Tohoku Vision Trip Day 1 Post 2

Ayashi station.  From here it is a twenty minute trainride into central Sendai, the biggest city in the Tohoku area.  We had a beautiful day in which to prayer walk around this city where Gary is feeling they should begin their journey in the Tohoku region.  Our first impression was a fairly quiet area, very green, open people and quite peaceful.

This is Mosese, a native of Fiji who joined us on our second prayer trip to Tohoku and is back again for this our final vision trip before we send out the team to pioneer the new location.  Mosese and I were paired up for prayer today.

My eyes were caught be these awesome purple flowers so I took a quick break from the prayer time to capture this picture.  I love it when I can find flowers in my favourite colour.

Ayashi has many wonderful features.  High up on the list however is that there is a McDonalds there.  Not just an ordinary run of the mill McDonalds but a McCafe where they make a serious cappuccino.  Here the nice sales lady is drawing  a bunny on the protective sleeve of my drink.

Tohoku Vision Trip Day 1 Post 1

On the drive up to Tohoku it has become a tradition to stop at the very first rest stop on the Tohoku expressway and take a team photo in front of the beautiful flowers laid out there especially for such occasions.  A kind Japanese man took this photo for us so these are all the members of our team.

Another tradition we have always faithfully observed on these trips is to purchase a cup of coffee from the Excelsior coffee shop, especially to enable the driver to stay focused on the road.   Laura and I took advantage of the extra big cups to keep us going.  Laura is the official videographer for our final vision trip to Tohoku.

Of course, wherever I go I am looking for beautiful flowers.  Today I found this Iris in the city of Ayashi.  In Japanese Ayashi is written using two Kanjis and looks like this. 愛子 The first kanji means “Love” and the second one means “Child”

東北 Tohoku

This car number plate is from the city of Sendai in the Tohoku region of Japan.  While Sendai is not the capital of the Tohoku region, it is the biggest city there.  I will be a part of the final vision trip to 東北 before we send out our long term team to this region later this year.

My first trip to Sendai was as a wedding pastor.  I was requested to perform a wedding at Saint George’s Chapel.  It was nowhere as big as the Saint George’s church where the royal wedding just occurred; neither were there as many people in attendance.

This Wednesday we will return to 東北 and also Sendai, however, not in as nice a vehicle as the one in the picture above.

This is a picture of the Seddon family – Gary from Liverpool, Naoko from Japan, and Kai their son.  They will be the leaders of our 東北 team.  It will be one small step for Gary and his family and one big step for us here in YWAM Japan as we stand with them in the first of several planned new locations to be pioneered.

Harry & Meghan

Our Father who is in heaven

Yesterday, along with countless others and thanks to  modern technology, I sat in my front room with one of my favourite people in the whole world (Rhonda Lee Somers-Harris) and watched the wedding of Harry and Meghan.  There were 600 guests in Saint George’s Church to witness the ceremony.

One of the highlights for me was the look of pure joy on the face of this guy, right before Meghan entered Saint George’s Church.

It was a rather nostalgic moment for me, as when I was younger, I used to be a choirboy in an Anglican church, St. Peter’s Church in Brighton.  There were the familiar robes, real candles, and of course the power of the liturgy.

When they recited the Lord’s Prayer, memories flooded back of the times we recited it at assembly in school as well as at every service in St. Peter’s.  There were 600 people there saying together, “Our Father.” Some were rich, some were famous, some were old, some were young, yet in the presence of God our Father, none of these distinctions mattered; they were all the same.  From the Queen to the pageboy, all had the same access to Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Now, Harry and Meghan are married and carry the title of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, the same county where I was a choirboy  in the parish church of St. Peter’s in Brighton.

I am so grateful for the technology that enabled me to watch this historic event and feel one with so many others who pray to “Our Father”. However, I glanced up from typing this and quickly noticed that this same technology that had just last night enabled me to feel one with so many different people, can so easily trap us into our own little insular world and prevent us from moving on from “Our Father” to seeing the fulfilment of “Your Kingdom Come”.

As Michael Curry shared at the wedding, there is power in Love.  I pray that everyone who reads this and acknowledges God as their Father, will take time every day to step out of our technological bubbles and share the power of love to the people around them and see lives changed and transformed as more and more we seek and see His Kingdom come.

Hallowed be your name;

your kingdom come;

your will be done

on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.

And forgive us our sins

as we forgive those that sin against us.

Lead us not into temptation,

but deliver us from evil.

For yours is the kingdom,

the power, and the glory

for ever and ever.