“Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things he does for me.” Psalm 103:2
February was filled with talk about what love is and what Jesus tells us about loving one another, our neighbours and loving our enemies. I really enjoyed classes this month because it allowed me more opportunity to share about Jesus love throughout the lessons, not just in chapel time. Students were very open to talking about what love is from 1 Corinthians 13, and also from Matthew 5:43-48. The children made “Love trees” in class, using hearts that described what love is from the bible.
For me, showing love to many students and friends here is in my baking. For special occasions I always bake cookies, squares or cupcakes. For Valentine’s Day, I baked various types of cookies with chocolate themes. I end up baking around 200 cookies for all of the students and 2 choir classes. As well, we had 2 students leave Fujigaoka classes due to moving or the busyness of life. One of the students is a 5 year old girl, Shizuku. I asked her what special thing I could bake for her last class and she said rainbow cupcakes. Well, I tried my hand at that and ended up with very unusal coloured cupcakes 😊. I did cover them in icing and decorations and Taeko san (the pastor’s wife) said she thought the icing should have been rainbow coloured. That probably would have looked a lot better…lol.
Our first movie night at Fujigaoka was a big success…thank you so much for your prayers! 17 people attended: 12 students, 3 of their children, Taeko san and myself. We watched ‘The Blind Side’, and it was another opportunity to share about God’s love and showed us who our neighbour is, along with how we can love those we see as ‘enemies’. I’ll be showing this same movie on March 26th at Komaki Hope Chapel for their first movie night. On March 17th at Fujigaoka we will watch ‘The Passion of the Christ’. Pray for those who come to understand the truth of Jesus’ sacrifice for each of us. Pray too that the torture scenes will not be too difficult for the students to sit through. Although we all know what happens, none of those coming have seen any movies about it before, so this will be their first time ‘seeing’ what they have been ‘reading’ for many years. Please pray for them!!
Mayu (on the left looking at the photo) will be moving to Chiba Prefecture in March. Daisuke, the young man in the middle, will be heading off to university in Tokyo in April and the Hattoris (on the right) will be retiring at the end of March/April. Please pray for these 4 as they transition into new adventures in their lives. But an encouraging thing is that 3 of the other ladies in the photo have now joined the Wednesday night gospel choir group that I’m a part of so they are now singing praises to the Lord each week. That’s so exciting!
Sometimes I get a chance to meet up with former students as was the case on February 16th. Mie, in the center of the photo, lost her husband several years ago to cancer. His was the first Japanese funeral I had been to and it was so difficult as their 2 sons, Sho and Shun (on the left) were so young. They were my students over 10 years ago! And Yuko (on the right) was my student for many years and now runs her own business from home. It was such a blessing to talk with all of them, even for just a short time. Mie’s mother still remembered me, as did the boys, so I was very happy 😊
On my days/evenings off I still enjoy hanging out with students and doing interesting things. One of my Wednesday night gospel choir friends, Miho, has been studying Ikebana (Japanese flower arrangement). She was part of an exhibition in Sakae (downtown Nagoya) so 3 of the ladies from Fujigaoka who have joined choir, came with me to see Miho’s display. We had a lovely time and enjoyed Japanese tea and sweets afterwards. It’s such a joy and blessing to share the students’ lives with them outside of class. On the left is our Wednesday night gospel choir group. I’m now a part of 4 different OneVoice groups: Wednesday night in Nagakute, Friday afternoon in Okazaki and I recently joined the advanced choir in Nishio (about 90 minutes from my home) which is one Saturday morning/month. The other advanced group for Nagoya meets on Sunday afternoons and I will start attending in April. Please pray for all of the choir members as they sing praises to Jesus and that they will one day give their lives to Him!
Thank you so much for your continued support and encouragement. A few items of prayer and praise:
-Pray for Yamamoto sensei & Yuka san as they prepare to move and begin pastoring at Fujigaoka Christ Church. Pray for a smooth transition for them and for the Hattoris as they retire.
-Pray for the movie night ministry and that it will have an impact on those who come to watch the movies. Pray for open ears and hearts so that students will understand Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross.
-Praise God for calling me to Japan and for the amazing relationships I am building with the students. Pray that I will continue to have energy and joy each week as I teach and share during chapel time.
-Pray for the Asian Summit from March 19-23 in Thailand. Pray for all of the missionaries as we gather for a time of prayer, praise, worship, encouragement and refreshing. Pray for safe travels and good health. Thank you!
Blessings & love,