Sunday, June 29, 2014

Week 73 - June 23-29, 2014

I took this picture Wednesday morning as we went jogging in the rain.  It was taken through the car window of others walking in the rain on the other side of the canal.  It is amazing how many walkers/bikers there are even on rainy days here.  We enjoyed our run in the warm rain of Japan's rainy season.
Through the windshield wiper you can see the park were we run.  The grass had been cut and it surely looked nice when we got there even if it was raining.
Wednesday found us at the International Center.  While we were there we were invited to write a wish on colorful pieces of paper for the Tanabata tree.  They requested not in English.  That request meant hiagana, katakana or kanji.  I wrote mine in kanji, with help from Google Translate.  Elder Koberstein wrote his in hiagana which is the first language taught to children in school here.  They will be hung on the Tanabata tree at the International Center when it is put up. 
Above is another beautiful center piece on display this past week at the International Center.  Right now we see bushes of the little red flowers in this display in peoples yards.  They are so delicate and beautiful and remind me of the bleeding heart my mother had in her garden when I was a child.
These are Japanese sandwiches (onigiri).  They are made of rice, sausage and egg wrapped in seaweed.  Our Japanese teacher at the International Center takes these types of sandwiches on hikes.  I am amazed how the rice stays together and they taste so good.  I would have never believed a sandwich of rice would be possible before coming to Japan.  Our friend made them for our lunch Saturday at the temple. 
We had the opportunity to share some pictures of our temple wedding many years ago with our friend's friend at the temple.  We were married in the Logan Temple before returned to Brigham Young University where we were students.  It was a September wedding.  This picture was taken outside the temple after the wedding.  You can see the temple in the background.
This is a picture of the Logan Temple taken on the day we were married. 
Scripture of the Week
John 14:15,21
If you love me, keep my commandments.
He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me; and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. 

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Week 72 - June 16-22, 2014

This week, Tuesday was transfer calls.  That means that young missionaries maybe reassigned to a new area and companion by the mission president.  It was also preparation day and raining. 
We drove the car to the YMCA Japanese class, parking at the Tusboi/Shimizu church and walking from there.  In class we reviewed how to talk about what you are about to do/doko ni ikimasu kawhat we did yesterday/kino wa nani o shimashita kawhat you are going to do/__wa nani o shimashita ka and what we want to do/__ tai desu.  It was a good lesson in that a lot of the material was review for us and as a bonus we had a chance to talk to a native speaker. 
Wednesday found us at the Inter National Center.  A few weeks ago I was looking a the children's books section during our break.  The book On That Summer Day by Shomei Yoh caught my eye.  That book is written about August 9, 1945 in Nagasaki.  Each page is written in both English and Japanese.  I wanted to check it out for a week to read it.  The lady at the desk said no that I understood.  My Japanese is limited so I asked our teacher why they would not let me check it out.  I had previously checked out books from that shelf.  He found out that it was signed copy or the book.  The author of the book lives in Kumamoto.  I could not check it out.  Our teacher ordered the book for us and we are now reading it in Japanese.  It has been very interesting.  He helps us with the Japanese and then enjoys having both of us read it in English to him.  It is a story about the bombing of Nagasaki.  It has been quite the experience to read this book with our teacher.  History can be taught so well using children's picture books. 
Thursday was transfer day for those missionaries moving.  We had two elders in the Nagamine Ward transferring and one of the sisters in the Kumamoto Ward.  Early Thursday morning Elder Koberstein and I had the opportunity to take the three transferred missionaries to the bus stop where their new adventure began.  We also had the opportunity to meet the three incoming missionaries latter in the day at the same bus stop.  It is always fun to welcome new missionaries to our zone when they arrive but hard to say goodbye to those leaving.  A busy day of driving.
We saw a bamboo tree for the celebration of Tanabata at the hospital on Friday when we dropped in to check our blood pressure.  Tanabata is a celebration where people write wishes on small pieces of paper and hang them on a bamboo branch.  Some families decorate bamboo branches and hang them outside the door of their home.  It is celebrated between July 7 and August 7.  The following quote explains more about the festival.  It is from the article "Japanese Tanabata Festival" by Shizuko Mishima on line. 

