Friday, June 30, 2006

tea, disc golf, and onsen

OK, it`s been a long 24-36 hours. Sorry for not posting a new blog until now. It will not happen again! OK, no promises. Anyways let me tell you all about my day.
First of all one of my readers invited all of us to a traditional Japanese tea ceremony. The four of us, Judith, and Sugao left the churhc at around 10 this morning. We got to her house and prepared for the ceremony. Apparently she does this every year, not sure though. We all sat down for a minute and then we just repeated what she did. We first went outside and there was a bowl of ice water. We had to grab the ladle and pour water over our hands. Then we put some water in our mouth and spit it out. This is to resemble cleansing or something, not exactly sure. Anyways, next came the actual ceremony. There was a little hidden door, and when opened there was a little room with tatami mats. These mats are very expensive no shoes of any kind are to be worn on them. We then had to all fit inside of the little room. Then came the sweets. The tea is very bitter so the sweets help to dull the tea. The "sweets" as they call them, are really not that sweet. I think that it was some sort of melon/sweet bean gelatin of some sort. It was actually very tasty. Then the tea is served to one person at a time. First was Sugao, he had done it before so he knew what to do. Next was Judith, Bryan, me, Tyrel, and then Tyler. What you do is grab the bowl and place it in the palm of your left hand. The art work on the bowl is facing you, so you turn the bowl three times and you drink from the back. You are suppose to drink it all in 3 gulps, and you cannot leave anything in there. It is very bitter and very hot. After you drink it, you take your fingers and wipe the area that you just drank from. You then place it in your left palm and turn it again with your right hand. You place the bowl on the floor and the art work on it is facing you again. You are suppose to admire the artwork. Then, she let us all make a bowl of tea. There are very strict rules in how to do everything, and it all has to be done perfect. Sugao went first and she made him do it over again because he messed up. It is a lot of work to make a little bowl of tea, and it would take forever to describe it. To make a long story short, it was hard and took quite a while, but it was educating and fun. After we exited the small room, she served us lunch. Wow, we had a real Japanese feast. First, we were given tofu salad. It actually was not to bad. Then we were served this rice, seaweed, ginger, mushroom, salmon eggs, and mystery meat combo/casserole. It was cold by the way. Yeah, my dice. It wasnt that great and the salmon eggs were just....well....they were gross. Then we had some tempura. It was delicious. We had shrimp, pumpkin (we call it butter-nut squash, but they call it pumpkin), eggplant, fish, and a leaf. Tempura is fried. It was all very good, even the leaf. We were also served this tofu soup and pickled cucumbers (delicious), and what I think was green beans. For dessert we had melon, cherries, and watermelon. That was good. We also had buckwheat tea, and it is to strong for me. We then left and that was the tea ceremony part of our day. It was all very unique and exciting. Definately a once in a life time experience. I highly reccomend it.
Next, we rode the train into Omika and met Mike there so we could go play some disc golf. If you have never heard of the game, it originated in the states in the 80`s and is huge in Japan. Basically you play just like golf. You have your driver, all purpose disc, the short distance disc, and your putter. Instead of a hole there is a metal basket that you have to put your disc into. It is SO MUCH FUN!!! I highly recommend it. The holes are not that long, and this was a 27 hole course and it took us almost 2 hours to play. I got a couple of pars, lots of bogeys, and no birdies. A couple of Mikes and Bryans almost got hole in ones. It was quite exciting. The longest hole was 99 meters. I think the average was about 40 meters. It was a blast. I only used a putter and all purpose disc and I was fine. If there is a disc golf course near you (3 in Lubbock! can oyu believe it) you seriously need to go. AMAZING!!!
Next, we went to the rahmen shop for dinner and I was starving. I ordered two plates of gyoza!! Thats like 10 dumplings. I ate nine of them and gave the other one to Tyrel. He loved it. We had to be at the Hitachi church at 7:30 for a praise concert that Mike and some of our readers were singing in. It was great. After the concert they had snacks, and I found my new favorite candy- blueberry kit kats. Delicious!!! I dont think they have them in the states, but if they do, try them. After the concert the guys talked us in to going to the onsen. The 4 of us went, along with Sugao, Judith, Mike, Rusty, and this guy Matt. Tyler and I were hesitant about going, but we are so glad we did. Let me tell you what an onsen is. It is basically a hot bath. There is a place for the guys to go, and a place for the women to go so we are all seperated. When you first walk into the building, you take your shoes off and place 100 yen into a locker to keep them there. Then you turn your key in and they give you a bracelet. There is a bar code on it, so everytime you buy something from the kitchen or vending machines, you just scan the barcode. Dont worry, at this point we are all still together and fully clothed. There are table you can go and sit and eat at. We allwent outside and had a brief meeting. It was very foggy so you could not see the ocen, but you could hear it and it was so loud. After the meeting we all went our separate ways. When you get into he female part, (from what I understand, it is the exact same on the guys side as well), and it is like a big locker room. You put all of your stuff inside of a locker and place another 100 yen in. You get undressed, and you are only allowed a little towel to wear, seriously, its not big enough to cover anything up. You then go into the shower room and shower. You have to wash your body and hair before you can get in the baths. After you soap down, you can go anywhere. The first one we went to was the silk bath. It was amazing. It was so hot, adn my skin felt like a babies. There is actual silk in the water and it is wonderful. We then went to the jets. This one is like a hot tub. You sit in the water and powerful jets massage your body. This is all still inside. There is also a sauna and a cold pool. It is very cold. That is used for when you get out of the hot baths to avoid overheating. It is very nice. You then go outside and there is this huge hot bath that is jsut hot water and it overlooks the ocean. For the female side there is like smoky glass so that noone from the beach can see into the onsen. It was too foggy to see anything anyway. Then they have what we call "tea cups". They are little personal hot baths used for one person. You can actually fit about 5 in there, not comfortably mind you, because we actually saw it. Those are really hot. Then there are the rocks on the ground with a little stream of hot water running over them. You go and lay down and let me tell you, it was the best thing ever!! Tyler and I are not really sleeping on mattresses, they are more like these thin cushions, so our backs have kinda been bothering us. Anyway, that takes out all of the tension in your back. The whole onsen is just a wonderful way to get rid of stress anf sore muscles. It was truly amazing. It was almost closing time (1 am), so we jumped in the silk bath a little more and then bathed again. We went back into the locker room and dried off and changed. You get your 100 yen back once you get your stuff out of the locker. We then went to pay and the guys were behind us. It is only 500 yen (less than 5 us dollar) and you can stay all day if you want. We apid and then went ot get our shoes. Again,you get your 100 yen back when your get your shoes out. We put our shoes on outside and just sat there letting the cool breeze wash over us. Was an amazing experience. Things like this would not happen in the states. People are so obsessed with personal looks that they would not want to do the onsen. They would probabky wear their swimsuits or something. It is just amazing and so relaxing. Again, I highly recommend it. Amazing is all I can say.
Well guys, that was my full filled, long, hard day. It was a blast!! I plan to sleep in until noon and then I am going with Tyrel to one of his readers house. He lives in the mountains like 1and a half hours away and in a traditional Japanese house. He is going to give us a tour of the country side, we will make paper? and have dinner. Judith is driving us so we dont have to take the train. It will be a blast. The guy come that far just to read here. We get to meet his wife and his daughter and grandkids. He is so excited. Well I guess that I better get to bed. I know that I will sleep great tonight!! The onsen has me so relaxed. Good night people, and I will report about my day with Hajime tomorrow!!

