Hard to believe, but E turned 1! We are so blessed by our daughter and were excited to celebrate. Since Saturdays are English we held a birthday party with all of our English students. It was a fun gathering and an insight for our students into American culture.
We also celebrated again with a play group at a local cafe. This group is half ex-pats and half Japanese women who enjoy speaking English. Within the group seven babies all turned 1 within a month of each other. It was fun to get together for the celebration.
Since the church is remodeling we were given an old air conditioning unit from the church. We are SO excited to have a cool living room and not have to sweat it out this year like we have in the past! We even bought a fan to circulate the air and Michael not only installed in once, but even moved it when we decided to put the fan in a different location. Summer will not beat us this year!
This week Elisabeth was baptized in our church here in Japan. My dad was able to take part along with Aoki Sensei. We had some friends come from Okazaki which we were very grateful for. They mean a lot to us and it was special to have them come along. Below is a brief video of my father delivering a message as I translate. (Unfortunately, the video cut off before the actual baptism.) Afterward everyone joined in for a celebration lunch.
For those who want to learn more about why we baptize infants we recommend listening to this sermon series by the Pastor Dr. David McWilliams of Covenant Presbyterian Church where he addresses Christian Baptism. This is the most concise and clear explanation we have heard available.
Pastor Announcing the Baptism and Singing Amazing Grace
For the next few months my father has been given a sabbatical from his church in Lexington. For part of the time my parents have come to Japan and during their stay are plugging into ministry here in Japan. This past week my father preached, through a translator, at Nisshin Christ Church.
After the service many of the members of our MTW team gathered for a picnic at a local park for a time of fellowship. (pictured below)
Today some of our friends threw us a farewell party. Everyone brought delicious food and one of Cathalain’s friends brought her balloon art kit. Her balloon art skills are incredible and Tobin especially had a blast. He had tons to take home play with.
In many ways it is very hard for use to say good bye to the friends we have made over the last two years. We are so thankful for the community the Lord has provided us.
Baseball is one of the most popular sports in Japan. Recently a friend gave us her Uncle’s seasons tickets to a Nagoya Chunichi Dragons game. The team plays in the Nagoya Dome which is fully air conditioned. Since we went for a Saturday afternoon game we were grateful for the air conditioning!! When we arrived, by subway, we were blown away by how incredible our seats were. We were about 14 rows back behind home plate! The game was a lot of fun even though our team lost 1-0. Next time!
In July we were blessed with a visit from Cathalain’s parents for two weeks. This enabled Cathalain and I to take a mini three day vacation to Lake Biwa, the largest lake in Japan. We had a great time relaxing, fishing, and of course a side trip to Costco. Tobin had a great time with his grandparents while we were gone! I really don’t think he even missed us much.
We are very thankful for all of my in-laws help and enjoyed spending time showing them around our area after we returned from our trip.
One evening we went to a traditional Family Sushi Restaurant. The owner’s son is a friend of a friend. Many of the ladies at dinner attend either Cathalain’s Bible Study or Michael’s English class.
A good friend invited us to a lunch cooked by her Taiwanese friend. We were blessed to meet many new ladies and have a delicious lunch!
Today I was able to go with two language school friends and venture to the new Costco in Kyoto. For us Costco is a 2.5 hour+ drive with very expensive tolls, around $100 round trip. (My friends and I also did some sightseeing, which I will post in a separate posting.)
Costco is really “little America” and it is such a blessing to find cheese, turkey, and other items we just can’t buy elsewhere. The prices are around 50% off regular grocery stores so worth the quarterly trip!
The surprising observation is how little the Japanese buy. The store was PACKED yet the Japanese would leave with maybe 5-6 items at max. When eating pizza it was easy to spot my cart in the sea of carts. The checkout ladies who were loading my cart kept apologizing because they struggled to make it all fit. I just smiled and enjoyed feeling very American!
Ultra Windy Day
Unlimited Soda...unheard of in Japan!!!
When Leaving the Receipt Checker told me I was a "Good Customer!"
This week we finished our 4th quarter in language school!! At the end of every quarter the class goes out to eat together. This time our classes went to Okinomiyaki. There really is no food in America to compare it too. The mixture is made up of meat and veggies within a pancake like batter. There is a grill at the center of the table where you cook the mixture and after 3 minutes flip the ingredients like a pancake. The video below shows me trying to flip my okinomiyaki. I wasn’t too successful.
We now have two weeks of Spring Break ahead of us. This week we are going to Nagoya twice to visit with our team and the seminary team. We are exploring different areas where we might church plant next year. Cathalain also has had the opportunity to arrange a couple get togethers with ladies from our church. We are grateful for a change up in schedule and excited to hang out with some new friends. Pray this will be a relaxing two weeks and pray as we independently review areas where we are still weak in our language ability!