Monday, September 1, 2014

August 30

The weather here is beginning to change a bit.  I'm hoping the worst of the summer is behind us.  The sisters tell me that September can still be hot, but we did have to break out a blanket this week.  So, we'll see.

We had a more "normal" week this time.  No delivery trips to the far reaches of the mission.  It was nice to have some at home time.  There was a stake priesthood meeting Saturday afternoon.

On Monday, we had Family Night at the Mission Home.  They hold it every last Monday of the month.  We had a good turn out of visitors and members and missionaries.

President Smith is leading the opening song "This is the Night We've Waited For"

Alan told Elder Uchtdorf's story about being off by "A few Degrees"  One of the members translated and did a great job.

Elder Taylor whipped out his harmonica for a couple of songs.

And the elders taught everyone how to play "Ninja".  Well, almost everyone.  We went in to help get the ice cream ready.  It was a great night.

Some good news from home last week is that our Jacob had his Eagle Court of Honor.  Way to go Jacob!  

His brother Michael will be next!

This week at the office, I was able to get the newsletter ready to send out.  We put it out every six weeks after transfers.  Learning some new computer tricks!  But we got it done.  A former missionary has volunteered to do the Japanese translation for us.  When he sent in the translation, he mentioned that he had met someone down near the Tokyo area that had met two of our elders a while back.  They made such a good impression on him, that he decided to find the church near Tokyo.  It's another interesting connection that pops up in missionary work!

In Brother Dowdy's words: 

Also, I wanted to share an inspiring story with you. I visited some friends in Tokyo this past week and when I showed up to church (about an hour and a half early), there was a man waiting at the door. His name was Usami-san and he said he had met the missionaries who had invited him to come to church. Through the course of the conversation, he showed me a meishi that the missionaries had given him. I looked at it, not thinking much as I assumed it was the missionaries there in Tokyo. But as I glanced at the bottom left corner where the address is written, I noticed that it was to your office: the Japan Sendai Mission Office! Upon further prodding, Mr. Usami told me that two missionaries (Elders Cox and Tsushima) had stopped him while he was on vacation somewhere in Fukushima prefecture and talked to him a bit about the purpose of life. Mr. Usami had recently lost his job and is trying to take care of his parents, and since he had accepted the elders' invitation to go to church, he figured it was time for a fresh start and wanted to try and find out more about the bible and God. It had been nearly four months since he had met Elders Cox and Tsushima, but they left a lasting impression on Mr. Usami and he had nothing but good things to say about them. In fact, if it wasn't for them, he never would have come to church. I'm assuming they don't know that he visited church. They may never know. But that day my testimony was strengthened. There are undoubtably so many small and simple things that the Lord helps bring to pass each day that we don't ever recognize or even have the chance to see. We will never know the effect our actions and faith have on everyone that we meet. While we can't know the far-reaching effects of our righteous endeavors, we can rest assured that, as it says in PMG, "no effort is wasted." This is the Lord's work! No matter how small we feel our contributions may be, the Lord will make sure that miracles happen!

Anyways, just thought I'd share that story with you (and feel free to pass it on to those Elders...let them know the missionaries in Sagamihara, Machida Stake, are working with Mr. Usami). 

The Smiths, Elder Taylor, Alan and our new assistant to the president all need to get Japanese driver's licenses.  They have spent a couple of afternoons filling out paperwork and preparing for the written test.  They have appointments in a couple of weeks to take the test, then an eye test and a driving test.  Apparently it's highly unusual for anyone to pass the first time.  And we thought the driving test at the DMV was a pain.

And, we went to Tagajo on Wednesday for English.  I was all prepared for the children's class, but no children came.  (It was a rainy night.)  So, now I'm all prepared for next time.

We also went to Kakuda again on Thursday.  One of the men in my group asked about licorice.  So, I brought some to share.  They were not as thrilled as they should have been, but polite as always.

Sister Shitami moved into a new apartment this week.  The apartment she's been staying in has been used by the senior missionaries here for 17 years (!)  We will not be using it any longer.  Plenty of stuff has accumulated there over the years.

I took these photos a few weeks ago after church.  It was almost the only sunny Sunday we've had!  These are harbor tour boats that they use out by Tagajo.

These dolfins are used to hold rods to block traffic.  We've also seen pandas, pigs and other creatures.

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