Thursday, July 31, 2008

JMF Summer Conference

JBC, JMF, what do all these letters mean?! JBC is the Japan Baptist Conference, our sister conference here in Japan. JMF is the Japan Mission Fellowship, aka the NAB missionaries here. Every summer we have a conference for study, fellowship and relaxation. This year's conference was held in Tsuruga, Fukui.
(The kanji in the photo is 'ishi' which means stone. One of our lessons was about living stones! An appropriate picture for our room!)

We found out about this little seaside town from our Japanese teacher, Mrs. Takao. She grew up there and still has relatives there. She told us all about walking down to the beach every day when she was a little girl and the beautiful pine forest on the edge of the beach.

So, we headed off for a few days of fun and study! (Mr. and Mrs. Takao actually came with us to help take care of the Ewing boys while we had our study sessions.)

For our study sessions we watched the DVD "In the Dust of the Rabbi" with Ray VanderLaan (I don't remember how to spell his name:) We learned a lot and had good discussions about being a disciple of the Rabbi.
Here is a little picture story of our time there...

On the boat touring the five lakes region.

Noah and Mr. Takao are tired out from their time at the pool!

Then we made chopsticks in Obama city. Yes, it is the real name of a city here!

Learning how to make kamaboko and chikuwa, a food product made from fish, flour, and potato flakes, I think it was. Elijah even got in on the action!

A delicious dinner after an afternoon at the beach!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

JBC Summer Camp

I got to attend the Japan Baptist Conference Summer Camp-as the girls' counselor-last weekend. It is kinda fun being this age and getting to go to youth camp! Anyway, about 15 of us got together for study, fellowship, and fun in Tsu.

Here are a few pictures to tell the story...

Those of us who arrived before registration entertained ourselves with stacking pens and playing Jenga.

We had great times of music with a variety of instruments!

We attended Joy Chapel and participated in a skit...

We found Shioji san's hidden talent, acting!

The Sunday night group

The Monday morning group, a few people went home and a few people joined us.

We ended with a BBQ on the beach and a game of soccer-and a sunburn for those of us with caucasian skin!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Who am I?

On Sunday I went to Kyoto to share the message since Pastor Aoki needed to be at another church that morning. (This is one of the churches where I used to work.) Becky and Serena went with me and we sang a song together, Becky playing the piano and Serena playing the guitar-and singing in Japanese! She did great!

The text was Galatians 3:26-4:7. I talked how when becoming a Christian we put on Christ and we are given new names. The names I talked about are listed in those verses, God's child, Abraham's offspring, and children of the promise. Since I have that elementary teacher background, I like to get everyone involved. Everyone participated willingly and even were willing to flip all over the Bible while I told about the background of these different names.

There was a new lady in church that morning who doesn't hear well. Thankfully, God had me prepare an extra copy of the manuscript of my sermon-the one I use has lots of notes and corrections on it! So, she could follow along and participate, too.

Becky took a few pictures for me while I was speaking, and even got one of the worship leader after the message! Since we were all singing we didn't get a picture of that because I forgot to ask someone to take one for us:)
It was a fun day! I loved getting to see people again and was encouraged to see new people there, too.

Putting on Christ.

Handing out paper and tape for the congregation to get involved.

With all of my name tags on.

Tasuku san with his tie and name tags!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Old Friends (Well, long-time:)

Sunday through Tuesday I went to Yokohama to visit a friend. She is here visiting her mom. Koh and I met when we were freshmen in high school (9th grade) when her dad went to South Dakota to study Laura Ingalls Wilder. Her mom still lives in Yokohama, but Koh now lives in Santa Cruz, CA. We had a great time reminiscing, looking through her annual, and looking through the reunion book that was made last year for our reunion, which neither of us attended. She has two incredibly cute little boys, and we had fun playing with them, too. On Tuesday we went to Kamakura, a historical city, walked the old shopping street, went to a shrine, and had an excellent dinner.

The boys enjoying a little TV time.

Feeding the fish in Kamakura at Hachimangu (a famous shrine there).

Decorations at the shrine for the star festival held the night before. About five minutes after I took this picture they took the decorations down!

Side note:
On the way home I fell asleep on the train. When I woke up we were stopped at a station which was not a scheduled stop. After sitting for a while I noticed the sign board was scrolling a message all in red. After a while I realized we were stopped because there was some kind of accident on the tracks between Nagoya and Kyoto. Eventually the announcement said that there was a person on the tracks.
After sitting for about a half an hour the guy behind me, who was also not Japanese, asked me if I knew what was going on. Realizing he didn't understand Japanese, I explained what I understood. An hour later we were still sitting on the tracks and he was getting a little nervous. He had a plane to catch! Finally, after two hours the train started up again.
If he got on the train I pointed him to he should have made it to the airport just in time to check in for his flight to Sydney. Hope he made it!

Friday, July 4, 2008

Sad Day

On Sunday, June 29th, my friends Ayako and Akihiro Naka closed their restaurant, Small Talk. It was a sad day! My friend and I sat there for 3 hours chatting with other regulars and savoring Small Talk food for the last time. Some of the people I hadn't talked to before except to greet them, but we had a common experience to share.
They don't have any plans yet except to get the shop cleaned out and get Ayako's health checked out. Then they will be moving on to the next step.
We still have plans to go to Costco together, go to other restaurants together, etc.!

Working together behind the counter.

With Nakas and my new Australian friend, Madison.

At the time of this post on July 4th you can still go to their website and see pictures of the restaurant under "About Us."