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 – 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.


Gary’s Birthday

I am sure many of you are wondering who Gary is!  Gary is a fellow Brit from Liverpool who with his beautiful wife Naoko are on staff of our iDTS.  Gary and I often get together for one-on-one times to encourage each other.  Gary and Naoko are called to pioneer YWAM in the Tohoku region of Japan, which is the section between Tokyo and Hokkaido where the 2011 earthquake and tsunami caused such a lot of damage.  Gary just happens to have been born today, December 25th.  Unfortunately, I did not get to see Gary today as we spent the day with David, Tamara, Hannah, Amy and Caleb.

imageThis special day actually began yesterday for me when the postman brought  me a package from my “Secret Santa”.  This is something that we do as a family so that instead of everyone buying everyone else a Christmas present, we use an online app called “Elfster” where all names are entered and each person receives one name to get a gift for.  The app allows for wish lists and the ability to anonymously ask questions for clarification.  Here is the package that arrived for me.  Without opening it I took it to David’s where we stayed  overnight Christmas Eve after sharing a nice sushi dinner, getting the children off to bed and then watching “It’s a Wonderful  Life”  – the first time for me to see this in colour.

imageWe began Gary’s birthday by having a nice breakfast of sausage, egg and muffin with David and his family. This was followed by a family Skype with Tamara’s family in Vancouver which involved opening several presents from them for the children.  Next was a Christmas story time remembering someone special that Gary shares a birthday with, a fun time playing charade type games together then another Skype call with Jonny and Kelly.  Here is where most of our secret Santa presents were opened.  That is , all except mine as I had to wait for Sarah and Mary to get up in Norway as Sarah was my secret Santa and obviously wanted to see me open her present.

imageWe had an excellent Christmas dinner together and after that Sarah called from Norway and the big long awaited moment came.  I got to open my present – a very nice pair of Bluetooth wireless headphones!  Hannah helped me open the package.  All too soon it was time to drive home.  After we arrived, Rhonda and I had a special advent time which involved lighting the Jesus candle.  We had bought this candle from a shop in Auckland when we went to New Zealand for the 30th anniversary for those who had been on the YWAM ship Anastasis in Greece back in 1979-1981.image




The Emperor’s Birthday

Today is a National Holiday here in Japan.  It is the Emperor’s birthday.  Our current Emperor is Akihito who assumed power after his father passed away in 1989.  Just as the Queen of England is also the head of the church of England so Akihito is the head of the Shinto religion of Japan.  However, since the enshrinement of “War Criminals” at the Yasukuni shrine neither his father, Hirohito, nor Akihito have ever visited the shrine.  Please continue to pray for Akihito to continue to stand with truth and, as the Bible says, that he may know the truth and the truth will set him free.

12376821_10156250828400198_1847290316166126971_nOur day started with pancakes for breakfast.  Our grand-daughters Hannah and Amy helped make their own pancakes12391925_10156250827505198_2945015336636534965_n and we all ate them together.  They both seemed to have way too much fun not only making pancakes but also posing for photos.  Actually taking the pictures was an official assignment from our son David to help him keep up with his “Photo-a-day” project for his children.

Later on in the day we had the Lilley family over to have fun together and celebrate our season of preparation for Christmas together.  As it was cold and beginning to rain a little I was assigned to go and pick up the Lilley family.  Their girls were so excited to be coming to a party and have this opportunity to 10299090_10156250892990198_5210892777601353759_nplay with their friends.

Here is Greg – our fearless DTS Director –  with their newest baby Angela.  Food is12391297_10156250915615198_720132709134692573_n always a big part of celebration and of course cake is a must.  With Rachel in the background you can see Angela’s big sisters Arianna, Megumi and Psalm.  Look, remember the poinsettia from yesterday!!

Of course David & Tamara 1935396_10156250899510198_5904879448531432540_nattended and brought our favorite grand-son Caleb.  Isn’t he awesome!!  David also helped me to get my technical problem solved so hopefully this post will also show up on Face Book with a link to this blog.