Wednesday, June 28, 2006


Thanks to some thoughts by my Uncle Kay, he helped me deal with my difficult reader today. He said this "God`s goal is not make sure you are happy all the time. No matter how hard it is for you to believe this, it is time we should all do so. life is not about us being comfortable and happy and successful and pain free. It is about becoming the man or woman God has called us to be. Life is not about each of us, it is about God. Romans 6:6 says our old was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin."
I loved his thoughts on this subject. It really got me thinking, I really do think to much, and I just added onto Kay`s thoughts. Bad things are temporary. They will soon pass. Such as a rainstorm. It will pass on and after the storm comes a beautiful rainbow. God will shelter us during these bad times so that when we emerge, we will become changed and beautiful. God lets us experience these evil things because he loves us and wants to give his protection. He knows, and I know, that evil things are meant to happen, but are only temporary. They will soon pass, and because we experienced this pain and suffering, this grief and evil, we have become stronger and wiser in accepting the word of God. By living and breathing these experiences we lean more on God because we know that he can protect us. A diamond is not first a diamond. It is first an ugly, black piece of coal. Only by a lot of heat, and also a long, hard, drawn-out process will it finally emerge a beautiful, unique diamond. We,as God`s children are the same way. We are an ugly, worthless piece of nothing before we know him, but after he molds us, shapes us, and creates us in his image, only then will we emerge a beautiful, unique human being, totally devoted to Christ. It is through him, and only him, that we can achieve this unique transformation. God created us so that we can experience pain. If we can get through the bad, to get to the good, then we can emerge victorious and live to tell about it.
Whew, I`m exhausted. Those are just some thought from Jordan. Nothing really exciting happened with my readers today, but I did have two reschedule, so my day was not as busy as I thought. I did go for an hour long bike ride today in Taga. It was a lovely day, but it was so hot!! I was very exhausted when I got back. I only have one reader tomorrow, and I am also cooking lunch for everybody tomorrow (there is just the 4 of us). I`m cooking chicken teriyaki. Yum!! I miss a big ol` steak!! There is no beef here, it is very expensive. Anyways, our Hawaiian party is tomorrow, so expect lots of pics and a huge story about it. I`m gonna go crash and listen to my wonderful American music, that I actually understand, and call it a night. Yall have already strated your morning, so I hope all id well. Take care America!!!!!! Love you all (yes, even the strangers who wander onto the blog).


