Friday, November 27, 2009

Transfer Week November 2009 - New Missionaries, Thanksgiving and Sister Pyper's Birthday!

We welcomed 7 new missionaries to the mission this week. Elders Price and Johnson, Sister Holmes, Elder Bunderson, Sister Ieremia and Elders Bennion and Enta. They enjoyed the morning run up to Maruyama Park. And they had fun trying out the obstacle course.

As their welcome dinner, we had our family and Kobe District Thanksgiving dinner with all the fixings. For some of the Japanese missionaries, this was the first time to eat turkey (and many other American holiday foods).
Rick made it home from basketball just in time to catch some turkey with all missionaries. We had both dining rooms full with about 30 people. The Kobe missionaries invited some of their investigators to join us as well.
It happened to be Sister Pyper's birthday so we had a great big cake surprise for her!
Sister McIntyre made her a cute face cookie as well.
Sisters Ise and Pyper both worked hard with Sister McIntyre to prepare such a big meal for all these servants of the Lord. And it was delicious!
On orientation day, we took the new missionaries and the office staff to a sushi lunch.
The new missionaries enjoyed it and ate a lot!
It was the first time for a few of them, but everyone found something they liked. Some were pretty brave in my opinion!
This new group is unique in some ways. All the elders come with some Japanese ancestry. Elder Enta is Japanese and from Japan. Elder Price is quarter Japanese as one of his grandmothers is Japanese. The other three elders are half Japanese all having Japanese mothers. It is a great group and we are excited to work with them.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Transfers Begin - Departing Group November 2009

We returned 5 great missionaries this week and sent them off with a sukiyaki dinner.
Sister Inoue and Yamashita help Sister Ise and Sister McIntyre in the kitchen.
The departing group with cake and message cards from Sister McIntyre. Elder Payne, Sister Yamashita, Elder Christie, Sister Inoue and Elder Nicerio.
The departing group on the morning of departure. Sister Yamashita, who is from Tokyo, was met by her parents who drove her back home. Inoue Shimai's mother also came down from Tokyo to pick her up and they returned via bullet train to Tokyo with the Elders Payne and Nicerio who flew out of the airport in Tokyo. Elder Christie stayed on with us until Thursday when he returned to Shikoku via Hiroshima by train and boat. Elder Christie served in Kobe twice and for almost half of his mission. When we arrived he was working in the office and was a great help to us in getting started in our new calling. He is fully bilingual, half Japanese, half American, and went to school at BYU Hawaii before coming back on his mission here. For the past several months he has been serving as my assistant here in Kobe again. Of course Sister McIntyre thinks he was her assistant and gave him his Assistant to the President's Wife apron. On our morning run on his last day in Japan, we made it to the park just in time for the sunrise. Elders Matsuoka, Christie and Sister McIntyre show us why this is called the land of the rising sun!Then they admire the work of the Lord! (sporting their custom made I Love Kobe T-shirts made by Elder Matsuoka's mother)This was transfer day and Elder Matsuoka transferred after 6 months as the mission commissariat and Elder Christie returned home. It was a beautiful morning and yet a little sad to see these great missionaries move on.

The missionaries are truly like our own sons and daughters. We love them all!

Yamada Shimai's Birthday

Last Sunday was Sister Yamada's birthday. She is currently serving in Kobe. We surprised her Sunday night with a cookie. Here she is with us and her companion, Sister Inoue.
The district all came and brought more treats too!

