Sunday Sept, 6th 2009
We got up around 6:30am. So we had plenty of time to get ready for church. Services don’t start until 10:30am. We made some coffee and Paul loves to show off how small everything is in Japan. Here is a normal sized coffee cup.
After a nice breakfast we were off to a morning walk. Nice and cool. We got ready for our first big introduction to the church members. Paul was really nervous about talking to the congregation in Japanese, but I knew he would do fine. He practiced his talk a few more times and then we walked to the building. I thought it would be ok to walk in my heels to the church, but I was walking so slow, and I really thought I was going to twist an ankle. It was a different walk to the church with these shoes. Next week I’ll use other shoes to walk then change.
This morning we had 15 people. WOW! Praise the Lord! Most Sundays they average about 5-10. Most weren’t Christians, so this will be a great start for us. Obata-san started off and introduced us and sang a couple of songs. It was beautiful! We sang in Japanese this morning, but they have English hymn books as well. At first I started off singing in English, but it was fairly easy to sing along in Japanese also. What an amazing experience. I had to try very hard to keep the tears back. Seeing Obata-san singing his heart out for this congregation inspired me even more to want to be the very best help we can be. He works so hard. I pray that we can show the people in Haruna Christ Jesus our Lord! Here's a picture of all the people there that day!
Then Paul got up to speak. I know he wouldn’t say so, but he did a great job. He spoke on 1 Corinthians 12:12-27, about how we are one body with many parts and that all the parts were needed. He also emphasized that we were there to work alongside the body and not to take over the work there. The Lord was helping his words to flow and touch the people hearts. It is truly a gift to us to be here.
After the service the congregation had prepared for us a very nice meal. They made little sandwiches, fruit, small meat patties, sushi rice, and potato salad. Everything was delicious.
After lunch Rieko and Ryosuke (2 people from the church) took us cell phone shopping. We went to AU one of two carriers in Japan. We spent about 2 hours there talking to them and explaining to them our situation about not having our Alien Registration cards yet. In the end we were approved! After about another hour we picked our phones and we thought we were good to go, but they came back and told us they didn't have the phone Paul picked out and mine only came in crazy pink. So I was ok with pink. not my first choice, but not problem. Then we had to figure out what Paul wanted. It was hilarious. He could either choose a hot pink phone like mine or a shiny gold phone(not the model he wanted). It was like a golden chrome color like C3Po's body from Star Wars. It was way too flashy, especially for a missionary! Or his other choice would be to buy the next model up which would be about $300.oo. The young lady helping us was very nice and she thought for awhile and decided to call one of the cell phone companies to see if they had another color they could send. YEAH. They had a blue/black phone they would send for Paul. He was very excited about this. He really didn't want to have to carry a pink or even a flashy gold phone. In the end he was a happy boy. Thanks to Rieko and Ryosuke we were able to get a phone! We hope to continue our friendship with them and they were very kind to spend so much time translating. Apart from Obata-san, Rieko is the only member of the congregation who speaks English. She teaches at a local high-school for all girls.
So we headed back to the church. Services would start back at 7:00pm. Evening services started and we sang songs to begin. Half way through singing Obata-san invited Paul to lead us in singing an English version of Amazing Grace. You have to be flexible to be a missionary! So he lead it and did a great job for his first time in Japan! In the middle of the song two women showed up and joined us in singing. Obata-san gave a short sermon and then we closed the services with a prayer. We went and met the two nice ladies that joined us. One of them, Kieko, had known Rieko for over 10 years. The other one, Junko, said her favorite song was Amazing Grace and she was very moved that we were actually singing it. Neither one are Christians yet but we are praying! After talking for a while over tea we parted ways and they said they would like to come back to sing with us again.
It was a beautiful service and we were so happy to be a part of it. To see God's people praising the same God in another part of the world is amazing.