Wednesday, September 24, 2008

singing and study

Today was the first English class-Gospel songs and Bible study. Three ladies came and we had a good time singing and talking about the song I chose as well as studying where it came from in the Bible.

Today's song was "I Bless Your Name" by the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir. I chose it because it is slow and short. It is about Paul and Silas in jail praising God. We talked about how praising God in our "midnight hour" helps calm our fears. (I pulled this picture from their website.)

Also, the two ladies from choir asked me why I came to Japan. It was a great opportunity to share how God worked through many parts of my life to prepare me to come here. Both of them were very open to hearing more about God. They appreciate learning from Yamamoto sensei in choir but said they were happy to have a time to ask questions and learn more, too. I'm praying they will be able to come again and will feel more open to ask me questions about the songs in choir, as well.

The other lady who came is Mrs. Naka. She is a member of the Kongo Church and just loves singing. She was able to share some wisdom with the other two ladies and encourage them, too. I am really thankful for her participation and support!

Friday, September 19, 2008

A good way to give

There is a website which provides free mammograms for women in need. This month one of their sponsors is going to provide 100 free mammograms if they get enough clicks. Maybe you already know about it and its sister sites, but check out The Breast Cancer Site and click daily!

Here is a little explanation from the website about how it works.
Your click on the "Click Here to Give - it's FREE" button helps fund free mammograms for women in need — low-income, inner-city and minority women whose awareness of breast cancer and opportunity for help is often limited. Your click is paid for by site sponsors, and mammogram funding is provided to clinics throughout the U.S. through the efforts of the National Breast Cancer Foundation .

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Komyo Christian Church

Well, it really happened! Today, September 14, 2008, was the first worship service of the Komyo Christian Church. Paul and Melissa Ewing and I have spent a lot of time in prayer and planning for this day. Since we came to Japan in 2001 all we have done and learned has led up to this day. What an amazingly faithful God we serve!

Today there were 13 of us crowded comfortably into Ewings' living room. The Ewing 5 + me as well as 7 from the Kongo Bible Church, the church at which we have been ministering up until now. What an encouragement to have these brothers and sisters in Christ come to be part of the first service!

Although none of the friends we invited could come today, we know God will bring them and others as we progress. The Ewings' boys had invited some of their friends, too. They were a little disappointed when none of them came. But, we are trusting God, the God who created the world, the God who parted the sea, the God who provided salvation through Jesus Christ our Lord.

I am absolutely thrilled to be in this place at this time and am standing on tip toes in anticipation of what God has planned!

Thank you for praying with us! Please continue to pray!

Here are a few pictures from the day...




Saturday, September 13, 2008

Movies in Japan

Last night I watched a Japanese movie called "Smile." I really liked it. It was just what I needed on a Friday night, light-hearted comedy, a little romance, and elementary school kids playing hockey, yes, ice hockey! (Plus it had English subtitles which were pretty well done)

It filled all the formulas for a good movie, little scrawny kids learn to work as a team under a coach who has never even played hockey and win the tournament (sorry if I wrecked it for anyone:) Because of the win the rich girl's dad who owns the team allows his daughter to marry the unqualified and less than rich coach.

There was a twist that doesn't always happen in the American movies. A classmate who is in figure skating and likes one of the hockey boys gets sick. She gets leukemia, or relapses, and actually dies, during the final game of the tournament. So, when the guys are all excited about winning they find out she has died, the girl who gave them a reason to fight and win. As they stand there getting their medals they are all weeping because she has died.

I like that about movies in Japan, everything doesn't always turn out all right in the end. Just like real life. Sometimes we fight hard and try our best and still fail. But, that doesn't mean we give up on life. We learn to work through it. As Christians we learn to lean more heavily on God and trust His arms to hold us up, knowing that we can, knowing that He is trustworthy. He will not let us fall, even though it feels like it sometimes.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Birthday Celebrations

This year's celebration of my birth happened over a whole weekend! Saturday evening my English students brought a cake to class and sang to me. It was our first class so I was a bit surprised! My friend Ayako told them it was my birthday. (I met the lady who is in charge of the class at Small Talk restaurant last winter, I guess it was. She has been waiting for English classes to start since then! Since we met at the restaurant, she invited Ayako to be part of the class, too, although she couldn't come last week.)

On Sunday Ayako came to church with her mother-in-law, Mrs. Naka. Then after church the three of us went out for a wonderful Italian lunch. We made a reservation about a half an hour before we went and once we got there were glad we had. Several groups were turned away because the restaurant was full and the wait time would have been well over 1/2 an hour!

Sunday night my friend Kyusai san (pronounced Q sigh) from Gospel choir came over. I had planned for her husband and daughter, too, but they were not able to come, so we had a lot of food to eat! Even though it was just the two of us we had no trouble talking for well over 4 hours about everything under the sun!

Then, on Monday, I went to Ewings and we celebrated Paul's birthday, my birthday, and our friend Yumi's birthday. Ewings used to live next door to Yumi's family and Yumi taught Melissa everything she knows about yochien! (Well, probably not everything, but a lot anyway!) We had a wonderful pork tenderloin on the grill-finally got the propane refilled- and an incredibly delicious ice cream cake for dessert.

I also got to talk to my parents and sister and brother-in-law on my birthday, so it was a great weekend! Thanks to all of you who sent cards, e-cards, and e-mails! God has blessed me with a wonderful family and amazing friends!

The top picture is the birthday gang and Yumi's younger daughter.

I don't know what Jonah said, but obviously it was funny!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Life-challenging/changing book

Yesterday I went into downtown Osaka to go shopping. This time the shopping was for specific items for our church plant or for English classes, etc. While in the bookstore looking at textbooks I decided to take a wander through the paperback section on my way out. In the bestseller section a book caught my eye.

I just received my September/October Discipleship Journal. The first thing I do when I receive it is look through the whole thing without reading any articles, just anticipating and looking at the ads for new books. One ad for a book said, "This book has the potential to do for our generation what John Bunyan's "Pilgrim's Progress did for his. It's that good!" -Eugene Peterson

When I read that I thought, "That sounds like it might be an interesting read, I'll add it to my list for the next CBD order."
***update-it wasn't in DJ that I read about the book, it was in my Japan Harvest Magazine in the book review section!

On Thursday when I was shopping I couldn't have told you the name of that book, but when I saw it at the store with that review from Eugene Peterson on the front, I picked it up immediately.

The book is called, "The Shack."

Being the impatient person I am as soon as I got home and got my dinner ready I sat down with the book. Now, just over 24 hours later, I have finished the book. There are so many pages dog-eared to go back and read that I should have dog-eared those not to reread!

The book is a novel. However, it is also a theology book. I can't say that I agree with all of the theology, mostly because I read it too quickly the first time. But, it has already made me start to think about God in a different way. It has challenged my ideas of Christianity and given me a fresh faith.

It was published last year so many of you may have already read it, or at least heard of it. Buy it, read it, mull it over.

Some fans of the book are working with a movie producer to get it made into a movie. Apparently, the book has to sell so many copies before they can produce it so they are challenging people to buy the book for themselves. If you want to know more, go to

One of the many lines I liked...
"'Oh child,' spoke Papa tenderly. 'Don't ever discount the wonder of your tears. They can be healing waters and a stream of joy. Sometimes they are the best words the heart can speak.'"