Japan 2011 – Inochi-no-Izumi Update #3

Konbanwa from Nippon IBC! 

I’m writing this update from my host family’s living room after helping to put the kids down for the night. The Tanaka family has been so gracious to host me once again even though they have three very young children. When I first visited Inochi-no-Izumi Church three years ago, I developed a very close relationship with this family, and it’s been such a blessing to spend time with them once again. We’ve stayed up many late nights talking about everything from ballet to Hawaiian music to things of the faith, and I’ve been so encouraged by their joy, steadfastness, and faithfulness. I know I share these uplifting experiences in common with the rest of our team members and their host families. It’s going to be tough for all of us to leave here in the next few days…

Since the last post, Pastor Dave and I bid farewell to Tony, Kevin, David Chae, and Izumi-Sano Church, and bid hello to Jonathan Yang (hereafter referred to as Big Jon Stud), Jen Lee, and Inochi-no-Izumi Christ Church (hereafter referred to as IICC). We attended IICC’s worship service on Sunday morning, and also attended their annual family camp from Monday until Tuesday. On Wednesday, we began our B&E classes, which consist of about half an hour of Bible teaching and an hour-long English lesson. Jen and Big Jon Stud are currently teaching the beginning English class, while me and Pastor Dave are teaching the intermediate class. Jen has been such a blessing because she speaks Japanese very well, and she’s really making the most of every opportunity to fellowship with and encourage the IICC church members. Big Jon Stud is acclimating very quickly to the Japanese language and culture, and has made a great impression with his many acts of service. Pastor Dave and myself are a little tired at this point of the trip, but we continue to be encouraged and blessed by our Japanese counterparts. That being said, here are some pictures from our trip:

I would be remiss not to start off with a picture of Mr. Kojima. He is a deacon at IICC with a precious sense of humor and a great affection for IBC.

Doi-Sensei is a long-time friend of our pastors and IICC’s head pastor. Here he is preaching the Word last Sunday. He’s gone to great lengths to take care of us and make sure we are well-fed. It has been such an encouragement spending time with this very faithful man.
Here’s a shot of Big Jon Stud manning the grill at the church camp. To the left is Yuya, Mr. Kojima’s son, who is currently studying English and other languages at Kansai Gaidai University in Osaka. He’s been a great help to us with his English-speaking skills.
Here’s a shot of Doi-Sensei praying for the food at the picnic. Some of you may remember Akiko, his wife, standing in the background.
Here’s a great shot of some of the ladies from IICC during one of our fellowship lunches. Some of you might remember Mrs. Kashima (far right) who visited IBC earlier this year. To the far left is Mrs. Matsuoka, who is a deaconess and long-time member at IICC.
And finally, here are those three young kids.

Two more days of B&E, a Sunday of worship and fellowship, then back to the states for Jen, Big Jon Stud, and myself. See you all soon.