Sunday, November 30, 2014

Family Home Evening; Thanksgiving and Ishinomaki

Another month has passed by and it was time for Family Night at the mission home again.

These sweet sisters did a lovely musical number and helped with a "get to know you" game.

And we had a nice video in English and Japanese.  And ice cream bars for dessert.

For our Eikaiwa activity this week, we had a Thanksgiving skit.  We tried to tell about the Pilgrims and their move to America.

The cutest little natives ever.

We had two little kids that came to our class.  This little boy reminds me of one of our former assistant to the president.  Minus about 15 years.

And, on Thursday, we celebrated Thanksgiving at the mission home.  It was a real treat to have a turkey dinner with all the trimmings.  For some of our Japanese missionaries, it was their first Thanksgiving dinner.  Everyone really enjoyed it.

The senior missionaries got to sit at the "kid's" table!

It's beginning to feel a bit like Christmas.  We did not go out to Kakuda this week.  We did enjoy our day remembering our many blessings.

On Saturday, we took a bike to Ishinomaki.  One of our elders needed quite a bit of repairs, so we took a different one to trade.  We had another bike in the van that we were going to drop off at the bike shop and some parts of that bike ended up staying too.  So we were able to help more than just one elder.

Then we drove over to see where the tsunami had hit this town.  We came here once before to a concert.  The church helped the town with freezers for the fishing industry.

Here is a little memorial for the victims.

And a photo of the devastation.  This is the same sign that is on display above.

The blue mark on the pole shows how high the water came here.

This is up on the hill across the street.  The houses up here are gone also.  It is a large, low lying area.  Everyplace we go, we see these huge areas that have been destroyed.  It is mind boggling to imagine what that must have been like.

There used to be homes and buildings here.  Only some of the roads are left.

Then we took the bike parts back to this little shop so our friend can work his magic on them.  We took four bikes in and he thinks we'll end up with three good bikes when he's done.

On Sunday, our stake patriarch and his wife, the stake relief society president came and spoke in our ward.  Since it was a fifth Sunday, we had a "Linger Longer" or Shokujikai  (or eating meeting).

And our missionaries provided a little entertainment.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Stake Conference, El Tour de Tucson

President and Sister Smith returned from their conference last week in Osaka.  It was fun to hear about their experiences.  When they asked when our mission is going to be getting iPads, the mission president from Guam answered "When we get electricity!"  So it's all about perspective.  And, still no news.

We enjoyed hearing about the Phoenix Temple dedication last week.  The west valley is the area where my family lived for many years.  My sister's family had a special opportunity to spend a little time with President and Sister Uchtdorf and their daughter.  They all lived in the same ward back in the 1970s when he (Pres. U.) was training at Luke AFB.

We can't wait to go visit the new temple too.

On Wednesday, we had some children come to Eikaiwa again.  It's been a few weeks with no children.  This was a different group than we've had before.  I had my "Brown Bear" pages ready.

We had fun together.  For snacks, someone brought some nice fresh crickets!!

Sister I thinks they're great!  My DH said he'd eat one if I'd eat one, but I didn't fall for it this time!

Even though the weather's cooling down, there are still blossoms on some of them!  There are leaves all over the place too.  The elders sweep them up every morning and the next day, they do it all over again.

Alan was supposed to have a dentist appointment on Wednesday, but we totally spaced it.  So we went over the other day ready to apologize profusely and brought some carrot cake for them.  They were not a bit upset.  So happy to see us!  Come on in, we'll take care of your tooth right now!  We had also brought photos of our family to share.  The doctor's wife said she was going to write me a letter, but it will be in Japanese!

We also had a few errands to take care of this week.  We got snow tires put on the car.  They say it's going to snow in December, so the car will be ready for that at least.  We bought a heater for the apartment, but we haven't tried using it yet.  To be continued ......

We had stake conference this weekend.  It was fun to see several of the missionaries we hadn't seen for a while and also members from other wards.  It's amazing how many people we know already!

One of our speakers Saturday night was a young man who just returned to Japan from his mission to Atlanta, Georgia!  He said he was very surprised to get called there.  He will be going to BYU Provo soon.

