Day 201 – 202 Tokyo Disneyland & Disney Sea

Saturday March 20th, 2010

After a long few days of hosting the Gospel meeting the guys knew we would need a little down time. So they took us to Tokyo Disneyland!! We left Friday night and drove to Matsudo to stay with Steve and Debbie Carrell. IMG_0391First thing that Saturday morning we headed to the train station and headed towards Disney. We were so excited to spend the day among friends and fun. We have been so focused on work since we arrived that it was strange to just relax and take a break in Japan.

We started at Disney Sea. We rode every ride we could, before the lines were so long. IMG_0483

Philippine Photos10 510Soon it was afternoon and we headed to Disneyland.IMG_0488 We wanted to end at Disneyland so that we could see the fireworks show at night. The first thing that lit up at night was Cinderella's castle. It was beautiful. The detail that they put into everything was amazing.  Philippine Photos10 583Philippine Photos10 280             We really enjoyed our time. And we were especially glad to have shared it with good friends.

All through out the day we all tried to find hats that fit us best. Paul and Tim had a hard time deciding, but Derin and I knew that right one when we saw it.






The next morning we took the guys to the airport, to say a sad good-bye.          

Day 197-200 Gospel Meeting

Tuesday March 16th, 2010

    Our special guest speakers have arrived from America! IMG_7434Derin Dopps and Tim O’Neal arrived today at Narita airport and Paul and Obata-san met them to bring them back to Haruna. We are so happy to have these two men in our home. Derin and Tim are both from our home congregation in the States, Northside church of Christ. They both spent the last 10 days in the Philippines teaching and preaching to the many eager souls there. After dinner the guys showed us all the pictures and video that they had taken during their mission trip to the Philippines. From there on we had a tight schedule to keep. We really wanted to show them around Haruna and give them a feel for where we live. 

Wednesday  March 17th, 2010  we started off the day with a big breakfast. I love any excuse to cook a big meal! After that we went to the Obata’s IMG_7477to have our weekly business meeting. The guys joined us to finish all last details for the meeting. Then we headed to town. To one of our favorite places, Yamada Denki. We looked around for a little bit, but our main goal was lunch. We found a sushi restaurant and headed in. Tim was a little reluctant, he was not a big fan of seafood. He sat back and watched us all enjoy raw fish. So we soon found a McDonald's and Tim was right at home. Philippine Photos8 540


That evening was the first night of the Meeting. We arrived at the church building early to practice singing. Each night Derin, Tim, Paul and I sang a song to start the evening. Philippine Photos9 002Then we would all sing Amazing Grace together with those that attended.

Derin started the meeting off, speaking in English and Obata-san translated.Philippine Photos9 016

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  He answered the question, “What is the Abundant Life?”. IMG_7504We had a total of 27 people attend that night. 15 were visitors. Most everyone stayed afterwards to talk and ask questions.

Thursday the guys were really tired from the stress of the meeting and the last 2 weeks of teaching and preaching in the Philippines, so we started off the morning a little later. Soon we headed out for lunch and went to a great ramen place called Kazan RamenIMG_7524 (it means volcano ramen). We all had a great time at lunch and soon we headed off to today’s main attraction, the Kindergarten.

We arranged for all of us to help teach that day with Keiko-san. IMG_7544                                          The kids loved Derin and Tim. We all reviewed animals and all the guys played their parts great. Later that evening at the Gospel meeting, Tim spoke about “How to find the Abundant Life.”   Again we had a great turn out. We welcomed 29 people to hear Tim’s IMG_7509message. Philippine Photos10 018 And again we stayed until 11:00 pm talking to those that had questions.

IMG_7614Another day was finished so quickly. Friday we spent most of the day at Lake Haruna and looking around our favorite recycle shop. On Friday evening Paul brought the final message to the people in Japanese, “The Abundant Life is for you!” We were happy to see so many familiar faces among the 30 people that came. IMG_7626

Most of the crowd, were people that we have met over the last 6 months here and were coming to show their support to Paul. We had so many nice comments from those that came and a Bible study has been started with one woman that was brought to tears every night. Her name is Asa-san. She has eagerly started her journey to finding the Truth! We pray that we can help her on this journey to find God!

IMG_7521Over the three days we had many new people, many friends of the Obatas and neighbors come to listen. This was a great opportunity to plant a seed. We will see in the years to come how these seeds, with God’s love, will grow!

Day 185-196 Lunch with Friends and Gospel Meeting work.

    Sunday March 4th, 2010

After worship today we had a really nice lunch with friends. We’ve been so blessed with a few great young IMG_7323people at Haruna church of Christ. It is always awesome when you can relax and just enjoy the people around you. Paul, myself, Rieko, Ryosuke, and Amy all went to lunch at a really great restaurant near the church. We ate a wonderful lunch and stayed there talking and joking with each other for about 2 1/2 hours.  Many of the younger people are here just temporarily but we are enjoying their time here very much.  Amy will be here for only 1 year and Ryosuke will start a new job for Honda far away next month.


Gospel meeting work

March 5 – 14th, 2010

     Our last week before the Gospel meeting. We still have a lot of things to get accomplished. And yet again our members pulled together and completed the tasks. It was a great learning experience to see how the members worked together. IMG_7331 

IMG_7329Nakasone-san and I finished the sign that would go out front to remind our neighbors to come. IMG_7342


Paul and Obata-san mounted the sign for us and covered it with plastic so the rain wouldn’t get to it.                                                                                                            And our final task was putting together the informational packets IMG_7357to pass out to our guests. Each informational packet would contain a Japanese New Testament Bible, information about the church in Haruna, Obata-san, Paul and I, and songs we would be singing each night before the talks. It was finally finished. Now we just have to pray that the flyers made it to the right people and let God bring them through the doors.


