So… even though we are full-time missionaries here in Japan, last week we went on a special mission trip as a family! This was the first trip we had taken since arriving here in January. We went with two members of the church here, a mother and son “team”, and headed north, stopping for one night to help with a ministry that reaches out to survivors of the huge earthquake/tsunami disaster, and then continued on to the northernmost prefecture of this main island, Aomori Prefecture.
We were very impacted by the Tea Time that we shared with the disaster survivors. Joshua and Dominique played some special music, and we played some games with them, as well as singing some songs together and sharing fellowship time over tea and refreshments. Besides having lost all earthly possessions, many of them also lost family members in the disaster and are now living in government-provided housing. Even though we did that first, the pictures of that are at the bottom. Sorry. I don’t know why they loaded that way and it’s too much trouble to switch them all…
Anyway, after the Tea Time, we continued on to the town of Hirakawa, in the prefecture of Aomori, far to the north. There our dear friend Penny, who is from Australia but used to live in the same area that we did back before we left Japan in 2003, has been church planting for the past 4.5 years. Prior to her arrival in Hirakawa, there had never been a church in that town of 35,000 people! It is a hard road to plow up the hardened soil, but the Lord’s grace has been abundant! She has 67 English students that she teaches the Bible to every week, and each summer she has hosted this BBQ event, which we helped with this year. Over 50 attended, and we played games, had a Bible story, and ate plenty. We had many opportunities to talk with people, and plant more seeds. It was an amazing time!
Penny lives in a small two-room house which also serves as the church and the English school! Clearly, there was not enough space to house all 8 of us. So, our four older children got to have a wonderful experience of being hosted by families from Penny’s English school! This was a great opportunity for them to shine the light of Jesus over four days, and also for them to experience life in Japanese home for the first time. Below they are pictured with their host families.
The family that hosted Joshua and Johann was especially open to hearing about the Bible. She asked me many questions at the BBQ about how we raised “such nice boys” (smile!), and I was able to point her to Jesus and the Word of God that gives wisdom and imparts life.
Please continue to pray for Penny and the work in Hirakawa, as well as the continued work with the disaster survivors. God is doing great things in this nation!!