Sunday, March 31, 2013


So it is March 31st and here in Ishinomaki it snowed!  And not only that it was pretty cold all day long -- not one of those spring snows where it warms up.  The snow didn't stick but definitely it is cold.  So here's hoping next week it will be April so maybe the lamb will be in sight!

What Kind of Missionaries Are We?!

For a review for both you and me, I thought I would write a little about how the MISSIONARY WORK is going.  You (and I) may remember we were called as "member and leadership support" missionaries.  That basically means that we are to help or support the members and leaders here in the Ishinomaki branch.  We were also told that we were to do whatever the mission president wanted us to do and be a support to the young elders and sisters here in the Sendai mission.

So how is it going?  I thought I'd review this past week:


Monday was p-day and we basically just skype and go shopping so I will skip over that and go to Tuesday. 

(Being a support to the missionaries:)  We got up and picked up the three sister missionaries at 8:30 a.m. and headed to Izumi for district meeting an hour or so away.  We had a good meeting which includes a spiritual thought, Japanese language tip of the week, English tip of the week, some thoughts from the zone leaders and then a lesson on finding and going about doing good by the district leader, Elder Hirao.  It was our last district meeting before transfers this weeks so there is always the photo opp:

Transfers are announced tomorrow so we don't know what will happen but it looks like our district is in for some major changes.  One of our sisters is ending her mission this week and we know that there will definitely be changes made in two of the other areas (that only leaves one area that could go untouched).  So everyone was in that "anticipation" type of mood.

When we started to go back home I asked the sisters where and when they would like us to treat them out to eat since we like to treat when someone is transferring or ending her mission.  Sister Fukuda said, "Well we are quite busy this week.  How about right now?!"  So we went to our favorite ALL YOU CAN EAT restaurant and stuffed ourselves silly:

(Supporting the members:)  So we got home and about three hours later we were still stuffed but our phone rang and one of the members in the branch INSISTED that she was taking us out to dinner right now!  We really weren't hungry but I must say I had one of the most delicious things I have eaten here.  It was a shrimp au gratin!  It was a baked cheese sauce with shrimp in it and it was baked in a small pasta dish and was served very hot (which is rare in Japan).  Calvin had this hamburger plate that was quite large!

(Supporting the branch:)  Then at 7:00 p.m. we had Institute.  We are studying the New Testament now.  The amazing thing was there were fourteen people there.  With a branch that sees 35-40 people at sacrament meeting that seems REALLY good!


(Supporting the missionaries and doing service:)  On Wednesday morning I made cookies and Calvin practiced singing with the sisters because in the afternoon we were doing a service project at a elderly care center.  The sisters decided we should do a musical program.  Sister Saito plays the flute, Sister Shuto the piano and Sister Fukuda sings.  So they did a few musical numbers:

And then we had Sister Shuto play the piano and the residents sang old traditional songs they knew.  They all had a good time and even did actions and clapping:

And finally we gave out the cookies in little cellophane bags that I had baked as a "present."  I thought it was funny that some of those people downed those cookies before we had finished passing them out.  I guess they knew a good thing when they saw it!

(Service:)  Then it was back to Ishinomaki where we had our English class at the church at 7:00 p.m.  We have gradually built up our class and now up to fourteen are attending and hardly any are members that we know. 


(Service:)  Thursday was our last time teaching our English class in Miyato.  We spent the day getting ready since we were having a "movie night" and showing a slide show Calvin made using photos we had taken of them during this past year we taught there. 

We took drinks, popcorn, and leftover cookies (!) and the community center added a few extra goodies of their own:

I guess you could call them chicken fingers and french fries and also they made some small pizzas.  AND they passed out LARGE drinks--ours were only small ones.

And then they gave us gifts and had another photo shoot:


(Service:)  So on Friday we left the apartment at 6:30 a.m. (after returning to our apartment at 9:30 p.m. the night before) to go to Omotehama to do some Helping Hands service.  We were to help harvest wakame (seaweed).  Here is Calvin cutting the wakame with a small two pronged knife:

We did this for about three hours until we were finished.  It was a little cold and drizzly but not all that hard.  There were bins full of wakame:

Afterwards the lady in charge of our area gave us some wakame to take home.  When you bring the water to a boil it turns bright green:

It doesn't taste bad.  In fact, I figure anything green has to be GOOD for you like broccoli, spinach, lettuce, avocados, mint chocolate ice cream;  well, you get the picture!

(member support:)  That afternoon we went the other direction an hour away and attended a mini concert at a temporary housing unit.  The opera singer that we know (son of a member) was in town for a concert the next day and agreed to sing to these people affected by the tsunami.  We also know someone who lives there and is a less active member.  They were there and I was armed with some doll clothes that I had made for their two little girls.  The concert was wonderful:

One of the highlights was when the father (branch member) sang O Solo Mio and did a wonderful job.  The people in the audience were so astounded that he could sing so well and not be a professional.

AND afterwards, someone gave us a gift to take home:  WAKAME!  Actually this seaweed looks more like seaweed like I picture it.  It is green and stringy.   They salt it heavily to preserve it I think but I rinsed it off today and it was really good.  I think you make seaweed salad out of it.


(member support:)  On Saturday we had the other concert related to the one above!  It was in a nice hall with lots of people in attendance.  We had invited some of our English students to come and two of them came, along with a couple of other nonmembers we know and several people from the branch.  Here are some photos:

Afterwards one of the nonmembers insisted on taking us and some others in the branch out to dinner at a restaurant.  Onadera san is handicapped (has only one leg) and loves to listen to music:

Our food was beautifully presented and wonderful to eat:


(member and leader support:)  So today was Sunday and we went to branch presidency meeting this morning along with the rest of the meetings.  Then tonight we had single adult family home evening.  We have that once a month and I must say it is quite fun to just relax and enjoy.  Plus we have great refreshments that everyone brings.  One funny thing is that we were talking about earthquakes and what to do if you have a BIG ONE.  So to make a point, I guess,  about two hours before the FHE we had a 4.0 earthquake!

The man on the left is Brother Sato who is actually a less active member and we visited him after our wakame service because he lives close to where we did the service.  He has been coming fairly regularly lately so that is great!

So that was our week in review as missionaries.  In addition, we must add a few more things we have done:  Study, exercise, sew, bake, play Ticket to Ride card game that Melissa gave us before we left, and listen to BYU basketball on KSL radio (internet)!  Go Cougars!

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