Relief Society Activity
So this week we had our Relief Society fleece blanket activity. I would label it a big success! On Wednesday we had a great turnout:
For a Relief Society who only sees a turnout of 8-10 sisters per week, we had about 10 show up! A few were not members or less actives which made it all the more sweet. We each worked about an hour and a half on our own blankets and then several of the ladies took home more to work on and give to others who could use some uplift.
At the end of an hour and a half, this is how it looked:
Later in the day a couple of more ladies came to learn and pick up some blankets and then on Friday evening we also scheduled a time but only one person showed up. But even at that, she was able to complete two blankets by today and took two more. Also at Relief Society today (Sunday), several others took blankets to crochet and having begun with 50, we are now down to just twelve! And several of the sisters are planning on doing more so this should be easily finished!
I have also been able to do several lap blankets and so that is even more rewarding. Everyone seems in the spirit of giving.
Today was Abe san's baptism and it seemed perfect in every way! Our day began early when Calvin picked up Elders Watanabe Kan and Van De Graff from the bus station at 6:30 a.m. They are the missionaries that first taught Abe san in Yokohama. We were so excited because Elder Watanabe Kan is eighty years old and a legendary missionary in Japan and Elder Van De Graff is serving in the Tokyo Mission and got special permission to come and perform the baptism which he started on last January! Abe san really wanted them to be present and somehow this miracle came to pass. They rode the "overnight bus" (which I swore I'd never ride again!) to get here!
Anyway, we went to Church and every meeting seemed so wonderful. In fast and testimony meeting everyone was talking about their own baptisms and how wonderful it was that Abe san was getting baptized. About an hour after Church we left for Tagajo, an hour away, where we were to have the baptism at 4:00 p.m. This is Abe san and Elder Van De Graff before the baptism:
Here we are (all the missionaries) with Abe san and his sister-in-law who came from Tokyo for the baptism:
I may have mentioned this before but his sister-in-law is actually his deceased wife's sister. She is a member and in fact her husband was a member of the 2nd Quorum of Seventy a while back. She spoke after the baptism and it was fun to hear her side of the story since she was instrumental in getting Abe san to listen to the lessons. She said that he was visiting them and was pretty upset (nine months after losing his wife in the tsunami) wondering what his purpose in life was. That's when she got him to listen to the missionaries.
The members of the branch are fantastic. We usually have 30-35 attending sacrament meeting. The baptism was an hour away and there were about twenty at the baptism! Even the members of the stake presidency were astounded I think.
It was so fun to just sit and talk and we also listened to Brother Watanabe in our branch sing. He has a wonderful voice and it was a treat to listen. All in all what a great day!
Drivers' License Still to Be Continued
Yes, unfortunately Calvin went back to the driving test and FAILED again! But apparently this is fairly normal. Some of the people there said it was their sixth of seventh time taking the driving test! Stay tuned. Next try: tomorrow!
Other Random Happenings
Yesterday we were able to go to Onegawa about a half hour away and help our branch president. He now works for the Church as an employment specialist and they were participating in a arts and crafts type of festival in Onegawa where he works. This is a city hit hard by the tsunami and the booth they had had nothing to do with employment but "herbs"! Basically it is getting their faces out there and showing that they want to be part of the community I think. We helped serve some herb tea and crackers with a pesto sauce on it. But here are some pictures from the festival. First, the opening exercises (kids on drums):
And ribbon cutting:
And some of the arts and crafts:
This picture made by a student made of SMALL pieces of paper glued together to make a picture:
A young person's depiction of before and after the tsunami:
And Calvin next to some HUGE chrysanthemums:
Next some playdoh sculptures that our English class kids made of different foods:
I mostly wanted to show you this picture because it includes such things as sushi with fish eggs on top, onigiri (rice balls), snail, and a few other interesting edibles!
And finally this picture:
When we came to Church this morning (9:00 a.m.) this man was up in this tree pruning the tree. After Church he was still working on it (1:00 p.m.). Many trees in Japan are immaculately trimmed and this was FOUR HOURS later! Then as I went by him I noticed two things: one) there was quite a bit of trimmings on the ground, and two) as far as I could tell, he was ONLY using his hands (gloves on) to trim the tree. Maybe there were some scissors or something somewhere but not when I was looking. No electric devices or large loppers, not even small devices or small loppers! This is when I realized that I would NEVER made a good gardener!
Well, enough said for this week. We are tired but very happy.