Tohoku Baptist Retreat

August 3, 2012

Last Friday we woke at 3:30am to begin the five hour trip to Aomori.  It was time for the JBC Tohoku Baptist Retreat.  About thirty of us from churches throughout Sendai rode a bus to the retreat.  When we arrived at the hotel on the beautiful north shore of Japan, we were welcomed by the believers of the north side of Tohoku area.  There were more than 130 attendees. We attended several worship services during the retreat.  This year we helped with the children’s program.  We took the children to the local aquarium, played games, made crafts, and the children helped lead worship services.

We also took the opportunity to give gift bags to the children including those from Fukushima.  The BGCT team left gift bags for us to hand out to children.  Pastor Suzuki was overjoyed to receive the duffel bag full of gifts for the children in his church.  We pray that the generosity of Texans will bring a smile to the faces of children who receive a gift bag.  They still deal will stress and anxiety daily as Fukushima continues to deal with contamination.

As always, we were so glad to see familiar faces and make new friends.  Everyone enjoyed the time of fellowship.  The churches of Tohoku are blessed to have so many wonderful members.  It may be a year before we see many of them again but we know they are working hard to serve.  We thank God for the way we were encouraged by others through this retreat.

Prayer time.

The gospel choir from Texas came to sing.

Can you see his love for dolphins???

Make a joyful noise unto the Lord!

The kids singing praise songs.

Luke enjoyed playing the guitar.

Game time! They had a blast!

As always, Luke was loved on the whole time!

Breakfast with kids from Fukushima and Sakata.

Yu led worship on the second day.

Craft time!

Luke made lots of new friends.

Group photo in front of the hotel.

Categories: 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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