Sunday, May 25, 2014

Week 68 - May 19-25, 2014

Monday was a very wet preparation day.  It made laundry interesting as we dry it on the balcony.  Japan is a master at building balconies that, in general, rain does not get laundry wet when it rains, at least in the Kumamoto and Fukuoka fufu apartments where we have lived.  Most of the time my laundry does not get wet.  Occasionally the wind will blow the rain into the balcony.
Tuesday found us taking a Japanese conversation class at the YMCA in the covered mall near the Kumamoto Castle.  We have a wonderful teacher that works with us on sentences for situations we come across in daily life in Japan such as shopping, eating in a restaurant etc. 
Wednesday the International Center had this beautiful center piece on display.  I love the simplicity of many of their flower arrangements.  We enjoyed our Japanese class (Nihon kurasu) and the Eikaiwa (English class) following it.  We had a nice bike ride to and from and taught Eikaiwa at the church again in the evening.
Notice the pink heart.  We were told when we first arrived in Japan the to get your suit dry cleaned you look for the pink heart.  They are everywhere, it is true and when you see the heart you can be sure it is a dry cleaners.
This is the yellow net corner between the Kumamoto/Nagamine Elders apartment and ours.  It is our landmark that you turn at this corner.  It is interesting that the garbage is collected in the net on the street for pickup.

Thursday we did apartment checks for the Shimiz/Tsuboi Sister and Elders and the Omuta Elders.  It is always a challenge to be able to know, find places to buy needed items in Japan though over the past year we have become much better at it.  We enjoy a wonderful lunch with the Shimiz/Tsuboi Elders on Thursday and Omuta Elders on Friday.  Pictured is Elder and Sister Koberstein enjoying the sushi bar with the Omuta Elders. 
Saturday was our day to go to the Fukuoka temple.  We enjoyed working there.  It is always a special treat for us.  We had good company, the Shimizu Sisters went with us.  After working at the temple we stopped by Costco which is always an American treat.  We enjoyed a Costco hot dog for dinner before we started back to Kumamoto.

Scripture of the Week
John 3:16-17
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.
For God sent not his Son into the world to comdemn the world; but that the world though him might be saved.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Week 67 - May 12-18, 2014

This week we had the opportunity to visit two sisters that were in hospitals in Kumamoto.  The Kumamoto Sister Missionaries took us to visit the first sister.  We had a nice visit with her and a yogurt drink.  The next sister Elder Koberstein and I visited alone.  Both sisters speak very little English and we speak a little Japanese.  It makes conversation very interesting.  We enjoy and appreciate them for talking to us.  Above is a picture across the street showing the second hospital. 
 This is the street another friend lives on.  We love to visit her.  She speaks very little English and we speak about the same amount of Japanese.  It makes our visits very interesting. She is so patient with our lack of good language skills.  It is always pleasant to stop by her home.
  Since this week was the week after transfers we did not have any apartment checks to do because of the usual zone training meeting.  We had more time for visits and also time to passed out free "English class" or free Eikaiwa class fliers. 
On Saturday evening we enjoyed passing out the Eikaiwi fliers at Lake Ezu.  There are many people who walk their dogs, jog, play with their children etc. there in the evening.  It is a beautiful place.
I enjoyed watching three mallard ducks (magamo) feeding by the lake.  I wondered if they had a nest yet.  We did not see any baby ducks this week.
On the bike ride home we passed by a kindergarten bus parking lot.  Kindergarten buses are so cheerful.  I an told that kindergarten is for children 3 to 6 years old by our Eikaiwa students.  It amazes me children start school so young.
  Sunday was a busy starting with Elder Koberstein speaking in the Nagamine Ward Sacrament Meeting.  After the Kumamoto Ward meetings we visited two sisters with the Kumamoto Sister Missionaries. 
Elder Koberstein and I enjoyed a leaf lettuce salad made from lettuce grown on in our patio garden for dinner.  It is amazing to watch vegetables grown and then enjoy the fruits of that effort. 
A wonderful week in the life of a missionary couple (fuufu) in Japan. 
Scripture of the Week
Ephesians 4:29
Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the used of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Week 66 - May 5-11, 2014

Monday afternoon we biked down to the castle for the celebrations of Golden Week.  The young girls were singing again this year.  Their voices were so beautiful as they bounced off the castle walls.
On the left is the fifth new home foundation built on the taxi cab parking lot we see out our balcony from ground level.  They are beautiful homes but have very little space outside the home for lawn or gardens.  The people here often have planter boxes instead of lawns and gardens.

