Sunday, October 18, 2009

What I'm Thankful For

(I started writing this last Monday, but didn't finish it, since I realized I was going to need to go make mashed potatoes for Thanksgiving dinner. Oh well. I'm still thankful.)

Here in Japan, today is 体育の日 (Health and Sports Day, or something like that), which, oddly enough, is a national holiday. In Canada, today is Thanksgiving! Ironic. I will celebrate Health and Sports Day by eating a lot of food and loafing on the couch.

Usually on Thanksgiving, it is my habit to think about what I am thankful for, and more importantly, to give thanks to the one who gave me all of those things. Here's a short list of things that come to mind. I'm thankful for...

Keith. Yes, very thankful for the husband. He is peeling potatoes for Thanksgiving dinner right now. He is my companion on the crazy adventure that is our life. I'm glad God sent me to Japan with Keith.

Family. Even though they're far away, our family is supporting us in prayer. Sorry, I don't have any recent pics since we haven't seen them for a few months... use your imagination or look at the other posts. ;)

Friends. We miss our friends at home in Vancouver, and all the other places we have lived before (Colorado, Boston, North Dakota, etc.), but we are thankful for the new friends we are meeting here.

Dinner out with fellow missionaries

Eating ramen with Mikiko, our conversation partner, and her son, Yuugo. Well, actually all of the ramen is gone at this point. Delicious...

We're also thankful for our new friends at church. Um... once again there is food in all of these pictures? That sounds like a segue...

Food. I love the fall since there are wonderful things to eat. As I have previously mentioned, I think there's something special about Hokkaido's soil. God is indeed very good...

The vegetable stand at a local church bazaar

Our Thanksgiving Dinner hosts with the turkey, imported from North Carolina. I promise you the rest of the meal consisted of delicious local Hokkaido produce...

Work. Is that weird? Perhaps it is, but we are thankful to be doing the work God has provided for us. We get to study Japanese, meet with college students for Bible study and conversation, play for concerts and worship services, and other stuff too. We love our job.

We played for some mini-concerts at an art show put on by a church.

My heart is filled with thankfulness. That's the title of a song that I like, actually. God has truly provided abundantly for us.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Our Church

(I finally have some pictures in which we are not eating. It was getting a bit embarrassing... all our pictures seem to revolve around food. We like food... but we also like other things.)

Since we've been in Japan, we've been attending Satsunae Lighthouse Church. Our church is about 10 years old, and it was started by OMF missionaries. It is still pastored by foreign missionaries (Tony and Pat Schmidt), but most of the other leaders are Japanese. Right now the church is in the beginning stages of preparation to call a Japanese pastor. One of the first steps was to become a part of JECA (which I believe stands for "Japanese Evangelical Church Association"... but don't quote me on that).

The church is small, but it feels big because it's so lively. There are children everywhere. I'm finally starting to figure out which children belong to which parents. It's taken quite a while since no one seems to sit together with their families in the church service or during lunch. We meet in what used to be a large house. Tony and Pat live on the second floor.

Today we helped lead worship. Keith played the piano and I played cello. Kaori-san planned the service and sang. Maybe we will lead singing someday too, but for now it's nice to play the cello, because then I don't have to worry about text! Singing is great language practice, though.

Every Sunday after church we eat lunch together. On the first Sunday of the month, there's a potluck. My contribution (lentil and bean stew/chili/whatever) is in the red pot in the foreground. Today there was also a birthday cake for Keith and four other people. (We couldn't escape entirely from food now, could we?)

Please pray for our church:
  • As I mentioned, we are making preparations to call a Japanese pastor.
  • We are starting an Alpha course in 2 weeks (October 18). Please pray that this class would be a blessing to the neighborhood... and that it would be well attended by people who are curious about Christianity and eagerly seeking God.
  • Our pastors (Tony and Pat) are currently on vacation in Vancouver! Please pray for their safe travels and for those who are taking care of things in their absence.