Hello my dear family, friends, and complete strangers who just happened to aimlessly wander onto my blog. Welcome!! Hope that all is well and that things are going great!! First of all, pray for Rusty and Laura. They are moving back to the United States in a matter of weeks. Rusty`s mom has brain cancer and it is inoperable, so they are moving so that they can spend time with her before she passes away. They have a 4 month old child, Alex, and she has never met her grandson. Rusty`s wish is that she gets to hold his son in her arms, at least once. They are wonderful people, and I wish them the best of luck. We had a prayer rally at their house tonight and we all prayed together and sang beautiful songs. Anyways, keep them in your prayers.
Wednesday is my day for team devo (devotionals), and the thought of heroes came to mind. One of my readers said that Christians are like heroes. We are not timid, we will lay our lives down for strangers, we have an aura radiating among us. That got me thinking. How are we heroes? First of all, what defines a hero? What qualities must one have in order to be deemed a hero? Who are some heroes? One these questions are answered then maybe we can truly find our answer. The following is just thoughts that came to mind last night. I hope that you all enjoy. To become a heroic Christian, there is no limelight, no trumpet sounds, no witness, and no paying even the remotest attention to us. We are not only looking for halos, but for someone to say "What a great Christian she is" or "Look how wonderful he prays to God". If you are properly devoted to the Lord Jesus, then you have reached the lofty height where no one would ever notice you personally. All that is noticed is the power of God coming through you. We wont be able to say "Oh, I have had a wonderful call from God!", but to do even the most humbling task to the glory of God takes the Almight God Incarnate working inside us. To make us utterly unnoticable requires God`s spirit in usmaking us absolutely His. The true test of a heroes life is not successfulness, but faithfulness on the human level of life. We tend to set up success in Christian work as our purpose, but our purpose should be to display the glory of God in human life, to live a life "hidden with Christ in God" (Colossians 3:3-4) in our everyday human conditions. We have the heroic spirit of self-sacrifice, then the sudden restraint by the sensitivity of the Holy Spirit, and then we are stopped to the point of our own convictions. So now, it seems, that our sense of heroic sacrifice is not good enough. We strive to sacrifice even more. And finally, there is the glad, simple, unhindered offering of your gift to God. If we can become heroes in Christ, and if others notice not us, but Christ, the nwe have completed our task. Our sense of duty is only fully realized through our sense of heroism. It is much easier to die than to lay down your life day in and day out with the same sense of the high calling of God. we are not made for the bright-shining moments of life, but we ahve to walk in the light of them in our everyday ways.
I hope that you enjoyed that. It is not all of my ideas, but I took some and ran with it.Thanks guys. I am about to post another blog, so keep reading!!

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

this should work

Sorry guys, all of the instructions here on the computer are written in Japanese. Anyways, the easiest way to see the pics is to go In the search window at the top right-hand side of the screen type in tagateam2006. That should be a direct link to our pics. I am so sorry!!!! I hope that all of you enjoy. We have not put captions up on all fo the pics, so if you are womdering what you are seeing, let me know. I am extremely tired, and we just got back from karaoke, so I will not write a long blog. Just to let you all know, my readers today were all great. 6 in all. Tomorrow I have 7!! 10,11,2,5,6,7,8. Wow!! My day is packed. Judith told me to mark off 4 so that I can actually eat something. Smart idea. Thursday I only two. but we have a party so we are not reading all day. This one reader today, she and I had a wonderful talk about Christianity. She has been studying the Bible for 7 years now and is finally starting to see that maybe being a Christian is a good thing. She thinks that it is amazing how Christians act, and how we treat others. She was just wonderful to talk to and asked some very difficult but very valid questions. Her english is great as well. She made me think very hard, and also to be quick on my feet. I also need some help with one reader. She asked me the question yesterday "Why does God let bad things happen"? I tried to explain to her that in order for there to be good, there has to be bad. If there was all good, then we as Christians would not be heavily tempted and forced to pick one path to walk on. I explained that we choose one road, and our choices are good and bad. She didnt understand what I said. I tried again but she didnt know what I was saying. I guess if anybody can help me out or give me some scriptures to tell her, that would be wondeful. Anyways, I`m off to bed. I`m reading this book from MawMaw and it is amazing!! It`s called The Motive and it is tense. I hope to finish it tonight. Peace, love, and oranges my pretty folks!!!

