Sunday, December 23, 2007

Kongo Church Christmas Party

Today was the Kongo Bible Church Christmas Party. We rented a room at a building near the station called Cheer Hall so we called our party "Cheerful Christmas."
The afternoon was filled with fun and games and singing. Plus a kids' story and explanation of the true meaning of Christmas. Our Gospel choir sang, too. I don't have any pictures of that since I was singing and my camera was sitting on the front row by itself:) Hopefully, Paul got some good pictures and will be able to send me some soon.
After the party the Gospel choir had our year end party. We went to a restaurant between the church and Cheer Hall for more fun and food. I had a good time chatting with the people at my table and getting to know them better.
Even though it was a very long day, I thoroughly enjoyed it! Now I need to get some sleep and get ready for tomorrow's party at the Ewings.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Christmas Baking

Monday was our Christmas cookie baking class. We had a great time rolling, cutting and decorating cookies. Thanks, Aunt Karen for the recipe and food coloring! Thanks, Aunt Tricia for the sprinkles!
My digital camera was being cantankerous so I had to use my cell phone camera. I forgot until the last couple of pictures that I needed to turn it sideways. So, you'll have to turn your head sideways to see most of the pictures.:) Sorry!

Morning class rolling...

and cutting...

and decorating!

Afternoon rollers!

and decorating.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Art Show

Saturday the 24th of November, I went to Kobe to an art show. My friend's husband is a painter and he had a painting in the show. They came down from Karuizawa for the opening of the show. It was a beautiful fall day to travel by train and enjoy the fall leaves.

First thing in the morning was the opening of the show, complete with ribbon cutting ceremony and speeches!

Here is Akitomo being greeted by the newspaper photographer. Akitomo is on the right and his painting is in the middle of the picture.

And, here is his painting. It is titled "Wall" It may be hard to see from the picture, but all around the people the walls are covered with newspapers. I am partial, but it was my favorite painting in the show! Many of the paintings used browns and greys and tans and black. It was nice to see some color!
If you go to this website and click on the painting it will enlarge it and you can see it better.
(I can't seem to figure out how to paste the link so you can click on it so you'll have to just cut and paste. Sorry!:)

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Kabuki and my cafe

Today my friend Mihoko and I went to see kabuki. She gave me a quick summary of the play before it started which was incredibly helpful! I think I understood less than half of what was said. It didn't help that the men felt they had to talk like the were all basses and had marbles in their mouths. There was one guy and most of the gals who I could understand. Mihoko knows a man who is a playwright so after the play he introduced us to one of the actresses. She is 80 years old. She was great in the play. She is the one in the green to the left of the main guy on the picture.
Before the play started there were the usual announcements, no photography or videos and turn off cell phones. Then there was the announcement that one actor has a tattoo! (I guess you can figure out which one from the picture!)
After the play there was a concert. The main actor is also a singer and most of the other members of the cast also danced. My favorite song was the samba song. Imagine kimono-clad people singing Japanese folk-type music with a samba beat and dancing. It was great fun!

When we had finished chatting with the actress we went to my cafe! It is the Shan cafe! Well, in katakana it is the same as my name. It is the German word Schon with the two dots over the o. The coffee cups had the name of the cafe written on the side so I asked the owner if I could take a picture with one-I did not order coffee:) I think he was entertained by us!

Friday, November 16, 2007


Monday the 12th was our second baking class. I overbooked so we had a morning and an afternoon class. In the morning there was one new member and one lady who couldn't come. So, it worked out well. Then in the afternoon there were two students, one who had planned to come wasn't able to come.

I forgot to take pictures so the only one I have is this one taken after everyone left of the recipes and the two left over brownies. One the recipes we made had a peanut butter topping. That was a hit! I may be making peanut butter lovers out of these women soon! We made one batch with cocoa powder and the other with melted chocolate. SInce Baker's chocolate is hard, well almost impossible, to find here we used 88percent cocoa chocolate bars. It worked well and they can be found easily here.

It is looking like I am going to need to think seriously about continuing after Christmas. Everyone seems to really enjoy our times together. I really do, too!

Monday, November 12, 2007


Last week I atended the Church Planting Institute in Shizuoka. From our hotel we should have been able to see Mt. Fuji. Unfortunately, we really only saw it as we drove in on Tuesday. The rest of the week she stayed cloaked in fog and clouds.

