Monday, February 11, 2013


January was made exciting by a massive snow storm. The morning of January 14 was gray, rainy, and freezing as I trudged to the train station. However, when I left the train less than an hour later, the rain had turned to snow--which was actually sticking (snow in Tokyo usually melts on contact). By the afternoon, my parents' work had dismissed everyone early. Unfortunately, the English school I work at was still in session. Although it took me three times as long as on a normal day to get there (trains running slow), I made it to work, and so did most of my students! But my parents still didn't have school the next day, trains continued to run sporadically, and many Tokyoites opted to remain indoors--all because of about three inches of snow.

The day of the snow "storm" also happened to be Seijinshiki, the Shinto coming-of-age celebration. On the second Monday in January every year, all those Japanese who have turned 20 in the past year don traditional dress and attend a ceremony at a shrine to give thanks and mark their passage into adulthood. This meant that train stations and streets were filled with brightly clad young women and their family members anxiously attempting to  protect expensive hairdos and kimonos from the snow (see photo).

AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi

What else has been going on?
  1. Not For Sale Japan (NFSJ) held our first screening of Nefarious: Merchant of Souls, a film documenting, from a Christian perspective, the global sex industry and its link to human trafficking (see photo).  We had about 50 people attend the event. After the film, I was able to give the English portion of a presentation specifically on human trafficking in Japan. We are planning to show the film at various locations throughout the year.
  2. Noriko, a former member of Family Life Group who we have been praying for, attended one of our worship gatherings! She has been avoiding group members and refusing all  invitations to church, so it is very exciting to see her taking a step back towards Christ.
  3. The Nagai family, whose three-year-old son has leukemia, were all tested for bone marrow compatibility, and two of his sisters are matches! In addition, the doctors discovered that while he is not able to take the medication intravenously, he is able to take it muscularly. So, he is back on medication, and may not need to get a bone marrow transplant at all. 
Mami-san and I greeting guests at NFSJ's Nefarious event.

This month, please remember these prayer requests:
  1. Praise God for the success of NFSJ's first screening event! Pray that we will have many more opportunities for similar events, and through them we will spread awareness of the plight of slaves today and God's healing love.
  2. Praise God for his work in Noriko. Pray that she will continue to come to Family Life Group and that she will come to know Christ as her personal savior. 
  3. Pray for health during this flu season. Working with small children has its dangers--I'm currently fighting my third cold of the winter.

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