Sunday March 14th, 2010

      We were invited to a beautiful Ume, Japanese plum tree, IMG_7419orchard with the Shimakatas. We were excited to see some of these flowers up close. Usually we drive by them so fast we don’t get to take in the beauty. And today they are in full bloom.IMG_7366

These flowers  look very similar to the cherry blossoms, but bloom first during the spring. They are usually a white color, but we saw some dark pink and almost red flowers also. It was a great opportunity to spend some time with the Shimakatas and to be able to let them show us around. IMG_7404 

Day 181-184 Paul’s birthday and John’s visit

Sunday February 28th 2010

     Today is Paul’s birthday. He also gets to speak to the congregation this morning and evening. We started off the day with a traditional birthday morning breakfast.IMG_7057 Pancakes, bacon, scrambled eggs, coffee, and milk. It’s a good thing we each only have one birthday to celebrate like this. After breakfast Paul got to open one birthday present. Some of our family mailed him a gift. So I had a few to string him along all day. He enjoyed getting a gift early. Off to church we went. Today was also Potluck lunch. So I made IMG_7059lasagna and a chocolate cake with chocolate icing to celebrate all the February birthdays. Paul did a great job giving us the message today and we all enjoyed lunch together. IMG_7062IMG_7084After worship we passed out a few more flyers with Rieko and Ryosuke. It has been so nice outside, it was great to be walking around soaking up the sun. That evening Paul was really excited. He was expecting a special guest. His brother John was coming to stay with us for a few days. He was on a business trip in China and it was cheaper for him to have a 4 day layover in Tokyo. So Happy Birthday Paul! He was so excited to see his brother.IMG_7118 John was our first guest since we’ve been here. Since Paul had to preach again that evening, I got to pick John up from the train station all by my self. A few people were really worried about me getting to the station and back ok, I assured them I’d been driving for more than 11 years now and 6 months in Japan. I was hoping to get John back in time to attend worship service. His train came in and we headed towards Haruna. We walked into the church building with 1 minute to spare. Just long enough to give his brother a hug before he had to preach. The church enjoyed getting to meet one of Paul’s brothers. After church we went home to relax a little and let John rest.      

Monday March 1st, 2010

     It was a beautiful morning and we had a lot of things planned to show John. We started the day off with a short walk to the building. IMG_7130We looked around and took a few pictures and waited for Obata-san to meet us for lunch. We all took John to Obata-san’s friends restaurant at Mt. Haruna. It is a very nice restaurant with a IMG_7168beautiful view of Mt. and Lake Haruna.  After a few more pictures and standing in the cold weather we decided to head back to town. That evening before dinner we went to one of the arcades in Takasaki. IMG_7207Herrington boys love their video games! We played almost every game in the place (well the ones we could understand how to play) and we all had a great time. I think the highlight of the arcade was the vast amount of claw machines they have there.IMG_7228 Probably around 50 or so. The boys decided they had to try a few. Most of the machines had really cool prizes, but like all claw machines, by the time you actually win something you’ve probably already paid for two. Oh well, the boys had fun trying. After the arcade we headed to another Herrington favorite, the electronic store. Yamada Denki is really pretty cool. They have so much stuff there and its all divided up between 5 floors of shopping. IMG_7250We had fun playing around and looking at the ridiculous stuff we would never buy. Like this 103in plasma TV that costs $67,000 dollars! After all that difficult decision making we found a restaurant inside the store and had a wonderful dinner. IMG_7249We ate pasta and fried shrimp. Yummy. Well the evening wouldn’t be complete if we didn’t have dessert. So off to Mister Donut we went.                                                                         IMG_7265                                                                  We filled our trays way too full then enjoyed a delicious treat together. It was a great day. It was so nice to have family around and take a little time to just relax.


Tuesday March 2nd, 2010

    The highlight of our day today was the celebration of Girls Day in Japan. IMG_7274It’s March 3rd and lots of people put together special displays in their houses for the girls in their families. One of the Hosoya families invited us over to see her display. It was quite a collection of dolls. We really enjoy when the neighbors allow us to experience a little bit of their own traditions. That evening I followed up on a IMG_7282birthday request and made Paul lamb chops. It was a little difficult, and didn't turn out the way I wanted, but it was good enough to eat. The boys enjoyed the feast.   

 Wednesday March 3rd, 2010

     Today was John’s last day. He would be taking the train back to the airport.IMG_7306 So we headed to the station an little early and walked around. We enjoyed lunch together at McDonald’s and sent John on his way. It was a great visit and we really enjoyed having him with us, but we know he was ready to get back to his family, and we were refreshed and ready to get back to work.

Day 167-180 The Church working together.

February 14-27 2010

Over the next few weeks, our big goal was to get the word out about the Gospel Meeting next  month. We have finished the flyer and Obata-sanIMG_7041 ordered 3,000 flyers. We hope to have them all distributed by March 15th. We are very anxious to see who God brings to the church through the flyers. We started passing out flyers door to door around the church building.IMG_7035         

We divided the area into a few smaller sections. Everyone was sent out to work as long as they could. Some went out in groups, some one by one. That day we ended up passing out around 500 flyers. A great start to this task. Our goal is to get all the church members involved in the preparations and the Meeting itself.   IMG_7038







Cleaning the building

Every Saturday Obata-san has invited the church to come and help clean the building. When we got here in September Obata-san was the only one cleaning. After a few months a few people have started to help. On a regular basis Kobayashi-san comes to clean with us. And some times other members come when they have the afternoon free.  It is very encouraging to us to see everyone working together.

IMG_7322“to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.”   Ephesians 4:12-13