Monday, June 26, 2006


This is the correct link


Ok, so we finally got pictures up! Our team page is www.photobucket/ If this does not work, let me know. Thanks!!


I like to make up random titles for my blog that means absolutely nothing!! Anyways, we did not go to karaoke tonight. We were pretty tired and some of our readers hung out tonight until about 10. They are fun. Hopefully, we will go sometime this week. Today was a great day. I called home and talked to mom, dad, and Hannah. The calls are not that expensive, but still I have to watch my minutes. I am so glad for the internet so that I can actually communicate with all of you. There have been a lot of questions posted and emailed to me, so maybe I can answer a few.
Communicating is really not that difficult. Sugao, the preacher, is fluent in english so he can offer as a translater. Judith, the on-site missionary is still learning Japanese so she can helps us out quite a bit. As far as communicating with the readers....well that can be tricky. They can all read english, but other than that some are lost. I am using two beginner books and they help, but they are still difficult and frustrating. As far as I can tell, the majority of our readers have knowledge of the english language. Most of them can talk to you, with some heavy explanation of words given to them. They are very patient though and are very eager to learn. Sometimes, though, after explaining the word "report" and the word "servant" several times, and they still do not understand...yeah, that can get frustrating. The simplest english words are the ones that they seem to have the most difficulty with. They all want to learn, so we explain it over and over and over and over......until they finally get it.
Also, the Japanese people are a very gracious, caring, and giving bunch. They really care about others. It seems like everyday we are getting gifts from our readers. Homemade food, jams, vegetabels, fruit, snacks....etc. It is all wonderful! They also will not say "no". They will say something like "I dont think that will be possible" or "Maybe I dont understand". No, to them, does not exist. They are also very clean, and they honor their customs. There is NO trash in the streets or anywhere. They recycle everything. Everywhere you go you see cans marked for different items. Bottles, aluminum cans, tin cans, and other. They have each bag a different color, and the color represents what is in it. Also, when you walk into homes, schools, churches, etc, you are required to take off your shoes. They will offer you a pair of hospitality slippers, or you can bring your own. It is also ok to walk around barefooted or in your socks, but your feet and socks will get quite dirty.
I have also noticed that they are a very open bunch. They dont mind sharing very personal stories, and they will do whatever the "teacher" asks them to do. If I doodle in my book, they will copy me. They look us to us and try to mimic us, so to say. It is kind of hard though with 60 years old trying to copy your every move! Flattering, none the less. They are not afraid to try something, even if they make a fool of themselves. They always show up about 15 minutes before they are suppose to, and if they are going to be late or if they cannot make it to an appointment, they ALWAYS call. This is something that we as Americans are really falling back on. Come on guys, work on it!!! They love to hear stories about Texas and America in general. They do not readily ask questions, so I have learned to say "Do you have any questions" and if I say that, they usually will ask one or two.
So far, the food has been great! The portions are very small, so I do not get full from one meal. When we cook here, we cook alot. Brian cooked 3 and a half cups of rice today for 4 people. It was pretty much all gone. I am hooked on gyoza (the little fried dumplings that I was talking about earlier), the home grown "sweet" onions (as I call them), mushrooms, rahmen noodles, vending machine ice cream, melon bread, soybeans, choco rice ( a rice cereal with a very unique taste), and Mrs. Okabe`s raspberry jam. We have not had to many meals, but so far that is what I like. A few things I eaten that I would not like to try again, one being the "hamburgers" from last night. Also, there is this thing called sweet bean, or red bean, and it is used in desserts. It really is not sweet, and I cannot describe the taste, but it is unique and an acquired taste. It is a dessert and very popular here.
Well, I think that about answers all of your questions. If you have any more let me know. I`ll be seeing you!!


