Going to Yamagata

February 24, 2012

Hello! We hope you are all doing well!

Back in October, we were invited by Sakata Mission Church to help with their children’s event.  Sakata Mission Church is about 3 hours from Sendai and Yu’s parents helped started it over 15 years ago.  Now they have a wonderful pastor and the church is growing.  We were so thankful to be a part of their special program.  We decided to have a fall festival and it was a great hit!

We are going to Yamagata prefecture this weekend.  On Saturday, we are going to host an English class for the kids at Sakata Nozomi (hope) Church.  They host a special event for kids in the community twice a month and the pastor asked us to teach them English.  We are going to play games, sing songs, do some silly dance, and eat something sweet!  Many of the kids are from broken families.  We hope they will have fun and feel God’s love through us!

On Sunday, Michael is preaching, Yu is playing the piano, and Yu’s dad is singing in the worship service.  We are thankful for the opportunities to serve in Sakata.  The pastor’s family ministered to us and encouraged us while we evacuated to Sakata right after the earthquake last March, and we pray God will use us to encourage them this time!

On Monday, we are going skiing!  There is a famous ski resort in Yamagata and Yu’s family used to go there all the time.  It’s Michael and Luke’s first time to go there and we are all excited!  We have been busy ever since coming back to Japan and we are ready to take a short break and have some family time.

Please pray for us as we drive 3-4 hours each way.  It has snowed A LOT in Yamagata and the road condition is not good.  Pray that God will protect us as we drive and use us in many ways in Sakata!  Thank you!!!

Categories: Hope for Japan News.

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Trip to America

February 4, 2012

Hello from Sendai! It’s snowing outside and we are stuck in the house! It gives me a chance to update our blog!!!

We had an opportunity to go back to America in November.  The main reason for our trip home was to take care of my visa, but we were blessed by so many people who took time to see us, to feed us, to give us a chance to share about our ministry, and to encourage us!

As always, I took SO many photos.  I am sad that I won’t be able to share all of them, but here are some of our favorites!


We stopped in California on our way to Texas.  We stayed with our friend from college and we had fun catching up!  Luke had a great time with her kids!










Luke had the BEST time at this play area.  Don’t you love his smile?










We stayed with the Turner family for the first few nights in Texas.  Cheryl has served as our lead advocate last year.  We love them and thank God for their love for us!










Our friend, Charlie, who let us borrow the NEW car while we were in Texas.  He is such a generous man!  His company donated money for the disaster areas as well!










With our dear friends and their boys!  It was great to worship with our FBCA family!










We were able to share about our ministry in several Sunday School classes.










Sharing with the Panorama group.  We went through a weekly missions training with them for over two years and we all became close friends.










Can’t believe we are all parents!










We were invited to speak to the children who were learning about the missions.  They were precious!










Luke learned to WALK!












He loved playing with Great grandpa Woods!










Dinner with Yu’s former co-workers and Japanese students.










Luke got to meet his cousin, Carmen and Uncle John!










Visiting friends at DBU!










Fun night with the Steiger family and our new Japanese friends! Can’t wait to see them again in Sendai!!!










Luke had a play date with his new girl friend, Molly!  Her mommy is a good friend of mine from college!










Aunt Cathie and her kids took care of Luke while mommy and daddy went on a date!  What a sweet way to bless us!!!










Thank you for spoiling us!  We love you!












We went to the ICE show at Gaylord Texan with Mimi.  We had a great time!










Jennifer’s 80s themed 30th birthday party!










Luke had an early 1st birthday party!










WE LOVE YOU, LUKE KAI!  You have brought so much joy into our lives!










We stopped in Honolulu on our way to Japan!  We were invited to speak at one of the churches that had sent a mission team to Sendai last year.  Thank you, Olivet Baptist Church for having us!










Luke loved playing on the beach!












He just sat there and looked at the ocean for a while.  Loves beaches like his mommy!












On Wednesday, we attended the Japanese Bible Study and shared about our disaster relief work.  We had a blessed time of fellowship!










Amazed by God’s beautiful creation!










