Sunrise from our apartment

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Just a little update on 11-11-11

We celebrated our birthday's (Elder Arnell-Sept 13th and Sister Arnell-Sept 16th) with the missionaries from the Musashino District missionaries.

I realized that it has been over six weeks since I updated our blog. We are a different kind of busy up here in Tokyo than we were in Okinawa. We spend a lot of time on the road since the three branches of the church we work with are far apart. After we returned to Tokyo the 1st part of September we visited Yokosuka and Zama after settling into our apartment near Yokota. It was almost like starting our mission all over again. In the five months we were in Okinawa many of the military members had moved to other assignment and many of the Young Single Adults who were dependents had gone back to the States for school or missions. Institute started up in Yokosuka the end of October and we will start the program here at Yokota in a few days.

There is another Military Relations couple coming to Japan on November 15th, Elder Michael and Sister Jolynn Johnson. They will be working with the Navy down in Yokosuka. This will be great for all involved because we really couldn't be of much help to the members of the Yokosuka Branch with the two hour drive distance.

We were not able to go to the temple for the five months in Okinawa and we really missed attending. The first Friday of each month is the Honshu Military District's temple night. The missionaries also go to the temple the Tuesday before transfers. In October we left our apartment at 8:00 to attend the 10:30 session. We have made the drive between our apartment and the temple in just under an hour. That day, though, we didn't get there until 10:45 due to the traffic. This month (transfers are every six weeks) we went into Tokyo the night before and stayed at Hardy Barracks, a small Army post just north of the temple, to insure we made it on time. It was well worth the $40 it cost for the room.

On November 4th the Honshu Military District held their annual District conference. It included a temple trip for the youth in conjunction with the normal monthly scheduled session. The youth and their families traveled the eight hour drive from Misawa up north and a 12 hour bus ride from Iwakuni to the south. There were sixty youth attending the baptism sessions. While half the youth were in the temple we talked to the other half about Family History and how they could be involved, based on the recent conference talk by Elder David Bednar. There were also two recently returned missionaries who talked to the group about what it was like to be on a mission and how they could prepare themselves for that time in their lives.

We were able to meet up with a group of Japanese friends from Okinawa who came up to the temple the end of October. Yea for the Futenma Ward!!!

When we came back to Tokyo from Okinawa we were looking into the future and considering the options. We decided to take it to the Lord and prayed about extending our mission for three months instead of returning to the States in during the winter months. The next day our daughter Katrina contacted us with news that her husband received orders to Korea for a year on an unaccompanied tour leaving the first part of February. She asked if we could come and live with her in Georgia while her husband, Michael Croy, was away. Our fourth son, Alexander, is in the Navy and lives in Norfolk, Virginia. He and his wife are expecting their third son on February 7th and wanted us to be there to help with the family. We felt this was the answer to our prayers and that we are needed by our family instead of extending our mission. Right now our scheduled departure date is January 26th. We will be going to Dover to get released from our mission and then traveling to Norfolk for the birth of our 16th grandchild. Eventually we will make it down to Georgia to be with Katrina. We plan to go to Alabama and Nashville to see Erick and Angie in mid-March. Angela and Scott Owens introduced our #14 grandchild, Chloe Sue, into the world on September 2nd. We will be coming out to Idaho/Utah at the end of March to see our 15th grandchild who is scheduled to be born on November 13th--the 2nd daughter to Christopher and Tiffany. Lots is happening in the Arnell family all the time.

We hope all is well with our friends out there in cyberspace. Let us know what is going on in your lives.

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