Saturday September 26th 2009
Today I learned how to be Japanese Forest Ranger. (This is Paul BTW) But seriously today I was able to join Obata-san and guide a youth group from Ochanomizu church of Christ in some forestry/conservation training. Well I didn’t do much guiding, but I was there to help and do whatever they needed. It sounded like a pretty neat idea for a youth activity. Ochanomizu is pretty close to Tokyo and would be considered a very urban area. I have realized after the last month that we live out in the boonies. Even though everything is really close together in Japan, we still are considered “out in the country.” (Yet I still have fiber optic internet to my house, you have to love that about Japan)
We started out with a small worship singing time led by Brother Obata, and he explained a few items about the activities of the day.
We got underway and stopped by the gentlemen’s house who owns the forest, (Shiimizu-san , I think) he’s actually a Buddhist priest that Obata-san is friends with. I asked Obata’s about sharing the gospel with him and he basically said it is ongoing difficult task. I continue to be inspired by Brother Obata and his efforts to evangelize even the most difficult people, when he himself is a 75 year old man and has his own ongoing struggles. He continues to put the kingdom first. Inspiring , huh? So………Get off your couch and spread the word! :)
After that we began to wind up the side of a mountain and the road began to narrow dramatically.
We arrived at a clearing and were walked through some basic info and training and then we put our hard hats on!
Its great to see that people are the same the world over. Here’s 2 brothers who were goofing off in the special “chainsaw hardhats.” It reminded me of a younger Brock and Zach Lytton, from my own church’s youth group memories back in the day! (Northside shoutout) Ha Ha!
Then we were all instructed on how to notch a tree for a safe cut and took turns. I was amazed at how fast the trees were cut even with a hand saw.
After the cuts it was just a matter of leverage!
Watch the video for a sweet tree fall!
The rest of the day we spent removing the bark from some trees and making some stools out of the tree for the youth group to take back and use at their church building.
Overall it was a great day! I was able to meet and talk to many of the youth and ask them about being in a youth group in an urban Japanese area. They said it was difficult to share their faith with their friends. If a fun activity was planned then their friends would come, but as soon as they would hear it had anything to do with religion they were not interested. I hope we can continue to grow our relationships with the other churches and one day have a youth group at Haruna as well.
We ended up with a group picture back at the church building. Good looking group huh? :)