This is too good, but more about this later. "Let's Do This!"
This past Monday was a national holiday. It was Health-Sports Day. It was started to commemorate the first Olympics in Asia, the Tokyo games in 1964. Many of the wards and branches held a celebration. At Tagajo, we had a lunch with a soup that is native to this area of Japan.
And it gave us another chance to say goodbye to one of our sisters who was transferred and to Elder Hill who returned home this week.
We picked up another big group at the airport on Tuesday evening. These missionaries are from Hawaii, Idaho, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and of course, Utah and Japan.
We gathered up all the luggage, put it on the bus, then took them back to the honbu.
Sister Smith fed them some soup and sent them to bed.
Their training was Wednesday at Kamisugi chapel, then they're off to their areas.
We have some connections with two of these missionaries. One elder was on the football team and our son in law was the trainer at Kahuku High School in Hawaii. His mother worked with Chelsea at the Hair Cut Store.
And, one of our new sisters' family is close friends with some families in our ward in Vail!
We did not make it out to Tagajo that night for Eikaiwa because we had to wait for the baggage to be picked up for delivery to their areas.
But Thursday was another training. This time for new zone, district and sister leaders.
After we took the group photo, we noticed some children walking up the street. So I waited for them to say "Konnichiwa!" Adorable!
Then, Thursday afternoon, the returning missionaries come to the mission home to have their final interviews before returning home.
When the interviews were completed, we gathered for a testimony meeting. Since this is the last group we will be sending home, we were invited to participate in the testimony meeting and sukiyaki dinner.
After dinner, three of the missionaries' moms came.
Is there anything sweeter than a missionary / mom reunion?
As sweet as it is for the parents, it is hard for us to say "good bye!" This was a special group for us. Two of these elders had to leave the mission for surgeries, then were able to return.
This group returns to California, New Mexico, North Carolina, Indiana, Arkansas, Utah and Japan.
After we got the missionaries off to the airport, we went to Tsuruoka to look at an apartment for a new couple that's arriving in December.
The color is changing. Quite different from just a week ago. I tried to capture a few views as we drove by. Alan said he actually saw one of those monkeys they warned us about. He said it was crossing the freeway. I was in the back, so I can't vouch for him, but Bro. Nasukawa saw it too.
We did get to pop in on our Tsuruoka elders for a few minutes.
This apartment is under construction, but should be ready by December. It's small, but close to the church, and brand new!
On Saturday, we met our friends, Elder and Sister Mower and visited the new aquarium in Sendai.
They had a 20 minute show for sea lions and dolphins.
It was fun to watch the school of sardines swim together. I might have heard someone say "oishi!" (Delicious!)
This TV screen put funny hats and faces on us. You can see Elder Mowers' red Utah ipad cover. Then we took them to a hamburger place in Sendai so they could have a taste of home (ish). Then we gave them directions and they drove to Costco to get more tastes of home. They said they brought home a lot of good stuff! Should last them for a while.
After church Sunday, we drove to Kamisugi to drop some stuff off, and got invited to lunch! It was their ward conference, so they had a linger longer. It was fun to see some of our other friends.
Our dear Sister Arashiyama who was just released was there too!
We were able to see some photos from the groundbreaking for the Tucson Temple. Our own President Rasmussen was the chairman for this event. We also saw photos of many friends including our Bishop Wazenegger, Stake President Thies, the temple presidents from Mesa and Phoenix temples that we worked with in the Mesa Temple. What a happy day for Tucson!