SO today is a new day. We are going to karaoke tonight, so I thought that since I have a little break during the day I would write now. I have had three readers today, two that are new. My first one was very difficult. She can read english but her conversation skills are not great. She is really sweet though. My second reader this morning did not seem to interested in wanting to read. She would change the subject and not focus on the material. Hopefully I can keep her focused. My next reader came the other day and invited all of us to a Japanese tea ceremony. We got to talking at the lesson at hand. The lesson was about when the angel came to Mary and told her that she was going to have a child. Keiko did not believe this story, she did not think that it could happen. She asked me some pretty difficult questions and one being is how we as Christians can believe that story. She also asked how God can make bad things happen. The lesson was over so after I tried to explain some things to her, but I wrote her question down and am going to think of an answer. Its a tough question to try to tell a Buddhist. She is an actual practicing Buddhist. I just hope and pray that God can put the correct words in my heart and mind to tell her.
After our 2:00 reader we went out to a little sweet shop that sells ice cream and cakes. Tyrel and I got this amazing chocolate bread/cake thing filled with chocolate creme. It was amazing!!! So moist!! Tyler got an ice cream sandwich. We then went walking back to the church and we always pass this Shinto temple that is there. We went up there to see what it was like and stayed for a minute. We didnt understand everything but it was very interesting. There are different places to worship and pray. Well this is about everything for today. I will update tomorrow and talk about karaoke and my night readers. God Bless you all!!!!

Sunday, June 25, 2006

ta da!!

Yeah the title has nothing to do with the content of my blog. Just felt like saying that. Anyways today, Sunday, was a long day. We had to go to class, then church, which was all mostly in Japanese. It was actually very interesting though. After church we had an amazing pot luck there in the church. The four of us were trying to help set up the auditorium for the food, but Mrs. Kaminagi (the 90 year old lady, who speaks NO english) kept pushing us down into the pews. She was almost yelling at us and making us sit down. Somebody translated and said that we are guests and that we should not be helping. She is awesome!! I am also pretty fond of Mr. Siato. He is a great old man. After the pot luck we had to quickly move everything so that we could get ready for our 2:00 reading session. My girl was extremely shy. Japanese women look much younger that they really are. I thought that my reader was about my age, but she is 33! She looks really young. We do not have many young readers. Mostly all of our readers are middle aged. There are maybe a handful of high school girls, and a couple of men, but for the most part the readers are about middle aged. Yokuki (I think thats the spelling) talks really low. I have a hard time hearing as it is. I have to ask alot of questions to get her to open up. Hopefully soon she can begin to ask me questions. My 3:00 reader is Emi (pronounced like Michelle`s Emmy). She is a church member here, and a Christian. The bad thing is that she knows hardly no english. Her reading skills are find, but her conversational skills are lacking. I had to start her in the Beginning workbook. She is very friendly, but it is hard for me to communicate with. She is a believer already, so my entire focus does not have to be if she gets the Word or not, for she already has it. We got finished at about 4 and had to get ready for our party. We have 6 parties while we are here, and the Bunko Party was today. It is a great and fun game!! Those of you who do not know how to play, here is the run-down: you have 3 dice at a table of four. you have four tables set up. the first table is the head table. when they get 21 points, they ring a bell and the round is over. the winners stay there, and the losers move to table four. at all the other tables, the winners move up a table and the losers stay there. to score you roll the dice. every 6 is worth 1 point. if you get a 6 you continue to roll until you get no 6s. A bunko is when you three of the same numbers. That is worth 3 points. If you roll a bunko, you have to grab the dice. Each dice is worth 2 points. If you roll a binko, and pick up all 3 dice, you have an opportunity to get 9 points. Thats the gest of the game. We played that fro quite a while and it was a blast! We had a very small turnout, but it was fun none the less. Saito-san cracked me up everytime!! BUNKO he would scream out and dive for all the dice. Hysterical! He`s not very young by the way. After the party we needed some groceries. We were about to walk to the store when Sugao offered us a ride. Whew!! I was already pretty tired. We were there and saw that these hamburgers we on sell for 68 yen a piece. We bought 6 of them and headed out, with some other things. Sugao told us that 3 were meat and the other 3 were potato. We thought that we would give it a shot. We got in the kitchen and Sugao gave us little gifts that were from his mother. She gave us some really nice air freshener that smells amazing. We also got two of these beautiful hand-painted ceramic coasters. Very nice, Hopefully i can travel without tham breaking! We then sat down to eat our "hamburgers". Bryan and I got a "meat" one and Tyrel and Tyler got the potato ones. We all dug in and we all got strange looks on our faces. Mine and Bryans was definately not beef. We think that it was some sort of fish....cant be to sure though. I didnt eat all of mine. Tyrel and Tyler put some ketchup on theirs and they said that it was not to bad. I dont know though. We also sauteed some more onions up and had those. Amazing, again. Well that was my day. Tomorrow, I will be very busy. I have 6 readers!! 5 are new, and one read with me Friday. Wish me luck and continue with the prayers! Also, help needed- I have to cook lunch Thursday so tonight I went out and bought some chicken. Thats it. What should I cook that is quick, easy, and good. I`m limited on supplies as There it is. Goodnight (well good morning to all of you) and thank you for the prayers!! Love you all!! ta-da......

