Turning a new leaf

In August as usual I had a birthday. This year I turned 65.  This is the age that one traditionaly retires and becomes an official old age pensioner with lots of senior privileges.  However, the word retire is not in the Bible nor in the great commission. Except in Numbers 8:25.

“The Lord said to Moses, “This applies to the Levites: Men twenty-five years old or more shall come to take part in the work at the tent of meeting, but at the age of fifty, they must retire from their regular service and work no longer. They may assist their brothers in performing their duties at the tent of meeting, but they themselves must not do the work. This, then, is how you are to assign the responsibilities of the Levites.””
‭‭Numbers‬ ‭8:23-26‬ ‭NIV‬‬.

Having reached the age of 65, I am needing to see how to adjust my lifestyle, because forever 21 is just the name of a store and not an obtainable reality, not even in my dreams.  As I am considering this thoughtfully I am feeling to step back from those visions that I have been carrying and some that I have held in my heart and focus on supporting others to carry out the visions God has given them.

Top on the list, and to get the ball rolling will be my involvement in the World Cup Rugby games (2019) and the Tokyo Olympics (2020).  Also I will regretfully be laying down the “Ship4Japan” vision. Although dear to my heart, it is not in a place where I can pass it on to anyone.

Probably the one that I have carried the longest in my heart is to see Tokyo reached from an Urban Missions perspective, coupled with a deep desire to see Japanese Christians take their place in the arena of world missions.

Laying these things down does not mean that they are not meant to be, nor that they will never happen.  Even now YWAM staff are involved in ministries which connect with 2019/2020 and YWAM Tokyo DTS continues to raise up Japanese missionaries.  I will continue to support these ministries as well as look for people with vision to pick up the other visions, seeking to support them as they do.

All this to say that due to my current age, it is time for me to quit being a frontline person in starting a new vision or project and get behind the new leaders that are being raised up.  New works are starting in Northeast Japan, Hokkaido, and Southwest Japan – all from YWAM Tokyo base.  It’s a privilege to support these young leaders, standing alongside them as they move out to carry out the vision God has placed on their hearts.


Hats

As those of you who frequent my facebook page will know that from time to time I borrow someones hat and then take a picture of that person and me while wearing their hat. This is a tangent of off that caused by one of my beloved nephew’s living in the channel Islands, where I have three small fortunes held in offshore accounts to help finance Brexit and other terrorist organizations.

My beloved nephew Andy, started 2017 with an awesome idea to pay it forward to the first five people who replied with “I’m in” and agreed to offer the same to another five fine people too. His plan was to send something of meaning to those five fine people at a time of his choosing sometime during the year.

I wasn’t too sure just where I stood on his ranking of nice people but was a little chagrined to find myself at the bottom. Yes the very last one to get their goodie. However, when I did get my gift, I really did think that he kept the best for last.

He sent me two fine caps that are now my pride and joy!!!!!  Below is the picture of the package that arrived safely at my house all the way from Jersey!  In my next blog, you will get to see these beauties!

Making friends 4

Ryo keeps coming back, he is very playful and a lot of fun to hang out with.  We continued our reel kids adventure and jumped into chapter two of Romans.  However, I noticed the English version is the New King James translation and the vocabulary was a little too intense.  So this week I ordered a bi-lingual Living New Testament for our continued study.

If you remember, Ryo would always wear a hat, which I would borrow for a photo.  I had been trying to locate my hat that I found at Omaseki.  Just before Ryo came I did find it, so this time we swapped hats and took more photos.

Unfortunately Ryo’s schedule does not allow for us to meet again this month but he is planning to switch up his schedule for November so that we can meet every Wednesday.  Awesome!

I am planning to drop the living New Testament at Ryo’s House as soon as it arrives.  Hopefully he will find the English easier to understand.

Making Friends – part 3

Ryo came back a couple of weeks later and we looked at the New Testament and discussed what he had read.    I was amazed that he had already read seven chapters of Romans and had questions about chapter six.  This is quite understandable as the Japanese word for sin uses the word for committing a crime.  Given that most Japanese citizens do not have a police record it is easy to understand why they often stuggle to identify with this concept.  Ryo and I talked for awhile and it seemed that he was beginning to comprehend the concept of sin.  We also had pleantly of free conversation and lots of fun.

Ryo really enjoyed our time at Ofuro no Oosama and even though he would soon be returning to his university studies he said he would like to go again when he had some free time.  Another book we studied together is one of the reel kids adventure books.  This story was very interesting to Ryo and provided lots of opportunity for practicing several conversation topics in our English free conversation time.  We completed our study of the first chapter of Romans together and the next time we meet will move on to chapter two.

