Monday, December 25, 2006

Christmas Breakfast

Well, instead of sleeping in on Christmas morning, we got up early to go to the Ruiz's for breakfast.

Are we gonna eat all this food?

Mark had this great idea to have a Christmas Breakfast.
We were not sure how many people could come, since it is not a Japanese holiday, but a regular workday for many.

Well, about 30 people came out. We had a great time eating (too much) and fellowshipping. Special thanks to the Ruiz's for allowing us to use their home as they were not even in Okinawa at the time.

Sunday, December 24, 2006 candlelight

SInce it was Christmas Eve, we decided to have a special W2. W2 stands for "Worship" and "the Word".

We still had a time of worship and prayer, but the message was (a little) shorter to leave time for some Christmas Carols by Candlelight.

Christmas Eve Service

Pastor Tom is away, but the ministries continue.

Ayu, Hide & Rob led worship.

Pastor Tim gave a special Christmas message, as we took a break from John's Gospel.

As you can see, we will soon need more space.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Emi turns Two

Well Emi turned two years old today. It seems like only yesterday that all she could do was cry and fuss...oh wait a minute...that was yesterday.

Seriously, Emi has been such a blessing in our life and she is growing up very quickly.

We pray that she will continue to have good health and will grow up strong; physically as well as spiritually.

I'm 2!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Ladies Christmas Dinner

Some pictures from the Ladies Dinner:

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Some Prayer Requests

We have a few events coming up that we would love to have prayer for:

1) 12/15 - Stephanie (Debe's sister) comes for a visit.

2) 12/16 - Ladies Christmas dinner/tea

3) 12/16 ~ 18 - Bible College students go home. We will miss them all!

4) 12/19 - December's Ladies Tea. Debe will share true meaning of Christmas with her English students.

5) 12/22 - Ruiz's leave to visit U.S. (Our Pastor and family). Pray for the church while they are away.

6) 12/24 - Christmas Eve at the Coffee House. Outreach/Worship.

7) 12/25 - Christmas morning breakfast. For all those here without family.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Pirates of Okinawa

This was from an outreach in Ginowan City, where our church is located.

We wanted to have a local outreach to meet some local kids and invite them to Church/youth group.

The team from California led and our church assisted. It was neat, they had some songs, some games, a Pirates skit, the Christmas story, and a craft time.

For many of these kids this was likely their first exposure to church or the real meaning of Christmas.

Pray that we can have more of these kinds of outreaches.

Shiori was listening intensely

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Christmas Party Outreach

Debe has a monthly luncheon with her English students.

For Christmas they had a Christmas party.

The party was at Mrs. S's house.

She is a wonderful Christian who has a heart for outreach.

There were some games and some food.

Joanna (our pastor's wife) came and shared the gospel message.

By all reports, it was a good time of feasting and sharing.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Makin' Muchi

What is "Muchi"?

Muchi is Okinawan style Mochi.
It is a little different from mainland Japanese mochi.

Mrs S. (right) showed us how to make it.

Two big differences from mochi:

1) The flavors: Beni imo, or Okinawan sweet potato, and Kurosato, or brown sugar, are two popular flavors.

2) The wrapping: In Okinawa they wrap the mochi in geto, similar to ti leaves. These grow everywhere here.

The students had a good time making muchi -- and an even better time eating it!

We were all blessed by Mrs. S coming and sharing a bit of Okinawan culture with us.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Thanksgiving Tea

Debe has a monthly tea for some of her English students. This gives her the opportunity to visit with the ladies outside of a "classroom" situation.

It is a good chance to share the Gospel, as well. Being November, this month's theme was about Thanksgiving.

Debe shared about the origins of Thanksgiving and how people were thankful to God. Japan also has a "Thanksgiving Day", but it is to thank people for their hard work.

She also shared Psalm 95:2
Let us come before His presence with Thanksgiving;
Let us shout joyfully to Him with Psalms.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Ishimine Church

This is Ishimine Baptist Church. Please pray for them as they are currently without a Pastor. This hasn't kept them from doing outreaches, however.

Dan is priviliged to teach a class there every Saturday for the youth.

Currently only 2 or 3 come, but as Jesus said, "Where 2 or 3 are gathered, I am there also." Plus, there is plenty of room for growth!

