Thursday, May 29, 2008
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Tuesday evening, our friends threw us a farewell party. Everyone brought a dish to share.
I thought these were desserts. I thought very wrong. The balls on the left that I thought were cinnamon/glaze donuts were actually fried octopus balls with brown sauce and mayonnaise. The things on the right that I thought were pies were actually like potato-egg Spanish tortillas...
The students gave us farewell gifts: Japanese teacups.
Mr. Yeager and Joe did a skit about Zaccheus...
...which included morning exercises...
...and a close shave with a butter knife as he "got ready" to see Jesus.
Here is a group photo of all of our new friends at the farewell party:
Late Tuesday night, we found ourselves at the Karaoke Castle with a group of students. As you can see, we had a lot of fun singing with them!
Wednesday is our last day. We had lunch in the cafeteria with the students, played a last game of frisbee, and the girls came over for Girls Night in the evening.
This is my last post before traveling back. Please pray for our safety.
Monday, May 26, 2008
The churchmembers took us to visit a Mine Park where precious metals were mined many years ago. We took a tour of the mine, had a picnic lunch prepared by one of the church ladies, and went for a walk.
We were then taken to see some scenic spots like Mount Kurikoma and this beautiful waterfall:
Our last stop was a Christian nursing home where Kishinami-san's father lives. We sang some songs for them (they loved hearing Amazing Grace in English!) and introduced ourselves.
Back in Sendai, one of our new friends took us to eat supper at the restaurant where she works. The restaurant is famous for a dish called Omurice, which is an egg omelet filled with ketchup rice and topped with sauce.
We ended the long weekend by taking many students to see the movie Narnia: Prince Caspian at the theater. Hopefully this movie will spark many future discussions about the Narnia book series and its example of Christianity.
Our group went to a local bakery for breakfast. The bread and pastries were very yummy, but we were surprised by the unusual offerings such as hot dog with mayonnaise pastry, spaghetti sandwiches, and sweet bean paste donuts.
After breakfast, we drove for about an hour and a half to go visit a friend of Mr. Yeager's. Kishinami-san is a pastor, a used car salesman, and a former kickboxing national champion. He is the person who loaned us our car for our entire visit! We visited his church for their afternoon service. We sang Seek Ye First, Psalm 73, and Before the Throne of God Above for the churchmembers. We couldn't understand the sermon, since it was in Japanese, but the pastor was obviously passionate about the Bible. Everyone read Psalm 102 together, and the sermon was on Ephesians 6:18-20. After church, they rearranged the tables and everyone ate supper together.
Kishinami-san took us all to a mineral lake called Lake Fukanuma. It was a beautiful place, but it was so stinky!
All of the guys went to the hot springs for a relaxing soak, and we girls went to a famous Kokeshi store in Naruko called Sakurai. Kokeshi are limbless wooden dolls that are famous in the Miyagi Prefecture, and this store actually makes them on-site.
After the hot springs, the guys were exhausted and starving, so Kishinami-san took us all to eat sushi - at the same sushi chain where we ate on Saturday evening!
We went back to Kishinami-san's church to sleep. They must host overnight guests often, because they had a large stack of futon mattresses and blankets in the store room and a shower in the bathroom.
Saturday, May 24, 2008
Saturday, we met for a time of prayer at UpTen before heading downtown to pass out tracts. Reception was mixed - some received them gladly, but some refused. We also encountered two Mormon missionaries passing out tracts in the same place. We split into groups of two and three. Parents with children were more eager to talk with us, but many people were just too busy.
We had lunch at Mos Burger, a fast food burger joint with a *Very* Japanese twist.
We spent the afternoon shopping downtown for souvenirs.
Saturday evening, we met Ogawa-san and some students at Kappazushi for an amazing sushi supper. We got to try all kinds of strange, new foods! The food came to the tables by conveyer belt and you paid 105 Yen per plate (about a dollar):
Rebecca tried flying fish roe:
...and Evie had raw scallop sushi with onions and sauce on top:
Sunday and Monday we will be going on an overnight trip to visit one of Mr. Yeager's old friends, so I probably won't have an opportunity to blog again until Tuesday.
The students were invited to come to the girls' apartment on Friday evening to watch Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Evie made us real popcorn! The movie was well received and provoked nearly two hours of discussion following the movie.
