Whew! The days have been filled with so much! (It is very early Sunday morning here in Japan. That means it is Saturday night in the US now. Our blog time is based on EST in the US. Add 13 hours to determine what time it is in the Eastern US.) Here are a few highlights from the past few days. (We are trying to post some pictures of our journey for you, so please be patient.)
Thursday evening we all ventured to a mall and the team ate at a Japanese restaurant. There was little English on the menu, so I just picked something and ate it. (In God’s mercy) I got noodles in a spicy yellow soup with bacon in it- very tasty! Afterwards we wandered around the mall. Michael and I listened to a woman playing the violin for the shoppers. We later bumped into her and visited for a few minutes. She could speak some English. Her name means 1000 kilometers and she has been playing the violin since age three.
On Friday our team all went to the airport which is the hub for busses, trains, subways, as well as airplanes. Two of our team and their little baby boarded the bulletin train to travel 12 hours south to serve with missionaries for the month. Three others caught another bullet train to travel to the Baptist camp in the Koriami region of Japan. Michael and I, with three others got a bus to Chiba New Town, which is somewhat in the Tokyo area. Nearly everything is printed in Japanese, so we are spending a bit more time making sure we purchase correct tickets and get to the right platform for trains, etc.
We are staying in a little apartment that was used as the church until a few weeks ago. After 17 years of praying and saving, they have begun a church building on purchased land. Since arriving in Chiba New Town where we will be serving with the Yoshida’s, our days have been extremely full. Friday evening I attended ‘Puppies’ which is an English class for 6 year old children. Mrs. Yoshida uses educational toys and songs to teach them English.
Children and mothers alike were very surprised to see a ‘pink elephant’ (me) when they arrived. The ice was quickly broken as they wanted to try their English on me. The mom’s were happy to join in the songs and teaching games, and we all had a delightful time building friendships. Please check back for photos.
Some of our other experiences here already include:
* 2 earthquakes. The second one was a little nerve racking.
* Grocery shopping. We bought food supplies to cook here in our apartment, relying heavily on pictures on the packages and the appearance of other foods surrounding the items we looked at, since the products are printed in Japanese. We saw that we could buy ‘taco’ (octopus) but we passed by that one.
* Sleeping on the floor. Our bed is a futon pallet on the floor. The floor is covered with a tataki - a straw mat, and the pallet must be taken up every morning and aired outside.
* English classes. On Saturday, Mrs. Yoshida has numerous students who come to her home for English lessons. As she is able, she uses opportunities to speak the Name of Jesus. The church is basically comprised of those who have come through this outreach over the years.
Michael and I were able to sit in these classes and even teach a variety of students on Saturday. We had conversational lessons, reading lessons, recording, and listening sections for them. One married man has begun to open up his mind to the Word. With him, Michael gave a short Bible lesson from Genesis.
Our Lord is truly a merciful and loving God. He has helped us so much in the past few days. We look to Him for guidance through this day as we worship with our Japanese brothers and sisters in Christ. Rejoice with us in His mercy.