This week was transfer week.  Tuesday missionaries found out what changes were going to be made.  Thursday was transfer day when Elders and Sisters come and go.  It is always hard to say good by but fun to make new friends and work with other missionaries.  Elder Koberstein and I spent the day taking missionaries to the bus stop and picking them up from the bus stop. 
Saturday was temple day for us at the Fukuoka Japan temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 
It was a real treat which ended at honbu (mission office) where we were able to buy a copy of Preach My Gospel in romonji (on the left).  It is easier for English speaker to read than kanji (on the right). 
Sunday was Mother's Day.  Missionaries have the opportunity to call and talk to their families.  We had the opportunity to talk to our children.  It has been my privilege to be there mother here on earth.  They bless their parents lives in so many ways each day.

 I love the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints about families.  We can be a family forever through Heavenly Fathers plan.  I want to be with my family always.  I love you!
Scripture of the week

Proverbs 22:6
Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Week 65 - April 29-May 4, 2014

This week the building began on the fifth new home on our taxi cab parking lot.  It is amazing the number of homes built on this small piece of land.
This week we had apartment checks in Beppu and Oita.  As we drove over Aso I realized that the deciduous trees were just starting to show green leaves.
The tsubame (swallows) have returned to Japan for the nesting season.  We watched a pair that were building a nest in the NAFCO parking lot.  This NAFCO had its parking underneath the store.  The picture shows the nest that is under construction as well as one of the adult birds. 
The Beppu Elders had a nice clean apartment, as a result we treated them to lunch at the Stamina which is an all you can eat in an hour yakuniku 焼肉 barbecue.   I enjoyed the squid and vegetables.  You can see a squid cooking in the bottom right hand corner of the grill.
We spent the night at the Toyoka Inn in Oita.  The rooms are small but adequate and I enjoy the included Japanese complementary breakfast served in the morning.
This time they had a different miso soup.  It was full of noodles and vegetables.
Friday we checked the Oita Elders apartment.  It was great!  We took the opportunity to treated them to lunch and guess where they chose to go? 
A all you can eat in an hour and half  Stamina yakuniku 焼肉 barbecue.   I had squid and vegetables twice in two days. 
After lunch Elder Koberstein and I went shopping for boards that could be used as bulletin boards in their apartment.  We had seen Styrofoam looking boards used in the Kumamoto Elders apartment and were determined to get some to use in Oita.  NAFCO was the store but it was a long drive/walk from the apartment.  We had to tie them on top of the car and to our amazement it actually worked.  These boards look like Styrofoam but are used to insulate an do not seem as brittle.
After the work was completed in Oita we decided to drive to the Oita Sekizaki Ocean and Astronomical Observatory Hall.  What a wonderful surprise when we got there to see all the big  Koinobori flying over the parking lot. 
They were the largest Koinobori I have seen up close.  A beautiful sight to see. 
 On the drive back to Kumamoto we enjoyed watching the sun set over the ocean.

Scripture of the Week
Alma 30:44
But Alma said unto him:  Thou hast had signs enough; will ye tempt your God?  Will ye say, Show unto me a sign, when ye have the testimony of all these thy brethren, and also all the holy prophets?  The scriptures are laid before thee, yea, and all things denote there is a God; yea, and all that are upon the face of it, yea, and its motion, yea, and also all the planets which move in their regular form do witness that there is a Supreme Creator.