As you probably know, while I headed off to the states this summer to give and get hugs and stock up as best I could on some extended family/friend/church time, John remained in Japan to be there for Ian and Zack as well as to fulfill responsibilities as "theraven4god".
Just days after I took off, our little church in Nagano was host to a small group of Korean Christians that came to share and spread their love for God and joy in knowing Him as Saviour.
This visit was a follow-up to the huge Love Sonata event that occurred here last year. The group visited several area churches where they sang gospel songs, with musical accompaniment, put on plays portraying the struggles that we all face and how God is always at our side to offer His way through the trials and temptations we face in daily life, and gave testimonies to what choosing Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour has meant in their lives.
Our experiences with the Korean Christians that come to Japan are always a blessing and it is so encouraging to their joy in being His children.
Next up was the annual Bible Story Cookout!
John puts this together every summer in place of one of his weekly Tuesday Bible Study meetings.
It's held a small local park and open to all his students, friends, and friends of friends.. so pretty much anyone!
One of the member families from Nagano Bible Church is always a great asset to this event. They have a printing shop and always make huge, colorful, story boards to go along with the Bible story. It makes the story come to life easier for those who don't know the Bible. And not just for the kids!
Following the story time John always grills sausage dogs for everyone (this year over 90 people!) to go along with the buckets of pasta or cabbage salad he prepares. This year he was thankful to have a helper in a young man that we've come to know and love (along with his family) while he was home from school on summer vacation.
Just two days later it was time for the yearly Kid's (with adult helpers) Cooking Class John leads every year at the community center where he teaches an adult English class.
Usually, Pastor Kitamura and/or I are around to help out a little, but somehow this year we were both gone so John was on his own.
This man always performs at his best when under pressure though so not to worry. This happened to be the year that the local TV station chose to come and film the entire class! They interviewed John and several of the cooking students and filmed the whole time. They condensed it into about a ten minute spot that aired that evening on local stations :-) Perhaps I'm slightly biased... but he did a wonderful job!!
I'm trying to figure out how I might post at least a bit of the film.
With 33 students and one teacher John was plenty busy teaching them all the menu of taco rice, grilled cheese sandwiches and apple crisp. Plus answering questions for the TV crew. The food all disappeared by the end of the class so it must have been a success!
After all the food is prepared and just before they eat John always leads them in a prayer of thanksgiving and tells them how wonderful God is to provide everything. It's a great way to let them know that everything we have we get from Him!