Sunday, October 26, 2014

Week 90 - October 20-26, 2014

This week started out jogging at Esu Ko with the Kumamoto Elders and our Japanese teacher.  It was a fun run as the sun was rising in the morning.  Elder Koberstein is the one in the yellow shirt.  We had a hard time getting started on the bike ride to the lake.  It was dark outside. 
It turned out to be the perfect time to run and see the beautiful rising sun in the east.  It was a beautiful refreshing start to the day.
Tuesday was transfer call day and prep day for the missionaries.  When we drove by the church to do some errands there was a team cutting the grass.  They were not using the traditional lawn mower used in the United States but mowed it just as even as if they had.  A beautiful job!
I love the beautifully decorated buses in Japan.  This is a special one that drives around Kumamoto Jo.  I took a picture of it on Wednesday during one of our class breaks at the International Center.  Do you know what Kumamoto Jo is from the picture on the bus?   
Thursday was transfer day.  In the morning we picked up an Elder from Yatsushiro at the Kumamoto Eki and put him on a bus at the Jietai Mai bus stop in Kumamoto.  He was headed for Oita with one of the Kumamoto Elders who was transferred to Beppu. Beppu is next to Oita.  Above is our parking spot where we waited for him to come in on the train.
The afternoon on Thursday was spent picking up companions for three of the Elders/Sisters in Kumamoto.  We only had one missionary get off the bus at the wrong bus stop.  Mistakes always makes transfer day exciting.  Pictured in the Jietai Mai bus stop in Kumamoto.  This missionary had been working in Fukuoka which is a much larger city and expected a larger bus stop.  Kumamoto is really country like compared to Fukuoka and the buses only stop if the string is pulled.
Friday we had many students from the grade school across the street come join us while we were jogging.  We wonder if it was some special event.  They had different colored groups warming up as we finished our jog.
Saturday we worked at the temple with the Kagashima temple shift.  The day was full of new experiences for me.  There were many English speaking members from Iwakuni military base attending the English session.  It was fun to visit with them.  We also visited with three missionaries who had worked in the Kumamoto Stake and are now serving in the Iwakumi area. 
Elder Koberstein and I were ask to speak in Sacrament Meeting in the Kumamoto Ward.  Following the meeting some of the ward members had a dinner for a sister missionary that had served in Kumamoto about a year ago.  Her mission is finish and she is touring Japan with her parents.  It was fun to see her again before she returned to the United States.  I made pumpkin bread for the dinner using the recipe from the Ensign in 1974.  It has been a family favorite over the years.   
Pumpkin Bread: In one bowl, combine 4 eggs, 2 c. pumpkin, 1 c. oil, 3 c. sugar. In another bowl combine 3 1/3 c. flour, 2 tsp. soda, 1/2 tsp. baking powder, 1 1/2 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. cloves, 1 tsp. cinnamon, 1 tsp. nutmeg. Combine the two mixtures. Stir in 1 c. raisins and 1 c. chopped nuts or coconut. Line two large loaf pans with waxed paper and pour in the batter. Bake for 1 1/2 hours at 325 degrees.  In Japan I make half the recipe and bake for 30-40 minutes in 3 small pans or 2 larger pans in a toaster oven (Ensign October 1974).
 Scripture of the Week
John 14:15
If ye love me, keep my commandments.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Week 89 - October 13-19, 2014