We had lunch with some of the team members (and their families) that had come to Sendai in October.  It was fun to see them again!










So thankful for some “family time” to rest and relax!










God blessed our trip in many ways!  From the cheap plane tickets (thanks to our friend who works for Delta) to all the places to stay for free, and more than anything, all our precious friends and families made our time extra special!

We love you and miss you all so much!  Now it’s YOUR turn to come visit us!

Categories: Family, Hope for Japan News.

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Children and Youth Ministry

December 31, 2011

As I checked our draft box, I realized that I had not published some of the posts.  I know it is late but I wanted to publish before 2012 comes!  Here are some updates on our ministry in the fall.










We took our youth group to go bowling.  Many of you have been praying for these two sisters on the right.  They lost their grandparents in the tsunami and have been having a difficult time.  It was great to see their smile again.










We took them to Michael’s favorite restaurant.  Even though our group is still small, we always have so much fun together!










When we had a team from Bangkok, we hosted a youth game night.  As you can see, they loved it!!!










We also wrote encouraging notes on the heating cans for people in the temporary housing.  The Bangkok team delivered them and many people loved it!










This fall, we started teaching English at our church.  We have been having 20-30 kids every week!










We always end our time with a short worship service.  Lots of the kids are from non-Christian families.   Some of them started coming to the Sunday School.










Mr. Tony taught some English praise songs!  It reminded me of my childhood since he had taught me the same songs when I was a child!










The youth learned English through games, songs, and chants! It was great to see them interact with these English speakers!










We hosted the first ever fall festival at our church.  Both teams from Bangkok and Hawaii helped and our FBCA family helped by sending us American candies and party supplies!  Thank you all!










In the beginning, all the kids who had come to the English class performed in front of their parents.










This class learned the colors and animals.  They did a great job!










Bean bag toss!












Pumpkin bowling!












Ring toss!










Fishing game!












Face painting!













Everyone enjoyed American taste such as hot dogs, chili, spam musubi (from Hawaii), popcorn, cookies, candies, and cool aids! One girl said who had a cool-aid for the first time said it tasted like “America”!!!










It was great to meet dads of the kids who come to our English class.  Michael hopes to get to know them better!










Michael and the boys.  We ordered these pumpkins from the northern island of Japan.  The kids loved touching them!

We had a great time with everyone.  God has opened so many doors for us to meet and minister to the youth and kids in our community.  We look forward to building relationships and sharing God’s love with them and their families.


Categories: Hope for Japan News.

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Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year!

December 29, 2011

We hope you all had a wonderful Christmas!

We came back from America last week after spending lots of fun time with our family and friends.  They all made our trip so special!  We will write more about the trip soon!!!  We had an opportunity to go to Hawaii on our way home and saw our new friends who had come to Sendai as volunteers in October.  We had a great time with them!

As soon as we came home, Luke started feeling bad and he ended up going to the local hospital to get an IV.  Thankfully, he got better after that and we were able to go to the Christmas Eve service (Michael preached!!!) and the Christmas Day service at our church. What an amazing church family we have!!!   We thank God for the people from the community who came to our church for the first time!   We pray their hearts were opened and they will continue to come.


The Christmas Eve service- sorry we don’t have any pictures of Michael preaching… Everyone told us what a blessing and encouragement his sermon was!  PTL!!!  A big “thank you” to those who prayed!


Back side of our church’s nativity scene.  It snowed on Christmas Eve!


We had a potluck lunch after the worship service on Sunday.


At the Christmas party, we had a church-wide Christmas gift exchange.  It is always so much fun!


It was our first Christmas as a family of three and we had such a blessed time together.  We received one of the most precious gifts from God this year.   Words cannot describe how much joy Luke brought into our lives.  As we thank God for Luke’s life, we praise Him for giving us the best gift that anyone could receive.  Happy Birthday, Jesus!

We pray you have a blessed new year!

Categories: Hope for Japan News.

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Happy Thanksgiving!

November 25, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving from three of us!  As we reflect on the past year, we have so many things to be thankful for and we thank God for everything He has done for us.  We are also thankful for each of you!  May God fill your heart with His joy this Thanksgiving and always!

