Tuesday, July 25, 2006

hamburgers, expensive bracelets, and wonder goo

Do you guys ever read the titles? Just wondering because I forgot to put my last one up. I think I was going to title it "Another random list that no one will read. I don't know why I do lists, but I do, and I am not even organized. I only make lists when I write, so enjoy this boring list". Yeah, I thought it was to long. So I just left it blank. Anyways, today was a great day. We only have one more day of reading sessions left and I am so sad! It can't be over! Anyways, about today (cue in whimsical-trippy-loopy-trumpety-going-back-in-time music). We decided to each invite a reader and make a huge lunch for them today. I invited my reader Hisae. She is so sweet, and she brought her 2 year old son. I cannot pronounce his name. I think that she is like 30 or something, but she is definately seeking, and reading sessions with her go by so quick and they are really productive. Tyrel invited the man Hajime. Tyler invited a reader of hers named Mitsui. Bryan invited two- Yoriko and Keiko. The only reason is because they both came last year, and they are best friends and do everything together. Anyways, Bryan and Tyler both had a reader at 10, so Tyrel and I decided to walk to the store and get the groceries. We were going to make hamburgers. Anyways, about 13 minutes later we get to the store and it is closed. We knew that they were going out of business, but not until the 4th. Anyways, I guess they decided to close early. We were not sure where the other store was so we just walked back to the church which took another 13 minutes. We did not want to take the bikes because we figured that we were going to be coming back with all these groceries. Yeah, bad idea. At least half way through our trek it stopped raining. We got back at about 10:45 and Tyrel and Bryan left to walk to the other store and Tyler and I stayed behind and started peeling potatoes. Yeah, we did like 20 potatoes, but they were pretty small. We had them almost peeled when the guys showed back up at about 11:30. Everybody was suppose to meet at about 12:30 for lunch. Bryan began cooking the patties, and I started frying up the potatoes. It was crazy with Bryan and I trying to cook at the same time but it worked. About 11:45 Yoriko showed up and took over the kitchen. It was so cool. She brought all this stuff as well! She made two pizzas, right there in front of us. It was awesome. Then Keiko showed up with a lot of stuff as well. We had a few dirty dishes in the sink, and it was my day to do dishes, so I told them not to worry about washing them. Yeah, they didn't listen. Every time we put a dish in the sink, it was immediately washed. Bryan and I got finished cooking at about the same time. Even though we told everybody not to bring anything, they all brought something. Hajime brought pears and mandarin oranges. Mitsui brought a honeydew melon, and Hisae brought peaches. Fruit is very expensive and they make very good gifts. The fruit is so good!! Yummy. Anyways, we had a whole lot of food and we just dug in. Yoriko brought her two oldest daughters and Keiko brought her two oldest daughters. Hisae brought her son. It was awesome!! What a blast. We did not sit down to eat until about 1:00. We chowed down and there was like nothing left. 15 hamburgers, fried potatoes, and 2 pizzas, lots of fruit, and other good stuff does not go that far. It was so good. All of us except for Tyler had a 2:00, so about 1:45 we began to clean up the auditorium. By like 1:51 everything was clean and in place. WOW. They work fast. Hisae, Yoriko, and Keiko took charge in the kitchen, while the rest of us set up the auditorium and cleaned the floor. We had cooked some rice to serve for lunch in case we ran out of potatoes, and forgot about it. Yoriko found the rice and used that to make us dinner! How sweet was that? It was delicious by the way. Yorkio and Keiko washed all the dishes and cleaned up the entire kitchen. They ever cleaned the stove to pand everything. Pretty cool. Hisae was my 2:00 so we finished up our last lesson. She did not realize that that was our last lesson together. She got pretty sad. She wanted to come tomorrow, but every single space is full. 10, 11, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8. WOW. What a day tomorrow. It was great, but she is coming to camp so I will see her again.
I had a break until 5 today, so I went upstairs and began packing my souvenir bag. I barely got them all in the bag! It is so heavy. I hope it does not go over the 50 pound weight limit! Oops, that would be not good. My 5:00 showed up and that was also our last lesson, but she is coming to camp as well, so that is good. When I got out of the reading session at 6, one of my readers that finished Sunday was in the kitchen waiting for me. She is a church member, and knows like no english, but she is sweet as can be!! She can "Jesus is wonderful", and "God is so good" pretty good. That makes me happy. Anyways, she wanted to give me and the other team members a gift. She gave us all a really nice fan. I mean, it is not one of the cheap ones, but one of the super nice ones. She then gave me this box to open. Once I looked inside, I was speechless. Inside was a beautiful diamond bracelet. AND I MEAN REAL DIAMONDS!! There is also these other jewels on there that are beautiful. What a wonderful gift. IT MUST HAVE COST A FORTUNE!! There is even a little card in there that tells me the seriel number, the date it was purchased, and the types of jewles on the bracelet. There is a bunch of other stuff on there, but I do not read Japanese. It is so beautiful and I was almost afraid to wear it. Wait till I show you all, you will all love it. It is silver and just absolutely wonderful. Wow. Thank you Emi. No Hannah, you cannot borrow it. Don't even ask.
My 7:00 canceled, but I have her again tomorrow night. It was really wierd, because none of us had an 8:00. That is usually our busiest time. We all decided to take a trip down to our favorite media and entertainment store Wonder Goo. (Crazy name, I know....GGGGOOOOOO!!!) I brought three cd's and I only spent 15 dollars on them. Well, 1500 yen, so less than 15 bucks. I got a John Mayer, GooGoo Dolls, and Dave Matthews Band cd, all in english. I had previously bought an Incubus cd there, so I have quite the collection! Hahaha, MORE cds!!! Who-hoo! What is that, like 250 now? Some where in there. Well, that was my day and it was awesome. Tomorrow will be very sad for me. Saying goodbye to 9 readers! How sad!! Oh well, it had to be done. Welp, gotta go but I will report back soon. Jordan out. youknowwhatitisveryhardtoreadthishuhyupiknowitisthatiswhyiamnotputtinganyspacesinit. hahaha. youguysjuststopreadingandgodootherstuffaroundthehouse. gotoyourjobsandmakemoneyweallneedmoneyhuhyeahineedmorebecauseiambrokeohwellseriously
gottago..........hahaha. yeah, i am very tired. just thought you all could enjoy a good joke.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

In exactly one week we will be leaving Japan. Wow. These six weeks have flown by, well for me at least. Since there is really nothing new to report, I have decided to have a quick review about my time here. I think I will make a list. I like lists, although I am not an organized person. Anyways, enjoy a change for once, and tell me what you think:
1. Japan is just so awesome. We should all come to Japan at least once.
2. Serving God is so cool.
3. The people rock. That's all there is to it.
4. The food is so good.
5. Since we walk everywhere I thought that I would actually lose some weight, but nope, the food is to good.
6. I have been given the nickname of "Team Chef". Yeah, I know, shocking. But I have cooked chicken teriyaki with sauteed veggies, fried chicken with fried potatoes and macaroni and cheese, bbq chicken with grilled veggies and soy beans, and stuffed bellpeppers with hamburger meat and chesse. Yeah, I have cooked more here than I ever have. And those are just the lunch's that I cooked.
7. I get stared at every time I walk down the street. It's because I'm white.
8. Whenever we are waiting for the train, it gives me the excuse to sing "I hear a train comin'......". Haha, gotta love Johnny Cash.
9. I have spent so much on souvenirs.....for other people, and not for myself.
10. Tyler and I stayed up until 1:30 the other night talking about FFA. Minus two geek dollars Jordan...
11. I love the LST Fairy!
12. Seving God is so cool.
13. The bugs and fruits are bigger in Japan, everything else is very small.
14. One out of 7 days will be rain free.
15. I did not bring a rain poncho.
16. I have taken a ridiculous amount of pictures.
17. Serving God is so cool.
18. I want to come back next summer.
19. I am not home sick, but food sick.
20. It's ok to be jealous. If I was me, I would be jealous too.
21. Readers are so sweet and fun.
22. Discouragement comes easily, but I just think of why I'm here.....serving God is so cool.
23. Hannah leaves me cool myspace messages.
24. I think I bug Hannah with my myspace messages.
25. Hannah is going to have so many gifts when she gets back....more than anybody because whenever I walk by something it goes like this "Oh Hannah would like that!", and then there is a slap across my face and I tell myself no! Enough already! Gosh!
26. I will be broke when I get back to Texas.
27. I refer to the church as "home".
28. Tokyo is so crowded and bright.
29. There are temples everywhere.
30. I need to stop writing......