Saturday, June 24, 2006


Fridays and Saturdays are usually our day off, but since our first reading session was Thursday, we decided to work on Friday this week. Today, Saturday, was our first day off, and we needed it. We have already done alot of work, and we now have 60 readers! Amazing huh? We also picked up 2 tonight. So anyways, Tyler and I slept in and at about noon the guys came to the church so that we could all go to Hitachi-city. We all left and walked to the train station and purchased our tickets. It is only 180 yen for one stop (that is less that 1.80 dollars here). Anyways, we finally got off the train and made our way into Hitachi. Bryan was craving McDonalds, as were Tyler and I, so we ate a good lunch there. Who-hoo, go mickey d`s!! There in Hitachi they have this 5 story department store. It is huge. We walked around there, and on one of the floors they have a 100 yen store. Basically, everything in the is 1.00 dollar. We picked up some souvenirs and began to leave the store. Mike, he owns an english school here in Taga and Mito, was singing tonight at this Italian restaurant in Omika. Mike is also a church member here in Taga. The couple that Tyrel and Bryan have been staying with, Rusty and Laura, also live in Omika. Mikes performance was not until 6:30 so we decided to go ahead and go to Omika early. It was about 2:30. We bought another train ticket and made our way into Omika. It is about a 25 minute walk to Rusty and Laura`s from the train station. The train system reminds me of the New York City subway system. The doors open and you have about a minute to get on of off. Although here, the trains only run in two directions and you just count how many stops it is to your destination. When we go to Tokyo, we will take the train. It is a good 3 hour ride. We finally made it to their house at about 3:30. We took a quick break and relaxed. They have a 4 month old baby, Alex, so Laura was going to go down to the beach. We all went and it was about a 10 minute walk. We got there and it was breathtakingly beautiful. We finally took some group pictures of us near the ocean. We waded around in the water for awhile and made our trek back to the house. We are in the middle of what is known as the "Pacific Ring of Fire". I really do not know what that means. The Pacific Ocean is gorgeous. Up on the hill there is this wonderful little white lighthouse just up there sitting by itself. We almost thought about going up there, but didnt want to walk all the way up there. It was almost 5 when we got back, and Rusty was waiting for us when we returned. Laura and Bryan went to the grocery store so Rusty, Tyrel, Tyler and I just relaxed. We left for the restaurant at about 6:25 (drove) and sat down to hear his performance. He has a wonderful voice. We all ordered pizzas (delicious) and then went back to the house. Rusty then gave Tyler and I a ride back to the train station so we could get to Taga. We bought our tickets and had about 4 minutes until our train arrived, so we bought some vending machine ice cream. Vending machines are very popular and are everywhere. We ate our ice cream and by the time we finished it was time to get off the train. We then walked back to the church which is about a 5 minute walk and I got on the computer to type this blog. I hope that you all enjoy these postings! I have not had much feedback, so enjoy reading. If there are any questions about Japan let me know. If any of you know of any particular kind of souvenir you want, let me know. Until we meet again......

Friday, June 23, 2006

meet some of my readers!