Categories: Family.

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Volunteers from Bangkok and Hawaii

November 7, 2011

Ever since the massive earthquake and tsunami hit Japan, so many volunteers have come to Japan to help with disaster relief efforts.  We have been blessed to host several teams from all over the world!  Not only have they helped so many in needs, but they have also encouraged many believers that are trying to minister to Japanese people.  Michael and I often talk about the ways the volunteers have ministered to our family.  They have gone to the disaster areas with us (it can be overwhelming when there are only three of us that visit 100+ temporary housing units), taken care of our sweet Luke (it’s nice to have extra arms to hold Luke when his parents are busy running around), worshiped with us (God has touched us and spoken to us through reading the scriptures, singing praise songs, and praying as a group), and encouraged us to keep up the good work (sometimes we need words of affirmation).

We have experienced the importance of working as a team and we pray God will continue to send us those who have a heart for Japan.










Bangkok Team- They are actually from Canada and America but all of them attend the same church in Bangkok, Thailand.  We had them for a Taco Dinner (which they LOVED) at our house.  They helped with our youth group, kids English classes, and Fall Festival!  Since Michael lived in Thailand when he was young, he really enjoyed talking about Thai culture and places!  We would love to visit Thailand as a family someday!










Hawaii Team- They are from Olivet Baptist Church in Honolulu, Hawaii.  They worked so hard in the disaster areas, and they were so gracious to help clean up at my grandparents’ house.  During our time together, I found out that one team member’s daughter had graduated from DBU and we had known each other!  What a small world!  My dad also told me that my parents had visited this church twice as a young couple!  We look forward to visiting the church and seeing everyone again!










Thank you all for coming to Japan and touching so many lives!

Categories: Aid for Japan, Hope for Japan News.

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Being in America!?!

October 27, 2011

A few weeks ago, some of our church members and our family went to Misawa in Aomori prefecture.  It’s about 4 hours north of Sendai and Misawa is famous for the US Air Force base.  I remember going there to see the air show with my family when I was little and I always felt like I was in another country since there were so many Americans.

This time, we went there for the Tohoku (northern Japan is called “Tohoku area”) Baptist Union’s annual meeting.  We thought it would be a great chance to get to know people from other churches and to find ways to partner with other Christians to reach out to the lost.

When we got there, we were welcomed by the members of Misawa Calvary Church.  This church was established to minister to the people in the Air Force and their families but they also have some Japanese believers.  It was such a blessing to meet all of them!

During the opening worship service, I had a chance to play the piano which gave me so much joy.  The pastor shared how important it is to work together for the Kingdom of God.  During the Tohoku Baptist Men/Women meeting, we all shared how each church had been helping with disaster relief efforts.  It was encouraging to know that they are all working so hard to help those in need, but it was heartbreaking to hear about what the kids in Fukushima had been going through after the power plant’s explosion in March. Since radiation levels are still high in many areas, they can’t play outside.  Many kids are wearing a mask to cover their mouth.  Teachers and parents have been cleaning the schools and parks so that the radiation level would go down.  Everyone is tired emotionally and physically.  We asked them how we can pray and the first thing they said was to pray for people who live there.  Pray for their physical and emotional health.  Also, pray that the Japanese government would make the right decisions to help and protect those who are suffering.

They also asked for toys, games, DVDs, and books for the kids.  Since they can’t play outside, these items will make the kids smile and help their parents.  We will be spending some of the money many of you have donated to send some of these items to one of the churches in Fukushima.  We have already sent them some children’s clothes that were sent by our sending church, and they really appreciated them.  Thank you all for your prayers and support!!! You are touching so many lives!

Throughout the day, we met many wonderful believers and it was encouraging to see them being excited about partnering together.  We have been building a relationship with the pastor and his family in Sakata city and we will be visiting them and leading the children’s program on Saturday.  Michael was also asked to preach this coming Sunday.   Please pray for a blessed time of fellowship.

Here are some pictures from our trip to Misawa:










The sanctuary was full of people!