Monday evening we had a family home evening at our apartment with the Kumamoto Sister and two others.  We had an all American meal, hamburger with chips and salads.
We enjoyed a lesson about the temple, ate dinner and then played Panda Chop Sticks.  We chose the timed version of this game this time.  How long would it take you to get the twelve pandas though the tire with chop sticks.  It is amazing how fast some are. We had a fun evening together.
Tuesday we went to the post office to pay two bills and mail a package to the Elders in Beppu.  While waiting to pay the bill I was standing in front of a table.  It had two pen (which we used to fill out a form), a glue bottle, the date, the day of the week and a bright red circle.  I touched the red circle thinking it was a sponge for postage stamps.  My finger tips immediately became red.  I then realized it was a ink pad for the kanji signature stamp used by everyone in Japan.  I am now officially educated.  For the readers knowledge the ink came of my finger tips quite easily.  I had to laugh at myself though.
This is a Koban that we bike past at least twice a week.  I had never really noticed until this week when it had a very cute little police car parked in front of it.  The car is so appropriate for the size of many of the streets here.
Friday we were ask to be guest speakers at an Eigo club at the International Center.  It was fun visiting with the six ladies that were in attendance.  After the meeting they invited my husband and I to go out to lunch with them.  We went to a Japanese restaurant and I enjoyed a meal of burnt rice (when translated into English) and tofu.  It was the delicious lunch special of the day.   
Some of the things we shared with club members was things one could see when traveling in California.  We learned one club member had visited San Francisco and one had visited Los Angeles.  We were able to share things like the Redwoods.  I showed them this picture of driving our Toyota Corolla thorough the Chandeler Tree (a large redwood in Northern California). 
They were amazed at the size of this Redwood tree also in Northern California.  
Muir Woods is near San Francisco and has a nice stand of Redwood trees.  This map (taken off line) shows where Muir Woods is located across the Golden Gate Bridge.  Muir Woods is a must to see when one visits San Francisco area. 
Hiking or biking the Golden Gate bridge is a fun activity on a visit to San Francisco.  This picture is me biking the bridge.  I am the first person on the left in the black jacket with the red collar.  Weston is behind me in a yellow jacket.
Riding the San Francisco cable cars is a must do.  Wikipedia states "A cable car in the context of mass transit is a system using rail cars that are hauled by a continuously moving cable running at a constant speed. Individual cars stop and start by releasing and gripping this cable as required."  These cars have been used on the hills of San Francisco for over 100 years.  They are a fun must do when visiting.  Plan for time to wait to get on.  It can be a long wait.  The wait time is usually filled with fun street performers and my family likes to hike to near by Ghiraradelli Square for chocolate which makes even the youngest in the group happy. 
We like to visit temples just like the people of Japan.  This picture shows the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Oakland temple in the San Francisco bay and the visitors center which in next to it.  This temple has a beautiful garden on top.  Free tours start at the visitors center on the left hand side.
Scripture of the Week
1 Peter 4:6
For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Week 88 - October 6-12, 2014

The roof on the chapel in Kumamoto is finished for now.  We wonder why a part of the roof was not  redone.  The picture shows the truck being loaded with the scuffling used to go up and down on the roof while they were working on it. 
Monday morning we got up early and meet our Japanese teacher at Lake Ezu at dawn.  We jogged around the lake as the sun was rising.  It was beautiful.  The picture was taken on the bridge where we started our run.
This picture was taken after we completed our Wednesday morning jog.  I am on the elevator heading to our apartment on the eighth floor.
We are blessed to have a place to park our bicycles right outside our front door.  I guess, it is an advantage of end apartment in our building complex. 
On Saturday and Sunday we had the opportunity to listen to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Semi Annual General Conference.  It took place October 4th and 5th in Salt Lake City, Utah.  We watch the broadcast one week late in Japan.  It is translated in the Japanese language for the members here.  There was a separate room set up for all the English speakers where Elder Koberstein and I were able to watch conference in the English language.
Elder David A. Bednar directed his message to individuals who are not members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  He said,  "I will address a fundamental question many of you may have:  'Why are Latter-day Saints so eager to tell me about what they believe and to invite  me to learn about their church?'"

