Friday, August 31, 2007

Yeah, I know

Yes, I do realize it has been almost two weeks since my last post. Here is a sort of quick update on life since Youth Camp-with no pictures available.

The week after camp was the missionary/Japanese pastor's family retreat. We had a great time talking, studying, laughing, and enjoying fellowship together. One pastor and his wife just had a baby in June so I got to hold her-sort of distracting during the sessions:) We also went to Meiji Mura one afternoon-about the hottest day of August. Meiji Mura is a sort of open air museum. Buildings from around Japan built during the Meiji era-late 1800s-have been taken apart, moved and reassembled here. It is a great place. I went there the first time about 11 years ago during my first year here in Japan and loved it then, too.

This week I spent 4 days in Tsu, just arriving home about an hour ago. I went to help prepare for the Kramers, Tom and Lois, who have come for three months to fill in until our new short term missionary arrives. First we had to clean out the storage room so that we could put more furniture into it. (We is Luci Lengefeld and myself with Bill Lengefeld helping as the garbage patrol.) Since it appears we will only have one short term missionary coming we decided to close the second apartment providing a need for more storage space. Luci and Bill had asked a friend to help bring the furniture over to the Center so 'all' we had to do was put it into storage.

Wednesday had us cleaning apartments. First, we cleaned the apartment the Kramers are living in. Then, we headed over to the second apartment for final cleaning duty. We are really thankful that Becky was such a a good cleaner on a regular basis. We didn't have to do much scrubbing to get things cleaned up. Everything that day just took longer than we had anticipated which left us little time for cleaning up ourselves and buying groceries before Kramers arrived! But, it all worked out. We were really happy to see Tom and Lois get off the ferry from the airport!

Thursday was spent preparing teaching schedules and then calling utilities to get things shut off for the closed apartment. Thanks to Ayako we got all but one phone call made. Then the Kramers did the great challenge of the day-taught a class just 24 hours after arriving! I went with them to talk with the man in charge and just to make sure they arrived safely. Tom had taught the class two years ago when they were here so basically knew how to get there. I taught the class when I was a short termer so I knew a few of the students-they were very surprised to see me! We had a lot of fun.

Today was spent in red tape. We went,first, to get alien registration cards which went quite smoothly. Then we went to get cell phones. Here's where we hit the snags. Because they did not yet have the alien registration cards they could not get cell phone contracts. So, after several hours of that we were finally successful. In the middle of that I also got to call class contacts and make sure they were all ready for Tom and Lois to start classes next week.

Well, I guess that was probably more information than was necessary, but, that is what has been going on for the past couple of weeks. If you made it this far, thanks for reading!:)

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Youth Camp

This picture was taken at the annual JBC summer youth camp which hasn't been held for a few years. It was really quite fun! I was the girls' counsellor and devotional leader. Only two of the eight campers were girls. This was a first for me, to be at a Christian event in Japan and have the boys outnumber the girls.
In Japan, in our churches anyway, youth means anything from middle school up to young single adult. So, we had one middle school student, two university students, a graduate student, and four graduated-working young adults.
We spent two and a half days singing praises, studying God's Word, playing Bible trivia, hanging out, going to the beach, and just generally enjoying each others' company.
The second picture is the whole group. The camp was held in Chita where the Stollers are working so they also helped out by shuttling us around and making food for us. Mrs. Higashi also helped with making food. Pastor Matsuura, right in the middle, was our speaker and Paul Ewing was the boys' counsellor.

