Thursday, October 30, 2014
The 189 ninth grade students from Masaki's all boy school were invited to attend Music and the Spoken Word on Sunday morning. I'd never been and it was lovely. Poor Jer took the 4 kids to the broadcast room because kids aren't allowed into the tabernacle because it's a live broadcast. They sang my all time favorite Mormon Tabernacle song to conclude, and they asked Masaki and his classmates to stand and be acknowledged. Did you know that this is the 8th year that the entire 9th grade class has come to Provo, UT for an exchange program? That's just neat. We couldn't give a Book or Mormon, and we weren't allowed to teach the gospel, so only our example as a family could bear our testimony of our beliefs. I hope we did a sufficient enough job.
One of the groups that the Mormon Tabernacle Choir had stand up to acknowledge were the 28 missionaries that were going home that week from the Temple Square mission. One in particular caught my attention. The very first person to stand up and cheer after the broadcast was an Elder sitting directly in the middle of the front row... The choir said that they were especially sad to see him go. He was always the first to pop out of his chair and cheer. You could see absolute love in the eyes of every single one of the choir and symphony members. I thought that was a neat tribute. Then I got to meet his mom... On Monday night, all the students and their host families were invited to a dinner and program... we sat at the table with a family who said their son was coming home that week. It turned out to be the Elder that we'd seen honored. She said that her son was on his second mission. He has autism. He first served as a service missionary. Then after he was released from his 2 year mission there, he decided to put in his papers for a mission away from home. He was sent an hour away from home, but his family has been good and not gone to visit... and he captured the hearts of hundreds of people with his enthusiasm every Sunday, every broadcast.
While we were in SLC, we took Masaki to the Utah State building which was cool, but the kids really enjoyed the game of tag on the front lawn the best.
Masaki was not afraid of being one of the kids... anything the kids asked him to do, he'd do.
But we are all definitely worn out. Masaki went home Wed. Ada had a tearful breakdown on Thursday night and Sam woke up crying Wed night... both missing their new friend. Before he left, we asked him where he wanted to eat at. Our other students have wanted things like hamburgers or pizza. Masaki asked for a California roll... he said that he liked sushi, but had never tried one of these. So we went for sushi. The kids loved it, and I loved watching the kids trying to figure out chopsticks. After dinner, we came home to play a game of LIFE and eat milkshakes. It was fun, and I hope that he enjoyed his week with us.
Saturday was our free day with Masaki. We took him hiking at Battle Creek Falls. I LOVED it. It was a good hike for little legs and out of shape mommies. The leaves were still plenty and pretty. Then we drove the Alpine loop and visited Sundance and Bridal Veil Falls. The kids weren't too happy that the water at Bridal Veil was tooooooo cold.
Her Lorax tree
Our family photo... I know you can't see Seth, but he's there. And so far, I have felt that our students are family. I even taught this one how to do laundry... he'd never done his own laundry before.
We had our most recent Japanese foreign exchange student come in the 22nd. He was a little shy, but connected with the kids really well... I'm sure it's because he has two younger sisters, one of which is about Ada's age. We introduced him to fencing, which he LOVED and jumping on the trampoline, which he also LOVED. He introduced us to a Japanese toy that you to throw and catch a ball. He also introduced our kids to real sushi and using chopsticks. Ada was hilarious.
Ada has grown into the smallest sizes that the fencing academy has... She looks like a real fencer and actually did really well for her first time with a real foil.