Saturday, July 22, 2006

sharks, penguins, and beef bowls

Today was such a great day. Like always, let me start from the beginning. LST has been coming to Taga church for 11 years now. Sugao, the preacher, always has a "Sugao Day". He always takes the team out for the day. Today he picked us all up at the church at 9am. We headed to Mito, which is about 30 minutes away. He took us to this ginormous aquarium! I have never in my life been to an aquarium, let alone a 7 story one! It was amazing. Sugao had a coupon so we all got in for only 1400 yen. Good price. We started walking in, and the tanks were massive. I work at a pet store, and I stare at fish all day, and our place is punny compared to this! When you first walk in, there are these huge circle tanks each with a different breed of fish. Most of them are salt water. They are huge! We got to the aquarium at a little after 10, and the dolphin show had already started. The show is on like the third floor, but in the first floor you can go into this huge room and the entire wall is made of glass. You can see the dolphins up top and when they go to swim under the water, it looks like they are coming right at you. It was awesome! Wow. We watched the dolphins for quite a while, and then started walking again. There is an outdoor exhibit, so we hit that up next. First, there is an area of what the ocean looks like. There are 1 billion (well, maybe not that many) types of seaweed, and they had every single one in the water. There are all these fish and starfish and etc. living in there. From the outside you can see right into it, and from the inside it follows along the entire wall and the whole wall is made of glass. Next, we went to this area with a California Seal. What a majestic creature. He was loud, but super cool. Next, there were none other than penguins!! REAL LIFE PENGUINS! Like a hundred of them. They were the Humboldt penguins and they were so cool. The were all swimming around and having a good ol` time. Hannah, I took a video for you to look at when I see you. Took pics for you as well. Your welcome. By the way, the ocean is like staring you in the face, and the entire aquarium is right there on the ocean. What a beautiful place! It was such a beautiful day today, with finally no rain, and the waves were really kickin' it so there were tons of surfers out. It was pretty cool. We then went back inside and began to look at more exhibits. We walked into this one area and all of a sudden you are surrounded by blue on every side of you. You are walking under this huge tank and there is a diver in there with a camera showing you all these fish. And of course, it is all glass. On the top of the water were 10,000 sardines swimming their little hearts out. There was also this huge sea turtle in there. There were a ton of sting rays, and some were huge! There were lots of sharks in there and a ton of eels. It was so cool. Some of these fish were bigger than the diver. Sugao was with us so he served as our translater. It was very cool. I got a really good picture of the sardines on the top of the water. The diver had the camera and was on the bottom of the tank and showing us this huge sand eel, and all of a sudden this shark took off and grabbed a mouthful of sardines. A few managed to run away, but it scared the diver so bad! It was actually pretty funny. After that, we went into the "deep sea" section. We saw all of these jelly fish, tons of different sizes and breeds. We also got to see illuminated fish. Those were the coolest things I have EVER saw. Their eyes and mouths glow! The tank is dark, and you can see all of these blue lights swimming all over the place. There is a button you can push that turns on a light briefly, and these fish are huge! The lights on them are so small, so you are expecting a small fish, but these guys were like 6 inches long. The fish do not like the light by the way. They go and hide in the rocks when the lights are on. That was the only place that we could not take photos. We then went upstairs, and while on the escaltor, I just happened to look up. What I saw I will never forget. A huge hammer head shark, and a huge other sharks were swimming over my head! WOW! What a scary feeling that was. I cannot remember the names of all the sharks, but whatever kinds of breeds there are, they were all in the tank. I think there was even a juvenile great white in there. A bunch of them had wonds and gashes on their bodies from where they have been fighting. That tank is death waiting to happen. Did you know that sharks have like 6 rows of teeth? Who da thunk? Anyways, I stood there mesmerized for a good while. I took a few pics and got a really good one with a shark swimming by with an open mouth. In that tank there were also these huge devil rays and sting rays. Some of those suckers were so big that I could have curled up and slept on one and been comfortable. I`m telling you, these are huge, and the tank was like the size of like 3 olympic size swimming pools and probablyh even bigger than that. Very deep too. Ouch. Next, there was a smaller tank with smaller sharks in there. The tank was not as big and the sharks were babies, but there were a lot of hammer heads in there. I did not know that the eyes were on the ends of the "hammer". Pretty cool. Then, they had these little bitty tanks full of little bitty baby sharks. They were really cute, and did not look that mean, but still, I probably would have lost a finger or two. Keep going and there are all of these other tanks full of fish and cool stuff. More eels, and even more huge sea turtles. They reminded me of the turtles in "Finding Nemo", and they looked just like that. Pretty cool. We started to move out of there, and in this one tank was this huge octopus. I mean, this guy was huge!!! Literally, like 2 feet long, and probably that tall. Whenever it would spread out, it was beautiful. There were also these huge Snow King Crabs, and they looked delicious, sorry to say! We walked out into this little souvenir and restaurant area and there in one of the glass cases was a huge Great White Shark, stuffed of course. Sugao told us that it was caught about 10 years ago in Hitachi. Can you believe that? This dude was huge, and some guy just went and caught him in the ocean. Pretty cool. I bought a few little things at the souvenir shop, and it was about noon so we all sat down and ate a snack. We then went up to the sixth floor and saw there huge tanks with MORE PENGUINS! These were the Tufted Penguins, you know the kinds with the long yellow eyebrows. The ones that look scary. They were the cutest things. No pictures though. When they dive under the water, their wings look like bat wings. Pretty cool. We then moved on and saw this otter. He was in a talk all by himself and having a blast. We saw an old momma otter that was also in her own tank. She was pretty old and almost solid grey. It was almost 1, so we made our way to the dolphin show. We saw the whole show from under the water last time, and this time we had seats inside the arena. There were two bottle nosed dolphins, one big dolphin (cant remember the kind) and two small fast dolphins. Ok, I always knew dolphins were smart, but these guys were amazing! Wow. The trainers did all these tricks with them and it was so cool. This one dude surfed on the big dolphin, and the two bottle nosed dolphins pushed the other two trainers by their feet with their noses. Pretty cool. Then, the trainers would go down under the water, and the dolphins would go down and fling them out of the water. Pretty cool. Then, a seal came out and did some amazing tricks. I was so busy watching the show that I forgot to take pics. The dolphins came back out and did some more amazing tricks. They can jump so high! The seats were pretty far away from the tank, but still the bottom 4 rows got pretty wet. It was so much fun. By the way, this is all inside, and the back wall is huge glass sheats, so it looks like you are in the ocean. Pretty cool. We then went to the hands on exhibit. There is this huge tank that you can go and stick your hands in there and grab all sorts of things. There are all these types of starfish, sea urchins, crabs, anemones, and all sorts of other things. There are these workers there that make sure you do not hurt the fish, and this lady kept putting all of these things in my hand. It was really cool. The sea urchins were pokey, and when you picked them up they would move in your hands and it was such a cool feeling. What a cool exhibit! It was about 2, so we made our way out of the aquarium. In the car, I told the others that that was my first time to go to an aquarium, and see dolphins, penguins, seals, sharks, etc. How cool is it to say that I got to see all of that stuff in Japan. Tyler and Bryan said San Antonio, Tyrel said California, and Jordan said Japan. Yeah, mine has a nicer ring to it. By the way, I now still know nothing about fish, and learned nothing new about fish, so sorry Bonnett Pet Center. I do, however, know what a shark feels like, know what sound a seal and dolphins make, and got poked by a sea urchin. Not a bad day if I do say so myself.
We were all pretty hungry so Sugao took us to eat lunch. It is this place where you can get bowls. Hang on, let me describe it. I got a beef bowl, loaded with cheese. In it is rice, beef, onions, and cheese. It was so delicious! And very cheap. It was only 420 yen. We then wanted to go and get a few souvenirs so we hit the stores. Mito is the biggest city in Ibaraki prefecture. A prefecture is like a state, and Mito is a town in the prefecture. A huge town. Sugao took me to a sports store and I finally got dad's gift. We then went to this really cool shop that was like 4 stories high. They had these beautiful silk wall hangings, and I bought a very very very pretty one. It is blood red with the picture of a Giesha turning around. Pretty cool. It is 100% silk and was only 1650 yen. Not bad Jordan, not bad. By the way, this one is MINE, no one better try to take it ok? We all walked out of there with some great stuff. We hit up some more shops and we all blew most of our money. I told Tyrel that I am glad we waited to go to Mito on our last week, instead of before because I probably would have spent more money. We are all going Sunday night to see Pirates of the Caribbean, and I am so stoked! I can`t wait. Who-hoo. That, my friends, is another experience worth writing down. Seeing an American movie in Japan. How cool is that? Just say it, it's ok to be jealous. We then went inside this huge mall (we could fit like 4 of our malls in there) and hit up a kimomo shop. I was telling the guys that I have only bought like 2 things for myself this entire trip, and all of these other amazing gifts for others that I have totally forgot to buy things for me. I have bought all of these things for Hannah, and Tyrel stopped me from buying her something more. I had to stop him from buying more for his fiancee. We saved each other quite a bit of money! It was funny. Anyways, it was about 6:30 so we decided to go home. Sugao dropped the guys off at Omika, and took us back to the church. What an amazing day we had. So much fun. Tomorrow is our last party, and it is a Texas Party. It will be a lot of fun. Only 4 more days of reading sessions folks! Wish us luck as we begin to wrap up these lessons. God has blessed me with so much on this trip. I'm sorry this post is so long, so thank you all for hanging in there and reading it all the way through. Thanks so much. Love you all, and continue your prayers!

