Picture #1: Mt. Fuji at dusk from our apartment window
Picture #2: On Veterans Day we took a drive to Mt. Fuji--about two hours away. This sign shows that we were there on 22-11-11. 22 is how many years the current ruler has been in place. In local and government issues they use this year but when dealing with anything outside Japan they use the traditional 2010 year. It was 0 celsius at station 5 (middle of the mountain) and -11 Celsius at the summit. You can't go past station 5 except in July and August.
Picture #3: The autumn colors at Lake Yamanaka which one of the five lakes at the base of Mt. Fuji. If you Google Mapped it you would see it looks like a whale.
It has been way too long since I updated this blog. Sorry, my friends. I try to keep my Facebook spot updated with pictures, but I know that many of you are not into the Social Network thing.
We have been busy here in Japan spreading ourselves between the three military branches which serve these bases: Yokota Branch which is affiliated withYokota Air Base (our apartment is about five minutes outside the main gate); Zama Branch which serves Zama Army Base and Atsugi Naval Air Station which is a little over an hour drive from our apartment; Yokosuka Branch which serves Yokosuka Navy Base which is about a two hour drive from our apartment and an hour drive between it and the Zama area. It is sometimes difficult to meet the needs of the three different branches because they are so varied.
Yokosuka was the only one who had a semblance of a Young Single Adult gathering with a Family Home Evening Group meeting weekly. When the aircraft carrier, George Washington, is out to sea six months out of the year it does take a toll on the attendance. When the ship is in they have 7-10 people out to Family Home Evening. When it is out to sea they have three dependents and one seaman on shore duty. They know of 18 other Young Single Adult members of the church who are choosing to stay away.
Zama Branch is the smallest of the three and there are only two active Young Single Adults and we just heard that both of them will be leaving at the first of the year. So far there has been no active searching for the lost sheep. It is very difficult for Zama because Camp Zama (Army) and Atsugi (Navy) are about 30 minutes apart from each other and the church building is somewhere in between. There is no central place for anyone to meet and no way anyone can just walk somewhere if such a meeting was being held.
We were able to start a Young Single Adult Family Home Evening group at Yokota in October with 5-6 people attending. We plan to start an institue class for Yokota and another for Yokosuka at the beginning of the year. We have requested that the branches call instructors for these insitute classes because it would be difficult for us to travel between the two places each week to teach. When we go to Yokosuka or Zama we often just get a room at the Navy Lodge or other military lodging there--especially if we are there for a function in the evening. We are very blessed to be able to buy gas on the base which is at $2.78/gallon versus the 128 yen for a liter which equates about $6 a gallon. We can also buy all our food and anything else we need from any of the base. We are helping with the mission Christmas party by getting the 550 hot dogs and buns and such from the commissary.
This week I have been coordinating Thanksgiving dinner for 60+ missionaries with the various families at the bases. Yokota and Yokosuka and hosting individual family dinners and Zama is having a large gathering at Atsugi. It has proven an interesting task but it has also helped us to know where all the missionaries live. One of our recent assignments is to visit the apartments in five of the nine zones of the mission to report on what needs to be repaired as well as to check on cleanliness. More on the road time for us, but for you who know us well know that Elder Arnell loves to drive and Sister Arnell needs to be kept very, very busy.
We hope all is well with every one of you and look forward to hearing from you about your families, missions, etc.