Japan Short Term Missions Trip: Update #2

Hello Church Family!

It’s hard to believe that only two days have passed since our last update; it feels like so much has happened! Thank you for your continued prayers! When last we blogged, we were getting ready for our first Sunday service at Hatta-Nishi Christ Church. Here is the first glimpse I caught of their brand new church building, which they began using this past June:
You might be able to see a bit of the inside of the church from other pictures, but trust me, it’s a really nice building. We arrived at church early so we could help out with the Sunday school program for the kids.

A few of the kids volunteering to show off their Bible verse memorizing chops.
Doi-sensei preached from Colossians 1, and even though I didn’t understand a single word he said, it was so encouraging to really see that our God is Lord over all the nations and how even on the other side of the world and in another language, God’s Word is still being preached and is just as capable of changing hearts. 
We had the opportunity to fellowship with some of the church members during lunch:

The woman in blue is Kashima-san, Daniel and Eileen’s homestay host.
Kojima-san, one of the church elders, giving Daniel and Eileen marriage advice. I’m not even kidding, the Kojimas have been married for 38 years!
After lunch, we headed back up to the sanctuary where Daniel, Eileen, and I shared our testimonies and fielded questions from the members.
“My wife likes clean places.” -in response to a question about why he chose to come to Japan
“I love all of God’s creation! But I do like clean places.” -in response to Daniel’s response
Their questions ranged from light-hearted ones about our likes and dislikes to more serious questions about the state of the Christianity in America, but what really came through was their genuine desire to learn more about each of us and about our lives in America. I cannot stress how warm and gracious these brothers and sisters in Japan are. I’ve learned so much from them just by seeing how they seek to care for us and how humble they are in their service to us. It’s so amazing to see this kind of Christ-like love really lived out on a daily basis.
We spent the afternoon checking out Koreatown (yes, there is a Koreatown in Japan. In fact, there’s more than one Koreatown in Japan), and then we headed to Kashima-san’s house for dinner.

Today, we spent the morning at the church prepping for Joyful Kids, which begins tomorrow!!

We have almost 20 kids, which is up 100% from when we left and thought there were only going to be 10! Praise God for bringing so many kids out.
Lunch brought more opportunities to get to know the church. I had one of the women use an app on her phone to translate that she, too, comes from a non-believing family and that she’d be praying for the salvation of my family. See what I’m saying about warmth and graciousness?
There’s a huge Uniqlo less than 5 minutes away from the church, so of course we went to check it out. Our group of five managed to do some major damage…

By “our group” I meant mostly Daniel and Eileen
And to cap off our day, kaiten-sushi for dinner!

As I mentioned before, our VBS kicks off tomorrow, so please be praying for us as well as those on the Hatta-Nishi side who are also preparing (Doi-sensei will be giving a message every day). Please pray for the salvation of the kids who come, and that the Lord would use this program to open doors for Hatta-Nishi Christ Church’s ministry in Japan. We’re excited to see what Joyful Kids will bring!