Thursday, July 20, 2006

So sad

Alright, last night my first reader finished. She cannot come any more. It made me so sad to realize that it is actually almost over. I knew that it was coming, of course, but all of a sudden reality hits me. I am so sad to leave this wonderful place. We only have 4 more days of reading sessions! I want to stay here and continue working. Six weeks is such a long time, but I want to stay longer. we have been here pouring our heart out to these people, and most of them are finally opening up to us. They have begun to ask us difficult questions and really want to learn more! It is so exciting. So, I guess the time comes for me to face reality and accept the fact that it will soon come to an end. I have made life long friends and the memories I made here will always be with me. These things are so important to me. When I get back to the states, I will be thinking about that one reader. What is she up to? How is her spiritual journey going? Then I will look back and remember that other reader, and the great questions that she asked me. I could always tell when God made her ask the question. Amazing. So now is the time to begin giving out the reader gifts. I bought like 20 of these little crosses that are silver and come with a bookmarks with John 3:16 on them. For some, I got these little lapel pins that each have different things on them. I brought along with me on the trip one of my devoltional books, and am debating whether or not to give to this one reader who is really seeking. I showed it to her and she loved it. She has been studying the Bible for about 6 years now. Praise God! She is so close, I can feel, and so can she. As the rain falls gently on the roof, I am reminded of home. Will I ever return to this wonderful place? Hopefully so!! Next year even! That would be awesome. I miss home, and want to go back, but I love it here and want to stay. Oh well, the time comes for all good things to end. I guess that I am thinking that when I do get back home, I will always think of this summer and the work that we did. I spent my summer serving God and doing His work. When I get back to school, and go back to work, I will feel almost useless. I mean, for 6 weeks I have been nothing but a servant. When I get back I will fall into this usual routine that I love. Be with my friends and family that I love. I do not get depressed at all, but this is slightly depressing. Oh well, I`m sure that when the time comes for me to board that plane, I will not think twice about it. Some good ol` Mexican food here I come!! Sweetened ice tea, down ya go! I can`t wait to tell you all of my amazing stories that I have not posted on my blog. Things are great with us, but we are at that point of the trip where reality has hit. Soon, we will be home and have all of the precious memories. Take care guys!!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

A three-fold utopian dream

OK, I know I never see rain at home, but come on! For three straight days it has been pouring down. Not a nice little drizzle either, but a horrendous downpour. It has been a constant stream of wetness, and it is making me sad. My party is tomorrow, and it was suppose to be outside, so it looks like that option will be cut. Oh well, we will still have fun. Anyways, Monday was a great day. It was Ocean Day, and I am sure that no one was out at the ocean. Big surprise huh? Step outside and you could get soaked. Since we walk everywhere, it is a problem keeping our clothes dry. We have umbrellas, but they do not get the job done. Sorry, I got way off topic. Where was I....oh yes Monday. Anyways, I ran out of money so I had to go to the post office and use the ATM there. I got out like 10,000 yen, which is like 93 dollars. I hope that will last me the rest of the trip, but probably not. Tyler and I were hungry so we went to our favorite place-7-11! Who-hoo. Yeah, that`s right, in the pouring rain! The guys came back from lunch with the Okabe`s and we all just hung out at the church. We were getting our postcards written, which were suppose to be in the mail last week, whoops! We were all getting a little bit of cabin fever, so we decided to run to Hitachi. Our train left at 4:46. We went to the 100 yen store and I bought a whole lot of souvenirs. I hope everybody likes chopsticks because I bought like 20 pair. I`m sure that I forgot gifts for some people, so I am sorry in advance. We were all starving so we ate at our second favorite place-McDonalds. Hey, it`s cheap, and pretty good! We were all tired so we hopped on the 6:58 train and headed back home. First of all while in Hitachi (which is about the size of Lubbock) we ran into some of our readers. That was kinda cool. Next, we were inside of this huge mall and we ran into Judith. Small world huh? Then, on the train home we ran into this girl from Oklahoma Christian that is studying at Ibaraki Christian and goes to Taga church. Wow. What a day of "run-ins" with people we knew. How cool was that? Being in Japan for only 4 weeks and running into all these people. Awesome. We walked back to the church, in the pouring rain, and just stayed there for a while. The guys caught the 9:09 train home, so Tyler and I watched a movie and then went to sleep.
Today, I woke up to a now familiar sound-beating rain. I took a shower and got ready for my day. It was pretty busy, 6 readers in all. The one good thing about the rain is that it has cooled off tremendously. Whew, what a relief. The day started off well. I had my 10:00 reader, and then I went to the bank with Tyrel. Our LST funds were dry, so Tyrel went and cashed some travelers checks. We then got back to the church and it was around noon, so we all went to Woody`s again and got some wonderful Italian food. The LST fairy showed up and paid for lunch. Aw, how sweet! I then had a 2:00 reader, and I got some good results from her. She has been really shy, but today she opened up, and asked a lot of questions. What a breath of fresh air. She was wonderful. I then had a break so I went with Tyler to the stationary store so she could buy some more postcards. My 4:00 reader showed up, and she had two gifts for me. She was the one that took me to buy the ukata, the summer kimono, anyways she brought me an obie, it is the tie that goes around the ukata with thje big bow in the back, and she also brought me some sandles that you wear with the ukata. Wow! How sweet is that? The sandles are the traditional Japanese wooden sandles that are very uncomfortable but you only wear them like once a year. It was so cool to get those gifts from her! she is so sweet, but she hates to read. She just wants to talk. Normally that would be alright, but we are suppose to be reading about Jesus (say it with a southern accent, it is funnier and just sounds cool- JAYSUS! Caitlin knows what I`m talking about). Anyways, she is sweet, but lacks motivation. I then had a break, so I walked to the post office to mail my postcards.
My 6:00 showed up, and she is a young 17 year old girl. She is the granddaughter and daughter of church members here and has just recently been interested in Christianity. She is super shy, but today she really opened up. We were on this one lesson, and it talks about the guy who planted the seeds and some fell on the thorns, the rock, and the side of the road, while the rest grew out in the good land. I asked her what kind of seed she was, and she explained that she was the kind that is one the side of the road. She explained that she believes, but whenever something bad happens the devil makes her not believe. She said that she wants to be the seed on the good land though. She wants to become a Christian but is still hesitant. Can I get an AMEN?? Praise God! Wow. What a statement. I love her and I hope that Christ can come to her and offer her some peace. Pray for her. My next reader I love to death! She is like 25 and as sweet as can be. She likes to read the Bible and has been studying it for like 7 years. She is very open to Christianity. God is really working in these two young girls. My last reader I also love. She is Tomomi and she is a blast. She is also a young girl, and the reason she came to LST was for a homework assignment. She goes to Ibaraki Christian and one of her asignments was to go and visit a church. She happen to come on the day of our info meetings and signed right up for classes. I see God slowly beginning to take light in her and she notices it too. She is trying to fight it, but is not doing a good job. Slowly, the light shines through. We went out to eat tonight and she actually prayed before we ate! How cool is that? Anyways, that was my wonderful day. All four of us are so wiped out, and days like this come around and we rejoice and celebrate. God lifts me up just enough to get me through each day. With the rain and the stress dragging me down, a day like today lifts me up! I thank God for things as small as this. This morning was very hard for me to get up, but I can`t wait until tomorrow! Hope all is great with all of you. I mailed out 20 postcards so most of you should get one. If not, it got lost in the mail and I am sorry. I am putting up pictures on the blogsite as we speak, so enjoy those next! Take care people and have a wonderful day as I am about to go to sleep.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Cinnamon and karaoke

