Got a few pictures similar to last time we went:
Luetta got this recording of the amazingly loud cicada (Japanese semi) bugs that populate all trees in Kumamoto.
However on the return trip it started raining harder and harder. Here I am taking temporary shelter.
We ended up soaked by the time we got home.
We keep a good attitude and enjoyed it despite the rain. (Good attitude learned from Louis and Lynn in Washington State)
Wednesday was 2 zone conference in the Kumamoto Stake Center. It is fun to get together will all the elders, sisters, and the two other senior couple missionaries. However, I have a lot of driving picking up and taking to the local bus stop. During conference among other things we reviewed the Doctrine of Christ as taught in the second Book of Nephi chapter 31. We received a visual aid showing the progress of a follower of Christ including Faith then Repentance, then through the gate of Baptism and reception of the Spirit by confirmation then on through the other saving ordinances till we come to Eternal Life.
and in Japanese,
It is a great comfort to know that life is a short part of Eternity and all our ancestors are awaiting us. This location is unknown to modern science but it's existence has been revealed by ancient and modern prophets. Furthermore anyone can appeal to God by sincere prayer for a personal spiritual witness. I have done so, and testify that the communication is open, if done so in "faith nothing wavering." We have an investigator here in Japan, who says, when told about this, that it isn't logical. His response is understandable and quite common. But to me it is actually logical. In this vast cosmos that is so old, with planets everywhere we look, it is only logical that life exists in great abundance, some one is sure to have attained the intelligence to be God and became knowledgeable of the full range of existence, which includes immortality and wants us to know about it also.
Here is an astrophotograph that I took some time ago, most people when thinking about this vast cosmos are in awe of it and can easily envision the vast possibilities. Our modern science, as wonderful as it is, and I love it all, is a bit arrogant to think they know so much that they can rule out possibilities tendered by prophets and other visionaries.
Wednesday evening we watched fireworks for Obon. Obon (お盆) or just Bon (盆) is a Japanese Buddhist custom to honor the spirits of one's ancestors. This Buddhist-Confucian custom has evolved into a family reunion holiday during which people return to ancestral family places and visit and clean their ancestors' graves, and when the spirits of ancestors are supposed to revisit the household altars. It has been celebrated in Japan for more than 500 years and traditionally includes a dance, known as Bon-Odori. The festival of Obon lasts for three days; however its starting date varies within different regions of Japan.
Here are the fireworks we saw from our balcony. Not as spectacular as being close but much easier.
I am hoping my mother visits us during Obon, oh well maybe I'll just have to be happy to see her in the here after.
On Thursday we were scheduled to inspect the missionary apartment in Oita, so we saved the mission a little by taking the elders who were here for the conference, home. We were able to inspect the apartment including a reward lunch and get done early. Since we had to take a missionary who had a broken hand in a cast to the hospital tomorrow we dropped our hotel reservation and returned the same day. It was a lot of driving, but we were able to stop by a small creek that we had seen in the past and enjoy it a little. Here I am by a foot bridge.
We got back to Kumamoto in time to get a most unusual signal from our phone, looking at it we saw that it was an earthquake alert. They have this on the phone system here in Japan, to give a few seconds alert, to get to a safer location (i.e. not in an elevator etc.). It turned out to be far north of here and relatively weak.
What a wondrous place is the earth and the whole cosmos.