Konnichiwa from Japan everyone! We just finished the first of five days here at Izumi-Sano church in Osaka. Our program is called “Joy-Joy-5-days” in which we are able to teach children ranging from 1st to 6th grade. The program consists of both a Japanese and English portion. During the Japanese portion, the children gather in the main sanctuary of the church to sing praise songs and hear a Bible message. After we all eat lunch, the children then break up into their English classes in which we teach simple vocabulary words mixed in with random games. The vocabulary words we chose are somehow related to the Bible message presented by the Japanese staff. After this, there is an arts and crafts time, after which the children return home. The children were very focused and calm today, and it was a lot of fun working with them.
As for the group, everyone is doing well, but still a little jet-lagged. Pastor Nam’s family is doing well, and Noah is slowly getting adjusted to the time difference. The children have been invaluable in helping with our English classes. Fabian and Tamara are currently staying with Mr. Takeda, one of the church elders here at Izumi-Sano who doubles as our English translator; he also conducts regular English classes at the church. Ray and Shelley are staying with a family who attends Mr. Takeda’s English classes but are not church members. Gabe is staying with Mr. Ikeda, another church member who is also quite the comedian. As for me, I’ve been staying here at the church with Soga-Sensei, the senior pastor. He’s gone out of his way to take care of me, cooking me breakfast every morning and making sure that there is always a fresh supply of Calpis (Calpico Water) for me to consume. It’s been a great blessing to live with him as he has taught me by example the true meaning of dying to self.
The highlight of the trip so far has been mine and Gabe’s recent visit to the public bath. It may sound kind of weird, but it was better than any spa-type experience. Soga-sensei was kind enough to take us a few nights ago, and it was a very fun time. We are still trying desperately to get Fabian and Raymondo (Ray’s Japanese name, cooler than any nickname Pastor Gary could give) to come along with us, but only time will tell as far as this battle goes.
With that our first update comes to a close…Thank you so very much for all of your prayers and support. It continues to be a wonderful experience being here in Japan and fellowshipping with the Japanese staff at Izumi-Sano. More updates and pictures to come.