Second day of VBS. Each day we start and end with our team meeting. We eat breakfast and time with God and then our meeting at 7:45 am. We showed the children the finger rockets as they arrived. The children also have the joy of experiencing the puppet show of Sponge Bob, Sandy Cheeks and Snail Gary…all made by Arwen!!! The children just love it!!
Then singing and Bible time. Following was craft time…decoration of the finger rockets. Then games…water balloon wars!!! Lunch…which Jennifer, Ed and Melissa are providing an excellent selection of food for our team. After lunch we all walked to an ice-cream shop for parfaits! Along the way, each group was to take pictures of things that made them joyful. Then we went to the local pool!!! The pool is not just any ordinary pool…it is extraordinary! It is a moving pool in a figure 8 but without crossing! On Monday we were allowed to throw the children…on Tuesday…the life guards came up with a rule that we were no longer allowed to throw the children. ☹ We used our many floating devices to float around.
After the pool we return back to the church (by bus) and wrap up with the children. We then clean up and get ready for dinner with the teens and Sadowitz family. After dinner we had Bible study in Jonah. Then we had an ice cream contest between the Japanese teens and the JJJ team. The Japanese won with banana cars and flowers on top of vanilla and chocolate ice cream. The JJJ team built a wonderful octopus with banana legs and M&M suckers…unfortunately he became sad as he melted away quickly. Our group still enjoyed having some ice cream as we had made some sacrifices of sweets! It was a wonderful treat after a hard day of service.
After the teen’s departure (8:30 pm) and some cleaning our team meet again at 9:00 pm to wrap up our day and to once again give thanks to our Lord for the strength and encouragement He provided for us, but for also the wonderful opportunity to serve Him by building relationships with these beautiful and wonderful children.
At the end of this day, a group of us decided to visit the same restaurant that we had earlier in the day for pizza and French fries. Isn’t it the simple things in life you miss the most some times? Upon arriving, two of us decided to switch our wants to what seemed pictured as chicken fingers. Jeremy and I were so excited for the chicken…but once we put these chewy little battered and greasy pieces into our mouths and chomped down. Mike and Arwen also had ordered a platter of these fine deliquesces! It tasted so much like chicken but not the meat part. Have you ever had fried chicken and eaten in too deep at the top of a drumstick? Yep…you’re right…it was the cartilage of the chicken that was sooo disgusting. Renee and Arwen had guessed that it was such after the wonderful sample. (we later found out two days later it was such!)
Praise the Lord for the simple blessing in life. God’s grace and mercy is very evident if we would just stop and listen. Try it…but first you have to remove yourself from your American bubble/mindset. While one does not have to travel overseas to do this…it is a challenge when we have life so good! May God bless you today and remind you of His goodness.
It’s here…VBS! We’ve been working and preparing for this week. We are so excited to see who God will bring and how He is going to be working in hearts and lives!!! Registration was overwhelming because children kept coming! Chris asked for us to prepare for 20-30 children. God brought more!!!! The Lord brought 32 children on our first day! We had so much fun! At first the Japanese children were very reserve but on this first day we started to see glimpses of a hidden joy. It was such a fantastic first day as our whole team worked wholeheartedly unto the Lord! I questioned to myself, how can we do better tomorrow after such a super and fantastic day? WOW!
Thank you Jesus for your care and forgiveness you offer to us when we fall short of Your perfect standard. You use us as your vessels and You tell us that it brings you great joy…WOW! Praise Your Name Lord Jesus Christ! Thank you for allowing us the opportunity to show Christ with these children.
Aaron has been typing all the blog articles on his Droid smartphone, as they do not have internet access at the church. So, in order to give his thumbs a break, he sent us these pictures.
Morning Music Time
Craft Time - Wordless Bracelet
Church on Sunday
What a joy to be able to get some sleep! The group actually stayed up and got to work on decorations and filling water balloons last night. Each person of our team has chipped in and is working hard. We had oatmeal for breakfast, and it was delicious! At 9:30 we worshipped with the children and had a good time introducing ourselves to them. After a little break, we had our worship hour with children and adults alike. It was wonderful worshipping our Lord together, some singing in Japanese while we sang in English. How wonderful it is that our Lord hears it all and is worthy of all of our praise!!!
After lunch we hung out at church, ate lunch and continued working hard on decorations, water balloons and cleaning. A group of us went for a run to the park to meet Chris and the Japanese children to play soccer. It was so much fun even though we were all badly out of practice when it came to soccer. The problem was our directions were not so clear so our group of 5 ran around the block first and then finally made it…helping us to warm up but the problem was…it wasn’t a warm up it was exhausting! Did I mention that it was pouring down rain while we ran? It was a fun memory…just as was Pastor David and Jeremy’s adventure to the store to get more supplies for decorations during this time!
The next adventure was to go bridge jumping! There were a few who stayed at the church to practice singing with the Joyful Sounds Gospel group. Those who were a part of this were moved as they sang with the Japanese. They were also a great encouragement to Tom Carr, team leader of the ABWE crew in this section of Japan, who leads this ministry. Our ladies really helped with the different parts and provided some American excitement to the group.
As far as the bridge jumping…I went along to watch because my greatest fear is heights! The bridge was about 40 feet high (I still believe it was more like 70 ft. myself!). After Nick, Mike, PD, Erin and Naomi (who is 8 years old!) jumped, Jeremy said he would hold my hand and jump with me. With the determination to be stretched on this trip, to allow God to bring along my path items that would be uncomfortable and cause me to fully rely on Christ as my strength and help. I knew this was safe yet I had to fear was for my life…what if….what would happen to my wife, my children, my family, my friends, my WHBC family! After standing on the edge, light was running out…it was time to do it or not. I couldn’t back down…I knew in my heart that this was one of those moments in life that I didn’t want to…one I shouldn’t miss! With “Christ is all I need” running through my mind and the verse, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!”…I jumped with my friend Jeremy by my side.
It was a thrill but not sure I will ever do it again…but then again if the Lord would want…I want to be willing!
After a wonderful trip back to the church we joined up with everyone and got ready for bed. Since there is only one shower at the church, Chris offered to show us where the Onsen was. So some decided to experience the Japanese bathhouse in order to clean up.
We all sleep well and were so excited to start with the children.
When leaving the airport, we traveled across the the countryside/moutain range to the church. It was a wonderful trip in the bus as once again we packed...smashed all of us and the supplies in the bus. We had a great time chatting and catching up with Chris on our way. Once arriving at the church we unloaded the luggage and had a short orientation as we waited for Donna and the girls to come meet us at the church. We once again hid Jessica but this time she wasn't really hidden away..just in the midst of our group that was sitting in the cafè. I was on the lookout at the door while Chris started orientation. Donna greeted me at the door and shared that they were so excited to have our team here. As she entered she said hello and gazed across the room. Finally after a few moments her eye caught Jess and she screamed, "Ahhhh!"
It was a wonderful moment as Jess and Donna embraced!!
Our group then headed out to the all-you-can-eat buffet! It was a great time of fellowship and food. To say it was an adventure is an understatement...it was so much fun! I believe the group's favorite was the octopus balls! :)
Once back at the church, we set up our beds (on the floor with a small mat to lay on) and drifted to sleep. We praise the Lord for the opportunity to come and serve!
God's faithfulness has been shown to us once again.
Thank you for praying!