Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Autumn Afternoon Amble

This afternoon I took a few minutes out of my busy schedule to enjoy the lovely weather and colors. Here are a few pictures I snapped along the way...

(I admit, I used my thesaurus to get the alliteration in the title:)

Friday, November 12, 2010

A Field Trip

On Monday I went on a field trip of sorts with Becky, Amber, and Pastor Yuzawa in Kyoto. Carol and Mrs. Yuzawa were planning to join us, but, unfortunately, there was a sudden illness preventing them from joining us.

Since moving to Kyoto Pastor and Mrs. Yuzawa have taken the opportunity to study the history of Christianity in Japan, especially in Kyoto. Monday was our chance to learn more about this topic from them. In the morning we heard a lecture from Pastor Y about Christianity coming to Japan. He started with the silk road and ended with us!

From 1630 until 1853 Japan was closed to the world and Christianity was outlawed. Many people were martyred when they refused to renounce their faith in God. Twenty-six people in Kyoto were arrested, had part of their ear cut off and then were paraded on an 800 km walk from Kyoto to Nagasaki as a warning to others that this is what would happen if people chose Christianity. Then these 26 were crucified.
(A map showing the route the 26 took from Kyoto to Nagasaki, 800 km in one month)

(The ceiling at the restaurant. I like how it looks like there is a heart in the middle as the colors are changing!)

(My delicious tapas lunch!)

After a lovely lunch we went to the Franciscan House where we learned more about the walk from Kyoto to Nagasaki and saw artifacts the 'hidden Christians' used during the 200 year ban on Christianity.
(This is a reflection off of a mirror. In the reflection you can see a crucifix, two kneeling people and the Spirit in the form of a dove.)

(This lantern has a Christian symbol carved in the base which was buried. Christians would gather to worship, pulling back the dirt to reveal the carving. The shape is also unusual, symbolizing a cross.)

We also visited a shrine. Most shrines have a torii, gate, at the entrance. This shrine, which is for silkworms, has a three-legged torii in a small pond (which is drained right now) whose waters are thought to have healing powers. The three-legged torii is thought to be a symbol of the triune God (god?)

There is so much more to learn and understand. Maybe I will be able to explain it more clearly in the future, after a few more lectures and field trips!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

God's Beauty

This is what I saw on my walk to work this morning...
How many colors do you see just in the trees?!

(I took this picture with my phone's camera. I have the cheapest phone available...)

Saturday, November 6, 2010


November is here, the month where we stop to pause and think of all the things we have to be thankful for. I have several friends who are making great lists on their blogs. It seems once we start, the ideas just come tumbling out like a waterfall. The important thing about thinking of all these things to be thankful for is remembering who we are thanking! (Can I get an amen?!)

My friend and her children were having an impromptu discussion about what God has made. One of the children said, "What about cars? If God made everything, did He make cars?" (Does anyone else recognize this question?!) I don't know about you, but I am certainly thankful that God gave people the brains to come up with the idea of an engine and then the idea to put wheels on it and call it a car! We sure would spend a lot more time getting from one place to another, wouldn't we?

Today when I was putting a load of laundry into my washing machine I thanked God for that machine. I am so thankful that He helped someone come up with the idea and others perfect it so that now I can have clean clothes in less than an hour without leaving my home!

As I spent time with friends this week, I was reminded the numerous friends God has provided for me over the years. How grateful I am for each and everyone of you. Each has played an important role in my life, many a deeper role than they may ever realize. What a blessing that God thought up the idea to provide us with friends for this journey called life.

If you visit my apartment and look around you will see pictures everywhere, of friends and family. God placed me in an incredible family. I have parents who loved me so much that they made sure I knew who God was, that I spent as much time as possible learning about Him. Parents who helped me grow and mature, who encouraged and challenged and disciplined me. Parents who provided a safe and loving home, a refuge from the crazy world around us.

However, the most important thing I am thankful for is my Savior, Jesus Christ. I am sure this sounds cliche to some, but it is the absolute truth. I am who I am, do what I do, think what I think, care how I care, love how I love because of Him. I am a sinner in need of a Savior. So, before I even knew I needed that, Jesus came to this earth and allowed Himself to be nailed to a cross. Because of that, I can now be considered part of God's family. But, He didn't stop there! He, then, three days later, rose from the dead, conquering death. Now, not only are my sins forgiven, but I also get to live forever with my Savior. Hallelujah!