Saturday, October 27, 2012


I have been waiting (somewhat patiently) on three continuing stories and hope they will all have happy endings soon.  But in the interest of having to say something this week, I decided to post these three "to be continued" stories this week.

Story #1:  Driver's License

When we came to Japan nearly a year ago we had international driver's licenses which we got with no problem from AAA and only about $15 apiece.  But those licenses expire a year after we got them so Elder Sakamoto has been going through the process of getting a Japanese license these past few weeks.  I have never driven here and didn't see the need to get one (who needs another crazy American driver on the roads of Japan?!). 

A couple of weeks ago we went to the Ishinomaki driver's license place only to be told that since we were not real residents we needed to go elsewhere for the license.  First, we were sent to Sendai (an hour and a half away) to get a translation of our information.  After about a half hour wait and a few dollars less, we left for Izumi (about 1/2 hour away) for a 1:00 p.m. appointment.

Once there we saw lines like these:

Look familiar?  Visions of DMV?  Well, luckily that wasn't our line.  We got in a much shorter line only to be told that we didn't have a paper stating that we were residents of Ishinomaki.  We were sent back to Ishinomaki (our town) to go to the government center to get the paper and were told to come back the next day at 1:00 p.m.  Okay.  So we went to the city building (an hour away), and a few minutes later left, paper in hand, and a few dollars poorer.

Next day:  Back to Izumi (an hour away) at 1:00 p.m.   What?!  This time we didn't have Calvin's passport, only a copy?  Apparently they recently changed the law to require the real thing and not a copy.  So off to the mission home (1/2 away) to retrieve our passport which was being stored there.  Instructions were to go back to Izumi the next week at 1:00 p.m.

The next Monday:  Back to Izumi (an hour away again!) at 1:00 p.m.  Good news!  Calvin had all the proper paperwork.  Just pay some more fees and come back the next day for the written and driving tests.  It could have been worse.  Others waiting took a longer time than we did:

So the next day:  Calvin took the written test and aced it!  Only ten questions, but hey, an ace is an ace!  Then pay more fees and off to the driving test which looked like this:

A half our and then:  What Calvin FAILED the driving test?!  Make an appointment and come back next week?  After a couple of hundred dollars and a lot of time . . . TO BE CONTINUED

Story #2:  Relief Society Blanket Project

Last spring I had this idea to do a blanket project.  We happened to be with Elder Halvorson who is in charge of humanitarian projects here in Japan and he told me if he could do anything for us, to let him know.  (He asked for it!)  It was then I told him about a project I had been thinking about.  I wanted the branch to get involved in making fleece blankets (them learning to crochet around the blankets), they would be able to keep one blanket and then we would make others for less actives, non members and even people living in the temporary housing units or nursing homes or hospitals.  It would be good for the sisters here because they had all been impacted by the tsunami and it would give them a good service project.

Elder Halvorson thought it was a great idea and told me to email him with the details.  It didn't take long to realize that I could not purchase fleece in May.  I would have to wait until fall.

So a few weeks ago we went to the fabric store to find out they had just received their shipment of fleece.  I talked to the Relief Society president and told her about my idea.  She was excited and said maybe we could do 50 blankets!  Quite a stretch for such a small branch.  Then I emailed Elder Halvorson and ran it past him.  He replied quickly and said he thought it was a great idea and I could have double the amount of money I had suggested!

So off to the fabric store (they were right in the middle of town and had been impacted by the tsunami--much of their store was ruined) and bought lots of fabric:

Luckily they were already cut in a size that was just right for a nice-sized blanket.  And I am sure we made these ladies' day!

Since then we have organized the fabric, gotten matching yarn, and put the holes around the edges so we can crochet:

I made a few samples and the project will get started this week on Wednesday morning and Friday night . . . TO BE CONTINUED

Story #3:  Abe san

Last March or so we came to Church and met Abe san.  At first we didn't even know that he wasn't a member of our Church.  He was probably in his mid 50's, wore a nice suit and brought with him a well-marked and tabbed copy of a triple combination.  It may have even been the next week that we cornered him again at Church and asked him if he was interested in having the missionary lessons!

You have to realize I guess that we were fairly new to the area and didn't know all of the people yet.   At least that is as good an excuse as any!

So from then we began teaching him.  He had already had all of the discussions in Tokyo earlier in the year and has a sister-in-law and her family who are members.  We had weekly meetings with him except when his work became to busy that he couldn't meet with us, which wasn't that often.  He seemed to love hearing the lessons but always said he wasn't really sure yet about making any commitments, but at the same time he had given up coffee, tea, alcohol, and  read the Book of Mormon 4 times (!).  Plus he was attending weekly Institute classes.

Finally, around June he said he wanted to talk to his four daughters (his wife was killed in the tsunami) about getting baptized and hopefully  get their blessing.  This went on most of the summer but they live further away and only two returned back here and he talked to them and they said they respected his decision.  The other two he wanted to talk to face to face but finally a couple of weeks ago he was talking to them on the phone and told them that he wanted to get baptized.  They basically said they felt it was his decision. 

The next Sunday (last week) in our lesson he told us he was ready to be baptized!  Yesterday we had the district leaders here and next Sunday he is scheduled to be baptized.  All of us with the district leaders:

And Abe san and the sister missionaries filling out the forms for baptism:

And I forgot to mention that he works at a nursery-type store and worked on Sundays because it was one of their busiest days so he would come to sacrament meeting during his lunch hour on Sundays.  But then a month ago announced that he had talked to his boss and gotten permission to have his day off on Sunday!  This is a HUGE thing in Japan to be able to get Sunday off at that kind of business!  So ever since he has loved coming to all the meetings and even staying after.  So after next Sunday TO BE CONTINUED . . .

And a Continuation of Last Week:

This week at district meeting I made Halloween treats:

What's Halloween without popcorn hands and peanut butter eyeballs?!

In Conclusion

TO BE CONTINUED next week!

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