This has been quite the week.
On Sunday after church, two people confessed faith during a seeker's Bible study. Praise God!
On Monday, I went skiing for the first time in five years. I can still ski! Yay! (I think maybe God knew that I needed the fresh air and alone-time given what was coming later in the week...)
|The gondola was very comfortable.|
|Hokkaido's birch trees are beautiful in any season.|
|Sensei made us some delicious chirashizushi... and I'm not sure what the soup-like dish was called, but it was baked or steamed egg. Either way, it was very tasty.|
On Thursday, we lost our colleague, How Chuang Chua, to cancer. I realize that in missions work, no one is indispensible, and I am glad that he is no longer suffering… but I cannot help but think that this is a huge loss for OMF Japan, for his colleagues at the theological school where he had been teaching, for his family, and for us personally. I’m not really able at the moment to talk or write about this subject using “missionary appropriate” words, so I’ll link to an excellent blog that a sempai (senior student) from Regent College has written. Lord, have mercy.
On Friday, I made タコ飯 (octopus rice), having received a leg and part of the head of an octopus. Apparently they are in season. (I confess I really have no idea what to do with seafood of most kinds.) Keith’s Japanese teacher, a single guy who lives with his mom and doesn’t cook much, helped coach me through “what to do with octopus.” It went something like this.
Shriek from kitchen. (The suckers on the legs still suck.)On Saturday, I gave the aforementioned talk to my small group. I think it went pretty well. We had a good conversation afterwards.
I carry a bowl containing octopus parts into the living room. “Sensei, can you eat this part?” “Yeah, no problem.” “What about this?” “Uh…” (“Just throw that part away,” Keith whispers in English.)
Back in the kitchen, I boil the octopus leg for a few minutes. Some sort of film is detaching itself from the skin. “Sensei, is this okay? Can I eat it like this?” “Yeah, it’s fine. Maybe boil it a little longer?”
I carefully slice the leg, being careful not to touch the suckers again. Difficult, as it's slimy and round. Sensei said that the octopus rice was really good. (I used this recipe.)
Today is Sunday, and I’m looking forward to Sambi-Reihai (worship service with lots of songs, scripture, and a short message) this afternoon. Today for the first time our three middle-school musicians will join us for two of the songs! Apparently they’re very excited.
I’m also looking forward to my day off tomorrow.