Sunday, April 1, 2012


Can I say before I get started, I am always amazed each week as I write how many people have read this blog!!!  I was pretty confident that this would be a passing fancy but I am gratified by your interest in us and what we are Zdoing.  I also worry that if I write a boring blog, the numbers will dwindle to nothing!  Just kidding--we are planning on having this blog made into a journal as a reminder of these months in Japan so even if no one else is interested, we will be glad we did it.


This week we received a challenge from our mission president.  He gave a talk on obedience at a meeting we attended.  Then he gave us a talk from Elder Gene R. Cook (I think it was in one of his books--sorry I don't have the exact reference).  It was called "Consecrated Missionary (40 Day Fast)."  In his talk he talked about when he was on his mission and things were going okay but not perfectly.  Then he was challenged to go for 40 days and give up things that might get in the way of his spirituality.  Anyway, Elder Cook took on the challenge and found that as he let go of things that distracted him from his work as a missionary, he became more in tune with the Spirit and amazing things happened. 

Our mission president also challenged us to do the same.  We were to begin by fasting (today is our fast Sunday) and then set goals that would eliminate behaviors that might interfere with our spirituality.  Some ideas might be:  wake up at 6:30 you have been instructed to do, be more dilligent in setting goals,  don't speak sarcastically of others, be genuinely interested in those you meet, read the scriptures with a purpose in mind and not just to fulfill an assignment.  So for the next 40 days we have each set specific goals to increase our spirituality.  Maybe after the 40 days I will let you know how things went. 

But I also thought how great this would be for anyone.  What if everyone tried to become more spiritual and got rid of bad habits?   I remembered (since this is Easter week) how the Catholics celebrate Lent.  They give up something that they feel is an indulgence or a weakness for 40 days prior to Easter.  Then I thought of Christ who went into the wilderness for 40 days prior to his ministry.  Each day you are to begin and end with prayer asking for our Heavenly Father's guidance in keeping to your commitments and reporting your progress in the evening.  I am very excited to try this.


In light of the earthquake and tsunami, I have been impressed in seeing an interest in emergency preparedness around here.  I noticed at the grocery store a display at the front of the store with large containers for water, food items which could be used in an emergency, flashlights, radios, cook stoves, etc.  This is definitely something on people's minds.

We also talked to the people in the church where we are about their preparedness before the disaster last year.  One sister said she had filled empty bottles with water and stored them (quite an accomplishment because most people have no extra areas for storage) and they had also tried to keep some extra food on hand.  Then she said what a blessing it had been.  Many places had no power or water for weeks. 

So this week we started our 72-hour emergency kit.  I got a duffle bag which had been abandoned from the mission home and began filling it like I did at home:  an extra change of clothes,  a couple of large bottles of water, a jar of peanut butter, crackers, some smoked fish, and a few other items which I have yet to add.  We do have an extra flashlight, some first aid items and some warmer clothes items that I need to add also.  As a side note:  We have had SEVERAL larger earthquakes lately.  None have been really close to us but we have felt ones that were 5.5-6.8 someplace else and they were pretty strong here.  And, of course, we have heard the horror stories of conditions post
tsunami.  I actually keep my cupboard fairly well stocked also.


We have begun walking in earnest!  The weather has been much better so we are able to walk most everywhere (although we have been caught in some rainstorms--remind me always to take an umbrella!).  It helps that my favorite place to get lettuce is a half hour walk away and there are a lot of fun stores along the way.  I have become obssessed with chicken and salad.  We had for the first time tonight--chicken with BBQ sauce!  Heaven!  Also I discovered V-8 juice!  Affordable and good hot or cold.  Also I have been still experimenting with some "baking."  I made carrot cake and banana cake with good results.  And I have made my chocolate pudding cake on numerous occasions with great response.  Actually I plan on trying to make some other cakes in my rice cooker and hope that will be a wave of the future!  It has been really fun to experiment with cooking because the Japanese hardly cook sweets at all and they love them.

 This week I am making rice crispy treat Easter egg nests with cocoa krispies and filling (?) them with the few Easter candies we could find:  tin foil chocolate eggs (not very many of them because of the expense), jelly beans, and peanut M&M's.  Not only did we have to search diligently to find these things, the packages are quite miniscual (sp?) compared to anything we have in the States.  I guess you can't expect to find Easter things in a non-Christian country!

Sorry, no pictures this week but next week I think there will be!


  1. I love that 40 day challenge idea. I've been making other goals and things but some of my goals are vague and this may be a good way to figure out a way to start working on those goals.

  2. Julie, remind us next year and we could send you some of the foil wrapped eggs. They are cheap here and I am sure that the Japanese would love them!