Sunday, October 6, 2019

1965-1967 Pictures from Ben's Japanese Mission

Nineteen-year-old Ben received his mission call to the Northern Far East Mission in early 1965.  Included in the call were flight instructions to Tokyo.  Ben asked, "Mom, is there a Tokyo, Maine?"  I love that story.  Ben is shown here with one of his converts, Minoru Hashida, whom I met in 1999 when we lived in Tokyo.

This picture was taken in the Sannomiya Branch in Kobe.  Ben and I had fun today revisiting all of these pictures.

This picture was taken at a District meeting in Nishinomiya.  The sister in the center front is Faith Okawa, now Watabe, who was the Stake Relief Society President in Tokyo when I was a ward RS president in 1999.  During their mission Sister Okawa and the sister on the right, Sister Pam Yates, gave Elder Markham a copy of "How to Win Friends and Influence People."  Elder Markham is on the far right in glasses.  Sometimes it was too difficult to wear his contacts.

The missionaries put on a skit for the members of the branch.  Elder Markham is wearing a grass skirt made out of newspaper.

At some point in 1966 Elder Markham, left, was transferred to Asahikawa.  His companion was Steve Booth.  They are with a new convert.

The missionaries lived in the chapel in Asahikawa.  Notice the paper windows on the second floor.  And yes, again, this is the chapel

In the winters, this building became very cold.  Ben told me that at one point the snowdrifts were high enough that they could leave the chapel from the second floor by climbing out the windows.

Elder Marion D. Hanks visited the mission in 1966.  After moving to New Jersey in 1980, we attended Morristown Ward for the first time.  The elder shown between Elder Hanks and his wife was in the back of the Morristown chapel when we entered.  He looked at Ben, Ben looked at him, and they pointed at each other and said, "ELDER!"  Brother Jones became a good friend to our family.  Elder Markham is in this photograph peeking out behind Elder Jones.

The Relief Society sisters in Asahikawa asked Elder Markham and Elder Holbrook to instruct them in Western table manners.  In case you are wondering, a sister drew the picture on the chalkboard.  The katakana says "table set."

While in Asahikawa, Elder Markham came across this shop and posed.  He assured me he was being funny.

By this point in 1966, Elder Markham, far left, was the district leader.  His friend, Kelly Crabb, who grew up across the street from Ben in Spanish Fork, was called to Japan a year after Ben.  He is standing in front, second from right.

Elder Markham worked hard to learn Japanese.  Some of those books are 20 steps away from me at this moment.

A sister in the Asahikawa Branch made this ninja outfit for Elder Markham.  This came home with Ben and was a favorite Halloween costume for our boys for many years.

This picture was taken at the train station in Asahikawa in 1966 when Ben was transferred.  He loved his mission, and in reference to a quip I'm not going to explain here, Ben said his mission felt like it was three months long, when in fact it was 30 months.


Members gathered to say good-bye.  The missionary behind him is Elder Booth. Notice the man second from left.

This man had broken into the church several times and stolen food.  One night, Elder Markham and his companion Elder Booth laid in wait and caught him!  The man said he was only hungry and meant no harm, so the two missionaries hired him to be their cook.  They gave him money, he bought and prepared the food and ate with them, becoming a friend.

At the end of 1966, Ben was sent to Fukushima to open that area to missionary work.  He and his companion, Elder Kakazu, a nisei from Hawaii (in the blue coat), came across two young men who wanted to practice their English and who showed them around.

Elder Markham was occasionally asked to bear his testimony, which he's doing here at a district conference in Sapporo.  May I point out that he looks pretty calm and collected for a 20-year-old kid speaking Japanese.
I asked Ben what he was eating, and he remembered exactly:  chicken katsudon!  The white cord belongs to a headset;  he listened to as much Japanese as he could.



The mission president assigned Ben and Kelly as companions. They are shown here on a boat traveling between Honshu and Hokkaido.

This picture and the next were taken on Ben's birthday in 1967.  Benny is a slang reference to a Japanese bathroom facility.

Apparently everyone thought this was hilarious.

Elder Markham regularly heard from his mother, shown here on the left.  She sent him this picture taken in the hospital during the summer of 1967.  Ida Mar had broken her leg.  Exilda Crabb, Kelly's mother, fell while entering the hospital to visit her and broke her leg.

In this picture, Ida Mar is holding her second grandchild, Michelle, who was born six months before Ben returned from his mission.

Stephen was Ben's oldest nephew.  Ida Mar sent this picture of him on a tractor that she had given him for Christmas the year before.

I asked Ben about this picture.  He knew this was a child of a member family, but he couldn't remember any more details.  Considering the child is probably now a grandparent, it's ok.

This 1967 picture was taken of Okayama Branch members.  They were playing a game Ben described as being similar to Red Light Green Light.  Ask me if you need more details.

Part of this activity involved a meal.  Elder Markham and two high school students gathered the wood.  Elder Markham borrowed a school cap from one of the youths.  Two young men are holding up the wood to stage a funny picture.

I'm sure lunch was delicious.

Steve Wilson, also from Spanish Fork, arrived in Japan in 1967.  The mission president asked Elder Markham to show Elder Wilson around Tokyo and then take him to the station for his departure to his new area.  Ben will be taking a copy of this photo to lunch with Steve and Kelly in a few weeks to remind Steve how eager he was to get going.  Several elders from the Northern Far East Mission meet monthly for lunch in Orem.

This picture was taken at a missionary conference in Osaka.  Elder Crabb is on the left, Elder Wilson, center, and Elder Markham on the right.

Elder Markham played in a game of softball.  I thought he was tagging a base, but he was sure he was pitching.

Elder Crabb took this picture, not intending to show the ball heading to the catcher.

Elder Markham's last area was Hiroshima.

A few of the pictures and slides I scanned in this weekend were of tourist sites, such as this castle at Okayama.

This is one of my favorite pictures.  President Hugh B. Brown visited the mission in 1967.  The Vietnam war was underway during this time, so Elder Brown flew into Okinawa.  Just behind Elder Brown is Elder Hinckley--you can see his head.  The mission president, President Komatsu, is right behind him.  Ben was the zone leader from Hiroshima, but he had served in Fukuoka where the conference would be held, so the mission president had asked Ben to make the arrangements for this conference, which is why he's shown shaking hands with Elder Hinckley.  The next time you have an hour, ask Ben about this picture.  There are wonderful stories associated with this, and you might see him cry a little.   The milk story comes out pretty early, don't miss it.

This picture is of Elder Markham with Elder Noonchester, the district leader, who had just baptized this family.

You recognize Elder Crabb on the front left.  Elder Markham is in the second row near the right.  Behind him is Elder Ken Killion.  If you can believe it, Elder Killion is also from Spanish Fork.

1965-1967 Pictures from Ben's Japanese Mission

Nineteen-year-old Ben received his mission call to the Northern Far East Mission in early 1965.  Included in the call were flight instruct...