It's said that tanabata's origin dates back to more than 2,000 years ago with an old Chinese tale.  Once there was a weaver princess named Orihime and a cow herder prince named Hikoboshi living in space.  After they got together, they were playing all the time and forgot about their jobs.  The king was angry at them and separated them on opposite sides of the Amanogawa River (Milky Way).  The king allowed them to meet only once a year on the seventh day of the seventh month in the lunar calendar.  Tanabata literally means the night of the seventh, and it's also know as the star festival.  It's believed that Orihime and Hikoboshi can't see each other if the day is rainy, so people pray for good weather and also make wishes for themselves.

Saturday was move day for the Shimizu/Tsuboi sisters.  They were changing apartments.  That meant moving from an older home in a residential area to an newer apartment building closer to the Shimizu/Tsuboi chapel.  They now live on the eighth floor and chose to move even though it was raining. The ward members were so supportive of the missionaries and made the move go really fast.  Moving is always so much work.  We were so glad to be able to help them with it.
Today was the Japan area stake conference broadcast from Salt Lake City with Elder D. Todd Christofferson from the quorum of the twelve apostles presiding.  We attended the English section of it.  I was surprised how many of the speakers spoke in Japanese first and then their talks were translate into English for us. 

The church is amazing.  I know it is the work of a loving Heavenly Father.  He gives help to ordinary people to do his extra ordinary work here on earth.  I am amazed as I watch the missionaries teach the gospel simply in Japanese to those they come in contact with.  For many missionaries Japanese is their second language. 

Scripture of the Week
D&C 6:22-23
Verily, verily, I say unto you, if you desire a further witness, cast your mind upon the night that you cried unto me in your heart, that you might know concerning the truth of these things.
Did I not speak peace to your mind concerning the matter?  What greater witness can you have than from God?

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Week 71 - June 9-15, 2014

At the International Center a new center piece beautifully done was on display.  I enjoy these simple flower statements by the Japanese people. 
This week found Elder Koberstein and I once again in Beppu inspecting missionary apartments.  In the afternoon we enjoy the view from B-Con Plaza, Global Tower in Beppu. 
The tower is an observation deck 100 meter from ground level and gives a 300 degree view of Beppu.  This is the view as we drive into Beppu of the tower.  The observations deck is a interesting structure looming over the road.  We have wondered what it was since our first visit.
Our next adventure in Beppu was the Beppu rope way. 
It took us up into the clouds to the top of the mountain where there was a shrine.
We hiked to the highest point of the mountain.  We found a marker for the top of the mountain with a microwave tower almost not visible in the background. 
Sunday is Father's Day.  It seems so long ago when this picture was taken with my father.  The teaching I learned under his tutoring care have lasted a life time.  Many of them have been shared with my children.  I was so blessed to have had the opportunity to grow up on a small dairy farm in Wyoming where there was work for all, yet time to play.  We never traveled as a family but always had cousins come to spend their holidays with us.  When they visited, we had help feeding calves, getting/taking milk cows to the pasture, hauling hay or what every we were doing and then slept outside under the wonderful stars together.  If mother was not home when we came home from school we could find dad some where on the farm.  I love animals and learned to care for them and enjoy their company.  We had bum pigs and lambs to feed at different times during the summer months. Thank you dad for being my dad and giving me siblings to share my life on earth.
I have been blessed by another father.  He is the father of my children.  Thank you for being there for us.  Thank you for the hours spent providing for our needs.  Thank you for getting an education which allowed you the time to go with our sons on scout outings etc.  Thank you for having a testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and taking me to the Logan Temple to be married so that we can be a forever family.  Thank you for loving the gospel enough to share it with others as we serve together in the Fukuoka Japan Mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  I love you forever!
I have another father who is the father of my spirit.  He loves me.  He loves each of his spirit children and wants them all to return to live with him.  Because he loves us so much he has provided a way for us to live with him. 
Scripture of the Week
Proverbs 22:6
Train up a child in the way he should go:  and when he is old, he will not depart from it. 

