Monday, September 29, 2008

September 29, 2008

Dear Family & Friends,

O genki des ka? (how are you?) daijobu des!! (I am hunky dory)

Everything here is subarashi!!! (wonderful!!!)

Friday night we had the 4 office missionaries and 2 of their investigators over for dinner. We had a nice time, even though our apartment is very small. We have found out that that is what the Japanese are used to. They would be overwhelmed by the house we lived in in Glendale, and even the one we live in in Payson.

Well, Saturday we treated ourselves to another round of great food at Don Tei’s, which is the shabu shabu restaurant we ate at when we first got here. It was positively delicious, and we ate ourselves full, even uncomfortable, but it was worth it!!! We only ate a light dinner that night, so it lasted us for 8 hours! They would keep bringing us platters of thinly sliced meat and we would keep putting it in the boiling water and eating it as soon as it is cooked, plus adding assorted vegetables and tofu. Sure is delicious!!!!

We were honoring Elder Daniels as he is leaving this transfer. He has been a great missionary to work with in the office, very caring and dependable. On Sept. 11th, it was the 1-year anniversary of his father’s passing. It was hard for him, but he has felt the Lord so strongly in doing His work that it has given him much comfort and peace. He said he felt that same peace when he heard the news of his father’s passing last year. Now he will go home and spend time with his family before he starts school in January. He is from Bothell, Washington (Seattle area). We also have missionaries going home to Kumamoto, Japan; Fukuoka, Japan; Heber City, Utah; Carlsbad, New Mexico; and our only Russian missionary, Sister Kovalenko, returning to Novosibirsk, Russia. So we have 6 leaving and 6 arriving on Wednesday.

Cost of things here is quite different than in the United States. Gasoline here is 160 yen per liter or about $6.40/ gal. All the “freeways” are toll roads and cost around $600 per month for the mission president’s vehicle. A nice large apple, $1.00 each, and we have seen melons for up to $30-40 each, given as wedding gifts. Three cucumbers for $1.00 and three carrots for $1.00, but they taste better than any vegetable you buy in the US, so it must be the soil. Their grapes are huge (the size of small apricots) and very juicy and sweet and cost about $4.00 a bunch. We love the popcorn here that they sell pre-popped in bags for $1.00 a bag. That is one of the things I wish I could take home with me.

Our thought for the day is: “Pray in your families . . . that your wives and your children may be blessed.” 3 Nephi 18:21. “It is within families that truth is best learned, integrity is cultivated, self-discipline is instilled, and love is nurtured.” Pres. Gordon B. Hinckley.

We are so grateful for our family, and all their love and support. And for all you dear friends!! We are truly blessed!!!

Love, Jim & Pat

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