Ok, so we had church Sunday morning like always. Tyler and I had to give our testimonies so Sugao translated for us. After we gave our testimonies we were asked questions and stuff about our faith and our lives. It was great. Then came church, and Rusty preached. After the service we had a potluck dinner. Wow, what an emourmous amount of food. It was all delicious! Um, I don`t know how many of you know this, but I am allergic to cinnamon. Well, Rusty had brought these snacks for everyone to try and I ate a couple (5). They were delicious. They tasted like the cereal Golden Grahams which has no cinnamon in them. Well, these snacks did have cinnamon is them. Yeah, I didn`t realize that I was eating cinnamon. Then, for dessert, Rusty`s wife Laura made this wonderful apple torte cake and it too had cinnamon. After I had already eaten the little cinnamon things, Bryan and Tyrel told me that they had cinnamon in them. Thanks guys, a little late huh? Anyways, I felt fine, so I figured it was not that much cinnamon. I had 4 reading sessions that day, so my 2 is a church member, so she was already there. We went through the lesson, and I was having a hard time. After the lesson, Bryan looked at me and told me that I should probably lay down or something. I don`t know how to describe it, but I felt wierd. My skin was itching, my tongue was burning, my head was spinning, and I could harldy stand up! I was worried about my readers, but Bryan covered for me. He had no readers Sunday so he just picked up the rest of mine and I went upstairs and slept. Tyrel followed me up there and told me that they would come wake me up at about 5. I had a reader a 3 and 4, and my break was at 5. He said that then I could eat something and if I wanted to I could do my 6:00 reader. I did not disagree. I do not remember what happened next. Next thing I know, Bryan is standing over me, waking me up. He tells me that it is 5:40. I get up and go downstairs, and I am feeling nauseous. Maybe it was because I had not eaten anything. Anyways, my 3:00 reader was still there at the church. Her name is Michi and she is 21. She is so sweet! I love her to death. Anyways, my 6:00 reader had showed up, and she is an 18 year old high school student named Ayaka. They both looked so concerned, and wanted to help me. Judith explained to them what happened to me. Anyways, 6:00 rolls around, and Bryan gets up to go read with Ayaka. I looked up at him and he basically tells me to go eat, and don`t worry about it. I honestly did not feel like reading, but I felt that Bryan had already done to much. Anyways, Michi was still there and her friend Mayumi who is one of Tyler`s readers. Tyrel and Tyler did not have readers at 6, so they were all hungry. The two girls told me that rahmen would be good for my stomach. The noodles are healthy and the broth is filling. The 5 of us walked down to the rahmen shop and I had a bowl of Shio rahmen. It was delicious. I had never tried that one, and it was so good. If you like bean sprouts, then you will like this one. They are not small, shredded bean sprouts, but thick fresh ones. They are so good. I immediatley began to feel better. We walked back to the church, and Bryan was finished with my reading session. We had a karaoke party at 7 at Cosmo World, so we were all going to meet at the church. There were about 17 of us, so we all walked to the karaoke place. All the way, Ayaka talked to me, and Michi helped me walk. Not that I needed help, she just is so sweet. Ayaka loves Coldplay and Daniel Powter, as do I, so I told her that we would sing a duet together. We got 2 rooms, and we sang for 2 hours. It was so much fun. I did several songs, none by myself because I am a terrible singer. I even did Johnny Cash- Ring of Fire. Hahaha. Yeah, it was terrible. Ayaka and I did a couple of duets together and the night turned out to be a blast. I felt great after the rahmen, and the melon soda that I had at karaoke was delicious. All the way to the church I told Bryan that I am paying for the rest of his dinners for the trip. He just laughed, but did not tell me no. So anyways, that was my Sunday. Fun filled and excited huh??
Today, Monday is a national holiday. It is called Ocean Day. This is the day to officially mark the beginning of summer and the beaches are now open. They are always open, but now you have to pay to park ans stuff. I dont know. Anyways, we have no readers today but it is raining (big surprise) and everything is closed, so there is nothing to do. The guys are eating lunch with the Okabe family. Tyrel teaches Mr. Okabe. He is a tough old man who knows more about the Bible and Christianity then anybody. He just will not make that step. Bryan teaches Mrs. Okabe. She is already a Christian so she is fun to work with. Tyler and I have to find something for lunch now, so take care guys and my lunch will be cinnamon free!!

Saturday, July 15, 2006

These Days

So I have been listening to Rascal Flatts lately, and this is one of my favorite songs. It sums up the past two days perfectly. Friday was great. We woke up for an early game of basketball. The 4 of us met up with some of our readers and played at Mike`s house. It was so much fun, but it was so hot. It was actually only about 80 degrees, but the humidity was 100%. Wow. It looked like we had jumped in the pool and gone swimming. We played for a couple of hours, and then they had to go to school. The rest of the day we just sat around and chilled. It was great to just sit and relax all day. We actually turned on the AC because it was almost unbearable. We then got the idea that the two girls that played basketball that morning, we invited over for dinner. Bryan cooked burgers, I fried up potatoes, and we had a huge feast. The girls loved it. It was lovely. We had a great time hanging out with the two of them.
Today was a blast! Bryan`s reader Kiyomi invited us all to spend the day with him. He is the fire marshall of the Hitatchi area, so he let us go out on the fire boat. We spent over an hour out in the ocean and it was wonderful. We then went to his house and made our own lunch. We made soba noodles. It is a type of buckwheat noodle that is served cold and it is delicious. You cook them for only 5 seconds and then you put then under cold water for a second. They are amazing! His wife also cooked some wonderful tempura. I am addicted to the food here! (Well, some of it). It was about 1, and we had nothing to do until 3. Kiyomi is a huge fan of The Beatles. We sat around and sang a whole bunch of Beatles songs and had a great time. His daughter lives in Hawaii and he showed us pics of his daughter and son-in-law, and his two beautiful granddaughters. It was about 2:30 so we made our way out to the park to climb a huge rock wall. This thing is ginormous! It is 17 meters tall, and it is so difficult. I got to about 8 meters. Tyler about 4-5, Tyrel about 8, and Bryan about 10. It was so difficult. Kiyomi went up the whole thing in about 3 minutes! The dude is 57 years old! He was like a spider crawling up a wall. It was so fun. He then took us back to the church and it was about 5. The 4 of us just hung out and had a great time. It is so much fun just us hanging out and talking with each other. Tyrel and I cooked up some gyo-za for dinner. There are no dryers here, so our clothes have had this sort of sour smell to them, so Bryan got tired of it. He was washing his clothes, and decided to throw one of his shirts in the microwave. Genius!! It actually dried and it did not smell sour. It is raining now, so all of our wet clothes are upstairs hanging to dry. We got all of the fans together and are blowing them dry. Hopefully that will work. Our shirts and stuff just plain stink. We are not sure why. But anyways, I just wanted to tell you all that short story, and I hope that you all enjoyed. The past two days have been wonderful. Basically, the best part is just relaxing. Sunday we have church, a potluck lunch, reading sessions, and a karaoke party from 7-9. It will be a blast. Monday is a national holiday, so we are off. Hopefully, we will find something to do. Saturday the 22nd, Pirates of the Caribbean comes to theaters here so we are definately going to see that. Can`t wait. The halfway point has come and gone, and it has been a blast. What an experience of a lifetime!! Wow. God has truly blessed me.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006


So last night was very wierd. I could not go to sleep and it was about 1 am. All of a sudden I got this great urge to write a story. I do that quite a bit, but usually after a couple of sentences I get writers block. Anyways, this is what I wrote, and believe it or not, it only took about 30 minutes. Hopefully you can tell who all the characters are. We have all been given nicknames this trip. Hope you all enjoy. It may be finished, may not....

