Sunday, October 12, 2008

Oct 12, 2008

Dear Family & Friends,

We just finished a week with two wonderful experiences:

First, this past Saturday and Sunday we were able to watch the Semi-annual General Conference in Salt Lake City. We heard such wonderful and uplifting things. A few of the thoughts we want to share and remember are:

5 new temples are planned for Calgary, Alberta, Canada; Cordoba, Argentina; the greater Kansas City area; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and Rome, Italy.

“Faith is not just a feeling, it is a decision,” Elder Neil Anderson

“How we react to adversity makes a difference in our lives and our happiness.” Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin

“Angels are sent from God, both seen and unseen….People are angels, too.” Elder Jeffrey R. Holland

“Zion will only come as we are unified, become a holy people, and care for the poor and needy.” Elder D. Todd Christofferson

“To help our prayers become more meaningful, we must 1) counsel with the Lord in all our doings, 2) express heartfelt gratitude, and 3) Pray for others with real intent and a sincere heart.” Elder David A. Bednar

“To love our enemies takes faith and Christian courage. True disciples of Christ see opportunity in the midst of opposition.” Elder Robert D. Hales

“We will always have change, but we need to find joy in the journey. Always give thanks.” Pres. Thomas S. Monson.

Second, we were able to take a quick, one-day trip to Mt. Fuji. We rode there by bus with a great tour guide who helped us understand how much Mt. Fuji means to the people of Japan. We saw beautiful country and mountains—turns out Japan is mostly mountains, which we didn’t know because we spend all our time on the plains of Tokyo.

As we were driving closer, we could see the tip of Mt. Fuji above the clouds, but by the time we got to the Visitors Center, we were under the clouds. The hike up has 10 Stations (they call them Steps), and you can drive to the Fifth Station, which our bus did. But we were in the clouds there so we could still not see Mt. Fuji. Then we went to have lunch at a hotel at the base of the mountain. We ate with newfound friends from York, England, Bill and Joy Hawthorne. They were great people who have done some traveling so we had fun visiting with them. We also had people on our bus from Australia and Sri Lanka and, of course, Japan.

After lunch, they took us on a cruise of one of five lakes at the base of Mt. Fuji. The one we were on was Lake Ashi. They let us off at the bottom of a cablecar run up Mt. Komagatake. We enjoyed the ride up and the spectacular views of Hakone and Lake Ashi and, in the distance, the Pacific Ocean. But it was pretty hazy so we couldn’t see it clearly.

After we descended, they took us to the train station to ride the Shinkansen (the bullet train), home. Because it was dark, we didn’t get any photos. We hope to take it again sometime and get some pictures. We did post our photos and copies of postcards onto our blog, and it included a postcard of the Shinkansen with Mt. Fuji in the background.

What a subarashi week!!!

Hope you are all doing well—

Love, Jim & Pat

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