Monday, October 1, 2012

Hello, Fall!

In Japan, fall means seeing red and gold Japanese maple and ginkgo tree leaves, eating persimmons and roasted sweet potatoes, and watching the Sports Day Festival at the public elementary school behind my house.

Sports Day is an all-day event for the whole family to enjoy together. All the students, grades 1-6, participate in various competitions, including races and human pyramids. They also perform traditional arts such as Japanese dance and koto playing (a Japanese stringed instrument). All of this takes a good deal of preparation. The school behind my house has been practicing all day every day for the past two weeks!

Sports Day at the public school behind my house.

Fall also means regular meetings for Family Life Group. Each time this house church meets, we start by sharing prayer requests, praying together, and then singing songs. Next, one of the members reads a Bible story for the kids before we head to another room for the children's time. While the adults have a Bible study and discussion, I lead the kids in a game to test their understanding of the story. Then we do a craft that reinforces the Bible story.

Preparing effective games and crafts is a challenge for me, as the children come from a wide variety of homes and there is a large range of ages. Most of the children's parents are still seeking or have recently accepted Christ as their Savior.

Last week we made lion pillows to remember Daniel's story.

What else has been going on?
  • At CRASH Japan, we have been busy preparing for transition into the next stage of relief. Starting in October, we are implementing more follow-up programs, reducing clean-up work, and decreasing staff by 50% (due in part to a decrease of financial support for CRASH Japan). I supported the transition by designing debriefings for staff that are leaving.
  • I joined the community volleyball team that my mom has been a part of for the past 15 years. It has been a wonderful way to exercise, practice my Japanese, and make friends.
  • At the Christian Academy in Japan daycare, we celebrated a birthday! The kids (and caregivers) really enjoyed the cake and other goodies we had to celebrate (see photo). It has been exciting to see the kids learn and grow—even when that involves toilet training.
We enjoyed a special birthday party this month.

This month, please remember these prayer requests:
  • Praise God for the opportunities I've had to share his love with the children of Family Life Group! Pray that I will be able to positively engage them, and that they will grow to know him.
  • Praise God that the transition to the next stage in relief work at CRASH has gone smoothly so far. Pray that we will continue to bring God's hope to the people of Tohoku.
  • Pray for my relationships with the women on the volleyball team, that they will see the Gospel in my life. 
  • Continue to pray for healing for Luke Nagai's leukemia and peace and strength for his family. 


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