Stars in Japan


And this gospel shall be preached unto every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people (D&C 133:37).

Tammy awoke to the roar of a truck outside her bedroom window. “It’s moving day!” She exclaimed, jumping out of bed and sliding into her slippers. “Mom! Mom! The truck is here!”

“Yes, Tammy,” her mom answered, “today is the big day. You’ll need to hurry and eat your breakfast if you want to help the men pack your things.”

My things! Tammy thought, changing into her sweatshirt and jeans, pulling on her shoes, and running to the kitchen. What’s going to happen to my things?

Tammy’s father flew helicopters for the Air Force, and they needed him in Japan. During story time at the public library, Tammy had looked at the world globe and seen that Japan was far across the ocean from the United States. Far from her favorite park and its super-fast twirly slide. Far from all her friends in Primary. And far from her special Star A teacher, who smiled at her when she raised her hand to say the prayer.

Tammy’s thoughts were interrupted when two giant men with big black boots stomped into the house, carrying boxes. They headed down the hall to her room. She gulped down the last bit of milk from her cereal and hurried after them.

They had already started to put her toys into the boxes. “Not these!” she told them, snatching up her new box of markers and her coloring books. “I’m taking these with me on the airplane. It’s going to be a very, very long flight.” She grabbed her backpack and began stuffing it with other special things: favorite books, tapes, a small doll, a whistle, her baseball cards, a pack of gum, and the blue-ribbon badge she had been given for giving a talk in Primary.

“Don’t worry,” one man said, “you’ll have all your things soon after you get there. It’s Japan you’re going to, isn’t it?”

“Yes. It’s far away.”

“Yep, it sure is,” the other man said, adding conversationally, “I hear that things are a lot different over there.”

“A lot different,” Tammy agreed. She thought, I know they have fast trains and big shopping malls. I know they eat with funny things called chopsticks, bow to each other, and take off their shoes at the door. But do they have Primary? Will I still be a Star A? Her Primary teacher had told the class that missionaries took the gospel to all the world, but had they already taken it to Japan? Did Japan have Sharing Time and singing time and Stars?

Early the next morning, Tammy and her family went to the airport and boarded the plane to Japan. It was a long flight, but she stayed busy playing with the things in her backpack and helping to keep her little brother out of trouble. They left on Thursday, but when they landed in Tokyo, it was already Saturday! Even day and night were different in Japan.

Dad gathered the baggage, and Mom helped her and her brother into the taxi that would take them to their new house. Tammy was fascinated by the windows that rolled up and down when she pushed a little switch. As the spring breezes blew into the car, she suddenly sat up straight. “Stop! Listen!” she yelled. Startled, the cab driver obeyed.

Piano music echoed faintly in the air.

“… , Smiling for the whole world to see,” Tammy sang with it. “That’s my Star song!”

A familiar pillar atop a brown building towered to their right. “It’s our church!” Tammy yelled. “Let’s go in!”

Dad asked the driver to wait, and the family was soon walking across the parking lot while the beautiful, familiar music floated softly out an open window. Tammy ran over to it and peeked inside. “It’s a Primary Quarterly Activity!” she exclaimed with a big smile. “They do have the gospel in Japan. And they have Stars too!”

[photos] Photos by John Luke