These ladies cooked a delicious American meal. Michael said it felt like being in American to see the American sized oven and fridge!










Loved getting to know so many people!










I helped the children’s program.  One of the American girls taught them how to decorate a cupcake!










They all look happy!!! The cupcakes were yummy! One of the kids said his cupcake tasted like “America”.  We all laughed!










Kids (and one of the moms) from the church in Fukushima.  They are so precious! They were super excited to be able to play outside.










Another blessing for me was meeting these ladies.  After the opening worship service, one of these ladies asked if I was my mom’s daughter since I looked like her.  When I said yes, they all started telling me all the special memories of my grandmother and my mom and how much they had meant to them. I found out that my grandmother was a member of their church over 30 years ago and they all enjoyed the Christian fellowship together.  One of the ladies said when she lost her son, my grandmother just sat and cried with her.  She said that meant more than any other encouraging words that she had received.  Another lady told me that my mom had written her so many letters when their church was going through a difficult time.  They all had tears in their eyes.  This was truly a gift from God and I thank God for faithful Christians like my grandma and my mom.












The youth worship band led music during the closing worship service.  We had missed singing English praise songs so it was awesome to worship with them in English.  It seemed like many of the older Japanese Christians enjoyed singing (and listening) together!  What a blessing it is to worship together no matter what our race, language, and backgrounds are!

Overall, it was such an amazing day.  We enjoyed the fellowship with other believers and we came home being encouraged to go out and reach out to others in our community.  It was also a special time for our family to experience a “little America” since we had been missing our friends and family back home!  We love you and miss you lots!

Please pray for us as we go to Sakata this weekend.  Pray many kids will come to the program on Saturday and God will speak to many hearts through Michael’s message on Sunday.  Thank you!!!


Categories: Hope for Japan News.

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Disaster Relief Update

October 17, 2011

We continue to visit the disaster zone regularly.  We feel like we have been able to build close relationships with many people (PTL!) and we hope to have deeper conversations with them.  Even though many of them have moved to temporary housing, they continue to have different needs and we are doing our best to better meet their diverse needs.










We visited Miyagi Gakuin again and gave them the scholarship funds for the students who lost parent(s) and home.  You can read more on their website (http://www.mgu.ac.jp/home/news/saigai2011/sec99_0506.html).










One Saturday, We joined the team from Japan Baptist Convention and served with them.  We took lots of snacks to the tsunami-hit area and let everyone get whatever they wanted.  We used one of the community centers and invite people from temporary housing.  It was a treat for everyone who came!










These kids were so happy! We see them almost every time we go to this area.  They always welcome us with a big smile and they are so sweet to Luke.











Shuri (older sister) shared most of her friends from her kindergarten had moved to other cities and she feels lonely.  Please pray for her!










We also gave them some vegetables.  Many older people had told us that they couldn’t go buy vegetables (either they can’t drive or don’t have anyone who could take them to go shopping) so we decided to get some for them!  There were 130+ bags of vegetables.  People looked so happy and thanked us several times.  Since we have been visiting this area for a while, they know us as “Christians” and most of them seem to feel comfortable being around us. Every time we go there, we pray they see Jesus in us.










Praying together as we left the place.










We also visited our new friend, Emi, who lives in the temporary housing.  She lost her husband and father-in-law in the tsunami (they died while trying to rescue others) and lives with her 4 year old daughter now.  When we asked her what she needed, she said she wanted to have some shelves built in her housing unit.  Our missionary friends and we decided to make her dream come true!










Building a spice rack.  It was fun seeing these guys talk about how to put everything together.










Putting a dish cabinet on the wall.  We hope this will stay on the wall!












It’s always encouraging to see Emi’s smile when she plays with Luke.  We hope to get to know her better and share the gospel with her.  She needs your prayers!!!












This photo was taken at another friend’s house.  She wanted to have a shelf in the closet and of course, guys did a great job!












This is a community gathering place by our friend’s temporary housing.  It was brand new but the recent typhoon damaged the entrance area.












