Day 5 - Meeting the Neighbors

Saturday Sept, 5th 2009

Today we slept in a little later than we had been. But we still took our morning walk. We walked for about an hour today and ended with a little running. We took a couple of new paths, and we didn’t get lost! The neighborhood is starting to be a little more familiar. Most of the area is small rice fields, houses, and a few dairy farms are scattered about. We on the side of hill of sorts and all the houses and road are packed together. After our run and lunch Paul worked on his talk for tomorrow. Tomorrow he will give his first address to our new congregation! Obata-san has requested that it be an introduction of ourselves and also a short message from the Bible. The hardest part is Obata-san has requested that it all be in Japanese! So much for easing into the language! No, just kidding, Brother Obata has committed to help Paul translate it after he writes it in English.

After Paul finished we wrapped all of the Kansas souvenirs we brought as gifts and went to the Obatas’ house.

While we were there we met Mrs. Hosoya and she gave us a few of the vegetables that she grows, along with a bunch of big purple grapes. Then a Mrs. Obata (some relation by marriage to our supervisors' family) came by with some Japanese Pears, (Nashi in Japanese) delicious! Her family is one of the biggest fireworks manufacturers and they do firework shows also. We sat around and listened to them speak Japanese (not understanding very much yet).
Paul then worked with Obata-san to finish his greeting and devotional for the congregation tomorrow. They got it all translated and ready to go. And Paul had to sit there and sound out the whole speech in Japanese in front of Obata-san so that he could check Paul's pronunciation.
This is what Paul said about the experience, "That was one of the most humbling experiences of my life. To have to sit there and sound out those words like a kindergartner in front on my new boss was so rough. I had never read it before, and I felt foolish most of the time thinking that Obata-san must be terribly disappointed with my reading skills. But, he was very supportive and stuck with me through 5 pages of this translation. God humbled me greatly today, and if this is the biggest price I have to pay to minister to these people then I will be very fortunate indeed. So much for foolish pride. "
I worked on the internet as much as I could, between the guests that arrived. After Paul and Obata-san were finished, Shimakata-san came by. He is a really interesting man. He is a post-man, a Buddhist, and has provided the Haruna church of Christ with fresh flowers from his personal garden,
every Sunday for the past 5 years. Now that’s a good neighbor. Paul asked him in Japanese to “please come to church with us.” He just chuckled at us. We will be praying for this relationship to develop and maybe he will give us an answer next time we ask. He is very generous to the Obatas and brings them fresh vegetables as well very often.

Later that evening we went on our first door-knocking to all of our neighbors in Comfort Town (the name of our little housing division). We had a small gift to give each house, a small package of Kansas postcards, 6 houses total. A few people weren’t home so we left it in their mail box. It was interesting to see their reactions. Most of the adults aren’t too interested in looking at us, but the kids can’t stop looking at us. Paul is so tall and my blonde hair must be very different for them. It’s funny to see the kids reactions. One young girl named Mima, who was in kindergarten was very cute and was with her mom. They are our next door neighbors and we hope to develop our relationship as our language skills get better.
That was the end of a long fruitful day and tomorrow we meet the congregation!

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