Monthly Archives: November 2015

Tales of a Fourth Grade Fieldtrip

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Josiah Going to School

Friday, November 13th, the fourth graders from Josiah’s elementary school, ChuoRinkan Shogakko, had a field trip.  All the students were divided into groups of 4 or 5 and each person was assigned a role within the group.  One person was the leader.  Other roles were co-leader and cleaner upper.    Josiah’s role was “hokkengakkari”, or medical care person.  He had to carry tissues and bandaids and be prepared to help if anyone needed them.

Josiah, never having gone to the station by himself, met with another 4th grade boy, named Mori, so that they could go to the park near the station where all the other students were meeting their groups.  The groups had been divided into larger A, B, and C groups.  When they went to the train station, one group at a time would buy their ticket.  The teacher had told them that it was good practice to buy the ticket, to prepare them for when they were adults.  Then they had to wait on the train platform.  Every few minutes, one A,B and C group would get on the train while others waited until all the groups had gone.  The train ran about every 5 minutes.

Two or three parent volunteers were at the station to make sure the kids behaved and got on the correct train.  The students rode the train without an adult in their small groups to the next  station, got off the train, and transferred to another.  A few more parent volunteers were also at the station to help direct the students.   Akira had been able to be one of the parent volunteers.

Then they rode the train to their final destination.  In total, there were about a hundred students.  When they arrived at their final stop, they exited the train and walked about ten minutes before starting the hike up the mountain.  Along the way were several check points with parent volunteer helpers waiting.  The students carried a folded card that was signed at each check point.  In this way, the students were kept track of.

While walking up the mountain, there was a place with a stone statue.  All the students were encouraged to bow and pray.  While they did, Josiah prayed to Jesus that that they might know the true God and not pray to idols.

Once the students reached the orange orchard, the three 4th grade classes finally met up with their teachers waiting for them.  Josiah joined his teacher, omura sensei.  They picked oranges and were allowed to eat as many as they could within a given time period, and then were also allowed to carry ten oranges home.  Josiah said he ate probably 10 or 15 oranges.  They were so delicious.

LoggaWiggler / Pixabay

Then they hiked further up the mountain on a long and steep staircase.  Once they reached the top, they went to a small park.  They sat around on their “leisure sheets” or small personal size picnic tarps and ate their bento lunches.

The whole day was such an interesting experience  for Josiah because the students were so independent, and yet totally responsible for one another in their group.  Japan is safe, safer than America, and it is not unusual to see small children riding the trains by themselves.  But for Josiah, this was a new experience.  Having spent most of his school age years in the US, going somewhere on a train without an adult was frightening.  He spent the whole week worrying and praying that he would not get lost. When he got home, the first thing he said was, “It was so fun!  And I didn’t get lost!”  It was a great experience for him.   And what  a wonderful opportunity for him to pray for his classmates.

Called to Pray

Today, as I walked to the grocery store, I decided to pray for every person I passed on my way. God took me seriously.

The store I go to is about a 10-15 minute walk from my house.  Usually, I pass four or five people on my way but today, I must have passed 20 to 30 people.  I passed grandmothers laden with groceries, one elementary age boy singing joyfully on a bicycle, a young mom talking with her preschool aged son, an older couple on bikes dressed almost identically in bright plaid shirts and down vests, and lots of men and women, young and old and in-between. I prayed whatever came into my mind… Some I prayed for healing and restoration within their families, some I prayed freedom from stress, some I prayed financial blessing and some I prayed for salvation.  By the time I arrived at the store, I was literally exhausted.

As I did my shopping, I wondered about it and asked the Lord why there had been so many people.  This is what I felt the Lord responded…

When I decided to pray for the people I saw on my way, The Lord brought a lot more people than usual to cross my path.  The reason was because so many in Japan need prayer.  God was happy to provide people for me to pray for, way beyond what I had expected.  The people I prayed for today needed prayer.  And I and sure there were many others I did not see who also needed prayer.  Lots of them.

cegoh / Pixabay

So, my challenge to you is this, will you pray for the people of Japan today?  Not just for the nation of Japan, but for the people; the moms and dads and grandmothers and grandfathers, single parents, teenagers and little boys singing while they ride their bikes?

Seasonal Changes

It’ s November.

The long, hot and humid days of summer are finally behind us though at times I confess I felt like we wouldn’t survive.  It was soo hot..  But now things are looking different.   We have more blankets stacked on our futons.  We are rummaging through our suitcases and boxes digging out the sweaters, sweatshirts and warm pajamas we had packed away.  The air is cool in the evenings and crisp in the mornings.  And the trees are busy shedding their leaves.  It’s not the fall I remember, with leaves turning the brilliant colors of sunset  but it is a new fall with a strange new beauty.

IMG_0566Here I see trees, bare of leaves, laden with red orange persimmons.IMG_0557The colourful fruit stands out against the browns of trees and leaves and grasses.  It really is beautiful.  And Japan is beautiful.  We continue to live as a family, loving one another, praying for our neighbours, listening to our Father.  He loves Japan, too.

Recently,  we had the blessing of being able to meet for lunch with a Japanese friend and her daughter visiting from Kansas City and then later, were able to host another friend visiting from Kansas City in our home.  What a joy to show her our neighbourhood, to invite her to join our prayer walk, to be a part of our family, praying, playing and worshipping together.  And then we have twice had the pleasure of hosting a Japanese friend here in Japan, too.

Julia and friend Sophia from KC

Julia and friend Sophia from KC

What do we do?  We welcome others into our home, into a place of family, a place of safety.  Then we listen…and share a little….and pray a little… and listen some more…and we eat.  Our prayer is that our home will be a place of refuge, a place of rest, a place of belonging to family.

As the season changes, we wait on the Father for our season to change, too, the season of rooting and settling in Japan to being rooted and settled.