As Bryan`s left foot touched foreign soil, he immediately thought "I know that place. I`ve been here before." He recognized the group of people waiting for him, staring at him intently. "Is this a dream" he thought "Has it really been one year since I was last here"? As he took a step toward the waiting group, a young giant stepped off of the bus. The eager crowd knew of his height, but as they looked at the towering figure before them, they smiled. He was no threat. Next followed two wide-eyed girls. One Bryan knew for 20 years, the other for a only a few months. As the four of them stood together, gazing intently at the awe-struck crowd, they knew that they were finally here. For months they had dreamed of this moment. The small group of people looked at the youngsters with mixed emotions. Finally the group of 4 stepped out of the shadows and stood a few feet apart from the anticipated crowd. Like rainbows falling from the sky, they all smiled in unison. They were here.

The four weary travelers were treated like royalty as they were driven to the castle. Once there, they met their king. He was so very excited to finally have them at his castle. Then came the Boss Lady. They were under her constant care and supervision. She looked at them like a mother hen looks at her chicks. A little bit of hesitation quickly flashed through her eyes, but then all that came was a sense of hope. The 3 newbies were taking in all of what was happening, while their fearless leader looked like a seasoned pro. All doubt passed their faces as their leader mingled with the group of spectators.

Later, assignments were given out by the Boss Lady. The 4 young people were eager to get their work started. They had come here with a purpose, and they wanted to do the best job possible. Determination and dedication shown brightly in every face. Eagerness crept through the Boss Ladies gaze. With the assignments handed out, the team began their work.

The first day of readers were nervous and quiet, at first. They soon loosened up and became a joy to work with. Once the butterfiles left the young people`s stomach, they took that deep sigh of relief. More and more readers showed up at the castle, and soon the team had no time to check facebook or myspace pages. Their bright-eyed, fresh faced readers brought a sense of control over the castle. The operation was moving slowly.

Over the course of the lessons, the operation kicked into high gear. The readers became eager to learn more, and with that brought difficult questions. Some left the teachers baffled, but they were all excited. They had come so far in the short time they had settled down. Soon, they became seasoned pros-answering difficult questions left and right, using the Bible as their only resource. If they had that, the answers came. Most of the readers bagan to realize that they were not dealing with young college rookies. Whatever the readers threw, the youngsters knocked it out of the park. The teachers knew what was happening- seeds were being planted.

Every day the readers came in droves, eager to hear more wise thoughts from the young people. Relationships began to develop. Next, came trust. The gifts came in masses. The castle was stocked with generous items from the many readers.

The parties held outside of the castle were a success. New recruits were found, and relationships became stronger. The teachers were getting invites from everybody. The Gentle Giant and the Birth of Success spent the day with the man, the myth, the legend- Duke Hajime. Young Tyler`s readers stayed late at the castle, hanging out with thier wonderful teacher. The glue that held the opperation in place continued with the already fromed relationship with his readers. Every day he got homemade goodies from the beautiful maiden Yoriko and the others were jealous. They all got gifts all the time. All four of the teachers were pleased with their work.

Miraculouly, the operation went on without any major glitches. Their king would praise them for their hard work and looked on with admiration. The Boss Lady looked pleased. Here they were, at the halfway point in the operation, and the results were starting to show.

Each of the teachers had to adjust. The Gentle Giant had to get use to the fact that he towered over everybody. The Birth of Success had to learn how to slow down when she talked. Line up the Sun had to adjust to the fact that her days were slow, but her nights were just packed. The team leader, who hated that title, was content that his training was not done in vain. He nodded approvingly that is team was succeeding. Soon, they would all have to leave the enchanting castle and return to their hectic lives. The pressures of school and and work would soon everwhelm them, but they would remember the memories they all shared. After all, they all had a book full of wierd and random quotes said throughout thier mission.

As they prepared to leave the castle, they knew that the seeds they planted would slowly begin to grow. As the four of them turned around and looked at their humble abode, they felt a slight sense of accomplishment. The readers were in the hands of the king and boss lady. The four younsters gripped their bags and looked at each other. "There will always be the memories" they thought together. They all looked behind them once more to see the cross slowly fade into the vast landscape. The four smiled and started their journey home. THE END??

Sunday, July 09, 2006


Ok. I`ve decided to break down and do...here they come, pictures!! Who-hoo. I could not help myself. Just random pics guys. Enjoy!! Yeah the park pic was by accident...sorry, dont know how to delete it. The top pic is of me and one of my readers, Tomomi. She is so sweet! The next one is a group pic taken inside of the elevator going up the Tokyo Tower. I love that pic! The next pic is one of me goofing around inside of the trick art musuem in the tower. That is a 10,000 yen bill (like a 100) and I`m not sure what I`m pointing at. Take care and hope you like them all.

under the sea

Sunday we had our third party and it was great!! First of, like I laways say, let me start at the beginning....
We got in from Tokyo Friday night at about 9. It gets dark here about 7 by the way. Tyler and I were both exhausted so I took a quick shower, and wrote my blogs then I went to sleep. Sunday school starts at 9:30 so we set the alarm for 8:45. We set off to wonderful dreamland. All of a sudden I was awakened by someone shouting. Who could that be? All I heard was "Jordan, Tyler church starts in 20 minutes!". It was Bryan calling out to us from the top of the stairs. They were already at the church and our alarm failed to go off. Here it was, 9:10 and we were stilll lying in bed. We jumped up. I made it downstairs in like 7 minutes (cause I`m a speed dresser, and wear no makeup!) and ate some breakfast. At that time people started showing up, so I scarfed down my banana and peanut butter. Tyler made her way down right at 9:30. The guys had to give their testimonies during Sunday school, and Tyler and I go next week. Our testimonies are really nothing special other than we were all raised in the church and have been Christians for a while. They are great, nonetheless, but not as profound as some of the others. Anyways, church starts at 10:30 and Sugao told Bryan to give the sermon for that day. Bryan gave a wonderful sermon with Sugao translating the entire thing. After church, we all walked to this place not far called Woody`s and it is Italian food. There was like 20 of us eating lunch there. The plates are huge!! I got this shrimp pasta in cream sauce with a blueberry shake. It was amazing! I love blueberry, and this tasted unvelievable. Tyler and I both had a 2:00 reading session so we grabbed the rest of our lunch to go and took off to the church to set it up. The guys went with Sugao to get groceries for the party. We finished up our reading sessions and went over to the Kindergarten (next door) and helped decorate for the party. The theme was Under the Sea and it was a blast! We had lots of people show up, probably nearing 40. Lots of readers as well. We played crab-walk soccer (haha, so fun to watch) and then we had a relay race. We got into two teams and had to put on a pair of goggles, a swimming cap, and an inner tube around our waist and run to the other side of the room and hand off the items to the next person. It was so much fun and everybody had a blast. We then had some more time so we played the card game "go-fish". The Japanese people had never played that before and it was so much fun watching them learn and they truly loved it. We cleaned up the kindergarten and headed back across to the church. Alot of our younger readers (high school and college aged) always like to hang out at the church. The party was over at 6 and they all didnt leave until about 9. It was so much fun just hanging out with all of them. There were 3 of my readers there, 3 of Tylers and just some more who are not readers (yet!). We had such a fun time and they all love us! Well, that was my day Sunday. Today has been pretty slow and I only have 4 readers today. Tomorrow I am swamped and have 8!! One of my readers wants to take me out and buy me a yukata! She is so sweet so I have marked out time so she can take me. I will report back again at a later time and talk about my Tuesday. Take care and have a wonderful day, because it is like 12:30 pm right now and probably most of you are sleeping! Take care and love you all.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Tokyo Day 2!!!