12391428_10156250927840198_6767065311317004001_nI am so glad to have a Techie to help me solve these problems and to help with the preparation of my coming trip.  After David and Tamara and family had shared dinner with us they left with the van for their own home.  Rhonda and I relaxed with a TV show and a  final Skype call with Aiko and Mary at the bus stop on their way to Stanstead airport.  They will be staying with the awesome Deila Rivrud family in Norway!


Sarah Aiko’s Birthday

imageToday was a “Mount Fuji Day”. That is one of those clear, cloudless, blue sky days we get this time of year when Mount Fuji can be easily seen from our city.  After helping getting Rhonda on the road to visit Tamara and the grand kids, I went to Tulleys to meet with Gary – my fellow Brit who is on iDTS staff.  I was a little early so I went out on to the terrace where this view can easily be enjoyed.  Gary and I often get together but because of the iDTS schedule we had not been able to connect for a couple of months.image

This is Tulleys at Higashi Kurume station where I often meet with people for coffee and conversation.  Most of the staff know me now and I don’t even have to order as they already know what I like to drink.  I have met with two of the staff outside of their work and am hoping to meet with a couple more after I return from my trip.  Most times they will take the time to make my latte look imagespecial.  They really seem to enjoy doing this for me.  The only thing I need to tell them is if I need a take out cup or a mug for drinking there.  Not only are the staff friendly and the atmosphere very inducive to good conversations, it seems that I will often also meet others during my visits.  Today was no exception.  Gary and I had just sat down with our coffee when Phil Boaretto arrived and greeted us.  Phil is the pastor at the 3C church in Tokyo where several of our staff attend.  Now, Phil just happened to have a cool hat imageon so we posed for my regular routine!  When Phil and his wife first came to Tokyo they contacted me and we had coffee together which started a long and good friendship.  It is very encouraging to see how many young people regularly attend his church.

Gary and I did have a great time together, even spent time soaking in the local hot baths, which is always a good thing to do in the cold weather. After meeting with Gary,  I spent about fifteen minutes at the Post Office ATM carefully depositing the refunded money from about nine envelopes to prepare for the credit card payment next month.  Not quite enough money there yet but I need to make it up before I leave on Sunday – a very important part of my preparation.

imageNext I took the train to my son David’s house to pick up Rhonda, Hannah and Amy and drive them home where we had pizza together followed by our regular Advent time.  As they get older it is awesome to see their interest and love for advent grow.

On my way to David’s house I stopped to buy imagepoinsettia  for Rhonda.  We had seen some at the flower shop outside our local Seiyu store before we went grocery shopping but when we went back later they had all been sold.  Fortunately I found some on the way today.

Before heading off to bed we all had a very special Skype call with Sarah Aiko for her birthday.  Right after she got breakfast in bed from her favorite sister.





Our New Toy


Yes!  We now finally have our brand new second hand car.  It is a Toyota Noah with about 55,000 Kilometers on it.  We received it on Saturday just in time for us to get the car seats in and prepare for Sunday church.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

We are so grateful to all that went into our getting this vehicle.  Last Sunday our pastor preached on seeing any problems or difficulties we may experience becoming opportunities of evangelism.  We have definitely seen that happen during this time of finding a replacement vehicle.  What looked like one step forward and two backward led to us the dealer who on our first visit was quickly talking with us about his experience with visiting churches in both UK and here in Japan.  He has accepted our invitation to visit our church for the coming Christmas Jazz concert and will be coming with his wife!


Our Van Up-Date

I will try very hard to keep this one short.  As I mentioned earlier our car was not worth as much as the damage done to it.  It seems the other driver’s insurance is only liable for the value of the van so it does not look like we will be able to get the van repaired.  We have begun looking on the web for a replacement van but we just found out today that we are also liable for the cost of disposing of our damaged vehicle.  We were eligible through our insurance for a free tow but that has already been used getting the van to the repair shop for a quote.  I hope we can share some good news a little later.

Here is one of the many links we have researched in the last couple of days.  Fortunately we are able to access much information like this in English from time to time.

