Greetings Dear Loved Ones & Prayer Partners!
What a beautiful spring! We are being surrounded by God’s blessings! Over 100 attended our Easter Egg Hunt and then our daughter Daeon delivered us a beautiful new grandbaby!
Kim is fortunate enough to have been there to celebrate the arrival on April 15th at 9:03 am of our eighth grandbaby, Kaelyn Shelby White. She is SO beautiful and I hope Kim will be able to enter some pictures to our blog soon. Kaelyn is a perfect 7 pounds 10 ounce, 19 ½ inch long blue eyed beauty! Even though I haven’t been able to return to the states I’ve been blessed with many pictures and several video chats to talk to the proud parents, Grandma (Baba) and even to Kaelyn herself! Also there for the big event were Granny and Gramps, Heather and Bo and their two boys, and shortly after the arrival, Tony and his family were able to make it to Murfreesboro to visit with everyone. Kim is really enjoying the time with all the family members and so thankful for all of your prayers that are making this trip so wonderful.
Now back to the Easter Egg Hunt. All during the week before Easter my elementary and kindergarten students took to the task of coloring eggs. Joined by Mako’s students altogether we had about 600 eggs to hide! It was the first time any of the kids (or mothers) had seen anything like the colored eggs. It was so much fun watching the kids joy as the eggs changed colors and took on all kinds of beautiful designs. We were blessed with a beautiful spring day on April 11th and the park we were using had many cherry trees that were in full bloom. The area was so full with new life….what a wonderful place to celebrate the resurrection. At 9:30, Sayuri, Keisuke, Yano, Pastor Kitamura and his wife and I started hiding the eggs. It was a big park, and in about 45 minutes we were able to hide all of the eggs. The people started arriving about 10:15 and the kids were ready to go! It took us until about 11 before we had everyone registered and ready to go. I had bought baskets to give to all of the children, and Naoko (young mom in our church) had prepared the 12 Resurrection Eggs and wonderful colored pictures to explain the story. We started with the youngest first, so off went the 2 & under children….then the 3 year olds, the 4 and by now the others were so anxious…they were all filled with so much excitement. In total 61 children received baskets and joined in the activities. After the eggs were found everyone (total adding in the parents was close to 110 people) gathered in one section of the park and Pastor Kitamura asked the child with egg number one to please come forward. He opened it up and asked the child what the object was. He then read the Bible verse that pertained to the item. Naoko had large pictures that she had made and explained the story of the object to the children in a very fun and easy to understand way. We are so blessed to have her and her family in our church. Besides running our Sunday School class, she and her husband are strong members of the Gideons and he is very active in the distribution of Bibles throughout our area.
For those in attendance (and everyone in Japan) the word Easter had no meaning. We do have Christmas in Japan, but basically an economic holiday for the stores, but many know at least that it is a birthday story, but as far as Easter goes, the word isn’t anywhere in their language. So out of the 110 people, about 90 heard the Easter story for the FIRST TIME! It was so GREAT! Our God is so AWESOME to provide us with such a large turnout and people eager to hear about the meaning of Easter. After the Easter Story was told and the last egg, number 12, the empty egg was opened, Pastor talked directly to those in attendance. Afterwards Kaori (another young person in our church) and Sayuri (13 year old that comes to our English service) led all of the kids in playing some games. While they were playing Keisuke (Sayuri’s 14 year old brother) and I started to cook polish sausage. I had made about 6 pounds of pasta salad and then we cooked 150 sausage. Everyone had a great and wonderful time and are already looking forward to our next outing.
We are working so hard to gain the trust and faith of those people that attended the Egg Hunt. Many had attended the Christmas party, Halloween party or had joined our overnight camping trip. Please pray that God’s Spirit will continue to talk to each and everyone that we are building those relationships with that His Spirit can soften and open their hearts to His wonderful love! We are now in the process of planning our two- day camp, and will again be doing our August sausage cookout in the park as part of our Tuesday Bible Study. So please continue to pray for the success of all these functions.
While Kim is gone I’m doing my best to stay busy so I don’t miss her so much. (IT DOESN’T WORK) On the 24th I invited my Monday class ladies, Tuesday ladies and Friday Friendship group over to the house for a BBQ. I cooked up some great eats and included a big bowl of pico de gallo and a tray of 7 layer bean dip to get everyone started. Everyone had a great time and it is probably the biggest nucleus of those that we are working with. Several of the ladies attend our Bible study regularly and others have joined our 5th Sunday sings, so please pray that those relations will grow til the time when they truly accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior.
Next week is ‘Golden Week’ here as there are 4 national holidays in an 8 day period, so there will be some much needed rest time for me. I will be traveling for 2 days to attend a tournament that Zack is playing in so please pray for safe travel and the rest that I so dearly need. Starting in May I will be doing the elementary school classes on Thursday mornings instead of Friday, so I will have nonstop classes from about 8:30 in the morning until 8 o’clock at night. My only rest time will come while driving from one class to another. So no lunch or rest time, but maybe it will help my weight….but the good part is it will free me up for Fridays so I can put all of my energy into working with others. Thanks again for all of your prayers and things that allow us to accomplish so much. Continue to pray for Kim and her trip, and of course those of us left here doing His work each day.
Kim is doing pretty good on the blog, a little slow now at Daeon’s, but please check it out to enjoy what’s going on in our lives. http://theraven4god.blogspot.com/
We trust God to equip us for each and every challenge and opportunity that comes our way. Your prayers and support are vital. Please pray with and for us that God will guide us in all we do and that He will lead us to follow His purpose, wherever that may be, and use us as instruments of His love in all we do. Should God ask any of you to partner with us in our outreach for Him, please send any love offerings to: Bethlehem United Methodist Church, for Baranski John Alan Mission Fund, c/o Becky Wack, 1003 Rowan Cove, New Albany, Ms. 38652.
In His love & walking before Him, the Baranski Bunch