It is mostly an English class, but our goal is that it will become more of a youth group. Our hope is that many others would join. It would be cool if we could do some outreaches.

Debe also has an monthly Ladies Outreach here. Please pray that God would speak through us.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving!

Well another Thanksgiving has come.

We are very thankful for the many blessings we have, especially in Okinawa. We are able to get some things that were hard to come by in mainland Japan: Turkey, cranberry sauce and gravy, for starters.

The past couple years we celebrated at the Ruiz's home. This year, however, things were a little different. It was last January that Pastor Tom started the church here in Ginowan City. In the 11 months, the church has grown to where it would be much too crowded in their home. So this year we had Thanksgiving at the church.

It was a blast! With three turkeys and more pies than Sara Lee, we were prepared to feed the masses. And many folks came: 60 or 70 people at least. The cool thing was that many of them were first time visitors! Hopefully they will come back for church service.

While it was a day filled with food and fun, Pastor Tom gave a Gospel presentation as well.

We were so busy stuffing ourselves that we didn't take too many pictures. But here is one of an icebreaker game.

Photo courtesy e3missions

Sunday, November 19, 2006


I should have been suspicious when I heard we were having a nabe party the other day. Not that there is anything wrong with nabe -- nabe means "a pot for cooking" in Japanese -- there are several excellent meals you can make in your nabe (Shabu Shabu, Sukiyaki, to name a few)

When I heard that Lisa and Ping were coming too, it was nothing unusual -- they come occasionally for a meal.

But when I heard that Debe's homeschool student, Kento, was also coming, well that was unusual. Not that I minded, but I should have expected that there was more than just "nabe" planned for the evening.

Well, it turned out to be an early birthday party for Dan. Dan tries each year to sneak by without a celebration, but never seems to succeed. Hey, when you are 20 or 25 it is something you want to celebrate. When you start hitting the 30's or more, you don't necessarily want the reminder!

I'm just kidding really! I do appreciate the well wishes I received.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Kids Choir

Some more pictures from the Franklin Graham Festival.

They had many choirs: this was the Kids Choir. On the right is Lisa, Debe's sister. Many of her students were in the choir.

It was a great time of many churches working together with the common purpose of building God's Kingdom. God's Holy Spirit moved that weekend and is still moving today!

Please continue to pray for the churches here in Japan.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Franklin Graham

photo courtesy e3missions

The Franklin Graham Festival was really, really cool.

If you have been to a Billy Graham Crusade it was quite similar in style, although it seemed to have a wider variety of music.

Many 100's went forward to receive Jesus -- Praise God!

I was feeling kind of bad: since we live about an hour away we were not able to be as involved as we would have liked. With my work schedule I was not able to assist with counseling or the choirs even. All I could do was invite a few English students.

But God does not ask us to do more than we are able to do. I was excited to find out that one of my students did go and became a Christian. And there were some others that we have been praying for, for a long time, they also made a decision to follow Jesus Christ.

So, it was a reminder to me that we just need to be faithful with what God gives us and to leave the miracles to Him.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

New Church

These are some photos from are good friends Larry and Mona Torrez. Larry is in the Marines and was previously stationed in Okinawa. They have 4 boys: Brandon, Anthony, Rafael & Noah

Well, they are in Havelock, NC now and Larry has started a new church! It is exciting for us, because if you know Larry, you know that he is called to be a pastor. We'll be praying for you guys!

Friday, November 03, 2006

Bibles Needed

For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. -- Hebrews 4:12

On Sunday evenings we have been going through the Old Testament. Currently, we are in Leviticus. It has been quite interesting seeing how the Old Testament ties into the New Testament. It really is true that when you teach something, you end up learning a lot more than you teach!

There is however a need for more Japanese bibles. We have been blessed by Campus Crusade with several Japanese New Testaments, but there are only a few Old Testaments. They are not cheap -- about $30 each.

Would you lift this need up in prayer when you get a chance?
I believe that God wants His Word read and will therefore provide us with a supply of Japanese Bibles.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Harvest Time

Japan loves to celebrate the seasons and Autumn is no exception. There are certain foods to be eaten now and certain events that take place only in Autumn.

So it is no surprise that many Japanese people are very interested in the seasons in other countries. Debe decided to have an Autumn lunch with her Tuesday morning English class.

These ladies are a lot of fun and they love to eat and talk. They had a great time and also learned about harvest time in the U.S.