Kansai Branch Youth Fireside at the Mission Home - November 22, 2009

Last Sunday a youth fireside was held in our home and the youth learned about setting worthy and righteous goals and how the achieve them.
James and Ricky attended, it was pretty easy since they only had to come downstairs!
Ricky was accepted to BYU Hawaii. He is still waiting to hear where else he may have a chance of attending. We are very proud of him and excited for him to start college next year.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Kobe Mission Home Property Now and Then - Over 40 Years Ago

Thanks to President McArthur for sending me copies of these great photos of the Kobe property taken when he served here about 40 years ago. This is the old house that sits where the current mission home stands. Note the wall on the right. It still stands today. The sign has the name of the church and meeting times advertised on it.
This a shot of the mission home property today take from the same angle a little farther back across the street. You can still see the old wall running along the road. Today the Kobe Stake Center and mission offices also stand on the property.
Here is closer shot of the wall today where the gate to the original property once stood. We recently painted and added a sign and replaced the old lettering on the wall. The left side of the wall must have been taken down years ago when the current home was built. The current home and old wall survived, with no damage, the great Kobe earthquake of 1995.These were the old letters. Note sure how old they were, but they date back anywhere from 15 to 20 years ago. Erika and Sammy summer of 2008!Here is the new lettering. A little smaller but shiny gold!
This is the back side of the original house taken from the current church upper parking lot.Here is a picture of the current home from about the same spot.Here is a current shot of the church and mission home further back from the same angle. This is the old house, which was used as the church, with the members of the Kobe Branch (might have been called the Sannomiya Branch) in the 1960's.
The church today from the front driveway of the mission home and our basketball court.Front of the Kobe church today. The mission offices and missionary apartments are directly behind the church.Entrance to the Kobe Mission Office behind the Kobe Chapel.
A lot has changed. It is a wonderful set up for the mission and a beautiful neighborhood. Might be a great location for a Kobe/Kansai Temple someday!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Blessed Day in Kyoto!

The Spirit of God like a fire was burning in Kyoto on Sunday. We had a wonderful stake conference presided over by our Area President, Elder Gary Stevenson of the Seventy. We attended all sessions and I spoke with Elder Stevenson in each. Sister McIntyre spoke in the evening session. At the conclusion of the conference on Sunday we had a baptismal service for 5 new converts from three of the wards in the stake.
Sister Hishii of the Fushimi Ward with her two children at conference. She made the beautiful (but large) flowers for us. All the youth wore name tags like missionaries and served as ushers and door keepers. Brother Hishii is the Bishop of the Fushimi Ward (not pictured).
New members Sisters Li and Gogan with us and Elder Stevenson.We tried to get a shot of everyone but it was difficult. In front is little Melina, who was baptized with her father, standing between Sisters Keneko and Yamashita who taught Sisters Li and Gogan.
Brother Matoba was baptized in the Katsura ward and was taught by Elders Quilter and Ashdown. Katsura Bishop Okunishi is also pictured.
Brother Nozawa and his daughter Melina were taught and baptized by Elders Jackson and Chamochumbi from the Omihachiman Ward.
The Spirit was strong at conference and President Tamaya did a great job planning and preparing everything. The church is alive and well in Kyoto!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Recent Pictures November 09

We have finally finished (at least for now on our limited budget) some of the landscaping improvements around the mission home and office. Sister McIntyre loves the new bamboo gate near the entrance to the mission home. We can now take some Japanese garden pictures with the new missionaries! Next spring our yard and garden around the mission home should look very nice.
A quick stop at Shakey's Pizza in Kyoto on the day of interviews. Below are some attempts to get a picture of the zone while eating The sisters sat by us at a separate table.
The other angle!
Elder Matsuoka got a cookie on his birthday. He is one of our faithful office elders!
We also had a visit from Brother Fukui, who just went home from his mission here a few weeks ago, but lives in the mission next door. He will be off to BYU Idaho next month.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Kobe Office Preparation Day Picnic BBQ

This past preparation day the Kobe District hiked up the mountain and held a picnic BBQ by the little river. The sisters prepared foil meals and we cooked them with yaki onigiri and various snacks.We thought this would look like a Mormon Family photo. We got at least three generations in there! It was a nice long log. Just long enough for us to all sit on. Elder and Sister Pyper looking on as I handle the BBQ.
Elder Matsuoka's mother made these I Love the Japan Kobe Mission shirts and sent one to each of us. Here Sister McIntyre shows hers off with Elder Matsuoka.
Eating and playing catch.