Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Missionary Break

BBQ & Bible. Messages & Mushrooms. Onsen & Octopus. Shrimp & Seaside. These and others are the makings of a missionary retreat. This past weekend we enjoyed a rare break from the craziness of the craziness of missionaries. Our annual Japan Baptist Fellowship 3-day retreat was at a seaside hotel in Ibaraki prefecture.

Every once in a while we need to get apart from the work, and reflect on God's goodness and greatness in our life that empowers us in the work. Not having to be in charge, and getting a chance to hear a few messages in English is a great blessing. Take a look of the photos of "our gang" by clicking here. Go ahead and look! You need a break, too!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Sushi Movie

A friend recently forwarded this link to me which gives you an inside look at a sushi restaurant. Many popular "kaiten sushi" shops have a circular conveyor belt where plates are placed that revolve around in front of the seated customers. Customers choose the plates with sushi items that look appealing to them.

This short video was taken by a foreign customer who placed a running video camera on the conveyor belt. The clip makes for an interesting few minutes of people watching, and an inside peek at the kitchen at the heart of the sushi shop. Enjoy!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Easter in Japan

Thank you for praying for our Easter outreach as a church this past month.

We had many first time visitors on Easter Sunday. And we had a great time of fun together during our Kids Easter Party on April 5. Kids in Japan have no idea that Easter has anything to do with Jesus. But at least a dozen more do now!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Way Back When in Japan

Justen and I took the last day of his school spring break to do a little cultural study. A local museum/park/cultural center near our home has an open-air historical Japanese village. You are free to wander about, touch, look and explore Japan as it existed a century ago. What an incredible change this country has gone through in a relatively short period of time in its history as a nation! For Japanese citizens the lifestyle was perhaps quite normal. But I kept on thinking of the rugged change of life that Protestant missionaries from the west were met with. Once in country, there was no turning back like there might be in today's jet age. Missionaries a century ago certainly were met with their share of challenges even before attempting to evangelize in this country.

I noticed a Japanese "manji" on the doorposts of most of the historical houses in this village. I photographed it at right. Most people would associate this with Nazi Germany. Few know that the symbol actually existed centuries before this in Indian and Chinese culture, particularly in Buddhism and other eastern religions. Japan, which imported Buddhism hundreds of years ago, also began displaying the manji as a symbol of peace.

I was reminded that some Japanese homes now display a very different symbol for peace: the cross. My heart is filled with joy for these Japanese families for whom Christ made "peace through his blood, shed on the cross." Yet 99% of Japanese are unaware of this peace. Pray that this new peace symbol will be hung on the heart doors of all Japanese in a nationwide awakening.