Monday, November 22, 2010
Friday, October 8, 2010
Our apartment is located in the town of Fussa near one of the main train stations. The tourist books describe Fussa as being "typical small town USA" because of the stores catering to the US Servicemen. Obviously they have not been to many small towns in the USA!! Yokosuka is about 73 km (45 miles) from Fussa but we understand it takes about 3 hours to drive there due to traffic. We went to Zama Branch the first Sunday after we arrived. It took us just over an hour to drive the 25 km. We understand it can take over 2 1/2 hours when the traffic is heavy.
Elder Arnell was called to the Honshu Military District High Council last Sunday. A Military District is like a Stake Unit of the church in its structure. The District serves only American Military Branches within its boundaries. The island of Honshu is the main island of Japan and covers over 1,000 miles. The area of our mission covers just the middle portion of the island but Elder Arnell may be traveling throughout the entire District boundaries. We figure it will take us the rest of 2010 just getting to know where things are and not getting lost along the way. Driving on the left side of the road can be a challenge. Since we lived in England 30 years ago we got used to it and it didn't take Elder Arnell very long to become accustomed to it as well as the winding, narrow roads.
The people in Japan are very courteous, both on and off the road. The road construction flaggers have lightsaber-like wands it indicate slower or stopped traffic. They are very humble and bow as you go by. The streets are amazingly clean and even though there are quite a few people coming and going there is not a lot of noise. As I mentioned, we live right next to a major train station and can barely hear the trains coming and going.
The LDS Church helds it's semi-annual conference in Salt Lake City the 1st weekend in October. Since we are 15 hours ahead in time from the Mountain Standard Time it was already Monday here where it was Sunday there. Therefore, we will be going to the church this Saturday and Sunday to listen to the conference sessions. Of course we know we can get them online anytime and have listened to a few sessions already. It is nice to be able to be with other members of the church though instead of just being in our apartment.
We plan to start an institute class here at Yokota soon as well as at the other two military locations. We just need to figure out the logistics. We will probably travel to the furthest base and stay for a couple of days each week. As I mentioned--it will probably take us the rest of this year just to get things figured out.
I hope you are all enjoying our little adventure in Japan as much as we are.
On Saturday, October 2nd we took a little drive West of Fussa to an area called Okatuma and Ome. After driving about 20 minutes we were out of the city and in a marvelous wooded and mountainous area. The roads were very winding and narrow with many tunnels through the mountain. We passed numerous Bhuddist shrines and other tourist attractions but didnt' stop at any of them on this trip. We just wanted to see what was up the road and also needed to make sure we could find our way back to Fussa.
Monday, October 4, 2010
Sunday, September 26, 2010
Friday, September 24, 2010
We are in a three room apartment. It is comfortable and has enough space for the stuff we have. As soon as I get the internet hooked up at our apartment I will be posting pictures. We were able to go onto the base on Thursday and shop at the commissary and base exchange. I sometimes feel a bit guilty about all the advantages we have over other senior missionaries we got to know at the MTC.
Today we had to go down to City Hall to register. All foreigners have to register in the district within one week of arriving in the area. We fed the two local missionaries lunch of waffles and pancakes so they would go down there with us to help with the language. They didn't hesitate with that invitation. They have been living off Japanese food for the past few months and really enjoyed abit of American food for a change.
We are going to dinner this evening at the home of the Military District President. He is the equivalant of a Stake President out in the real LDS world. He is over all of the Military Bases in the area. We will be going to church with his counselor in a branch about an hour away this coming Sunday. The nearest church building to our apartment is only a five minute drive. We'll be going there next week I guess. So far we haven't been able to do anything with actual young military people but will eventually be setting up so programs for them. I'm sure it will be quite a few months before we really get anything up and going. At least we are getting familiar with the lead people who will in turn introduce us to the chaplains on the various bases and then things will start to happen. I should probably enjoy the slower pace right now, but if any of you know me well you know that isn't my way.
I am posting this from the Community Center on Yakota Air Force Base. We have the internet at our apartment as of lunch time today but I haven't been back there to use it. Hopefully tonight I will be able to post some pictures. Meanwhile, I just wanted to keep you all posted on what was going on in our lives.
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Saturday, September 11, 2010
There are over 2,300 missionaries at the MTC this week--450 new young missionaries arrived on Wednesday. The cafeteria is an interesting experience. There is so much food and many different choices. Three full meals a day would take a toll on the waistline if we were going to be here for longer than 10 days.
During the week we studied a lot from the Preach My Gospel manual. We won't be proselyting missionaries and will be working mainly with military members but we will always be representing the Church and helping those young people to stay close to the Lord. Next week we will be learning the essentials to teach church Institute classes.
This weekend we will try to post some pictures of the magnificent Rocky Mountains right next to the MTC buildings. My friends from the East will be amazed at the height of the mountains.
Until Later--Elder and Sister Arnell
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
We are in a dorm room which is just big enough to be comfortable. After spending the last two months living out of suitcases it was nice to be able to hang our clothes up on a closet and put things in drawers--even if it is only for ten days.
There are currently over 2,100 missionares atthe training center at various stages of their training. Of course most of them are young people. They let us oldsters go to the front of the line in the cafeteria and also carried all of our luggage up the three flights of stairs to our room. It is fun listening to them practice their language skills with each other and also with anyone they can stop along the way.
We will be flying out to Tokyo on Monday, Sept 20th. I hope you all will enjoy our adventure through this blog. Feel free to e-mail us with your updates: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Elder and Sister Arnell