Saturday, April 27, 2013

Nagano, April 2013

God’s Blessings to you Dear Loved Ones & Prayer Partners!
            Last month we told you that spring was here, well on April 21st we had a BIG snow storm!  YUCK!  But we feel pretty confident that it will be our last for this year!  We had close to 20 people come to watch the Passion of the Christ movie on Easter evening.  Several non-believers so it was great to see the way the movie talked to them.  Two of the ladies that came are also members of our Tuesday Bible study group, and last Tuesday one of them had a great story that I will share with you.  She is continually growing closer and closer to believing but has trouble with her husband giving her the chance to come Sundays and to totally commit as a believer.  I always start each bible study asking if there are any questions.  She raised her hand and said, “I don’t have a question but I want to share what happened during last weeks bible study.  I told several of you that I had a terrible headache, (3 ladies nodded yes) but didn’t have my medicine.  I quietly prayed to God that He would take away the pain, and like that, it was gone! I could really feel His presence and that He loves me and answers my prayers!”  It was such a great moment!  PRAISE GOD!  I think that her family situation is the only thing that is really holding her back.  You have to understand the culture here to really appreciate the struggle that she is going through.  I ask each of you to please pray for her.  I won’t give her name, but I know and trust that our Lord knows.  THANKS!
            Last month we also told you about Kim’s class schedule being cut in ½.  Of course we knew that there was some kind of reason, but as humans we were still concerned!  We emailed many of you about our fellow missionary friend here in Nagano that was back in the states to attend her husband’s father’s funeral.  Unfortunately she had a terrible heart attack.  She was in the hospital for 20 days, and has now returned to his mothers’ home in Louisiana recovering and not sure when she will be able to return.  She had a fulltime job supporting their ministry working at a private school teaching elementary, junior high and high school students.  The money allowed her husband the freedom to only reach out.  Well, God is so awesome…..Kim was able to pick up 2 days of her classes until she returns, and another missionary’s wife that lives about 30 miles away is doing the same for the other 3 days.  So Liz is protected and her classes will be waiting for her return.  We ask you to please continue to pray for her full recovery and that they will one day soon be able to return and continue with their wonderful work here.
            If you have been reading our blog, you know that I may have made a huge mistake!  I will be making my professional (I won’t get paid) wrestling debut against the Chin Tiger on June 22nd.  I need lots of prayers!  Ha, ha!  Actually last month Kim and I met a friend that we haven’t seen in several years who is now working almost full time with the ‘Happy Spot Club’.  It is a volunteer group that works with anyone that needs help, mostly orphans, handicap children and old people.  She is constantly posting things they are doing and Kim and I both wanted to get involved.  I see her father every week at our Tuesday Bible Study, but she has never responded to our request.  So when we met her face to face she said that on June 22nd they were having a huge all day event and could use our help.  She asked me if I wanted to wrestle.  She said we have a group called the Shinshu Professional Wrestling Association that works with the Happy Spot Club with many of the same goals in mind.  They look similar to the WWE, but their goal is to show good sportsmanship and always leave a moral message after each event.  On the 22nd they have invited a group of deaf wrestlers from Tokyo to come to compete, also two 20 year old local boys who are unable to walk and have always dreamed of getting into the ring.  The leader of the group, ‘The Great Mucha’ is making it all come true.  He has had their remarkable story published in the paper and is working hard for the local TV station to cover the event to bring people’s attention to how hard these kids are working to overcome their handicaps!
            Well, I told her since I broke my neck that I was ‘handicapped’ too, and also OLD!  YUCK!  But I would be happy to dress up as Santa and give all the kids candy canes!  (I know it’s not Christmas in June, but the joy of Christmas is EVERYDAY!) So she said that would be great. Several minutes later she brought the director and sub-director of the Happy Spot Club to meet Kim and I.  It was great talking with them, and they were glad that we could join them.  About 1 hour later another friend of ours (also comes to the Tuesday Bible Study) came in with a group of elementary school moms for a goodbye party as one of them  was being transferred.  I asked her if she wanted to meet Tochan’s (the name means father, because our friend brought her dad to the bible study, so I nick named him Tochan) daughter and she said YES!  So we went into the back of the room and met the Great Mucha face to face!  If you go to our blog, you can see some of the photos of that first meeting.  Also in the same room was a group of young boys and their dads from a local soccer club, and one of them was a former student of mine.  So when the Great Mucha faked a punch to my chin, shows of strength, headlocks and no-holds barred fun took place!  I had a BALL and brought back so many memories of watching wrestling with the kids.  The next thing I know the match for June 22nd was on!  So we are coming up with our character.  I think I will go as ‘Big Bad John’ and use that same song as my entrance.  We have a cute video with the song that we are going to post on facebook to our wrestling friends to help stimulate interest in the event.  I want to purchase 300 red bandanas to give to all the kids and make them honorary ‘Little Johnnies’!  It should be lots of fun!  But I do need your prayers!  They promised me that they won’t hurt me and it’s all for such a great cause!
            Ian has finished his work at the ski resort and has headed off for a new adventure.  He loves music, but is so restricted in our town.  (not many young people) So he went to stay with a friend that lives near Tokyo and now has 2 new jobs.  The first and least exciting is working at an Outback Steakhouse restaurant.  He hopes to learn cooking, so will spend sometime in the kitchen and because of his skill at Japanese and English, will also work sometimes waiting on tables.  The second job, and really only part time, is doing DJ work at  local live music houses.  He is really excited about the opportunity and is also still active with his hip-hop group, but the distance he is living apart from them prohibits his practicing the amount that they like to.  We are hoping that he will connect with some new friends and will be able to continue that love too!  Zack’s team has the Kanto tournament in May, stay tuned!
We will let you know next month the outcome. 
          By His grace, God equips us for all that He presents. 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 addition to our needs, if your heart leads you to send us financial aid for the 3/11/11 victims please make a note with your love offering that it is for the on-going disaster relief. Thank-you all so much for your prayers and giving hearts.
We hold you always in our hearts and prayers with praise and thanksgiving.            
In His love & always walking before Him, the Baranski Bunch  