DISCLAIMER: READ DAY ONE BEFORE YOU READ DAY TWO! Ok, you dont really have too, but if you want to read about it in order, take my advice.
We woke up and left the hotel at about 9:30. We went to a 7-11 for some breakfast. We then got back onto the subway and made our way to this part of Tokyo that I cannot spell or pronounce. Anyways, we got off there and went to Edo-Tokyo Museum. The place was huge! It is two stories of exhibits, but still...Anyways, Edo is what use to be Tokyo. Pretty neat little museum. There were little relpicas everywhere and it was pretty cool. We even got to see a Kabuki play. Kabuki is the oldest form of stage acting. Broadway got its start from Kabuki. The actors where traditional Japanese clothes and everything. I dont know what we saw, but there was a man talking and people laughing. Hehehe....slight pause for you all to realize that is was in Japanese! The museum is filled with interesting history dating back to the beginning of Japan to the present. Lots of stuff to see. We spent a good 3 hours in the museum and it was about 1:30. We were starving. We got back on the subway and made our way to the Asakusa market. On the way we stopped at another 7-11 (im telling ya- they are everywhere!). We got our wonderful lunch (seriously) and sat down on the sidewalk and ate. Yeah, we got weird stares, but we didnt care. We made our way to the market, and oh my goodness!! It was jam packed with people!! Let me describe it- down the street leading to this huge temple are all sorts of little shops. It sort of reminds me of Post Old Mill Trade Days, but in a tinier space, lots more shops, and thousands more people. We fought through the crowd and went to the temple first. Wow!! How impressive. There are temples everywhere, but this one is extraordinary. Five story pagodas surround it all over. It is covered in gold, and this HUGE lantern hangs from the opening of it. We are not Buddhist, so of course we did not admire it like most Buddhists. There are all sorts of things to do, that are suppose to help you out with the worship process. I dont know. Its very confusing, and I dont want to write about all the details. We all decided to split up and meet back at this huge stone statue at about 4. We figured that we could cover more ground apart, and that way we could go to whatever shops we wanted to. I shopped and I shopped!! I am pretty much set on gifts and souvenirs. I spent about 150 bucks there! Oh well. It was worth it. Anyways, it was about 4 (where did the time go?) and we met up. None of us were quite finished so we were going to meet again in another hour. Tyrel needed me. He wanted to buy his fiancee a Kukata and we are about the same size, so he used me as reference. He picked out a gorgeous one and got himself one as well. I picked up a few more gifts and he took me to another Kimono shop and I bought a couple of wool ones there for pretty cheap. Not telling for who though!! Secret! You will find out when I get back. We were all very exhausted so we decided to call it a day. We walked to the subway, arms full, and got on there. We rode back to Ueno station and it was about 5:30. We got on the train and headed home. We got back at about 9 and I got on the computer and typed out my last two days. Of course, I left out lots of details, sorry folks I`m tired. Tokyo is a bright, busy city. Lots and lots and lots of people. It reminds me a lot of NYC, but cleaner and the streets are bigger. I took pics so I`ll show you when I get back. We did a few more things, but that is it. I hope that you all enjoyed it, and I know I did!! I need to get some rest!! My feet are killing me and I am practically broke. We walked lots of miles, so I need to rest. I`m off to the shower with some good soap and shampoo. Take care guys.

Tokyo, Day 1!

Whew! We finally got back from Tokyo, and it was a trip! We are all worn out, but it was worth it. Before I get to far ahead, I am going to post two blogs, but of course this one will be posted and then the other one, so by the time you get to read this, you probably will have already read the first one. Oh well, I think that I will put a disclaimer on the Day 2 part. Anyways, were was I....oh yes-Tokyo.
First of all, Tyler and I woke up very early and got to the train station and took the 7:40 train. The guys are staying just one stop away, so we agreed to meet somewhere on the train and leave the train together when we got to Tokyo. Tyler and I got on the train, and it was so packed! We got to the stop where the guys were and did not see then, so we figured they were on there somewhere. We went a bit further and still we did not see the guys. I decided to go look for them. I told Tyler to stay there so I would know where she was. I went to the front cars and got stuck there for a while. There was a mass of bodies, so I could not move. Finally, the train stopped in Mito, which is about 30 minutes from Taga. I was able to move back to see Tyler, and still no sign of the guys. We started to move to the back cars. The trains are huge people! Finally, we see them. They are just sitting there listening to their music. They were surprised to see us. They had been at the last car and moved all the way to about the top 5 and thought that we were not on there. We all got situated and rode on for another 2 hours. We reached our stop at Ueno station, which just happens to be the biggest station in all of Tokyo. It is crazy crowded! We got off the train, went on the subway to get our hotel. We were all very hungry so we went to McDonalds for lunch. Their McDonalds is so much better than in America. I dont know what it is. Anyways, we walked around for a while and finally found our hotel. It was nearing 1 so we went ahead and checked in. The hotel only had singles, so we got 4 rooms and it was 3200 yen a person (30 bucks). Not bad. We unloaded some of our stuff and headed back to the subway. Our first destination was Ueno park. It is just a huge park full of all sorts of things. Some of our readers told us about a Louvre exhibit on display at the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum. There was suppose to be all these statues built in Greece that are held at the Lourve. We got to the museum and it was not taking visitors!! Bummer, man! We walked back outside and decided to go the National Science Museum. It was alot of fun. It is like 6 floors jam packed with cool and interesting stuff. A lot of the stuff was in English too. We spent a good 3 hours there and decided to go to Tokyo Tower. Again, we got on the subway and rode for a while until we got to the tower. We had to then walk quite a way in order to get there. We finally saw it and it was beautiful! It was about 5:30 by now. We went inside and once in there it is full of all sorts of stuff! Stores, restaurants, gift shops...etc. There is even an amusement park and a huge aquarium. Wow. We all wanted to go to this trick art museum. It was so cool! We took a ton of pics and the art work was amazing! All sorts of stuff to look at. We spent quite a while in there. We left and went to buy our tickets for the observation deck of the tower. It was about 15 bucks to see both decks. The first deck is about 250 meters up and the next is like 400 or something. Not really sure. We got to the first deck and it was really cool. It is indoors and surrounded by glass. Pictures were a little difficult, but I just turned off the flash. We were dissapointed because we could not see Mt. Fuji, because it was pretty foggy (big surprise). We then took the elevator to the top deck, which was an even smaller space. When we went to the Empire State Building in New York City a couple of summers ago, you were outside surrounded by huge barriers. Pictures turned out very clear though. Again, here, we were indoors and surrounded by glass. It was so beautiful to see Tokyo and all its glory. We could see everything, even the Emporer`s Palace. We went back to the lower level and visited the gift shop. We got a few souvenirs and made our way to the ground. We visited some little shops before they closed, which was 8, and bought some souvenirs. We then passed a Baskin Robbins. I just stood there, debating to get ice cream or not. I did and it was amazing. We left the tower and were starving. We hopped back onto the subway and got off at Roppongi and ate at a TGI Fridays. I got a huge hamburger and big ol` greasy fries. It was delicious. Exactly American. No Japanese added flavor. Wonderful. It was nearing 10 so we made our way back to the hotel. It was about 10:20 when we finally got there. I took a quick shower (I was pretty nasty, and brought no soap or anything. Basically I only brought a toothbrush, deodorant, and a shirt for the next day.) Before I get off and tell you about the next day, let me describe to you my hotel room. You of course take off your shoes and place them on a mat in front of the door in your room. Once in the room there is bed. It is like a futon cushion and just lays there. No frame or anything. Of course, a twin size. There is a little shelf with an icebox and a tv. That is it. The sink is down the hall, the bathroom down the hall, and the shower downstairs. Crazy. They also give you a towel and a Yukata (Kimon) to wear. I slept in it and it was so comfortable. So, that was my first day. You are now allowed to read day 2!!

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

rain rain go away.....

