We received word from the Military Relations Mission Department in Salt Lake on Saturday, April 9th that we will be serving the rest of our mission here in Okinawa. There are still a lot of aftershocks up in mainland Japan. I have heard they are resolving the nuclear power plant issue and have begun recovery work in the areas affected by the tsunami. Many of the families in the three military branches in the church were evacuated to the United States. Yokota Air Force Base has been designated as a major hub for the humanitarian aid for the earthquake victims mainly because it has large runways for planes, etc. We weren't sure if there would be much for us to do up there as missionaries though. There are 14 military bases here on Okinawa in roughly the same geographical area as the entire Tokyo Japan mission with about 42 missionaries serving both the Japanese/Okinawan people as well as the military members. There are four Military Branches. Elder Arnell spent this past week at Scout Camp and I spent the week at Young Women's Girl's Camp. There are a lot of youth in each of the four branches as well as a whole lot of Young Single Adults serving in the Military.
After we arrived we stayed at the home of Bill and Melene Mierzejewski. They both work for the Department of Defense School system and have lived in Okinawa for over 20 years. We are now staying in the apartment of a young Air Force Captain, Brian Russell, while he is called away for the rest of the month to work in Alaska. He will be moving to Korea by the end of May. In the meantime, we will be looking for an apartment somewhere on the island. Right now we are enjoying the view of the East China Sea from the balcony of his apartment as well as the sound of the water lapping on the shoreline. The apartments here are mostly built to American standards so will be much different than the 400 square foot apartment we had in Fussa.
We are scheduled to work with the Young Single Adults with Family Home Evening on Monday nights, working with the Japanese and American Young Single Adults in an Outreach Activiyt night on Tuesday evenings. English classes with two different congregations on Wednesday and Thursday evenings. There is another Military Relations couple here on the Island, Phil and Janet Savage. They have been running things for the mission for the past 18 months. There is a lot to do to take care of all of the young Elders and Sisters as well as dealing with the needs of the Young Single Adults as well as the members of the four branches and whatever else comes up. I'm sure we can be of some assistance just be sharing some of the daily responsibilities.
I will try to be more diligent with keeping this blog updated.