Day Four: Picnic Day

Today we went back into Fuchu to join in a picnic with Pastor Yoshito and his missional community. They brought some not-yet-Christian friends. Drew and Meg were able to bring some buddies, both Christian and non-Christian, to this get-together, as well. It was held in a really beautiful park in this calm, family-friendly part of Tokyo. Yoshi's vision is to build a people who live lives in community with gospel intentionality. A picnic like this fits with that vision. It was a privilege to spend the day there, chatting with new Japanese friends and reacquainting ourselves with old ones. A young lady named Maki visited Karis Church numerous times this past year and always seemed to enjoy interacting with my daughter, Melia. She now lives in Osaka after one year at Mizzou. We also met her friend Ivy who is a four-year Mizzou student and plans to worship with us when she returns in the fall. It was a relaxing day. It was a reminder of how intentional faithful missionaries live their lives and even experience leisure, and how we need to recapture that vision for our lives back in the states.

 

Day Two: Japan Church Planting

Yesterday we had the opportunity to meet up with Yoshito Noguchi and his family. He is a church planter in Fuchu, a beautiful part of Tokyo Metro. He is a native Japanese man. However, he spent time in the U.S. at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He also has been trained by the Soma guys up in Tacoma. For that reason, I think there is some great overlap in terms of philosophy and methodology with Karis Church. They are planting utilizing a missional community model. The Lord is already blessing them with baptisms already. However, he reemphasized to us just how slow things go in Japan. The Lord has really been teaching him patience lately. I really enjoyed my time with Yoshi.

He gave us a tour of Fuchu. It is beautiful. It’s a part of the city where many young families try to live, making it far easier to build relationships. The “broadway” of Fuchu is stunning, with massive trees and modern, clean shops and restaurants. If I were ever going to live in Japan, that’s where I would want to live. We visited the temple there, as well. It’s huge. It is a reminder of the spiritual desolation of the city. People actually pay money to buy a ticket to get a number that may result in getting a prayer answered. So tragic.

That evening we had some sushi. Everything I had was cooked, although I did try it in years past. I ate plenty of fried shrimp. I even had some french fries. These restaurants are a blast, though. Trays of sushi on conveyor belts cycle past your table. When you see something you want, you grab it. You then pay by the number of small plates in your stack, which is often quite tall.

After sushi, Yoshi took us home. Evy didn’t sleep well last night, so the Groves are dragging a bit today. Please pray for them. We are headed out to the beach and then to see the city of Kamakura, one of the earlier capitals of Japan. I’m blogging from the train. Did I mention I LOVE the trains? Night, night, y’all.