Yoyoyo it’s yo woman Naomi!
Just kidding. Who is that. I don’t talk like that. Geesh. #InDenial
Anyway hey guys! Today we had our KIDS Aussie party at the Nagayama church. We handed leaflets out the other day to school kids going back to school. When we saw a kid or two, we just went for it, said “Douzo” (Here you go) and gave them the leaflets. As frightening as it was that we couldn’t communicate well with the children, we handed our expectations of how many would come over to God. It was truly amazing. In the end, more than 19 kids came along today.
This included at least 3-4 of them or more who has never gone to this church before, or has never heard about God. If you think about how there are 30 members of the church, and barely 1 person per year coming to know Jesus per church, having even just 1 child come, who doesn’t usually come, is so so encouraging!
With God, the fruit may be slow but it will surely come. This is something that we have been able to learn and appreciate.
At the start of the party, we saw many familiar faces, but also lots of shy unfamiliar faces of young girls and boys. We sat with them and yeah tried to communicate with them, if not then just smile and say hello. In a non-creepy way. Hopefully.
We started off with showing them the minties game. Everyone was in supeeerrr concentration mode, trying hard not to rip the minties wrapper and get the longest strip. Samuel did a great job at demonstrating how to do it. That was pretty brave since we’re talking about 19 other kids who didn’t speak his language!
Next *drumroll * was more fun and games! Yay! Haha!
So we taught them the song “My God is so Big” and sang it slowly and the kids were surprisingly all working hard on their actions. They all got involved and followed through. After that, we taught them a whole bunch of animal names, including koala (aka drop bear, because it’s cardboard cut-out was like 3x the size of the kangaroo), kangaroo, emu, cockatoo, and wombat. And did a whole bunch of games like fruit salad (animal version) and bang (animal pose version) and another animal pose game. We showed them how interesting the different types of animals were, and then taught them the biggest secret in the world! That is, that God made them all, including us humans. Tada! So unexpected!
The whole arvo was really active and the kids looked like they enjoyed it. What was really cool was that apparently some kids were asking them they could come again and see us again. So hopefully they will come along for Sat! The adult aussie party (can lure kids with snacks).
Honestly, today could have gone so wrong if the kids were bored, or if we couldn’t communicate ourselves enough, or if the kids were too shy to interact with us, etc etc. But it all went so well. And I reckon that’s something we may take for granted a lot in a lot of the things we organise in any context really. Recognising this, we really thank God for such a successful event and that so many children came along. This is definitely something we really want to thank God for in our prayers and in our reflections.
After (and before) the aussie party today, we handed out flyers for the Saturday adult aussie party. Well, rather than handing them out… since the Japanese people are so busy in their daily lives that you barely see any of them walking along the street, If you do see someone it’s almost always seniors or middle school kids riding their bikes home. So what we did was we went around with 500+ flyers and popped them into the mail boxes of the neighbouring streets.
It’s really interesting how the Japanese housings are like. Their front door is 50% only accessible after you opening a screen door and enter this little entrance place (not talking about the ‘genkan’ entrance where you take off your shoes, but outside the actual front door). And their mail box is either just a slit with a swinging lid or a box that looks like a first aid kid box. So it was a bit strange because half of the time, for me anyway, I felt like I was a burglar hahah… I think I looked really sus).
Even though we handed out quite a bit of flyers, I guess we have prayed to similarly hand over the rest to God, and continue to pray about it. I personally found myself getting a bit worried that the people are just going to throw the flyers in the bin, but today 2 Corinthians 3:1-11 really encouraged me and the team. It reminded us that the spirit that lives within us and the power of the gospel is so so glorious, and that we can have confidence in it. Verse 3:11 it says, “And if what was transitory came with glory, how much greater is the glory of that which lasts!”
At the end of today, the Yamamoto’s took us to dinner at a Patisserie owned by a Christian family. Woahhh! Christian family!
It was a really kawaii (cute) wooden shop filled with cakes and flowers and little souvenirs. The lady who served us was really nice and acted really generous. And the food? Oh man the food was really pretty, and really really yummy. There was either omuomu rice, or tempura, or pasta, with rice and miso soup and little salads, etc. Then came the desserts. It was like literally dining in a cake shop with different types of cakes, puddings, and desserts, but with legit restaurant standard good main-course food. Mmm the cream and fruity and chocolatey taste. –Insert more emphasis on how legit yummy they were, for all you food lovers out there. May the drool be with you-
In the end we found out, that the Yamamoto’s were actually treating us for the meal. Really, how many times now have they shared their generosity with us? We’re really thankful for just how much effort they have put in for us for so so many things; from the bare necessities to something as luxurious as a nice meal. This brings my thoughts all back to God with how much He blesses all of us; physical things and powerful relationships, and traits of love, generosity and patience – all because of Jesus. It’s an overwhelming awe that I can’t quite express in words without typing an essay.
Day by day, God may teach us many things, or we might feel stagnant, but it’s amazing that in hindsight you know that He’s always at work. And I’m so glad to be a part of this team and witness all the wonderful things that He does here in Japan. There are so many things to hand over to Him and pray about, and it would be awesome if you can to pray for us too.
Here are a few things you can pray for:
- Pray for the seeds that may have already been sown in the past week during the church service, kid’s camp, and kid’s Australian party and so on.
- Pray for the Saturday adult Aussie party, and that some people may show up at our door step wanting to know what there is in store for them (Probably food at first, but then after that, God! Yay!)
- Pray that the kids who are already coming to the church will continue to come along even as they grow older.
- Pray for the younger regulars as it is incredibly hard for them to share their faith, or even say that they go to church, with their friends and schoolmates.
- Pray for healing for Hoi Yan who has had varies pains for the last week, such as her back pain.
- Pray that our team and the church people’s hearts, minds and bodies can be revitalised each day through strength from God and sufficient sleep so that we can have the energy for the next day, as some of us are quite tired physically and some emotionally.
- Pray that we can keep God and the gospel as the centre of our priorities and lives so that God may be glorified through each and every one of us.
– “Yan time” Corner –
*Driving to Onsen, Jimmy following in another van*
Hoi Yan: “I hope I don’t drive too fast because we might run through a yellow light hahah…”
Hoi Yan: “We might lose Jimmy”
Isaac: “Oh you’re one of those people”
Hoi Yan: “I’m a sinner too”
- Zhen Garden