We are in our 17th week and this is our second email. We will try to be better in the future. We first of all want to thank everyone for your love and support. We appreciate so much your emails and mail and prayers in our behalf. We continue to do our best to be and do all that we should be and do. Most of the time we seem to fall short, however we work with some very loving and supportive missionaries and people here in Japan.
As with our first email, we'll probably just write at random as they come to mind. Not necessarily chronologically. We continue to make small improvements each day as we adjust to missionary life and a new country and culture. My Japanese seems to be getting a little better, however I still struggle to understand everything, and I am a long ways away from being able to say the things that I want and need to be able to say. The difficult part is finding the time to study as I should. The missionaries and members are very patient with me and are so kind. I will say that I have been a blessing to them in that they are learning to speak English. I'm afraid that after 3 years their English will be better than my Japanese! I am committed to continue to learn and study to the point where I can have an intelligent conversation before our mission is over.
It is a special blessing to be so close (underneath) to the Temple. At least once every six weeks we can go to the temple. The night before the returning missionaries go home, we attend the temple together. We just walk outside and up some stairs. Not very many members can say that! Speaking of the temple, we have a new temple presidency that has been called and will start serving on November 1st. My second counselor in the mission presidency has been called as the first counselor in the temple presidency. So I will have to call a new counselor in the mission presidency. He has been such a blessing. He has helped me so much and could speak a little English. Heavenly Father always seems to help me, so I know that he will bless me with someone that I need.
The missionary work continues to go on. We have some wonderful missionaries, and the new missionaries coming in seem to be just as excellent as the previous groups. We now have 104 missionaries with about one third being native Japanese. Several of the last few missionaries from Japan have spent some time going to school in America prior to their mission. I think this has been a blessing as they understand the way their American companions have lived and speak some English. The Japan MTC in Tokyo will be closing at the end of November. All the Japanese missionaries that are called will now go to the Provo MTC. I feel that this will be a blessing as well.
Sherry and I attended two baptismal services in September. One was a mother of six children whose husband was already a member. The other was a young man from China who is here in Japan going to school. They are in our home ward and are such good people. We enjoyed a small dinner in the parking lot with the Elders and the young man from China the night before his baptism. We sat on the cement eating and watching the full moon. I can't believe some of the things that we have done since coming to Japan. The Elders talk us into things we normally would not do. It is hard to turn them down.
I've learned how to say that I am allergic to some of the food that I just don't think I want to eat. I don't think that I am not telling the truth, I just really think that I am or could be allergic to that particular food! I think I am being honest! I have shed a few pounds since coming. My kids are sending me some new belts. I'm holding out on having my pants altered until I know for sure that I will keep the weight off. Our date nights are spent at McDonald's. We each eat a $1 cheeseburger (really 100 yen) and a small french fry. We are being blessed in areas we never thought we would. We are getting healthy and not spending much money.
The fall weather has been beautiful. It is delightful during the day and the evenings are cool and pleasant. We just recently have had two typhoons that missed our mission area. One of the typhoons did hit Tokyo and Nagoya, however everyone was OK. Sherry and I just returned tonight from a branch conference on the island of Amami Oshima or sometimes called Naze. We landed on Saturday night and when we left this afternoon (Sunday) it was cloudy. It is a beautiful island and many of the Japanese say it reminds them of Hawaii. We hope to go back someday and see it on a clear day. Every time we go to a branch or district conference they treat us like royalty. They pick us up at the airport and then feed us after church with a big meal. We had 26 people at the branch conference. The church is about 8 years old and it is about 1/10th the size of our churches in Utah. It looks like a miniature church. But it is beautiful. After church, which in the small branches is two hours long, I did a Patriarchal Blessing interview and three Temple Recommend interviews. The mission president or a counselor has to do these interviews. We flew home from the island in a prop airplane in some rough weather and were so happy when we landed. The assistants were waiting for us at the airport and had made a sign that had "Margetts" written on it. They were holding it up like they do at the airport when some businessman is coming in from out of town. You have to love the missionaries. I have to swear at them quite a bit! It keeps them on their toes.
We will be having a mission tour on November 11th-13th with President Stevenson and his wife. He is the Area President and served as a mission president in Nagoya Japan in 2004-2007. His son is currently in our mission and serving as one of my assistants. We are excited and nervous at the same time. We had the opportunity to meet them when we first came to Japan and had a 4 hour orientation. We were with them again in Korea at the Mission Presidents Seminar. (Sherry is becoming more refined around the church leaders, so i don't have to worry as much as I used to.) We appreciate the opportunity to be led by some wonderful people.
We continue to have wonderful experiences that humble us and bless us. We feel so fortunate to be able to serve and bless people's lives. We are able to see personally or hear of little miracles that happen each day. We are thankful for the gospel in our lives. Thank you for all your love and support.
Sherm and Sherry