Quick Trip to UK

While this was a rather quick and short trip, it was not a surprise, at least not for me.  I had been planning it all year.  My original plan would have had me in the UK for over two weeks but the OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAlack of finances held me back from purchasing the ticket when the original plan was made.  This turned out for the best however, as I was able to spend so much of that time on the Pacific Hope in Hakodate.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe main reason for going was to surprise Sarah at her YWAM DTS graduation in Nuneaton.  I was scheduled to fly to UK on the Wednesday, the day after I returned from Hokkaido and the dry-dock.  However, that day was the tail end of the dust storm from China.  The extra strong winds delayed our departure so much that they had to abandon the take-off due to using too much fuel just getting to the front of the line.  We had spent five hours on the plane from boarding to getting off! Two hours waiting to join the line to run way, two hours in line as priority was being given to landing planes and another hour after deciding to cancel the flight, due to having lost too much fuel, before we were able to disembark!  Fortunately Sarah’s graduation was on the Friday evening so I still had time to get there.

The staff at the King’s Lodge where Sarah took her DTS were wonderfull co-conspirators, so when I arrived I was whisked quickly into the OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAguest rooms served diner and secretly escorted to the hallway outside the the meeting room where everyone was was waiting expectantly for the ceremony to begin.  Rick Joyce (staff on Sarah’s DTS) was chairing the meeting and he began by introducing the other parents who had come to the King’s Lodge to be a part of the celebration.  Sarah celebrated with her classmates without the slightest hint of an idea in her mind that I was just outside the room.  I am deeply indebted to Stephenie Hay (Staff on Sarah’s DTS) who made the digital recording of Sarah’s surprised face when she actually realised that I was there!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOf course a trip to UK would not be complete with out eating “Fish & Chips” so just to show that I did fulfil my obligation to renew my cultural heritage, I included a picture.  I did also take advantage of being in the UK to visit my mother a couple of times.  I believe that she is around 90 now, which is pretty awesome for someone who was told she would not live to be twenty!


I sometimes wonder now, was that the last time I will see my mother alive?  It was such a short time really but I was so glad that it was an opportunity realised.  We didn’t get to say too much to each other but then, words were not really OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAneeded.  Just being together, holding her hand and telling my Mum how much I loved her was such a memory to take back with me to Japan.

I could go on and on about this amazing woman who in the midst of so many obstacles raised five children right after World War Two during which she had served as a nurse treating those injured in action. (Which is how she met my dad).  However, separation from family is part of the call in overseas missions and I KNOW that I will see her again when this life is all over and done with and we shall talk again!


Well, duty calls and I need to return to Japan for our National Staff Conference.  I can’t leave the UK however, without one last hearty breakfast.  Tastes that I left behind and are not so easily available in the land of the rising sun!







End of Christmas

Well this is the twelfth day of Christmas and someone did send me something. None of the things listed in the song, however, but some nice brownies handmade by a OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAJapanese boy in Gifu.  We met in Ishinomaki and slept in the same music room at the school that being used as temporary residence for tsunami evacuees.  Ayato and his family spent a full day just driving from their home so that they could volunteer to help for one day before taking yet another day just to return to their home.  This was how they spent their holiday!  Awesome!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWell today I will be taking down all our Christmas decorations because that is what you do on the twelfth day of Christmas.  It made me wonder just how much do we do just because, that is what you do?  Instead of doing things because they have real meaning and are a part of who you are and what you live for.  In our mission we have a ‘slogan’: “To Know God and to Make Him Known”.  This defines everything we do and gives meaning to our daily activities.  We pursue knowing God so that when we share about Him with others it is out of our real relationship and not just because that is what we do.

Speaking of slogans, here in Japan it seems that three-word slogans are most popular.  Like  “Just Do It” or OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA“Inspire the Next” and “For Your Just” even “Lead the Value”.  Now, while I kinda get the drift of what they might be saying I guess I don’t really get the full impact.  I am sure that just like our “To Know God and to Make Him Known” they were not just a random selections of words but somehow they give impact and meaning to the company that created them.

It would take a lot of research and work to get behind these slogans and find out what they really mean.  Then I would fully understand what they were intended to say and that might even inspire me to buy their products.  Having said that if you, like me, are putting away Christmas but  without any real understanding of what really happened a long time ago, take a little time to reflect and dig deeper.  You could discover something that will impact, re-vitalize and change your life!