At the end of our time I gave Ryo a cross made from water buffalo horn that I had bought at a night market in  Chaing Mai, when I did the pastoral visit for our first bi-lingual DTS.  Ryo really liked this gift.  I am looking forward to our next visit.

Making Friends – Continued

In the last post I told you how I met Ryo.  About a week later Ryo came over to visit me at my house.  We talked quite a bit about his interests and also few of mine as we go to know each other a little bit better.  As Ryo was wearing a hat, I borrowed his hat and took a picture of us together!  This is another hobby of mine which has been used to make or enhance friendships along the way and you can see several pictures of the results on my Facebook page, in the photo section, in an album called “Hats”  Having taken that picture I also told Ryo about my Jimbe Buddy photo collection – also on Facebook.  Ryo gladly donned a Jimbe and joined the club.

Ryo was quite interested in what I do here in Japan, I explained about helping people understand and figure out how to have a relationship with Jesus.  Ryo seemed quite interested and so I gave him a bi-lingual new testament which he promised to read some of and come back with his questions next time we meet.  Our friendship is growing and next time Ryo will go to Ofuro no Oosama with me, where we will get to know each other better and talk more about how to have a friendship with Jesus.

Making Friends


Last week we had an unusually heavy rainfall.  When it first started I took a couple of photos and you can already see someone’s garbage bin was floating down the road in the left of the picture.

So I went out side to see how much rain there was and if I could help rescue the floating bin.  The water level kept rising higher and higher and several of the plastic ramps our neighours use to help them drive over the curb also came floating down the road.  I took time to wedge them into secure places so they would not drift any further.

I did not take any pictures of this because of the rain but did take a few more to show the amount of water piling up around our house.  I think I kept this up for about an hour firmly securing several floating ramps and a couple of garbage bins so my neighbors could easily find them when the water receded.

The I decided to take a walk down the side of my house and saw a neighborhood boy coming out of his house, so I waded through the knee deep water and went to greet him.  His first reaction was to take a selfie with me coming down the road.

We said hi and then he followed me down the road and took another picture of me taking a picture of the newspaper man overcoming all obstacles to deliver his papers.

Outside my house we took a selfie together.  Then I invited him in, offered him some hot chocolate and we talked for about thirty minutes or so.  He seemed so happy to talk and told me his name was Ryo.  We became Line friends and decided we would meet again and develop our relationship.

I have tried and tried to edit this photo so that it will post normally but for some weird reason WordPress refuses to save the changes.  Today I gave up and posted it sideways anyway.

 

Ash Wednesday


Today is Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. It has been a rather cool day here in Tokyo with the mercury leveling out at about ten degrees Celsius.  As a family we have often decided together to give something up for Lent and focus on the coming Easter season with some sort of intentional devotion. This year Rhonda and I are giving up our evening TV show to use that time together for Lenten devotions.

Spring is in the air with trees and flowers blooming.  No more frost in the mornings! Not as many layers needed for going out, anticipation is growing for the coming Sakura (cherry blossom) season.

I love daffodils as they always bring nostalgic feelings of the Easter season when I was younger, back in Brighton. Seeing them today on this first day of Lent was a very warming and special feeling for me.

I had, however, just come from praying for some very close, dear friends who were experiencing sickness in one form or the other. Two different families both experiencing the effects of the fruit of sin.  Sickness!  I remembered that in both cases I had prayed for the resurrection power of Jesus to bring healing to their bodies.

Jesus  commanded us to heal the sick, raise the dead and cast out demons.  I still believe in putting myself in the place where I can see Jesus do these things through me.

On the way home, after taking the pictures of the flowers, I saw this dead sparrow in a bush.  At first I just walked right on by.  However, I went back and took this picture and wanted to share this thought.

Sin, sickness and even death are daily realities in the world we live in. However, while God does not cause the suffering we experience, He knows and has experienced it all and has made a way for us to endure and overcome in every situation.

“Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”
‭‭Luke‬ ‭12:6-7‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Rio Day 1. A day of Contrasts. Qatar to São Paulo

imageI had a five hour layover in Qatar.  It took me awhile to find the gate as the flight was not yet listed.  When I arrived everything was closed and no one was there.  Slowly by slowly people arrived.  One of them was from Roumania and had just completed a business project in Nagoya, so I added him to my list of random people.

Then the changes began to happen.  They changed the gate on me with a little more than thirty minutes to go.  Fortunately while it was in another wing of the airport it turned out to not be too far away.

When I got to the boarding gate I found out they had returned me to the economy section but did give me a front row seat so I was content to have the extra leg room for the 14 hour flight.