Our friend, Miyuki (in the middle), with two missionaries.  Miyuki is so sweet and we believe she is interested in Christianity.  Please pray her heart will be opened.  It has been such a blessing to be able to work with these missionary friends and I am learning so much from them!

Thank you for your continued prayers.  We are hosting a team from Bangkok (but they are originally from USA and Canada) this week and we have so many upcoming events!  Please pray God will use all of us in mighty ways!  And please pray for our health.  We need to stay strong to minister to those around us!

Categories: Aid for Japan.

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Hello, Blog World!

October 17, 2011

Sorry we have been away from the blog world again!  Hope everyone is doing well!  We have been super busy and all of us got sick in the last few weeks.  Luke got sick first and it came to me (Yu), and a few days later, Michael got it.   We prayed a lot last week since Michael was scheduled to preach on Sunday.  Thankfully, he felt better on Sunday and was able to preach on “missions” on Sunday.  Our favorite topic!  Everyone seemed to be encouraged! Praise the Lord!

Here are some of our recent photos:










At Mom and Child Time at our church.  It is one of Luke’s (and mommy’s) favorite times of the week.  He has made so many friends!












Isn’t he cute?










We participated in the “Relay for Life Cancer Walk” with my dad.   He walked for 24 hours straight but we just walked for a little while.










On each paper lantern, there is a handwritten message from the participants.  It was such a special time for us as we walked remembering my mom and all our friends who are battling cancer.










On every 3rd Saturday, we lead the children’s program at church.  Michael shares a Bible story and Yu leads music.  We love these kids!












Everyone wants to hold Luke!












This little guy melts mommy’s heart!












Luke’s favorite toy!!!










Our pastor’s ordination service.  Michael introduced our family in front of 100+ people and did a great job with his Japanese!












Michael with my cousin’s daughter. Since my grandparents moved to our city (from the city that was damaged by tsunami), all the cousins try to get together when everyone is in town so our grandparents can see all of them!  It is fun (and loud) when we are all together.  Of course, Luke loves being held by everyone!












Look, I can stand!












I can climb, too!












I have two bottom teeth (and top two just broke through)!










We got a care package from Aunt Cathie!  Luke couldn’t wait to open the box!










Thank you all for praying for us!  We miss you!

Categories: Aid for Japan, Family.

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It has been 6 months…

September 24, 2011

September 11th was a special day for us in many ways.  We remembered those who died in New York on September 11th, 2001.  It was also a day to remember those who died in the earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011.  It has been six months since that day and many people are still hurting and grieving.  In fact, some of our church members lost their relatives and the girls in our youth group are having a difficult time accepting their grandparents’ passing.

Many people in the tsunami-hit areas have moved to the temporary housing, but it’s hard to get used to this new living environment, especially for older people.  They don’t get food and supplies from the government anymore.  Many of them live alone.  They are too old to drive or their cars were washed away by the tsunami.  They have to go to the stores, doctor’s office, bank, and all the other places by themselves.  THEY NEED HELP!!!

That’s why we keep visiting them.  Many of them are lonely and hopeless.  We want them to know that we love them and care for them.  Even though we may not be able to do much, we know our GOD can save and heal them.

Here are some photos from our visit in August.










It was the last time we visited this temporary shelter (middle school).  These ladies have moved to the temporary housing and live alone now.










Luke loved playing with them.  The lady on the right lost her husband in the tsunami and misses him a lot.










We helped with the yard work and gave those ladies some time to rest.  There was a lot to do!










Poster from the kids in the US.










We delivered some children’s clothes that were donated by our FBCA family.  Please pray for Miyuki.  She has many questions about God.










We visit this family every time we go to Oshika Peninsula.  Their relative (this old lady’s nephew) is a strong Christian and we want them to come to know the Lord.












We love Shuri (girl) and Raiki (boy).  Their grandfather is a leader in the community.  Shuri shared that most of her friends had moved to other cities after the tsunami.  We  try to give them a gift every time we go there and we love seeing their cute smile!

Please continue to pray that the seeds that have been planted will grow someday. We know God has a special plan for each of them!

We will post another update next week!  Have a blessed weekend!

Categories: Aid for Japan.

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