While conducting some business in Downtown Osaka, we had a chance to stop and visit the Osaka Castle. It is located right in the center of Osaka surrounded by a huge garden and several parks.
The walls around the castle entrance are made up of huge rocks. Rika could not stop herself from the urge to climb the castle walls. The inner mote is dry and overgrown with shrubs.
Within the inner courtyard there is park with food shops and many interesting people and creatures. The missionary white handbook says missionaries cannot pick up children, but it said nothing about big reptiles.Earlier this month we took an exploratory trip out to Awaji Island which is located between Honshu and Shikoku, two of the main four islands that make up Japan. There is wonderful bridge that connects the Japan mainland to Awaji Island in Akashi, a few minutes down the coast from Kobe. At the southern end of Awaji, there is another bridge connecting the island to Shikoku which is part of the Hiroshima Mission.
The island is quite rural, but there is a small branch located on the island with a weekly attendance of about 10 members. Above is a shot of the church building. It is located in downtown Sumoto. Awaji is famous for growing onions and other agricultural products. It is beautiful country, but may not be populous enough for us to send missionaries. Also, access to the island is somewhat expenses as the bridge toll is about $30 each way and the only other option is boat.
We were invited to speak at a large YSA event one Sunday evening held in the mountains above Kyoto (about a three hour drive from Kobe). There were over 75 YSA in attendance at the three day event. We held a workshop with them about missions and marriage. On the way down the mountain, we found this giant Tengu mask near a shrine and a small mountain train station and could not resist taking a picture of each other in front of it.
We had a great baptism in Kakogawa we were able to attend one Saturday afternoon. Brother Okuno was baptized. He is pictured here with us and Elders Murphy and Sjavik who taught him the gospel.
Elders Payne and Williams taught and baptized the eight and nine year old Taniguchi children in Tanabe, Wakayama. They were able to find and teach the children through their efforts to reactivate their mother. Looks like Elder Payne related well to the children! Technically, only the nine year old counts as a convert baptism, but it makes no difference to us (or the kids).