Sunday, April 19, 2015

More Sakura, Zone Conferences, Visitors, a Trip to Tokyo, and Celebrations

On Monday, after our staff meeting, we went with the Smiths to visit the Sakura.  All of the senior couples were invited, but one couple declined due to the long drive and one couple was not feeling well.  The Taylors took our AP elder to take his driving test.  And we were all so surprised that he passed on the very first try!  Well done Elder W!!

So, the Nagamachi missionaries came along with us and the Smiths.

It was cloudy with some sprinkles, but we still had a great time

The train goes by slowly so those riding can enjoy the blossoms too

Up on the hill, there were beautiful daffodils and other flowers also

We found a table to have a little picnic.  Then the elders met some people interested in their family ancestry.

That evening, we went to eat dinner (Shabu-Shabu) with the Smiths and Taylors.  It is thin sliced meat and vegetables that you cook in a broth at your table.  Yummy!

On Tuesday, we went to lunch at an Indo-Curry place.  Alan had met the owner on one of his days at the driver's license bureau.  It was the anniversary of their opening, so everything was 25% off.

Our server looked so beautiful in her sari!

We received a letter from our granddaughter Kanela.  They are having a lesson in geography and "Flat Kanela" came to visit us in Japan!

Wednesday and Thursday were Zone Conferences.  On Wednesday, we met with the Sendai, Sendai South and Koriyama Zones at the Kamisugi building.  Elder and Sister Hansen and Elder and Sister Graham came to speak to the missionaries about physical and mental health.  These amazing couples have already been asked to serve their next missions when they complete their assignments here.

The Hansens are doing a little skit about riding on a train and sharing germs.

On Thursday, the conference was in Morioka for the Morioka and Aomori Zones.

Kanela came along too.  The last couple of times we were in Morioka, it has been a blizzard.  I didn't even know this was a lake.  It was just a big field of snow before.  The cherry blossoms still need to open a little more.

Friday was our next big adventure.  We have been trying to get our house refinanced.  We thought we had all our paperwork taken care of with our daughter as power of attorney, but we had to make a new one because we had used our son as a witness on the original one.  So, we were able to make an appointment at the US Embassy in Tokyo for notary services Friday morning.  Our train left Sendai at 6:30 am.

Here is the Shinkansen (bullet train) coming into the station.

It is a very comfortable ride.  More legroom than an airplane.  It travels at 150 - 200 mph and is very smooth.  You can view the countryside quite well, except when you're in a tunnel.

But you are warned to not make too much noise (if you have to talk on your phone, move to the end of the car) and don't type too loudly with your keyboard!

Tokyo has an amazing system of trains and subways.  When we arrived at the Tokyo station, we had to change trains to get to the embassy.

This young man was helping us make sure we got on the right train.

A woman in traditional kimono at the station.

Lots of tracks at this station.  We arrived on track 23 and left on track 9.

It was a bit crowded.  When we got onto the subway, we were squished.  We could have picked up our feet and stayed vertical.  One train car was marked "For Women Only" for rush hour.  In the middle of all the crowds, we were trying to find the way to go.  And a young lady stopped to ask if we needed help.  We were grateful to know we were being watched over along the way.

We were happy to see the US Flag when we made it to the Embassy.  Our appointment was at 10:00, but they let us in early to take care of our paperwork.  A young US couple was there to get some documents so they can get married.  They offered to be the witness on our documents.  Sister Graham had given us the name of someone who works at the embassy that could help us with that, but it turned out we didn't need to bother him.

As we were leaving, we met our friend Brother Brown, who is a former ward member from the Izumi Ward in Sendai.  He and his family had moved to Tokyo shortly after we arrived in Sendai.  He said they really miss Sendai.  Another tender mercy along the way.

We had a little time to see a few sights since all our business was completed so quickly.  We decided to go to the Tokyo Tower area.

This tells the history of the large temple in this area.

We heard several different languages spoken while we were here.

Some cute kids at the park.  Daycare maybe?  Cute little hats!

Then we went to the church offices to meet some of the people in person that we talk to on the phone.

And, then to the temple.

We were a little bit early, so we walked over to the temple housing apartments to wait a while.  We were visiting with some cute sister missionaries, when around the corner came one of our former missionaries!

What a fun surprise to get to give "Brother" Ito a hug since he's finished his mission!

And, then inside the temple, we met our friend Sister Furakawa, who is the cook for the mission.  So many tender mercies for one quick trip!

We were able to get our return tickets (with 10 minutes to spare in general seating), and headed back to Sendai.  We arrived back around 7 pm.  We packed a lot into that day!

Saturday, we were invited to a lunch hosted by the cub scouts.  They had been planing for this event for several months.  It was so cute to see them cooking and preparing in their aprons and bow ties.

They gave us a presentation about the Mormon missionaries teaching the American Indians

And the Maoris in New Zealand

And they sang a song  "I Know Heavenly Father Loves Me"

The little girl played the piano.  She's about 10 years old.  And very small!

We wanted a photo of Brother Yamada's neckerchief.  In case you can't tell, it shows John the Baptist giving the priesthood to Joseph and Oliver.

Our next event that evening was a BBQ at the Sakamoto's.  Two of our missionaries had birthdays, so we were invited to celebrate.

Everyone helps cook and eat.  Grilled chicken, beef and shrimp


And giant squid!  And, of course pizza!  The missionaries gave a great spiritual thought to us and the Sakamoto's friends that came.

At church, our two new missionaries spoke about the resurrection.  We had news this morning that the wife of one of our local members that helps the missionaries passed away.  Also, one of our elders' mother passed away this week.  And today, we learned that the grandmother of our new sister missionary passed away just as she began her mission.  How grateful we are for the comfort the gospel gives at times like this.

After church, we drove by another area that was hit by the tsunami.

A monument to those who lost their lives at this location.

This is the names and ages of those lost here.

The school is still standing, but many homes were destroyed here.  There are many foundations, but the homes are gone.

Above the car you can see the dike they're building.  There is no beach access here.

We found this photo at a nearby display showing people on the roof of the school, surrounded by water.

This is what the area looked like before the tsunami hit.  The school is on the left side of the photo with the big parking lot.  It's the only thing still standing.  So much devastation!

No comments:

Post a Comment