"The Church of Jesus Christ always has been and always will be a missionary church.  The individual members of the Savior's Church have accepted the solemn obligation to assist in fulfilling the divine commission given by the Lord to His Apostles, as recorded in the New Testament:

"Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.... (Matthew 28:19-20)

"Latter-day Saints take seriously the responsibility to teach all people in all nations about the Lord Jesus Christ and His restored gospel.  We believe the same Church founded by the Savior anciently has been reestablished on the earth by Him in the latter days.  The doctrine, principles, priesthood authority, ordinances, and covenants of His gospel are found today in His Church.

"When we invite you to attend church with us or to learn with the full time missionaries, we are not trying to sell you a product....We are inviting you to hear the restored truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ so you can study, ponder, pray and come to know for yourself if the things we are sharing with you are true."

I know the Church of Jesus Christ has been restored to the earth in these latter days.  Because of this knowledge, Elder Koberstein and I have spent the past 19 months in Japan serving as missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  The scripture below is found in the Book of Mormon and explains how you can know of its truth.

Scripture of the Week
Moroni 10:4-5
And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.
And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Week 87 - September 29- October 5, 2014

On Wednesday when we went to the International Center they had on display a bunch of green bananas near the table we were working at.  I had to stand by it for a picture even though it is upside down.  Bananas grow facing the sun.  
We are reading the Book of Mormon in Japanese with our teacher the first hour.  We are reading 1 Nephi 1.  It has been interesting to talk to our teacher about this period of time in know history.  Last week he brought a map of the land at about 600 BC that was in a Bible he had to share with us.  He sings in a Christian men's choir and is learning about Christianity.  This map was taken off the Internet and is a possible route that Lehi and his family may have taken when they left Jerusalem.
The second hour at the International Center we are studying kanji.  Above is part of our lesson this past week with my notes. 
We teach two Eikaiwa classes on Wednesday, one at the church and one at the International Center.  The classes are always very busy and it is lots of fun getting to know those who attend.
Thursday was our day to do apartments checks in Beppu.  As we drove through Aso to Beppu we saw that the rice was being harvested.  The white things in the field are bales of rice straw/hay.  It appears that they are covered with a white plastic that is shrink wrapped to fit them.  The bales are very large and I think it must take heavy equipment to move them.
Small fields harvest rice the old fashioned way with lots of hand labor.  I think, they are not big enough for the big equipment to do it for them.  Pictured above is rice being dried on bamboo poles. 

We checked the Beppu Elders apartment and then enjoyed a yakuniku lunch with the Elders for having a very clean apartment for us to check.
Friday morning we went jogging on the coast between Oita and Beppu.  Pictured is a little park by the Lawson we parked at to begin our run.  The coast is a beautiful place to run.
Friday we checked the Beppu Sisters Apartment.  They too had a very clean apartment and chose to eat lunch at yakuniku, notice all the vegetables on the grill.  We felt very bless to have great company for lunch two days in a row.
The drive home was filled with a beautiful sunset as we neared Kumamoto.
Saturday, we attended a second Japanese class at the Prefectural University of Kumamoto.  One of the things our lesson covered was reading a bus schedule in Japan.  Elder Koberstein and I have avoided buses as we worried about our lack of speech and reading.  We have a car and bicycles to get around on and have managed without using buses or trains.  Above is an example of a bus schedule.  The kanji are still daunting but knowing how it reads and where to look for things makes it seem more manageable.  We may try it.
Saturday evening I enjoyed the General Women's conference broadcast from Salt Lake City, Utah, USA.  Women 8 years and up from around the world attended in person or by Internet/satellite etc.  We had the broadcast one week late in Japan so that translation into Japanese could take place.  Seven sister listen to the broadcast in English (what a privilege) at the same time it was broadcast to other in Japanese at the Kumamoto Stake Center.  The above picture was taken off line of the conference in Salt Lake City.  If you would like to check it out, here is the web site. 
Scripture of the Week
2 Nephi 4:4
For the Lord God hath said that Inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments ye shall prosper in the land; and inasmuch as ye will not keep my commandments ye shall be cut off from my presence.