Sunday, December 16, 2012


True, the Christmas season has arrived . . . even in Japan!!  This week has been full of the busy season with all kinds of happenings.


This week was our zone conference and we were not disappointed.  We had music from the missionaries:

Calvin got the Alma O. Taylor (the first missionary to come to Japan) award for reading the Book of Mormon in Japanese:

And we all opened our $2 RED presents that we exchanged:

And the highlight (which I didn't get a photo of) was opening big envelopes of mail wishing us Merry Christmas from our families at home!  Thanks to all of you who wrote!  It was wonderful. 


Another activity was with some of the sisters singing at the handicapped temporary housing unit.  We went along, gave a few hand/arm massages, and handed out a few gifts:

The people seemed to enjoy it (at least no one left in the middle of it!):


And (ta-da!) our Branch Christmas party!!  This was the long awaited party which has been in the planning stages for months.  The day before we put together bags of goodies for everyone to take home:

We began with our sights set on maybe we could get 50 people to come (remember we only get 35 to Church on Sundays!).  Then we decided to work even harder and personally invite non-Members and inactives.  So we decided that maybe 60 bags would be enough.  But then as we were bagging, we scrimped to put together a few more bags.  And guess what!?  We had SEVENTY people come!:

The Church was so full we could hardly get everyone in but everyone seemed to have a great time.  There was a stained glass craft, singing, a Nativity program:

And LOTS of food:

Plus a SPECIAL visitor and two helpers to give out the gifts:

Really, everyone seemed to have a great time.  We had so much food that we ate the leftovers after Church for lunch!

Today (Sunday) the members couldn't stop talking about how amazed they were that so many people had come.  They were filled with the missionary spirit that if they could get that many people out, the branch needs to really redouble its efforts to get more members.  Everyone was so tired today from all of yesterday's efforts but no one was complaining (except a couple of people who said they had never seen such long food lines at the Church!).  It really was a great activity and a tribute to everyone's faith, prayers and hard work.


It just so happens that we were with the sisters a lot this week and got some fun photos so I thought I would share them with you.  First, creating a heart attack:

Next at our children's English class next to the tree we have been decorating with ornaments and garlands that the children made:

And finally, at the Branch Christmas party:


There are a lot of cars in Japan just like at home (well not everyone has a car, but there are a lot).  I may have mentioned it before but in the U.S. a Toyota Corolla is a Toyota Corolla but here there are sub-names for Corollas and other cars.  Most of the names are fairly normal (I ask myself in the states:  What is an Avalon or a Camry or a Civic?)  But there are a few here that I don't get at all:

And I'm totally clueless to this one:

Don't think about it too long . . . just smile!

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