Saturday, May 31, 2014

Cheering for "our" kids

Today’s coffee: affogato. That’s espresso and ice cream!

Suddenly it’s summer. The garden is mostly planted, and today we spent most of the day outside cheering for members of our youth group at their school 体育祭 (taiikusai—sports festival)… first sunburn of the year. Somehow I managed to spend 10 days in Hawaii without getting a sunburn. In the morning, the events were standard track and field events; Ke and Ko both won their individual events. (No, those aren't their full names...)

Ko (red headband on the left) takes the baton in the 4x100 relay.
Then around lunch time, things became quite interesting, starting with a jump-rope contest in which each class of 30 kids jumped a single (very long) rope (Ke and A’s class won with 31 consecutive jumps!). Then there was a race of one kid walking on all the other kids’ backs, a 6-legged race (Ko’s class won), tug-of-war with 5 different ropes, and a giant relay—30x100 (once again, Ko’s class won). We don’t usually get the opportunity to see the kids in our youth group outside of church, nor have we ever been to any sort of school event, so this was a good opportunity for us.

Ke and A's class in the jump-rope competition... yes, the whole class!
We get the impression that while in the US, it’s relatively easy for a member of the community to visit a school, here it seems to be rather unusual. As youth group leaders, we’re largely dependent on the parents and the kids themselves to make contacts and invite friends to youth group events. I admit I find that a bit frustrating. Not to mention the kids themselves are always so busy with school, cram school, and club activities that it’s difficult for them to see coming to church as a priority…

But today was fun. We spent the day with our friends from church, and we cheered for our kids. I hope they know they are loved.

By the way, last week’s talk went pretty well, I think. It wasn’t an easy talk to write; as I was working on it, I had the impression that if the middle-school-aged me had heard this talk, I wouldn’t have listened. Our talk came at the end of a long day at church (Sunday school in the morning, worship service, potluck lunch, the church’s 33rd birthday celebration, and then youth group), but somehow I don’t think we made too many bad Japanese mistakes. The kids liked the stories about how Keith and I started dating and such. The other leaders liked our stories of how we grew spiritually through dating and marriage. Some of the kids opened up afterwards and shared their questions and concerns. Takahashi-sensei’s impression was that although the talk was maybe a bit beyond our mostly middle school aged group, it’s good that we’ve started the conversation early, and now we need to keep it going. Please continue to pray with us for each of our kids as they grow up to make wise choices that are honouring to God.

1 comment:

Joann Wilson said...

The jump-roping competition looked very difficult. (Especially swinging the rope) I would hate to be the kid who missed first!
I'll have to try the espresso and ice cream - it looks yummy.