Saturday December 26th, 2009
December 26th we threw a Christmas party to get the church members to come out of their shells a bit and get to know each other. We expected everyone around 4:00pm, but I was getting nervous when 4:00 rolled around and no one was here. About 10 after 4:00 the Obatas arrived and soon everyone came one by one. I guess its an unspoken custom to show up 5-10 minutes late to a party. After everyone settled in we ate a wonderful meal and played a few fun games. We played the “White Elephant” (you trade/ steal joke gifts) game with a few different rules than we are used to, and played a new game where you take turns unwrapping a gift and there was a surprise under every layer of wrapping. Paul made an amazing pineapple ham that we ate along with all the goodies everyone else brought! Everyone had a great time. We weren't sure how everyone would participate with our crazy games, but everyone joined in like we hoped they would. It was nice to see people laughing and having fun like a family all together. It made our Christmas complete!
Sunday December 27th, 2009
Paul is preaching once a month in Japanese. He enjoys writing out the sermon in English and with a lot of Obata-san’s help they translate it into Japanese. Then Paul practices until he is comfortable enough to give it to the congregation. This month he preached on Sunday the 27th. The last Sunday of the month. He decided to preach on renewing our commitment to God this next year. For those not yet Christians, he charged them to seek God diligently until they find an answer. It’s hard to judge the reaction of the congregation, but one of our members told Paul, “I thought you were talking about me!” That’s is exactly what Paul needed to hear. We really want the congregation to apply all of the sermons personally. One of our biggest goals here is to help unite this body of believers into a church that serves God whole heartedly.
the road of the church building a group of people were constructing a very tall stack of bamboo with a Daruma doll on the top. It was part of a New Years celebration with Buddhist overtones. On January 11th they will light it on fire and you are suppose to write your wishes in a piece of paper and throw it into the fire so it will come true. So while the adults were working, Paul invited the children in to sing with us. They asked their parents and joined us. We enjoyed the opportunity to teach some Christian songs and it was great to hear the children sing songs of praise to God, the one true God.
Thursday December 31st, 2009
The last day of the year! It’s so great to look back on a year. You can learn so much in a year’s time. It seems to go by so slowly at the time, but looking back it seemed to have vanished in a flash. We are so thankful for the past year. So many big changes for our entire family; weddings, babies, moving, changing jobs, and health problems. We love that we are where the Lord has brought us and we pray that He will continue to show us and all of you exactly where we all need to be, to be most effective for His Glory.
“From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. For in him we live and move and have our being.” Act 17 26-28 emphasis added.