Sunday, April 21, 2013


With spring starting to show itself and it being my last free Friday before I'm back at classes John and I hosted his 'Friday Friendship' group at our house.

We had four ladies,

and two little guys join us.

On the menu was John's infamous potato chip salad,

home made hamburgers!

and home made strawberry shortcake - yum!
The ladies, kids and I all enjoyed everything,
but since John has been trying to watch what he eats
he had no bun with his burger
and NO shortcake!

Trying to eat as few as possible carbs
I've tried to get a little more creative with his breakfasts.
Like cabbage tacos filled with eggs, sausage and

some leftover stir fried cucumbers and onions from the previous nights dinner.

Though the nights still get pretty chilly
we felt like spring was at last making its way here.

Our plum tree was sharing delicate pink blossoms.

Daffodils, tulips and others were brightening our days.

Trees all over were decorating our days with their many colors!

And then....
on April 21st,
the day of the annual Nagano City Marathon...
We woke to this outside!!!??!

Our fuji (wisteria) bush
that John has trained to be a summer shade canopy
had been starting to bloom and fill in.
It went from this, yesterday...
to THIS today!
You just never know what surprises God has waiting for you!
Find the joy in them all!
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Friday, April 5, 2013

Livin' the Life!

Always room for improvement, but I am doing a little better at not letting quite so much time lapse between postings.
Even in this, our 'slow' time (at least for classes), we've all been keeping pretty busy.

 In March, John and I celebrated another year of being blessed to share love and life together as husband and wife.                                         

God is so good!

Ian has just finished up another winter of work at Hakuba Resort. He took full advantage of the free boarding on his days off, often visiting the snow park to hone his skills on the rails, jumps and all that other stuff I don't know the names for ;-)      Lots of bumps, bruises and sore parts, but thankfully nothing was broken... well, except for his favorite board on his last day out - OUCH! Better the board than the body I believe! (and he did have boarders insurance to cover it - yay!)
He's doing more and more music events all the time, too, so keeps him busy.

Zack and several of his team members just returned from Taiwan, where they had some special practices and games with both university and pro teams there.  Always busy with basketball, and classes for his junior year start up next week.  As defending national university champions they have their work cut out for them in the coming year! 

then there's this!
John and I have always tried to have a regular 'date night' to share together, it's good for the marriage relationship :-)

So, last week we were at a local restaurant and happened to see a friend that was there with a group of folks. She asked us to come back where they were sitting and meet some of them - a couple were members of the Shinshu Pro Wrestlers.
Introductions.. handshakes.. then WHAMMO!  A chin chopper!

Then hands were locked and it was on!

Arms in the air!!!


Scowls and growls as the arms went down!


And then John managed to get the masked man in a head scrubber!


The challenge was made and met!
They will meet in the ring on June 22nd!!!!!!!

maybe I got a little dramatic...
but it was fun ;-) !

So the friend we saw is a care worker. She is also very involved with a local group in Nagano - The Happy Spot Club. This group does many things in the Nagano area to benefit the under privileged such as handicapped persons, children that have been abused or orphaned, the elderly, and those living in care centers.  The two masked wrestlers that were there that night volunteer lots of time to do events with them.  We told them that we would love to  get involved and help out at events whenever our schedules would permit.  Immediately we were told of their big event coming up on June 22nd. Initially John offered to be a summer Santa for the event, then after meeting the wrestlerrs they thought it would be great if he were to have a match with "Great Mucha"... and so... after a lifetime of watching it on TV with our children...  Big Daddy is entering the ring!      All prayers welcomed!
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