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Week 70 - June 2-8, 2014

Wednesday was our day at the International Center (Kokusai Kouryou Kaikan).  We biked down in a sprinkle of rain but while we were there it began to pour.  It was almost done by the time we were ready to bike home.  In the evening we taught advanced Eikaiwa at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Obiyama. 
Thursday found Elder Koberstein and I inspecting the Kumamoto/Nagamine Elder/Sisters apartments and helping them with apartment needs.  We enjoy lunch with the Kumamoto Sisters at Gull Grey.    I had Katsu Chicken.  It is always fun to have good food and good company for lunch.  The Nagamine Sister choose to have us bring them muffins from Costco.
As we drove to the Yatsushiro Elders apartment we passed a bus that had Tsubame on it.  Tsubame is a swallow type bird in Japan. 
I think the swallow must be part of the companies logo as you see the name and picture of the swallow on the side of the bus.  I have observed that this bird seems to come to breed and then leaves when the family is grown.

 The Yatsushiro Elders receive a celestial rating so we took them out to lunch.  We enjoyed okonomiyaki.  I had regular okonomiyaki and everyone else had Hiroshima-style Okonomiyaki.  Hiroshima-style has yakisoba-style noodles and an egg on the bottom.  Pictured is Elder Koberstein's Hiroshima-style Okonomiyaki.  We love clean apartments. 
Saturday we took the Kumamoto/Nagamine Elders to lunch at Sutamina which is an all you can eat yakuniku.  Which means grilled meat.  They are fun places to eat.  It was enjoyed by all six of us.
We had dinner and a family home evening at our apartment after our church meeting on Sunday.  We decided to make burritos for dinner and share a little bit of American food with our friends here.  We were able to find refried beans, taco seasoning and chips and salsa.  It was a fun meeting ending with a thought about God's love for all his children.

Thought of the Week
John 15:12-13
This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.
Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.   

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Week 69 - May 26 - June 1, 2014

Tuesday (kayobi) we biked (jitensha de) to the YMCA for a Japanese (Nihon no) practice class.  This is a picture of the room we work in.  There are sometimes other students with their tutors working there also.  Wednesday we went to the International Center (Kokusai Kouryou Kaikan) for another Japanese Class and then taught Eikaiwa.  We also taught an Eikaiwa class in the evening at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Thursday (mokuyobi) we drove to Nobeoka for an apartment check.  It is a three hour drive on mountain roads.  I have been trying to get a good picture of this tunnel.  This is the tunnel near the Tusjunkyo bridge. It is not uncommon to have beautiful artwork displayed at the entrance of tunnels in Japan.
This picture was taken on the return trip.  It is the other side of the same tunnel and is of the Gorogataki Falls which is a little ways down stream from the Tusjunkyo bridge.
The Elders live in a newer apartment building that does not have the usual tatami mat floors.
They had a very clean apartment; as a result, we had the pleasure of their company for lunch.  They choose to take us to a local restaurant that served the famous Nobeoka nanban chicken.
Nanban means "Western European or South-East Asian" style.  We were given a very tasty Nobeoka special recipe spicy sauce to dip the chicken into before eating.  The sauce was not to spicy though.
On Friday (kinyobi) we picked up the zone leaders from a junkai for a doctor appointment at the  Tokaigakuenmae Train Station.  It is the train station closest to our apartment.  The train bringing the Elders is in the station in this picture. 
Saturday (doyobi) we went with the Kumamoto Sister to deliver a surprise birthday cake and then enjoy the Hawaiian Party sponsored by the Nagamini Ward.  We had very delicious chicken, potato salad, fresh fruits and a panipopo bread. 
 The party was for ward members, Eikaiwa students and friends.  Akemi made a beautiful crocheted lei for me and brought a hibiscus flower for my hair.  The right/left ear where the flower is placed tells observers your marriage status.  It was a very fun activity for all that attended filled with the traditional Hula dancing, Tongan Hakka dance, ukulele singing and much more.. 
Scripture of the Week
John 8:34
Jesus answered them, verily verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.