Japan 2011 – Izumi Sano Update #2

Konnichiwa from Japan IBC!
It’s just past midnight here in Osaka, and I’m writing from the Hamadera Bible Church office flanked by Soga-Sensei, who’s wrapping up some things for our final Joy-Joy presentation tomorrow, and our fearless Pastor Dave who’s…well…yeah. We enjoyed a great time of fellowship this evening while visiting Goshi, a deacon here @ HBC, who owns a restaurant not far from the church. This was to celebrate our final day of classes for Izumi-Sano’s Joy-Joy-5-Day program, and what a blessing it has been! The kids have been a joy to work with, and the Hamadera staff has been such an encouragement because of their exuberance, gentleness, and patience. It’s been a great blessing to see the gospel proclaimed to these young ones, and we’re trusting that the Lord is planting seeds that will one day bear fruit for His Kingdom. Here are a few pictures from our Joy Joy classes highlighting those that have been helping us:

 To the left is Takashi Higuchi. As some of you may remember from last year’s updates, Takashi was a high school student who came to Izumi-Sano church seemingly by chance, subsequently came to faith, and now continues to be a faithful servant of the church. He recently completed his first year of college at Tokyo University, but he is home in Osaka for the summer, and so graciously offered to help us with our program. To the right is Mr. Ikeda. Mr. Ikeda has been a faithful member at Izumi-Sano church for many years, and has been such a great resource to the program because of his great ability to work with children. These men have been a great blessing in so many ways.
Akemi is a church member at Hamadera who has helped out with preparations for the program and is so great with the kids. Her jokes are hilarious, and her reactions to David’s antics are just priceless. Many of you guys might remember her from past trips, and we can all rejoice that she continues to be a faithful member and servant at Hamadera (photo is blurry).
To the left is Etsuko, who is Hamadera Church’s secretary. She has done so much for the Joy-Joy program, from teaching the Bible lessons to helping out with mine and Dave Chae’s class; her faithfulness is so apparent as we have seen her working many late nights at the church to make sure all the materials for the program are in place. I’m also so very thankful for her example of patience and gentleness with the children. To the right is Kat, who has served as Hamadera’s English teacher for the past year. It just so happened that many of the Joy Joy children are also her current English students, so it’s been great to have her around. Both of these women have provided great support and encouragement for our team.
Finally, as I’ve already mentioned, we were able to visit Goshi’s restaurant this evening. Goshi presently serves as a deacon at Hamadera, and has served our teams so faithfully throughout the years. He was so kind to invite us over to his restaurant tonight for dinner, and it was one of the best meals we’ve had thus far. Goshi recently suffered the passing of a close loved one, so please keep him and his family in your prayers.
Finally, Dave’s favorite picture from the trip so far:
“From the backstreets of Japan…”
More updates to come from the end of Joy Joy 5-day and the beginning of B&E.
Miss you all,