Friday, May 23, 2008
I am so glad that I listened to God's voice and am here in Japan. He has been revealing himself to me and showing areas in my life that need to be changed... The girls here that I have met have been wonderful. I have to remember that it is so hard to wait for God and His timing, and I tend to become frustrated... God has called some to be reapers and others to be sowers. Wait on the Lord, be of good courage, and He will strengthen thy heart...
I really enjoyed spending time with our new guy friends last night. I hope that we will be able to build relationships with them and reach out to them in the coming week. I pray that God would continue to help us overcome difficulties in communicating with them.
So far it has been a good week. I finally feel like we are starting to get our foot in the door and build relationships with some of the students. I am praying that the Lord will give us opportunities to share the gospel with each one of them.
This week has been a constant exercise in relying upon the power of God. As I look around me at the students we meet, I am continually reminded of my own inability to attract them to Christ on my own. I've been reading intensively in the minor prophets, and the message they share has been a real encouragement to me. These men were able to look into the depths of human depravity and yet not despair, because their hope was founded upon something greater. Today I met an amazing student who comes from a mixed Christian and Buddhist background. She does not yet know where she stands spiritually, but she is seeking to find the truth. Tomorrow my dad and I will visit the Christian church she attends and spend some time talking with her on the subway. Please pray that my dad and I would 'become invisible' as we share with her, so that the truth of Christ can shine through us.
I just went to this blog site for the first time today after being here one week. I really appreciate Amy posting our activities. I must make one correction: she listed our team's fearless leader as being me. I wish that were true. But every time its my turn to drive our group somewhere in the van, I pray very hard, ..."Lord please don't let me get these young people too lost and lose a lot of time." I don't do well in a big city in America, let alone on where all the streets look alike to me.
It is a joy to be here with this team. They talk with students about everything, inlcuding what is important; Jesus.
Thank you for your prayers and support, it really is a team effort and we can see your prayers at work.
So it's been a week since coming to Japan. It's admittedly been slow for the first few days but we are to wait on God's timing, right? These past two days, we've gotten to interact with many students and it has been enriching and eye-opening. There are many things our Japanese friends want to know about - why we're here and stuff like that. It is my prayer that we will be able to continue in our relationships and that God would be in the center of our conversations.
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Thursday, May 22, 2008
For lunch, we went to Dohton Bori. We aren't really sure what kind of animal this mascot is supposed to be, but the imitation of its expression is priceless!
This restaurant has a soda fountain! Coca-Cola, Fanta, Minute Maid orange juice, hot chocolate, hot milk tea, and Calpis (a popular drink here that's kindof like a milky flat Sprite).
We weren't quite sure what to do, so our waitress kindly showed us how to do it. You get a bowl of raw food that you are supposed to mix up and cook on the hot griddle in the middle of the table.
My best description of the dish (called ookonomiyaki) is that it is a cheesy, potato-less hash brown filled with vegetables and seafood...
...which was topped with a teriyaki type sauce, kewpie mayonnaise, bonito (dried fish) flakes, and chopped seaweed.
After lunch, we went to Guys Club on campus. They divided into seven groups, one for each of us, and the students interviewed us and then introduced each of us to the class. They asked questions about favorite color, favorite food, movie and music preferences, and our families. We used the opportunity to talk about our Christian faith also. After group introductions, we had a huge Koom-Ja tournament!
One student challenged Mike to an arm wrestling match...
Then two guys at once...
Then three at once...
Everyone adjourned to Starbucks after Guys Club.
We all grabbed McD's on the way back to UpTen. About 25 students joined us for UpTen Night. We ate our dinner, then divided into four groups. Each group was instructed by Ogawa-san to speak English. Mr. Yeager and I were in the smallest group, with only three students. We talked for a while about school, classes, their part-time jobs, and goals after graduation. We shared with the students about the 10 Commandments and how we break them in our hearts even though we may seem pretty good on the outside (see Matthew 5). These students attend a Christian university, they are required to take a Bible class, and they have opportunity to attend chapel every day. This is good, because they all know about Jesus already, but it also makes things difficult because many of them just see the Bible as a textbook, Jesus as a historical figure, and Christianity as a club to join. Pray that the students will take the instruction to heart and realize their need for Jesus in their hearts to forgive their sin.