Yes, it rained ALL DAY LONG here Wednesday. And not just some slow, light rain, that would come and go, but a constant, steady rush. And that was not all, the air was very cool as well. I wore my hoodie all day. I woke up that morning- rain, walked to the rahmen shop for lunch-rain, ate dinner- even more rain. Oh well, we are here during the rainy season!! Anyways, my days have been great. My reading sessions are procedding along quite nicely. This one reader that I have has never once asked any questions, all of the sudden yesterday she came with a list of prepared questions. It totally threw me for a loop. She asked some difficult ones, but I hope I helped her out. Praise God that she asked questions finally!
Well, there is really nothing new to report. Reading sessions are going great. Everything is going great. Bryan and Tyler`s parents sent a package and we got it yesterday. In it was like heaven! There were tortillas, taco seasoning, mac and cheese, chex mix, raspberry tea mix, and lots of other goodies. We are going to save the tortillas for a special meal. We have all been craving Mexican food.
Well, we leave for Tokyo in the morning. The train ride is about 3 hours and we are leaving at a little before 8 am. It will be so much fun!! Can`t wait!! God is so good to us to allow us to preach His word, but we are thankful for some down-time. We all need it.
I am already three weeks into the project, and this place feels like home. It really does!! Although I miss America (TEXAS!) and everything, I really like it here. I never have wanted to visit Japan, but I am glad that I am here. Well people, I will stop and let you all read now. I will not write anymore until I get back to Tokyo. God Bless.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006


So far, all of us have said the word "difficulty" at one point or another during our stay here in Japan. How is the best way to get past this difficulty? How long do we struggle with difficulty before we become discouraged? We do not need to fear these difficult questions, but instead rejoice and embrace them. We should praise God that these difficulties are happening now. Praise Him for getting into the hearts of our readers and allowing these questions to be asked. We should praise Him that even though we tell them what they don`t want to hear, they keep returning to hear even more.
The greatest difficulty spiritually is to concentrate on God and His blessings are what makes it so difficult. Our difficulties, our trials, and our worries about tomorrow all vanish when we look to God. Wake yourself up and look to God. For awhile, we are fully awake and aware of God`s concern for us. But then, when God begins to use us in His work, we begin to take on a pitiful look and talk only of our own trials and difficulties. And all the while God is trying to make us do our work as hidden people who are not in the spotlight. None of us would be hidden spiritually if we could help it. Can we do our work when it seems that God has sealed up heaven? Some of us always want to be brightly illuminated saints with golden halos and with the continual glow of inspiration, and to have other saints of God dealing with it all the time. A self-assured saint is of no value to God. He is abnormal, unfit for daily life, and completely unlike God. We are here, not as immature angels, but as men and women to do the work of this world. And we are to do it with an infinately greater power to withstand the struggle because we have been born from above.
Difficulty is a part of life. God has made us strong so we can embrace and handle this difficulty. We should not, then, worry about our own difficulties and insecurities. We should not falter and become totally lost. We should embrace the difficulties and learn from them. We should be full of courage and embrace our difficulties, just like a child who strives to reach the standard his father has set for him.
The faith of many people begins to falter when apprehensions enter their thinking and they forget the meaning of God`s assurance- they forget to take a deep spiritual breath. The only way to remove the fear from our lives, is to listen to God`s assurance to us. Human fraility is another thing that gets between God`s words of assurance and our own words and thoughts. When we realize how feeble we are in facing difficulties, the difficulties become like giants, we become like grasshoppers, and God seems to be nonexistent. But remember God`s assurance to us. "I will never leave you of forsake you". Have we learned to sing after hearing God`s keynote? Are we continually filled with enough courage to say "the Lord is our helper" or are we yielding to fear?

Monday, July 03, 2006


We put some more pics up today!! Yippee!! Anyways, when you get to our pics, make sure that you look at all of the albums. If there is no caption and you do not know what you are looking at, let me know. Anyways, I do not feel like writing today, sorry guys!! Tomorrow I will write a long one!! It is almost 11 and I am wore out!! Gotta get to sleep, I got a pretty busy day tomorrow. By the way, I hope you like all the captions for the pics, I came up with most of them!! Enjoy people!!! Love you all

Sunday, July 02, 2006

sushi go-round and fire

Konichiwa! Hope all is well with all of my readers. Let me say thanks to all of you who actually read this and leave comments, thank you!! I absolutely love it! The first thing that I do when I get up is to get on here and read the comments. It makes my day to know that I am helping you all understand the culture of Japan. Also, a happy belated to birthday to Uncle Kay and also Aunt Libby! Who-hoo, sounds like fun. Wish I could be there, but instead I am here in a foreign country and enjoying every minute of it....jealous? Yeah, it happens, it`s ok. Anyways, here is the part that you all really want to hear (read) about........
First, we had church this morning. Of course, it`s Sunday. It was good and Sugao preached his message in both languages. Wonderful. My 2:00 reader rescheduled so I only had one for the day. We were all hungry after church so we went to this sushi restaurant known as the "sushi go-round". It was um....well.....exotic, for lack of a better word. Anyways, there is a big conveyor belt that goes around the entire restaurant. On the belt are small plates of sushi. Lots and lots of different kinds. Some cooked, some raw, some with wasabi, some fried, and some wrapped in seaweed. Each plate is 100 yen, so you stack your plates and when you are finished they come by and tell you how much you owe. I got 6 plates and some water so my total was only 612 yen. I actually got very full. Each plate has 2 pieces of sushi on it. The first one I tried was one that had raw tuna on it with wasabi. There is a pile of rice (pushed together so it is easy to pick up) and then there is the wasabi (a very spicy condiment that I really love), and then the raw tuna lays on top. It really was not that bad. You dip it in soy sauce and it tastes pretty good. The next one I got was a shrimp one. The shrimp was boiled but huge. It was ok, the rice was vinegar rice and I am not a huge fan of vinegar, so I only ate one. The next one I got was ebi (shrimp) tempura. It was very good. No wasabi on that one. I got another one with like a slice of hamburger covering the rice. It was really good. I also got two desserts (actually, the same ones. It was this little puffed pastry with chocolate syrup, sprinkles and whip cream on it). So, to sum up my first Japanese sushi experience, it was not that bad. The sushi in Lubbock is terrible compared to fresh sushi. Stay away from Lubbock sushi!!
Next, we went to Yamamya which is the foreign grocery store and bought stuff to make smores for tonight. I had a reading session at 3 so I prepared for that. She is already a Christian, but a beginner. She finished the beginner book today so I grabbed the Luke workbook so we can start on that. I`m not focusing to much on the Word with her, but mostly on her conversational english skills. She is a great woman. She always brings us snacks everytime she comes.
At 6:30 we had a fireside devo out at the ocean. It had been rainy all day so we were debating whether or not to have it outside. The sky cleared up, so we took our chances. It was absolutely great. We brought frisbees and played right there on the beach. We finally got the fire going so we all sat around the fire and sang songs. Of course we had to sing the song "Light the Fire". That is a favorite of mine. We also sang "Awesome God", "Open the Eyes of My Heart", and a few Japanese songs. It was great. Everybody really loved it. We had a devo time and it too was wonderful. Next, we pulled out the marshmallows, chocolate, and graham crackers for the smores. Most of the Japanese people had never had them, but almost all of the foreigners had. The people absolutely fell in love. There is no telling how many we made, but it was a bunch. One of the church members, Jun, was fishing and he caught a small fish so he sat and roasted the fish over the fire. We all took a small bite of this "mystery" fish and enjoyed it immensly. We also lit lots of fireworks and had a fireworks show. Here you can buy fireworks in stores and stuff. Pretty cool man! Finally, around 9:00 we wrapped things up and headed for dinner. We went to this great little western style restaurant called Gusto. I got a hamburger patty (more like smothered steak) and some chicken. It was really good.
So, that was my day. I have no readers until 2:00 tomorrow so I am hoping to post some more pics on our website. I also hope to make some more albums so that the pics can be in some sort of group. Like I have said before, all of my directions here are written in Japanese, so I can not tell how to post pics on this blog. Sorry! If any of you need the address again let me know. Again, I just wanted to say thanks to all of you who take time out of your busy day to check out my blog. You guys all rock!! Who-hoo. I am going to have a book when I get back! There was a little more to my day, but nothing really worth mentioning in my blog. But, I will say this- Bryan got offered a job here in Japan. He graduates in December and has always wanted to come to Japan and teach english. Since Rusty and Laura are leaving, that leaves a space open at Mike`s english school. Bryan is really considering taking the job. Mike would like him her in January. I`m proud for him. I think that it would be a great opportunity for him. So I guess that I am just asking you all to add him to your prayer lists and pray for him as he tries to make up his mind about this amazing job opportunity. Well, that`s all for tonight. Take care all!!!