I rode with 4 Japanese pastors and two missionaries in a van that had an amazing amount of leg room in the back seat, which was great for me!
The conference gave me lots to think about as we look to starting church planting next year. The core training I attended was led by Scotty Smith, Steven Curtis Chapman's pastor. He talked about living in the Gospel every day. Remembering where we came from, the Garden, what God did for us, the cross, and where we are going, the new heaven and the new earth. Being a rather big Steven Curtis fan, I'd say that he actually listens to his pastor's sermons and applies them to his life-writing songs!
I also made several new friends and renewed old friendships. What great fun to talk about what God is doing around Japan in people's hearts, families, ministries and churches.
Overall, a great week!

Sunday, November 4, 2007

AGC Fall Gospel Concert

This morning after church I hurried from our church over to the concert site, Izumi Catholic Church, for our AGC (Anointed Gospel Choir) fall concert. Here is a little re-cap of the afternoon...
While our director was setting up the PA system we were:

The tenor section was practicing.

The soprano section was having fun!

After practice we took a little break during which Ueno san had a little help putting on her fake nails.

I got to introduce the song "It is well with my Soul" and then sang the first verse in English.

Even with the interesting lighting I am guessing I am easy to pick out. It was easy to decide where I would stand, the other sopranos had a little discussion about who was taller and who had to stand in the front row.

After the concert we went to a nearby restaurant for dinner. Our director and the guest choir's director sang a song for us. They were going to sing another but one of the workers reminded us there were other customers in the restaurant!

It was a fun day! I really enjoyed singing praises with these women. Some members we talked with from the guest choir said that they could feel and hear the difference in our singing. Mrs. Hara explained that our director explains the meanings of the words we are singing as well as prays before and after our lessons. The gals we were talking to said that their main goal was just to memorize the words, they really didn't think about the meaning of what they were singing. What a blessing to be part of a choir in which the director loves Jesus and wants others to know that love!

Thanks for your prayers!

Saturday, November 3, 2007


I noticed the building next to mine being enclosed with scaffolding last week and figured they must just be working on that building since I hadn't received a notice in my mailbox. Yeah, and then I looked at the bulletin board in my stairwell! My building gets to have scaffolding, too! Yesterday they started to put up the scaffolding around my building. They are not done yet so I do have sun shining in today.
I happened to be sitting in my living room on Tuesday (or Wednesday, I can't remember which now) when they were working on the next building so thought I'd take a picture of the guys working.

Then I took a second picture so that you can see the wide pants that construction guys wear. Look at the guys up on top!

Lara's visit

Lara and I finally remembered to take a picture together just before she went through security on her way home a couple of hours ago.
It was great fun to have her here. It reminded me of our time as short termers and all the fun we had running around the country, helping lead Joy Chapel, and just learning about ministry and Jesus together.
After all the times I crashed at her place during home assignment, it was fun to get to have her at my place. Having friends visit is always a treat. (No this is not a little hint, it is a great big huge HINT!!!!)
Time to get back to work now!:)
Thanks for the fun, Lara!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Veranda Garden

This is my little veranda garden. I love flowers I am just not much into gardening. So, I bought some plants and put them out hoping they will bloom. When they get droopy looking I water them.

Each morning I sit in a chair just to the right of where I took this picture and meet with Jesus. Adding the flowers to the veranda has brightened up those times even more. Now that the trees are beginning to change colors, there is even more color around! Also, the temperatures are at a reasonable level now for sitting out there. Even if there had been flowers I still would have had no desire to sit out there in August.

What a joy to sit with my Savior and fellowship while enjoying His creation! God definitely gets the praise for finding me this apartment!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Himeji Castle

Monday was another beautiful day for traveling! Lara and I headed to Himeji Castle to see the "White Heron." It was my third visit there and it was just as impressive the third time around! The castle and grounds are enormous. An hour after we started our tour we were just entering the castle itself. It was like being at Niagara Falls again, we couldn't stop taking pictures! I was most facinated this time with the windows and roofs. Here are a few samples of pictures:

This is one of the first windows we came to, a rectangle in the wall with a nice view of the top of the wall which looks like a roof...

This is a window in the wall for protection. If someone was trying to climb up the wall the guards would throw rocks or hot water out this window to knock them down.

This is just a variety of roofs looking out the window of the bailey, a word I just learned on Monday!

Here is a triangle window in the wall.

The circles on the edges of the roof each had different pictures representing the different clans who ruled there. The butterfly was one of my favorites.

Looking out the windows on the top level we could see a variety of levels of roofs.