Hello world! It`s me again. Hope all is well in the states I miss them already!! Keep me informed of any big news and good stuff like that. Anyways, today, Friday, was a day full of readers. I had 5 in all.
The 10 am one, Keiko, was awesome! She kept telling me that her english was bad, but it was very good. She told me lots of stories about her family and ancestors. She had just seen The DaVinci Code so we talked about that for awhile. Good thing I saw it before I left! We got to know each other well, and she invited me to a traditional Japanese tea ceremony. The kind where you actually dress up and everything. She is a Buddhist, so it is interesting to hear her thoughts on Christianty. She and I will have great fun.
My second reader was at 11 and her name is Mariko. She is very funny and loves to laugh. For Japanese women, expressing their opinion is rare, I think, so she always would ask if she can speak her opinion. She takes awhile to take in all of the words and understand what they mean. Her english skills are wonderful as well. She seems hesitant about Christianity and did not ask to many questions about it. I had to ask her lots of questions to get her to open up. We still had a wonderful time.
I had a big break and then a 6 another reader of mine came. Her name is Mana, and I also read with her yesterday. She is a part time english teacher so her english is amazing!! I love her! She is not a Christian, but knows so much about it. She is quite knowledgeable about the Bible and the teachings of Christ. She has two children and one of the lessons that we are on was the one when Jesus was 12 years old and stayed at the temple talking to the elders while his parents could not find him. We talked about obedience for a long time and the scripture came to mind " the good of the land." Talking about how if children obey, they will eat the good of the land. She loved that! She wrote it down and everything. We even completed one a half lessons today. I am very excited about this reader and she is just wonderful to get to know.
I then had another reader at 7 named Mizumi. She was great but a little shy. She has been doing Bible study classes with the missionary here, but I think in Japanese, though I am not sure. Her english is also good. She talks real low so it is kinda hard for me to hear her. So far she does not seem to have many questions, but she told me that some of her favorite books in the Bible are the four gospels.
My last reader was at 8 and her name was Ayumi. She is the granddaughter and daughter of church members here, but she herself is not a Christian. Her grandfather, Mito-san, is the one that kept calling me Jordan river. Her english skills are still developing. So far she has been my biggest challenge. She is a wonderful person though. She knows lots about Christianity, but I think that she is somewhat afraid of it. I dont know. I need to spend more time with her.
We got to meet some more church members today. This one lady, I cannot remember her name, is almost 90 years old. She speaks no english. She is wonderful. She has never been to a doctor, never taken medicine, and never been sick any of her life and she owes it all to God. She kept pointing to the sky and clasping her hands in prayer. She says that every morning she goes into her garden and empties her heart to God, so that each day He can fill it back up. We saw her riding her bike the other day, and she was waving so hard at us that she nearly fell off. She rides her bike everyday. She also draws pictures, so she wants us to come to her house and get some.
Another church member, and reader, Mrs. Okabe brought us homemade raspberry jam. It was absolutely delicious. She grows the raspberries herself and everything! I dont think that I have ever had homemade raspberry jam. She also brought us some onions from her garden. I am not a fan of onions, but these were the best I have ever tasted. Bryan was hungry (big surprise) so he went and suateed? an onion. I tried some of it and was in love. We then did two more for everybody to eat. I dont think that people were to happy to have the church smell like onions all night, but these were amazing. We just ate them plain and everything.
After our reading sessions tonight we all went back to the little rahmen shop for dinner. Tyler and I ordered these fried dumplings called.....something...anyways, they were great!!! I also had a Dr. Pepper craving, so we stopped at a coke machine (they are everywhere) and i got a DP and Tyler a Ginger Ale. The guys train did not leave for awhile so hung out at the church and just relaxed. I think the jetlag has finally worn off.
Well, that was pretty much our day. Oh yeah, Tyler and I also got lost in Taga, for a little bit, but soon managed to find our way back to the church. We ran into the guys at the post office so we just followed them back to the church. Ok people, take care and keep up the prayers!! Sorry these are so long, but a lot has happened!!

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Day two....

Tyler and I woke up this morning, Wednesday and ate a quick breakfast. The guys showed up at the church and we had a meeting with Judith. We went over reader assignments and other necessities. It was soon lunch time so we went to a wonderful little rahman shop down the street. The owner of the shop is one of our readers, and his mom was our waitress. She found out who we were so she brought us free cokes! That was so nice! Let me tell you that their rahman noodles are SO wonderful and delicious, and nothing compared to the packaged stuff back home. We then went back to the church and had an info meeting. This is a meeting where we all get together and talk about what LST is and explain the program to the readers. We had our first meeting at 2 pm and it went great. We then went on a brief tour of Taga and came back to the church for a potluck dinner that the members were giving us. Our next info meeting was at 7 so we got finished at around 8:30.
So far I have 15 readers signed up, and hope to have 18! We work everyday from 10-8 taking an hour off for lunch and an hour off for team devo and team meetings. Also, I have to cook lunch every Thursday so I take an hour off to cook lunch.
The people here are so nice and friendly. On of the church members, Mr. Sito calls me Jordan, like the Jordan River in the Bible. He is a sweet old man, and the first thing that he asked me when he met me was if I liked to sing. He sang to us and said that he just published his first church song, as he calls it. The man is at least 70. He will talk to you forever and his english is great. Being here only a couple of days, I already know lots of Japanese words and phrases to learn.
It is not very hot just VERY humid. I have not seen the sun once since I have been here. The sun rises at about 4:30 in the morning and sets at about 6:30. The cars drive on the opposite side of the road, and that takes some getting use to. I already like it here, but miss the states. My first reading sessions were Thursday. I am a day behind on here so it looks like I will be writing about what happened the day before and not about today. I can already say that the reading sessions have been great, and I can already feel God working in one reader especially. She asked me alot of questions about Christianity and angels, and it eager to learn more. She wants to come everyday! Since only 1 percent of the population here are Christians, it is hard to be one here. Hopefully these reading sessions will soften their hearts so that we can plant some good seeds in there and watch them grow. One of my girls, Tomami and one of Tylers girls spent a couple of hours talking with all four of us tonight at the church.They finally left because they had to catch their train. Communicating is really not that bad if you just talk slow and take your time. That is hard for me, since I am a fast talker. Well, I guess I will update as soon as I can and if anybody wants the church address just let me know in an email! Love you all!!!! Thanks for the prayers!


