Over the last few months we have been helping to prepare for the Franklin Graham Celebration of Love. We have been translating numerous documents and letters and I (Andy) was able to serve as a counselor and supporter during the conference and will continue to follow up with those who made commitments of faith. It was an amazing conference with musicians such as Michael W. Smith, Hillsong, and several Japanese Christian bands there as well. Over the four sessions last weekend we had over 50,000 in attendance and 1,400 that came forward, 1000 of those made confessions of faith for the first time. We are praying and working toward getting those who came forward connected with a church and moving forward in their journey of faith. It was truly an honor to be able to work with such a wonderful organization and with all of the faithful Japanese Christians who worked so hard and are so passionate about reaching their nation for Jesus.
Please check out some photos from the Celebration HERE!
The theme for this year at school is "Love God, Serve Others". Today my 8th grade homeroom put that into action as we spent our morning preparing boxes to be sent to Operation Christmas Child. This year our boxes are being sent to the Philippines and it was really great to see all that my students chose to include in them; flashlights, notebooks, pens, stickers, candies, blankets, toys, and even a slingshot. It's hard at times to help young people (and adults) who live in such prosperous countries understand the depths of poverty at which most of the world lives. Without going and seeing for themselves, it's hard to imagine. As I reflect on the the list of Christmas gifts my own daughters have been asking for this year I feel anxious and yet am humbled to be able to provide for them in such a way that their wants are not needs but desires and hopes. To me, Christmas is about HOPE. We hope Santa will bring us the presents we want, we hope mom or grandma will make her famous dessert, we hope we can spend time with family and friends, and most of all... the hope we have for eternal life because of Jesus.
This is Mrs. Ikenaga, she lives down the street from us and has adopted our family as her own. She lives with her adult daughter and 14 year old granddaughter. Her life has been filled with grief and loss and I am reminded of her late husband and daughter when I am in her Japanese style living room ("tatami") room. In front of her family altar ("butsudan") there are framed photos of her family members who have already died, with incense burning, her husband's favorite beer, and fruit and rice left as offerings as well. She is filled with love for our daughters, always thinking of what they need or want and bringing it to us. She made us many dinners while Andy was in the States and her home has become a second home for my daughters on the weekends. She is kind, generous, loving, full of hospitality, and a willing servant. Please pray with us for her heart to be open to the message of love and salvation through Jesus Christ our Savior.
Halloween has becoming increasingly popular in Japan over the past 8 years. When we first came to Japan we had to search and search for anything orange that we could pass off as Halloween decorations. Now the 100 Yen ($1) stores are filled with decorations and the grocery stores have pumpkin or Halloween-themed snacks. We were able to spend Halloween this year with friends and enjoy a time of games, snacks, and treasure hunts (in lieu of trick-or-treating). The girls had a great time with their friends and the adults all had a great time eating and chatting.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.