Sup lads, I know you guys been missing me writing the blog, but I’m back with even more stories to share. Since we’ve come back from the kid’s camp we’ve been recovering from the intense sweat session. Some of the souvenirs we’ve taken back from the camp include a couple of mosquito bites, multiple sweaty shirts and a healthy dose of camping in Japan. For me in particular I took back more than 6 bites. Got rekt by nature.
Let’s get onto the real stuff though
So today we experienced for the first time the youth/Sunday school program at 9.30am and a full Sunday morning service at 10.30am. It was enlightening to watch the kids get really into the activities organised by the youth and Sunday school teams. This included a brief talk, some singing and some memory verse. I personally joined the youth group, where we spent time to share with one and another about how we feel living our lives for God every day. I shared about how I found it hard to keep looking at God with all the busyness of Uni and life. Overall it was encouraging to see how the kids can get really into listening to God’s word even tho it’s their summer holiday, they could spend that precious free time elsewhere. Then we had the actual church service that involved 6 songs, a talk from Dave on Isaiah 2:1-4 about the ingathering of the nations that was translated into Japanese and 2 songs led by us and a testimony from Jimmy. One thing that really stood out for me was how after the general welcoming, everyone got up from their seats and started to say good morning to each other. For me this was a highlight as each and every person would go out of their way to say hello to EVERYONE in the service, even people that were sticking to the edge of the room. Overall the service went well, Dave spoke faithfully to the church, challenging the congregation to not be afraid being a Christian in Japan but rather be an example and talk to others in whatever place they are. Jimmy pretty much was a tank, taking on his full testimony in Japanese even though it is his 3rd language. And the whole congregation got into the English songs we led, which was Amazing Grace (My Chains are Gone) and My God is so Big.
Some of the prayer points the church raised included
- For the Nagayama Church to reach their vision of having 50 members in the congregation and for an expansion in the church itself
- For the Australian team to be well rested and continue their mission in Japan devoted to God
- Plant more churches in North Hokkaido
- Unity between us and them
The Fun Stuff
So after the church service, the Nagayama Church kindly set up a cross-cultural session for us. This included 5 stations that involved Origami, Japanese Calligraphy, experience traditional Japanese tea ritual, wearing a yukata and eating some shaved ice! It was pretty fun watching the other members getting into each station. At the origami station, there was this hectic old woman who was pro with origami. She legit made a spinning top from paper. The calligraphy session was also very popular; here Vivian had a draw-off against Aika who learned how to do Japanese calligraphy. There were some nice designs made by everyone. At the tea stations, we learned how there is a fine art in drinking tea, which involved particular hand gestures and how you make the tea and drink the tea. For example we had to sit on our knees for the whole duration, leading to some of us having pins and needles in our legs as we couldn’t hold on anymore. Kana who took care of the tea told us she could hold the position up to 3 hours!!!!! Moreover the yukata station was only for girls, were Naomi had a go at wearing the dress. The whole time she had this funny expression as if she was dreaming and in a dazed by the whole experience. What a weirdo… Lastly the shave ice is what you expected; it was homemade and really refreshing as the weather has been hot lately. Overall as a team we are really thankful for the Yamamotos and the Nagayama Church congregations, who have graciously taken care of us and provide us with the necessities we need. It truly highlights the generosity and kindness in Japanese people. An example of this is lately they have been giving us fruit such as rockmelon, watermelon and cherries. Fruit in Japan is actually quite expensive as for example a single apple cost about 300 yen which is about $3; the rockmelon itself is over $10 per melon. As a team we are extremely thankful for this and we are continually praying for the growth of the Nagayama Church.
After some chill time, we headed to a Matsuri which is a summer festival that was happening over the weekend. It was extremely wild as there were HEAPS of peeps and lots of loud Japanese chanting throughout the night. Throughout the night we ate heaps of grilled and fried food which included yakitori sticks, karaage chicken and some soda and kiwi flavour ice cream. Pretty much we got fat over the night and we watched a ridiculously long parade that involved the local community. Actually went on for like forever so like cbbs, we left afterwards to go to the bath house for the usual personal and quality time that we have together. Then we duked it out on the taiko (drum) arcade game.
The Best Moment
* Trying to drink tea in a respectful manner*
Phillip: “ARGH MY LEGS I CAN’T HOLD THIS POSITION ANYMORE!!!”