We visited the Main Tower and the Honmaru-goten Palace today as there it is much to large to see in a single P-day.
The Castle and defending troops held out for 7 weeks cut off from support and under constant attack. When the main Imperial army of near 100,000 troops arrived by land and sea, the tired and depleted samurai army was chased out of Kumamoto. It is such a dramatic and epic story that they should make a movie about it. Oh wait.. They did make a movie abut it. Its called The Last Samurai. By the way, this movie was not actually filmed in Kumamoto or in Japan, thats "Hollywood" for you.
What a fantastic day and there is much more to see on other P-days.
In the early part of Tuesday Luetta and I had speparate Skype classes from our Language Specialist at the Provo, MTC. He is working with us on learning our learning styles and developing goals in our language learning. Here is a screen capture of the S.M.A.R.T. goal setting criterion.
Tuesday was also District meeting. The sisters asked for a ride to there which we were happy to help with, but they surprised us with a spiritual thought while we drove about everything getting better and better. They couldn't have realized that our spirits were at a low point and there message was so much appreciated and we saw it as God's love being sent to us through His missionaries, while we are deaf and dumb in Japan. We have so much appreciation for those in a foreign country with little language. We are lucky that so many try to speak and do speak to us in English, and the language of Angels (the Holy Spirit). While at District meeting we were instructed by the zone leaders on companion relationships. They used two photos taken at Kumamoto Castle the day before, one that one elder took of the beautify scene of Cherry Blossoms and one that another elder took of the precipice he was leaning out off and being supported by his companion. One of the Elders that is a good artist then created a drawing using the descriptions of the two groups that described one of the pictures. It turned out rather well.
Wednesday we spend most of the day picking up Eikwai (English Class) posters and getting ready for the next drawing for three weeks of having our posters up around all of Kumamoto. As far as we know, no one has come as result of them yet. It it doesn't prove fruitfull in about 3-4 cycles we will find other methods. The flyers at the internation center had two people that have come so far and a member that works there has set us up for two more months of posting. In the second story area where we take Japanese classe from a Native Japanese ex High School teacher we put up 6 larger flyers and three had been taken when we looked last. We hope to get new students with these. Learning English is very popular in Japan.
Thursday, we finished picking up posters in the downtown part of town and in areas we had not driven before. It was a real adventure as none of these community boards were programmed into the Gramin yet, so it was map (in 100% Japanese) and our wits.
We took this photo of our apartment building. Ours is the top floor, fartherest left.
Friday was a great day, we took the zone leaders to visit a smaller island south of Kumamoto. Here is a map of the area, in fact we crossed via bridges many islands to get there.
Here is a bit of history of this area. "Amakusa is a group of islands to the southwest of Kumamoto Prefecture. Relatively-large three islands and the mainland surround Yatsushiro Sea, and many other small islands are around there.
Also Uto Peninsula in Kumamoto Prefecture and Shimabara Peninsula in Nagasaki Prefecture are close to this islands. The large three islands are Kamishima, Shimoshima and Nagashima.
Between Kamishima and Shimoshima, there is a narrow channel like a canal. Christianity was first introduced to Japan in 1549 by Saint Francis Xavier, a Catholic missionary belonging to the Society of Jesus. Then eager missionary works were done based in Hirado or Nagasaki in Nagasaki Prefecture. Christianity was also introduced in Shimoshima in 1566, and it got many believers.
In the late 16th century, many churches and a seminary were built in this islands.
But Christianity was banned in 1587, and the lords around this area suppressed the Christians.
In the result, the people in Amakusa and Shimabara revolted against the tyranny of the lords in 1637 in conspiracy. But many of them were killed out at an old castle in Shimabara where they took refuge. Since that, remaining Christians had hidden in this islands until the lifting of the ban of Christianity in 1873. Even now, about 30 percent of Amakusa people are Christians."
Here are a few photos from the car of our travel there on a cloudy, but not rainey day. I loved the palm trees, and ocean views, reminded me of California, but more green.
Mormonism is, obviously, a relatively recent addition to the diversity of the area, but it is struggling. There use to be a ward in Amakusa, but it is not anymore. We were determined to visit some of the about 40 less active members on the island. One active member met us at a common resturant in Japan, Joyfull.
We were able to visit three less active families, teach three lessons that included two non-members, give out two Book of Mormons and invite one to to follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptised by restored authority. We invited them all to attend an upcoming Ward Conference in Kumamoto as well. We expect to return many times to this fantastic island and hope that with the nearly doubling of the number of missionaries in this mission to have them return to a full time presence in Amakusa.
After a fantastic day, we left as the evening approached.
But, we coulda not find the family, even though we were told that last name was wide spread in the area.
Saturday we had our second Japense tutor from the MTC. Did you know that in Japanese you can conjugate adjectives to present + and -, as well as past + or -. Who would have quessed. We also had English class at 2 p.m. We were very surprised when two of our students gave us a wonderful gift of Kumamoto Mandarin Oranges, big ones.
Then in the evening a wonderful Kumamoto Ward activity celelebration the grown of the church since Cumorah and in Japan. This event is befor Ward Conference on Sunday. Here are the five stations:
First a 30 minute First Vision movie in Japanese.