Arriving in São Paulo for the first time ever, we all had to find and show our boarding passes as we left the aircraft.  Next came finding immigration, the baggage claim, then the check in counter for the local flight to Rio.  I don’t think that I have ever done as much walking in one airport and there was more to come.

The line took forever as people needing earlier flights were moved up the line.  When I finally got to the front of the line the nice guy took so long I knew that something was wrong.  It turned out my ticket had been booked for Tuesday and today was Wednesday.  Arrrrrrrgh!!  Not the best news to get when you have already been travelling for over 24 hours, you are supposed to be meeting a Japanese friend on the same flight and friends are going to be waiting for you at Rio airport.

I had to go to the airlines service counter which involved changing floors and walking through through three terminals.  Waiting in line again. They don’t speak English!!!  I don’t speak Portuguese!! However, I finally end up with a new ticket an hour later than my original time.  I find wi-if after like forever and am able to message Tatsuya, the Japanese friend and Ricardo who is already waiting for me at Rio.

Time to check in. More waiting in line.  When I receive my boarding pass the nice man tells me where my gate is, only one terminal away! He also informs me that they have already began boarding!!!!   Next security check, even more waiting in line and you guessed it the gate was as far as you can possibly get from the security gate.  I rush though the terminal to my gate and everything was closed, fortunately the was a nice guy guy there who when I showed him my boarding pass told me that boarding would not take place for another thirty minutes so I should relax and sit down.  That was the nicest best thing that I had heard since arriving in São Paulo.

On the plane I sat next to two delightful young kids from Texas.  We had wonderfully, relaxing, fun conversation but I am sorry I was too tired to try and take any pictures.  At Rio I rushed of the plane picked up my bag and went to the exit and Tatsuya and Ricardo were waiting right there along with Raphael, Ricardo’s son whom I had baptized while there were ex-pats in Tokyo.

imageRicardo drove us to the church where we are staying, gave me a great tourist guide and a box of chocolates so overall the day ended rather well.

Rio Day 1. A day of Contrasts. Narita to Qatar.

I am awed an amazed at the people that have been or have just become a part of my life, that make a trip like this one to Rio a very special time.

imageIt began with Tim Needham who the night before I left came over just to pray blessing over me and this trip.  Then there is My neighbour, Mr. Miura who took our plant that needed watering over to his place to care for it while I am in Rio.

imageThe time came to leave and Ken Itoh picked me up and drove me to the airport.  Different people, with different parts to play each contributing to make this trip begin well.

imageCheck in went smoothly and the nice lady moved me to an exit seat so that I would have extra leg room.  Jennifer Gracy had prayed for and upgrade to first class.  Not exactly “First Class” but I was thankful and improvement for which I was very happy.  On the walk to the gate I met my first random person of the trip 🙂

Just as I went through the boarding gate  they called me over and said they were very sorry but because the flight was so full they would have to change my seat.  They put me in Business Class.  Jennifer.  You and Jesus are awesome!

imageI sat next to me second random person of the trip, relaxed and enjoyed the first leg of the journey.

One of the benefits of flying business class is the food.

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Tohoku Prayer Trip Part 2 Day 6

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Zao Baptist Church

Our final day in Tohoku.  We had slept at the Zao Baptist church where we stayed on our first prayer trip to Tohoku.  They rented futons pillows and sheets so we could sleep at a the back of the church.

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Since our last visit Yamagata City had build its very first drive through Starbucks.  Only a couple of  minutes from the church.  So after helping the pick up lady get the bedding into her vehicle we headed on over to begin the day in style.

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We had already accomplished our mission of praying in Iwate Prefecture, Aomori Prefecture and Akita Prefecture so our time here was mainly to relax and build on the relationships we established last time we visited and to break our journey back to Tokyo.

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Kazuki. Man of God

Meet Kazuki!  Last time we met he was a bible student.  Now he has completed his studies and is on staff at the church.  Today just happened to be his birthday!  Really?  I love these God moments along the way!  We gladly took time to pray for him and his coming year!

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Yep! Eating again

After coffee we went to Naoko’s Grandparents house to pick up some gifts they had prepared for Gary and Naoko. Their grandfather was just about to go for a hospital visit so we arrived at the right time to pray!

We were joined by Ken the Pastor of Zao Baptist Church, enjoyed a soba lunch together, then he took us all to a nearby  Onsen. We took time to pray for Ken in the next season of his life and he in turn prayed for our trip back to Tokyo.

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Onsen! Let’s do it!!!

We got back to Tokyo around 22:00 a little tired but full of awe at how much we had accomplished in such a short time.  We travelled 2,250 kilometers, achieved our goal of praying in the three northern prefectures of Tohoku and were even able to make it to the most northern point of the region.