to this evening one.  It was the Christmas BINGO party night.  We expected to play BINGO and learn to listen to the numbers said in Japanese. but it was a nice meal followed by one game of bingo which everybody won.  It was a fun evening!
This week I decorated the small Christmas tree found in our apartment with decorations from years past.  It fits on the coffee table which is perfect.  We are now decorated for Christmas.

Thought of the week:
"Goals reflect the desires of our hearts and our vision of what we can accomplish."  
Preach My Gospel pg. 146