We went to dinner Saturday night at a Korean barbeque place in the mall.  The decorations are up already.  The sign says "Clis Road"  (Christmas Road)

Sister Konoko always looks so beautiful in her kimonos.  (Sorry, Sister Smith, I caught you with your eyes shut!)  President and Sister Smith both spoke on Sunday.  And Sister Smith did it all in Japanese!  Very impressive!

This weekend back in Tucson was the El Tour de Tucson.  We started doing an aid station for this bicycle race that goes around the city back in 1985 or so.  Our family is carrying on the tradition for us.  Here's a few of our grandkids "helping"

And, a special shout-out to President Rasmussen (our former mission president who went home in June) for riding 100 km this year!

Looks like it was a beautiful day in Tucson!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Miyako and Chuuson-ji Temple in Ichinoseki

President and Sister Smith were gone all week for a mission president's seminar for the area.  On Tuesday, we took another trip to deliver some bikes.  This time we went to Kitakami, then to Morioka and then to Miyako.  So we got to see some of our favorite missionaries.  Sister Shitami came along for the ride too.

The water was crystal clear.

Some of the hardest working missionaries you will ever know!  We also got to meet the senior couple that is here.  They had to leave just as we arrived, but we're glad we got to meet the Matsushige's.  They will be going home in a couple of weeks.  They have done a lot of good here!

This little town is on the Pacific Coast.  The drive from the highway to the town was about two hours.  It kind of reminded me of Logan Canyon with a river along the road, and many turns along the way.

This would be a lovely place to spend some time in the summer!

The beach is rocky.  No fine white sand here.

There is a marker on the right side of the building.  Right where the shadow hits on the second story.  This marks the height of the wave that came on March 11, 2011.

It was a lot of fun!

We wanted to take one more photo of the beautiful coastline.

This model of the town shows that it is a narrow cove.  The tsunami went farther inland than in most places since it's so narrow here.  Many of the lower buildings were destroyed.  There is much reconstruction going on now.

Since it is a coastal town, we wanted to check the fish market.

Some local people selling their vegetables.

On our way home, we stopped to eat at a little restaurant.  They have the all purpose faucet.  Soap dispenser, water, and hand blower.  Not dryer really.  You still have to dry your hands on your clothes!

Since the Smith's were gone, we had the opportunity to deliver our last returning missionary to her mother, who came to Japan to meet her.  She had already purchased the return tickets and then the dates were changed to avoid having so many missionaries travel close to Thanksgiving.  So, Sister V. got to stay an extra week.  It was fun to see the reunion.  Mom had a lot of challenges between Tokyo and Sendai, so she was especially happy to finally meet up with her daughter.

How sweet is this?

On Saturday we went with the other senior couples to visit a chrysanthemum festival in Ishinoseki.  This was the final day, so some of the flowers were starting to show their age, but they were amazing.  Never seen such big mums!

These mini mums were like bonsai trees.

Alan looked under to see how many plants these were.  Only one!

This little girl got left behind.  She came down these stairs with her bag by herself to go catch up to her mom.

Some beautiful fall colors on these maple trees.

Amazing carving on the temples here.

And a beautiful view of the valley below.

In the museum, we didn't see any signs saying "No Photos".  But after I took this, they asked me not to take any more.  These are wood carvings with gold leaf.

Many of the items here are from the 12th Century.  They also have a temple that the whole building is covered in gold leaf.  It is now covered by another building to protect it.  No photos in there.  One of the guys at Walbro was telling me about this just last week.  I thought he said "Tucson Temple"  But it was "Chuuson Temple!"  Now I can tell him I've been there!

These trees are pretty amazing too.  We're glad we made this trip.  We almost cancelled when we heard the weather was going to be bad.  But it turned out to be a nice day.

The gold temple is inside this building.

Our missionaries have been decorating at the honbu.  It's looking pretty nice.

And on Sunday, two of our sisters played the flutes in Sacrament Meeting.

And, a treat from home.  My brother sent a few old photos of our other brother that we enjoyed.

Unce Gordon and "The Bomb!"  We miss you Gordon!