Lara and I decided this is a must see for those who come to Japan. If you want to read more about what we have been doing, as well as Lara's other travels, check out her blog linked in the margin.

Sunday, October 21, 2007


Lara and I spent the afternoon, after fun in the sun at the park, at the electronics and furniture store. We had a great time touchnig the fuzzy rugs, trying out the floor chairs, finding new gadgets, and just general merrymaking.
Then after a little time to make a little schedule for the week we went to a local okonomiyaki restaurant. Don't know how to describe it in English so you'll just have to come try it for yourself!

First mix the ingredients in the bowl...

Then put the meat onto the grill. Pour the mixture over the meat and cook flipping halfway through.

Add toppings and enjoy!

Praise in the Park

Today was our autumn outdoor worship service in a local park. It was an incredibly beautiful day weatherwise. Paul brought his guitar and lead the music. He spoke about each of us using the gifts God has given us to bring unity to the church. He couldn't find a song to go with the theme so he wrote one! In Japanese!
We followed the worship service with a picnic lunch. We sat around and talked for a long time. It was a good morning into afternoon!

Preachin' Paul

Listening to Preacher Paul

Monday, October 15, 2007

Baking and English

Today was my first day of 'baking and English' class. Six ladies came over to make peanut butter chocolate chip muffins and blueberry muffins. We were supposed to speak English, too. I spoke English while talking about making the muffins but otherwise it was pretty much Japanese! Everyone gave a short introduction in English and that was about the extent of their speaking English. One lady can speak quite well I think, but she mostly spoke Japanese, too. Even in Japanese, though, it was a lot of fun! I have a feeling that next time I am going to have to add an afternoon class, too. I think more people than can fit in my kitchen have said they want to come!
I once told a friend here that if I could just bake brownies as my ministry I would be happy. I think I have found a way to make that happen! At least as part of ministry.
Here are a few pictures. When teaching one doesn't have much time for taking pictures!

I learned that Japanese measuring cups are not the same size as American cups. Plus, many people weigh the dry ingredients. So, I had to translate the measurments by measuring in my American cup and dumping into a Japanese cup. For the weight I used a little scale I got at a one hundred yen store. I am not sure how accurate it is, which I made sure to tell everyone! This is what my little table looked like as I was trying to figure out the measurements.

And, here is my little table set with all of the ingredients and tools needed to make muffins. Notice the little Japanese size Skippy on the table and the jumbo American size in the background-purchased at Costco here in Japan.

Putting the batter into the muffin cups. Since there is not a lot of room we passed the bowl around and each person added an ingredients or stirred. They were quite enthralled with the Kitchen Aid mixer-as am I:)

And, finally, enjoying the fruits of our labor. The peanut butter muffins went over incredibly well. They liked the blueberry, too, but the peanut butter was by far the favorite.
I hope they had as much fun as I did!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

If only...

Today's quote on my flip calendar...
"The thought of You stirs us so deeply that we cannot be content unless we praise You, because You have made us for Yourself and our hearts find no peace until they rest in You." Augustine

If only I could live in this all the time!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Ikeda Church

Last Sunday I went to the church in Ikeda, in northern Osaka, to preach for pulpit exchange Sunday. Since they don't have a pastor they usually don't get someone to come for pulpit exchange, but since Paul and I are working at the same church there was an extra person this year.
This is a little group of believers who faithfully meet each week to study God's word together. About once a quarter, maybe every other month, one of the pastors from Kyoto goes to fellowship with them.

So, here I am sharing with them. They use a newly published Bible which is a little different from the one I have so I had to read carefully using their Bible which I hadn't practiced from!

We did a bit of flipping around so here we are looking for verses. The post-its I had prepared in my Bible were of no use to me using a different Bible!:)

More Missionary Fun Day Pictures

Here are a few more pictures from our Osaka sight-seeing day...

Our boat and its captain

Lunch by a fountain in the park that was quite loud we realized when it stopped to change configurations! We were right in front of the concert hall where it appeared they were setting up for a concert to take place that night.

As we walked through the park to go to the history museum we saw an unusual phenomenon, cherry trees blooming in the fall! Because the summer was so hot for so long apparently some of plants are confused as to what season it is.

Here is our whole group after touring the castle and on our way to the subway to go to dinner.

And here we all are enjoying our Hawaiian burgers and sandwiches. I had a turkey avocado sandwich-it was great! I don't think this is traditional Hawaiian food, but they do have shops in Hawaii, too!

Finally, the walking is over and we are sitting on the train!