Saturday, July 01, 2006

My day with Hajime

WOW. What a day. Wonderful and absolutely beautiful. So, before I let myself get to far ahead let me go back to the beginning. And let me tell you, what a great day. Be prepared!!
First, I slept in until noon and it felt so good. I have always heard that after you go the onsen that night you will sleep until you wake up. No distractions during the night, and let me tell you that that was the best night of sleep that I think that I have EVER had. Seriously. I slept for 10 hours and every minute was wonderful. I felt like a whole new person when I got up. My body felt clean and pure, I also was actually fully rested and it was great to feel that way. Anyways, Tyler was still asleep so I walked to the convenience store and got some chocolate-melon bread and a Pocari Sweat. That is sort of like a gatorade, and it is delicious. It`s kinda wierd though drinking "sweat". Then Judith came at about 1 and picked me up and then we were on our way to pick up Tyrel from Rusty and Laura`s. We set out on our treck to spend the day with Hajime. Hajime lives over an hour from Taga, so we met about halfway at a train station because Judith had a friend that lived in that town (can`t remember the name), and Tyrel and I got in the car with Hajime. He was so excited to see us!! The first place he wanted to take us was a surprise.
We drove for about 15 minutes and pulled into a parking lot. We got out and walked inside of a building with a huge gift shop and restaurant. We kept on walking until we got outside. OH MY GOODNESS!!! We got out there and the camera immediately went on. We walked across this little bridge and beneath us were the biggest carp that I have ever seen. Every single one of the suckers were at least 3 feet long. No joke! They were all swimming around there and there were tons of them. We walked along the bridge until we reached this rocky path. Here, we were surrounded by wildflowers. Hajime could tell us the name of EVERY SINGLE tree and flower in that area. It was so beautiful. Here we were, in Japan, looking at something that many people do not get to look at.
The place that we went to is over 400 years old. It was once the home of The Second Duke of Mito, Mitukuni Tokugawa. It was called The Seizan-So House, and it is a National Historic Landmark. The entrance to the property is amazingly beautiful and I have never in my life seen anything like it. The air smelt crisp and clean, the cool breeze blowing off of our faces, the smell of the river piercing our noses. Amazing.
We kept on walking down the path and we got deeper into woods. Instead of wildflowers and water lillies, we were surrounded by 500 years old cedar trees, bamboo, and tons of other trees and forestry. Hajime paid for us all to go in (he would not let us pay). The ticket guy gave us an english guide to read as we walked along the trail. I soon put mine away because Hajime could tell us so much more. The guy who once lived there was a practicing person of Confucious-ism(?), and everything is very plain and humble. Everything is exactly the same way as it was 400 years ago. I mean, America was barely "America" at this time! We walked along this beautiful place, taking numerous pics along the way, and saw so much history. We came to the house and it was made from a clay-like substance, bamboo, and grass. The house is still standing today, with no modern help of any kind. Back then, the roof was made of grass. In order to keep the roof from catching on fire and burning down the whole house, they would throw water on it. There are plants growing out of the roof! Amazing! It just amazed me that all of this is just sitting there, 400 years old, and looks like it was built yesterday. We saw all of these wonderful things, to much to mention in this blog, but let me tell you, it was a memory I will NEVER forget. Bryan and Tyler really missed out.
After we left the park, Hajime wanted to show us these 1,000 year old cedar trees. 1,000 YEARS OLD!! Can you even imagine? We were on our way, driving practically through the mountains, and Hajime points out the window and says that he owns that land. He tells Tyrel and I that he owns 80,000 square meters of land. That is 80 square kilometers of land!! Somebody, quick tell me how many acres that is!! Gorgeous land! On the side of the mountain, full of wild vegatables, and lush greenery. Wow. All of a sudden, he stops the car and tells us to stay inside. Tyrel and I thought that we were having car trouble. Here we are, in the middle of nowhere, and Hajime goes and picks this bamboo chute. It is like 2 feet long, and he opens my door and tells that it is for me. He said that you peel the skin and eat it. He said that he would cook it when we got to his house. We finally made it to the trees. You can see these guys from like a mile away!! These trees were humongous! Absolutely wonderful and so beautiful. Definately a sight. It was about 5 and Judith was meeting us at his house for dinner.
We got to the house and met his wonderful and lovely wife. We get inside and he slides open the back door and we look out into this garden. Not a garden with a couple of bushes and flowers, but a huge garden that is like nothing I have ever seen before. His house is over 80 years old, and built by his family. The house is in amazing conditon. The windows are made of rice paper and they are immaculate. Paper thin, and not a tear anywhere! Hajime showed us around the house and showed us the guest room, and told us that we should come back and spend the night one time. Judith is good friends with him and his wife, so she was helping prepare dinner.
Dinner was amazing. We had these noodles, I think a type of Soba (buckwheat) noodle that is similar to angel hair pasta, but served cold. You get the noodles and dip them in this sauce and eat them. They were delicious. The plate of noodles was huge, but I ate every last one. We got compliments as to how well we knew how to eat with chopsticks(not that easy). We had a plethera of food to choose from and it was all amazing!! After dinner Hajime pulled out a harmonica and started playing them. He kept pulling more and more out. He has 7 in all!! One is massive and has every sharp chord on it. His favorite one, though, is one that he got in America. He likes it because it is so small and he can carry it in his pocket. He played us lots of songs. Him and his wife wanted to listen to some American music so Tyrel and I pulled out our mp3 players. They loved that. We played them all sorts of stuff. Hajime`s wife was cooking the bamboo and it was nearly done. She asked Hajime why he wanted her to cook that one, because she already had some chutes cooked. He said that he wanted that one because he picked that one for us. We ate them and you put mayonnaise on them. Oishe! Delicious! Tyrel and I both love spicy stuff, so they made us eat this spicy Korean sauce and it was great. Not that spicy. They do not like it. Next, came some ever hotter stuff from Nepal. It was very spicy but wonderful. Hajime got so excited and thought that we would try anything. He came back with this bottle of stuff. He told us that this was very very salty. It was fermented fish insides (the later part they "forgot" to tell us about). He put a little on a spoon for us and it was sooooo salty!!! WOW!! Crazy salty. It really was not that bad, but way to salty. Hajime said that even a lot of Japanese people do not eat this stuff. Hajime did not think that we were American`s, because most American`s will not even try anything like that. Him and his wife kept calling us great and amazing. Like it was a title they gave us. It was nearing 9 so we headed out. Hajime and his wife are such great people. They walked us out and waved at us as we left.
Hajime is one of those people that you could spend a whole month with and never get bored. He said that if we ever came back, that we should stay for a little longer. Tyrel and I want to come back and just live there for like a month. Judith said that they always love foreigners to stay with them because they just love people. They like to hear about where people are from. They wanted us to teach them some Texan words. It was hilarious hearing them say howdy, fire (like fur the way we say it), yall, and fixin to. It was so much fun. They call Judith their other daughter. Hajime is now on my list of "10 Coolest People That I Have Ever Met (Excluding Family)". He is like a grandfather. He is my Japanese grandfather! Just a wondeful man and a great person. His wife is so sweet and both are a blast to be around. Here we are, just having spent 7 hours with him and we were so upset that we had to leave. If any of you are ever in a small town in Japan (I`ll get back to you on the name), then stop and spend the night at Hajime`s house. You will definately not forget it. So, that was my day. All I can say about it is AMAZING!!!! Hope that you all enjoyed it. By the way, I have been here for over a week already and have taken about 90 pictures. Today alone I took over 60. WOW!