Japanese Cicadas

I don't know if you can see the cicada in the middle of the tree in the picture, but the picture is taken from my veranda. I just stood at the rail-second floor-and zoomed in on the little noise maker. This guy and hundreds of his buddies with their little built in amplifiers, as Dave Barry says, have been my alarm clock for the past month. I usually begin to hear them about 5:30AM. Now that I am sleeping with the windows closed and the A/C on, I can usually sleep until about 6AM. The only benefit is that it makes me get up and get my run in before it gets just too hot to run. The past few days they have only been making noise until about 11AM, which is much better than the 3PM of a week ago. They are so noisy that in some parks I run through I have started going around the park because it is too hard to run and plug my ears at the same time! It is amazing how much noise a little bug can make. Of course, they are about 10 centimeters long so they aren't super little. I guess when I practice my clarinet in the morning it doesn't bother the neighbors so much because they can barely hear it!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Busy, busy, busy

I have been using the excuse recently that I have been too busy to do things, like answer emails, write letters, send the baby presents sitting on my table, etc, etc. I am really tired of that excuse! This month is especially busy. I am really praying that things slow down, at least one click, next month!

Tonight as I was washing dishes, for the third time in 4 hours, God drew my attention to the flip calendar that is literally right in my face as I wash dishes. I have several flip calendars around, this one is quotes by famous people or Bible verses. Today's verse is Psalm 29:11 "The Lord gives strength to His people, the Lord blesses His people with peace." Wow! Here I am wallowing self-pity because I am so busy and there is God standing right next to me giving me strength! Then blessing me with peace. It caused me to break out in immediate song!

"Come, now is the time to worship,
Come, now is the time to give your heart...
One day every tongue will confess you are God,
One day every knee will bow.
Still the greatest treasure remains for those who gladly chose You now."

Yesterday between our two Gospel choir practices one of the gals gave me a ride from one place to the other. She is not a Christian but she had this song playing in her car-in Japanese. I hadn't heard it in Japanese yet. Wow, here was God speaking to me through a song translated into Japanese played in the car of a non-Christian Japanese friend.

I am still too busy to think straight, but peace has overtaken my heart tonight. I pray this verse sticks in my heart for a while!

Wednesday, August 8, 2007


Yesterday I finished my sermon for Sunday. I kind of hit a wall on Monday night so stopped, made dinner, watched a movie and went to bed. As I ran on Tuesday morning I had a conversation with God about whether I was done or He had more for me to say. By the time I got ready to sit down to write again, He had given me some more to say. It is pretty amazing to experience such help!
The movie I watched was "Dreamer" and I loved it! A feel-good story of a little girl and a horse. I have never really been around horses, I tend to be scared of animals bigger than a retriever-sized dog. But, they seem like amazing animals. Dakota Fanning, the little girl in the movie, is a great actress. In the extras on the DVD all of the other actors talk about how wonderful she is in 'real' life, too.
Now I move on to preparing devotionals for next week's youth camp. I guess I am not "Done" with that yet! Ah, and I need to chooses the songs for Sunday, too! I guess this should be called, "Partly Done!"

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Mini Mission Summer Special

I spent Monday through Wednesday of this week in Kyoto hanging out with a bunch of kids. It was a blast! There were 16 kids this year, 6 of them were new. On the first day in their workbooks they were asked who first told them about Jesus, and 6 kids answered "Shan!" Pretty amazing privilege I was given.

The first two days I told the Bible story. This year Peter's faith was our theme. The book we used is really for kids who go to church regularly and know quite a bit about the Bible. So, trying to make the stories understandable to kids who have never even heard of Jesus before was a challenge. God is amazingly faithful. The kids seemed to understand the stories and there always seemed to be at least one person who could define an unknown word for the others.

I also taught the kids some songs in English, "Hallelu, Hallelujah" and "I have the Joy" We had lots of fun singing in English and they were beginning to catch on!

Pastor Aoki also did some magic for the kids!

My friend kindly allowed me to stay at her house. They often host foreign visitors in their home and can speak English-however, we always speak Japanese while I am there! The weekend before I arrived they had a gal from Latvia staying with them. Her parents are Russian but moved to Latvia so she speaks Russian, Latvian, English and a little French. I am always amazed with people who speak more than one language, but especially more than two! I forget that I speak two languages:)