Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Okinawa, Japan - at least for a while anyway
Lunch at a Hawaiian restauant-napkins stored in a Spam can--Span flyswatter. Must be a theme thing.
They call this "Chicken Island" because chickens live on it. Elder Arnell in front of a playground which has a ship for kids to climb in overlooking the beach and Chicken Island.
We didn't know that there was an active volcano on the southern end of Japan near Kagoshima. The mountain is called Mt. Sacurajima and always has ash spewing out. They have had a little more ash activity during the past week. Earlier in the week I noticed that the air tasted funny and there was a film of dust on our car. Now I know why.
We took the mission car to the ferry at Kagoshima Tuesday morning and then flew to Okinawa that afternoon. We were met by Elder Philp Savage and his wife, Janet, who are the Military Relations couple assigned on the island. There are 14 military bases--mostly Marines. We are currently staying with Bill and Melene Mierzejewski. He is an assistant principle at an elementary school with DODS (Department of Defense Schools) and she has taught school full time and is currently a substitute teacher. They have five children who are all grown but not all married. None of them live at home. They have a nice American style home and have been in Okinawa for over 15 years. The plan is for us to be here at least six weeks and if we can not return to Tokyo by that time we will stay here permanently and when the Tokyo mission opens up again they will send a new mission couple to that area. If things settle down up there we will be packing up the car again by the end of April and driving back up through Japan. There are three people left at the Tokyo mission home--President Albrecht and Elder and Sister Hobbs, a Senior Missionary couple who arrived in Japan a month after we did. They said Tuesday they were able to get gas for all three mission vehicles and although there were some stations closed, the ones that were open did not have any cars lined up for fuel. Companies are reported to be bringing their employees back into Tokyo even though there are still issues with the nuclear plant. Last night they had pictures of the workers standing around talking in front of the plant and they were not wearing any extra protective clothing.
Meanwhile we will help out as much as possible here in Okinawa. We took a walk yesterday morning with Sister Mierzejewski down to the East China Sea (2 blocks away) and had lunch with her and the Savages at a Hawaiian restaurant on the beach. In the afternoon we went out with the Savages and took some blankets and a bicycle helmet to some Sister missionaries. They were both sick with the flu so were given a priesthood blessing. One of the sisters, Sister Lynch, is from the Tokyo mission. We also visited with Elder Jenkins, who had been with us in Fussa. It was nice to see that he was settling in nicely. Another Tokyo missionary, Elder Williams, assisted us last night when we had to go to the ferry to retrieve our car. It is always nice to have in interpreter nearby. This morning we unpacked the car and put things away. We will meet with the District President this evening and get a feel for what he would like us to do. Meanwhile I am happy to just sit quietly in this house today and maybe do some FamilySearch Indexing, reading or nothing. Elder Arnell is anxious to get out in the car and explore the island, but I need one more day to decompress after the past week of upheaval. I hope you enjoy these pictures.