Monday, December 28, 2015

Christmas Finally Arrived

It’s so fun to look at the decorations and anticipate Christmas.  At the first of November Christmas day seemed so far away.  As the days filled up with meetings, activities, and service they went by more quickly.  It really was a time of service and giving.  We wish that the Christmas spirit could be with us each day of the whole year.  Here’s a glance at some of our Christmas events. 

The days are pretty chilly, so one of the elders had these snuggy slippers in his apartment.

Just enjoying more of the decorations in the basement of the bus terminal.
Two cute dogs out on a stroll, while looking at decorations. 
It was fun to see a few angel ornaments for sell, when most ornaments are Santa or reindeer.
We were pleasantly surprised to see this "Believe" table decoration in one of the shops.  
We were invited to a wonderfully interesting Christmas dinner at the Rojin, Assisted Living Home, by members of our free English class.  They served large shrimp, edamame, and some foods that we are not familiar with.   A choir sang some Japanese songs, and a few English Christmas carols.  they gave out gifts to everyone who attended.  We received two large bags with bundles of Kleenex boxes, something every home needs in the winter. 

This was the cute desert at the Rojin dinner.

Young women and men helped to decorate and prepare cupcakes for our church Branch party. 

These are some of the tables of food at the church party.  They requested my "tortilla salad"  and I happily made two large bowls. See the salad half way up the picture.  Mami, Risa, and Kenshin did an amazing job of putting the party all together, with a special message, really fun games (a treasure hunt and musical chairs), and super yummy food.  We had over 80 people attend, with about 20 non member friends.  We sure like to spend time with these people. 
This is the beginning of the Christmas party, before games and food.
We picked up a Costco ham a month ago, and cooked it for our missionaries on Christmas Day.  We put together a fun dinner at our home, with mashed potatoes, gravy, cut apples, tortilla salad, and brownies.  The missionaries walked into our home and said "It smells like America".  Japanese food smells delicious too, but different. 

We put the ham into a cooking bag, and luckily it fit into my microwave/convection oven. 
Our group just before the ham dinner, on Christmas Day.  It was really special to be together with our "mission family".
Thursday (Christmas Eve Day) we had a Zone Training Meeting.  The missionaries played a few games before the meeting, had some fun, then settled down to a great meeting.   

A fun relay game before the meeting.

Musical chairs with only Elders, then musical chairs with only Sisters.  All had fun.

The smaller group of missionaries on Christmas Day, were given permission to watch  "It's A Wonderful Life" or  "Frozen".  They borrowed Frozen from a member.  We didn't watch it with them, because we were at home preparing the ham dinner.
This is a room in our home with tatami floors, which are easy to sit on.  They were playing a Book of Mormon game.  They laughed and had a good time.
One of the sisters surprised us and put this "Merry Christmas" on our door.
Our Tokyo friends, Brother and Sister Suzuki, send surprise boxes from time to time.  This is the Christmas box they sent.  Lots of wonderful surprises.

Our Church friends filled a box for each of the eight missionaries in Kagoshima.  These are our two boxes.  Some things to eat, and some things to wear. 

Did any of you see the full moon on Christmas Day?  This photo doesn't do it justice.  It was big and beautiful.  You can see a hint of the volcano if you look closely.  
A fantastic sunrise view of our volcano in Christmas Day. 

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