Debe shared how the Bible teaches that a man will reap what he sows (Galatians 6:7). She wanted to have these lunches once a month to give her the opportunity to share more about the Bible. One of her students is already a Christian and is quite helpful at steering the conversations.

They are looking forward to November's lunch; naturally Debe will be talking about Thankfulness.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Prayer Requests

There are several events coming up. Would you lift these up in prayer with us?

October 27: Skateboard Competition - hosted by Calvary Chapel Okinawa City, this is an outreach geared towards the youth.

October 29: Sambi Fest - "Sambi" means praise in Japanese. This will be a time of worship at Mihama/American Village (a popular shopping center).

October 31: Harvest Carnival - a safe alternative to Halloween parties -- plus a chance to get to know local Okinawans that have an interest in American culture (there will be a gospel presentation, as well)

November 3-5: Franklin Graham Crusade - tons of preparation has been put into this. Pray for God to do a mighty work on the island.

We realize that it is only through God's power that anything worthy will be accomplished, so we want to bathe everything in prayer. Please pray with us!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

An Answered Prayer

As many of you know, Debe's mom, Hiroko lives with us. She is a real blessing to us as she helps to watch Emi and assists in many things around the house.

Well last week, she had this really bad back pain. It was like someone was clenching my back with their hands. She did not mention this to any of us and she went to bed still in great pain.

Unable to sleep, she felt the only thing left to do was ask God to take the pain away. The next thing she remembers is waking up at 3:30 am, needing to use the toilet. Afraid to stand, but having no choice, she gingerly tried to stand up.

To her amazment, the pain was no more! God had answered her prayer. This was a huge faith builder for her, as she only recently became a Christian.

God was faithful to heal her of her pain, and Hiroko has been faithful to mention it to anyone who will listen!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Tea Ceremony

Today we were blessed to experience Japanese Tea Ceremony. As the name implies, this is more than just a cup of Lipton.

One of the girls from church, Kayo, studied Tea Ceremony for a while and was willing to demonstrate it for the college students, as well as provide the kimonos and tea utensils.

As with many things in Japan, there is a lot of structure in Tea Ceremony. There are certain things to say, certain times to say them and certain movements to make.

It is almost like a dance or art form. Other art forms are also have a kata, or form: martial arts, flower arranging, calligraphy.

Unfortunately, some of this thinking is also in the Japanese churches. people have a mindset that "This is how church is done." This explains a lot of the ritualism in the churches. While there is nothing wrong with tradition and ritual, it is a problem when it becomes more important than following the leading of God.

Sunday, October 08, 2006


Well, this weekend was the time for Tsukimi, or "moon viewing", in Japan. The first full moon in the fall (autumnal equinox) marks the official start of fall for many people.

In Japan, people say there is a rabbit on the moon. Not only that, but he is pounding mochi (rice cake)!

Many folks will have a moon viewing party or go to one of the festivals. We decided to go to Shuri Castle this year. Okinawan castles are distinct from Japanese castles. Unfortunately, they were all destroyed during WW2. Shuri castle was reconstructed, however, so it is fun to go there. It is cool at night because it is lit up and they had some Okinawan performances.

The coolest thing was, we met an old friend, Yasuo. We first met her in Hawaii 8 or 9 years ago. She remembered us and wants to get together. Hopefully she will come to church as she lives just down the road.

We came to see the moon, but God wanted us to reconnect with Yasuo. Pray that she will see her need for God in her life.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Residency Approved

Well, we had a blessing this week. We were approved as "Permanent Residents."

No, that does not mean we are forced to live here forever.

What it does mean is that we are no longer required to have a visa to live here. It will be easier to come and go and, theoretically at least, it should be easier to do things like rent an apartment, get credit.

Of course, we know that this world is not our home. We will continue to seek God's will and leading. For now, though, we know that He wants us in Okinawa.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Natsumi off to the Big City

We have known our good friend Natsumi (left) for 3 years now.

She is such an encouragement and help as she is fluent in both English and Japanese.

Not only that, but she also attended seminary in the U.S., so she makes a great translator too.

Well, we are sad to see her leave us, but we know that she must follow God's leading and He has opened up an opportunity in Tokyo.

She will be far from us, but we know that God will be with her and lead and guide her.

Emi will miss her "Auntie"