Wednesday, June 10, 2009

More miscellaneous sightings

So, in addition to sorting through our stuff, getting ready for packers to come next week, we've also been doing dentist visits. We discovered that it is much less expensive to go to the dentist here than in the States, and so we've been getting that taken care of -- saving it for the crazy last month...


I'm sure that the hygenist wondered what was wrong with this crazy foreign lady who wanted to take a photo of the cup before I went to pay yesterday. The photo is a bit fuzzy but it says

"Lets Brushing" and "I am a toothbrush."
While this is typical Japanese-English statement, what particularly amused me about this is that the dentist has about 15 certificates all over his office, in English, claiming that he has attended all kinds of workshops, seminars, symposiums in the US. So...is he just a workshop junkie, who goes with a tour group and Japanese-English translator? And he never spoke a word in English to me, either.
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Signs like this are pasted (illegally) all over our area on telephone and electric poles. It is advertizing viagra. I don't know if there is more to it than just using the @ for the first "a" in that drug's name, but more than one company does it.



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This out-of-place monstrosity belongs to a religious group called the Insttute of Heavnly Happness. (I've deliberately left out vowels--I don't want this coming up on a google search!) Their leader makes great claims about himself, writes a book a month, and it tends to draw wealthy people. Apparently there is a following in the States, as well. This is just two blocks away from our apartment--and is the style that seems to be what they've used for others through out the country..


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The red couch. This used to be OUR red couch. Stan picked it up behind a furniture store discard pile more than 20 years ago, and brought it home. It fit nicely in our little house but when it no longer served its purpose, we sold it at the Christian Academy in Japan Bazaar--and it was picked up by the Theater prop department. It has been in numerous plays (we always feel a little offended if its not in a production ;> ). We've got a few photos of our oldest daughter in bleach blond wig sprawled across it in a scene for "You Can't Take it With You." We discovered its been used for those photo backdrops at banquets, and here, at the recent high school graduation.


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And finally, "Piano Sincerite." As I was sitting at the stop light on my way home one day, I began pondering the truck in front of me. Its a piano mover. They tell me I don't have to worry.




Saying Goodbye to an old friend

A couple of weeks ago, Stan and I went to visit an old friend--Teddy. He has settled into life at the Izawa's and they love him. Mr. Izawa told me the other day that Teddy is his brother. They take walks together in the morning, and his wife or one of his children take him out at night. He obviously is well fed--he is heavier than he was when we saw him last summer.



We are thinking that Teddy must be about 12 years old this summer. We got him on our summer vacation when our boys were very little. He and two sibling puppies had been left in a dog carrier on the beach near where we vacation. I remember praying that if God wanted us to take this dog, He would have to take care of finding him homes when we had to be away. And God has done just that.

Stan always comes with a pocket full of treats, and Teddy always greets him with great enthusiasm, and this time was no exception.





Teddy will probably finish his life at Izawa's. We aren't sure if we'll see him again--will he make it to 13 years old? We are thankful for how God has used Teddy in our lives, and how Teddy has brought joy to other families through out the years.

Goodbye Senator Teddy Tak De La Cour!

Monday, June 01, 2009

Developing Leaders

A few weeks ago I wrote about a young man in our congregation who was challenged to begin translating and has begin translating sermons from time to time. This week he was called on to become a "camera man" for the Global Day of Prayer video.

Our friend, YS, brought his camera, and his directing skills and got H. behind the lense for his first time. It was fun to watch the two of them throughout the time as YS would be talking H through the shot.



Here they are as H. is getting a feel for the camera before the Prayer Gathering actually started.

Once the program began, YS had H all over the place taking shots. Here they are at the back of the platform.


Sometimes they would be back up in the media center getting the "big picture" like the Messianic dancing.

And at other times they were right down in front.

We are grateful that H has a teachable heart, and that YS had a patient and encouraging attitude in working with him. God has blessed both of these young men, and we enjoy watching what He is doing!


Tokorozawa's Global Day of Prayer -- May 31, 2009

We celebrated the Global Day of Prayer (GDOP) on Pentecost Sunday, May 31, and our prayer time reflected the many nationalities that God has brought to Japan. Stan has been on the planning committee for the last four GDOP, where along with his Japanese partners put much effort into the organizing of this annual event.

The desire is to bring the church around the world (there were 220 countries registered this year) together in unity through prayer, claiming the words of 2 Chronicles 7:14 "if My people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land."

We met at a park in Tokorozawa, Saitama prefecture using their open air (but covered) arena. There were several other GDOP events around Japan also held Sunday afternoon.



A few of us ICCS folks met at the open air arena early--some of them were participating in a gospel choir later and had come for rehearsals, others had come to help clean, and the rest of us were there to be a part of the 2 1/2 hour event.




Stan and Mr. H went over the final program schedule along with TJ, the pianist while Pastor A looked on.



The program began at 3:00 p.m. with the blowing of two shofar--rams horns--by a Japanese Messianic Rabbi and Pastor Fernando, a Brazilian pastor. Pastor A then opened in prayer.



After some worship songs, one of the two black gospel groups got up to sing, while people had the opportunity to wash each other's feet.



The Rabbi called Pastor Fernando and they washed one another's feet, then gave a big embrace. The gospel group "Yami" is in the background.



The Brazilian church that meets in our facility on Saturday nights took the center section. Their exuberance was infectious. This is an incredible group of young adults.



The second black gospel group got up and performed a couple of songs. They are part of the same association as our church's little group, so they called all the members of the "Hallelujah Gospel Family" who were in the audience to come up and join them on two numbers.



As the afternoon went on, more and more people came. We estimate that there were at least 250 in attendance. We would love to have seen more Japanese churches represented, but little by little it increases each year. This date was one of those where EVERYTHING seemed to be scheduled. People who would normally have made it a priority to be at GDOP were unavoidably busy at different events. Even so, we thank God for those who came to pray together.



When it was time to pray for Israel, the Messianic congregation sang a few songs and danced in the front. The Brazilian congregation follow some of the Messianic traditions, as well, and they soon filled the ranks in the dance circle.


Betty from Uganda prayed for the continent of Africa. Bonnie, who grew up as a missionary kid in Haiti, prayed for the Caribbean Island nations. We also had a Korean pastor pray for Korea, we had a woman from Hong Kong pray for C.hina, and a man from Norway prayed for his country. A missionary prayed humbly for the English-speaking world.



All the children up to age 16 were called forward and Ken prayed a powerful prayer for them while we all joined in agreement.


A group of Filipinos came and shared that they have been saved from lives of substance abuse, difficulties and addictions. They asked us to pray for their country, and also for their husbands--most of whom are Japanese non-believers. They sang for us in Tagalog and English.

Finally Pastor Gilberto of the Brazilian congregation shared how revival is spilling out around the world, and how they believe they have come to Japan to bring the message of Christ to this nation. He prayed for Brazil, for Japan, and for world-wide revival.


The program ended a little before 6--going overtime (too bad we had to watch the clock!). There were the necessary photo opportunities--especially with this Brazilian congregation, and then the arena was cleaned, and cleared.




The weather had gotten progressively cooler over the afternoon, and by about 4 p.m. it had begun to drizzle. We were dry in under the covered arena, but it was cold by the time we were ready to leave at 6 p.m. See how Ken was all tensed up and cold!

Maybe cold physically, but warm inside as we rejoiced in all God had done through our prayers and celebration together.