Friday, March 28, 2008

Gospel Party

Our group on stand=by!

March 20 we had a Gospel party. Our director invited all of his choirs to come and sing for each other and then in the evening several directors and professional musicians put on a concert for us. His pastor also came and shared a message about Easter. It was an awesome day!

Today was our first rehearsal since the party. Each person who was there stood up and shared a little about their impressions of the day. I got to share how the Intercessor (see NAB website for more info) had the whole conference praying for Yamamoto sensei the day before the concert!

One lady shared that because of the pastor's message she understood for the first time what Easter was all about. And, another lady shared that because of the whole day, all of the songs, testimonies, and pastor's words, she decided the Bible must be pretty interesting and she went home and read the Bible! I don't know what she read, but she read some of God's Word!

How cool is that!:)

This is my friend who helped me find the eye doctor. She and I led the song "I'll Be Satisfied"

Just off the train and headed our separate directions. Can you tell it's been a long day?!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Easter basket

I got to preach my first Easter sermon this year. I really felt the importance while I was preparing! It took me quite a long time to write. Thankfully, God is in control!

I talked about new life and talked about various Easter and spring traditions around the world. Most European and Eastern European countries do something with eggs. So, I decided to color eggs for everyone. Since we do not have those nice little Easter egg dying tablets by PAAS, I had to do it the old fashioned way, with food:) There are tons of sites about decorating eggs 'naturally.'

Since red seemed to be a color that many countries used I wanted to make red eggs. I decided to make yellow, too, because I had more confidence in that coming out the right color. I was right!

On the list of things to use for coloring eggs red, red wine was the most easily accessible to me. So, I bought some cheap red wine in a box-that was probably my first mistake. For yellow eggs, I used cumin. I guess I let the eggs soak too long in the wine. They turned out brown with a sandy film. When I rinsed it off, though, they turned into these cool marbled eggs. The yellow ones turned out beautifully.

Everyone kindly took an egg, or two, and some people even ate them. I have been eating the leftovers for breakfast this week! The wine soaked eggs have lovely brown spots on them when peeled!

My kitchen smelled great, though, on Saturday as they were boiling and soaking. It smelled like I was an amazing cook!:)

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

New Experiences in one day

No pictures to go with this post, besides, it is 11:30PM so I really should be going to bed so I have post quickly.

New experiences:
1. Walking down the sidewalk on my way to the eye doctor (see #2) I saw a man of about 70 looking at a beautifully blooming tree-I think some kind of sakura-with a professional looking camera. I had just been looking at the same tree so I said to him, "Beautiful, isn't it?" He replied that yes it was and would I like my picture taken with the tree as the background. Sure, why not! Usually it is junior high girls asking for my picture!

2. I went to the eye doctor today, at the hospital. I need to renew my SD driver's license and to do that by mail I need a report from an eye doctor. So, a friend from Gospel choir found a doctor who speaks English-she actually used to work for the doctor-and went with me. I found out today that people with white skin have a white retina-I think that is the right part of the eye, they were speaking Japanese at this point and I had to remember the word to look up later. Apparently, Japanese people's retina is orangish-brown. So, my doctor called in a new, younger doctor to see my retinas. Everyone in the office was very intrigued.

3. After the eye doctor my friend and I went for tea. She told me about her recent trip to Bali where she volunteered at an orphanage. They eat not only dog there, but also mice!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Friends and Fellowship

Last week was the annual women in ministry retreat in Karuizawa. I love going to this retreat. Not only is it a time to be refreshed, be encouraged and hear messages in English, but it is also a time to see friends from language school days.

My friend, Yuko, who is about the busiest person I know, always makes time to pick me up at the station and have a Starbucks before the retreat starts. She also goes with me to Natural Leaf to make candles and visit with the Nishiyamas, aka "The Candle Shop Couple."

Then there is time to visit with basketball friends in the evening at the Woodshed cafe. Last year Madoka, in purple on the left, was pregnant so this year we had another addition to our reunion. This year Fumiko, in the front in dark blue, is pregnant so next year we will have another little one! She also got married in the past year so we got to see wedding pictures. Yoko, in the front in hot pink, is engaged so we will get to see more wedding pictures next year!

Of course, the main reason for going is the retreat. This year our speaker was Jane Rubietta. If you want to learn more about the ministry she and her husband are involved with go to

She reminded us that we are loved perfectly by a perfect God through imperfect people. Our group talked about how this is not just others loving us imperfectly, but also us loving others imperfectly.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

A Reunion of Sorts

Friday I went to the Karuizawa Language School's semi-closing ceremony. The school in its current form is closing. Later this year it will open in a new form with a new name: Language and Culture Center for Missions-or something like that.

It was fun to be back in the old building and remember how cold it is in there! The smell of mold is still there. I am sure it was that strong before, too, but I think I was a little bit used to it back in the day.

I had a chance to talk with my former teachers and thank them for all they did for me and other missionaries, all the patience they had with us! I can't imagine the amount of patience it takes to teach someone a new language from zero 5 days a week for two years! I always wondered if they did a little praise the Lord dance when a student finished and left:)

Here is a picture of me with Miss Takei. One day she walked all the way up to my apartment to give me the homework that she couldn't find during class. Wasn't that nice of her! Maybe she drove up, I don't know, I wasn't at home at the time. She was famous for her hand drawn homework pages. She knew how to review a concept until it stuck!

I tried to take a picture of all the teachers but I guess I didn't have the camera on the right setting so it isn't the clearest picture, but here it is anyway!

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Gospel workshop

Here is a picture of our Gospel choir taken last month. Good luck finding me, I am not really noticeable! Ha!

Last Saturday I attended a Gospel workshop led by an American lady who now lives in France. Our choir director helped her out. I found out how much English he can really speak-a lot! The workshop was in a city north of Osaka so I guess the others from our choir felt it was too far away because I was the only person from our choir who attended. But, there were several other choirs represented well-about 50 attendees in all.

One of the benefits of not knowing anyone when you go to something like this is meeting new people! (If I had gone with people I knew I would probably have just talked with them!) Anyway, there was a cute little couple-I can say little because they were both only about 5'4" or so-who were the only ones from their choir, too. While chatting at lunch I found out they are getting ready to move in the next month or so. They had a huge pile of faxes from a realtor who they were going to see the next day. It turns out they are moving to Tsu! Well, that immediately gave us a topic of conversation. I had a good time telling them about how great Tsu is and all about Joy Chapel. They are not Christians but thought the idea of a bilingual service was great. Since they sing in Gospel choir they do have a little interest in English and Christianity.

And, to think I had considered not going because it was cold and rainy and I didn't know anyone!
I also enjoyed chatting with Manda, the workshop leader, in English!