Sunday January 10th, 2010
Today was a little sad. This would be the last Sunday for the Matsumoto family to worship with us at Haruna church of Christ. They decided to return to the Plymouth Brethren church where Mrs. Matsumoto grew up and her mother attended for 50 years. We were sad to see them go, but we know God will take care of their needs
where ever they go. The Plymouth Brethren are very similar to the churches of Christ but they generally are much more conservative. After services we enjoyed a small lunch and the Matsumotos stayed and sang songs with all of us. It’s hard in a congregation so small to see even one person leave. But we also use this as a time to turn to the Lord and trust that He knows what’s best for all of us. We are excited to see who God will bring into our path in the coming months. And it inspires us to increase our outreach in the community!
Monday January 11th, 2010
We started the day off watching a Japanese New Years tradition. They had been preparing for a couple of weeks. They build up large bamboo stalks and put brush underneath with many Daruma dolls inside and around the outside. Then people put their new years wishes on pieces of paper and tied them somewhere on the brush pile. Today at 7:30am they lit it on fire. Along with the fire they put sake(alcoholic drink) into shorter bamboo stalks next to the big bon fire. So everyone one enjoyed some hot sake to ring in the new year. And for the kids (and any missionaries) they had a sweet non-alcoholic rice drink called amasake to keep us warm. They really had a big turn out with lots of food and a warm fire. We enjoyed walking around talking to more of our neighbors and Paul was introduced to the local volunteer fire department. Since Paul was about their age they asked if he would be interested in volunteering some time. At first we thought it was just nice that they asked, but after thinking about it we decided it would be a great idea if he could help out. What a great way to earn respect from our area and get to know other men Paul’s age. This gives Paul a good goal for fitness training and for language study too. Well, we will see if he can do it next year!
After that we were headed to Mito for a meeting on discipleship. We really enjoyed the meeting. We even understood about 50% of the lesson (because it was all in Japanese). It’s always a long drive to the meetings in Tokyo, but what a blessing to meet with such a great group of people sharing in the Lord’s work. After the meeting we decided since we were so close to Tokyo we would just swing on by. Paul really wanted to see Akihabara (electric town). So we punched it into the GPS and headed to the unknown. Tokyo was really cool. Its a huge place but still much cleaner than a lot of American big cities. But it is so huge it is easy to see how people could become lonely here. A very different mission field than we have in Haruna.
Wednesday January 13th, 2010
We are so excited about the things that are going on in Haruna. We are always surprised to see how things turn out. This week we had to rearrange our classes a little bit. The kids class started in the small office and soon outgrew it. SO we moved into the entry way of the church building. Now again the class has grown. This week we had to switch with the adult class. We set up the kids class in the main room of the church and the adults set up their class in the office. We had 7 kids and two of the moms stayed to help their kids. I have to say it was really nice to have the space. It was a lot easier to keep the kids focused on the lesson. I’m so excited to be moving a little bit forward and start reading them Bible stories. I have a couple of the older kids read in Japanese. And I hope to start reading along in English as well. We are excited to see what the Lord will bring to the church in Haruna. Keep praying for the youth here that they will learn at a young age what it means to have a savior who loves you!