June 21- Today was my first day in Japan and it has been great! My body is having to get use to the 14 hour time difference, but I somehow manage to stay awake. Tyler and I slept until 8:20 this morning, which is Wednesday, and then we had to get up and go to a meeting with our missionary Judith. Hold on, let me start from the beginning....
All four of us say our goodbyes at DFW airport Monday morning. Our plane is scheduled to leave at 12:05 so we are just sitting there relaxing and anxious for our flight. Hannah had given us little giftbags to use on the plane that were filled with candy and goodies. Bryan had a little magnetic domino game, so he was playing around and wrote LST with his dominoes...that, by the way is the company we are working with. Anyways, the two women came up to us and asked if we were from LST, because they were also. That was amazing to see another team there, and also on the same flight as us! Their site is in Mito, which is about 30 minutes from here in Taga. One of the ladies was from Tennessee and she is only staying for 3 weeks, while the other was from Dallas and staying all 6 weeks. They were meeting the rest of their team there in Japan. We finally were able to board the plane at around 12:25. Then, we had to wait for over an hour while they fixed a problem with the landing gear doors. It was about 1:30 when we FINALLY left.
On the flight I watched lots of movies, and listened to lots of music. I only slept about 2 hours. The flight was almost 13 hours. We also got two meals and a sandwich on the plane. We landed in Tokyo at Narita airport at about 4:30 and met up with the other LST team that we saw in the airport. We all went through customs and collected our luggage which took about an hour and a half. Finally we made it out and caught up with our missionary and others. What a sight it was to see all these LST members there in the airport! That was cool! Judith our missionary told us that if we wanted to catch the bus to Hitachi, that we had better get going. The bus left at 6 and there was not another one until 7:30. We had a three hour bus ride in front of us. I fell asleep on the bus, but got to see alot of the country side. We finally reached Hitachi at around 9 pm and met up with some church members and missionaries that picked us up at the bus stop. They took us out to eat dinner, and at the restaurant we met the preacher Sugao. He is so funny! Mike, one of the church members, took Tyler and I to the church and showed us around. Rusty and Laura took Bryan and Tyrel back to their house because that is where they are staying. Tyler and I were exhausted, so we barely unpakced, took a shower and went to bed. It was about 11pm when we finally went to bed. It was a long day.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

I still miss someone....

This is a song title to an old Johnny Cash song, and it is how I feel right now. Today, June 11 is the one year anniversary of my brother's death. One year to the day that I cried my eyes out. One year to the date that I lost my best friend. One year to the date that Jacob finally quit suffering. One year to the day that Jacob has spent in Heaven. Jacob, I know that you are sitting up there in Heaven having the greatest time. Even if we all begged and pleaded you would not leave that wonderful place. I cannot wait for my turn to go into Heaven and catch up on some much needed talks, but I am in no hurry. You will be up there waiting for my arrival. I love you Jacob, and I am still missing you......

Jordan's last hoo.

So today at work was awesome! First of all, let me start from the beginning. I work at a pet store in the Lubbock mall. I have been working there for a year and 7 months. I do not know much about small animals (hamsters, gerbils...etc), and know diddly-squat about fish, so my job basically consists of getting puppies and kittens out of their cages to give to customers to play with. I also do some more jobs around the store and I love it. My "favorite" things that I do are vacuum, clean windows, straighten shelves, and clean kennels. When I told my co-workers and the owners that I was going to Japan, they were so happy for me. When I told them that I was going to be gone for 6 weeks, they were still happy for me. The best part is that I get to keep my job when I get back! How amazing is that? Anyways, to make a long story short, today was my "last" day there. I had to wear a sign that said "Jordan's last day. Boo hoo". My co-workers got me a giant cookie that said "Look out Japan here she comes" and they also got me a wonderful travel book over the entire country. It is awesome!! So I guess the point of this blog is to tell everyone at Bonnett Pet Center thank you! Y'all have been such a joy to work with and I am so thankful to share my hours working with all of you. I will bring back a plethera of gifts to share with everybody, and I cannot wait to return and share my wonderful stories with all of you!!! Thank you all so much!