Japan Trip Spring 2023 Apr 17-Jun 28 – Report 1
April 24, 2023
As we finish our fifth day in Japan today, we feel like we are over jetlag and ready to settle down to work on a regular schedule. Yesterday, we traveled for a little over two hours to worship with the Haruna church in Gunma Prefecture. This congregation was the one we most wanted to connect with.
Two months before departing for Japan, I wrote a brother asking if he would drive us to Haruna. It is away from any public transportation so it is only accessible by car. I gave him several dates to choose and it happened that our first Sunday in Japan was convenient for him.
Shiro Obata ministers to this congregation which he started twenty years ago. Brother Obata is one of my Japanese mentors. We first met brother Obata and Rumiko his wife in 1969 as college juniors. He later picked us up in 1977 in Yokohama as a family of four (a three-year-old daughter Rachel and a one-year-old son Jonathan) to begin a nine-year ministry. Since that time, he and his wife have encouraged and taught us many things. At eighty-eight, he continues to minister to this congregation they planted 20 years ago. Before planting this congregation, he served the Tokyo downtown church at Ochanomizu for over 30 years. They have been a blessing!
Next Sunday (April 30), we will worship with the Ochanomizu church. They were our sponsoring church when we moved to Japan in 1977. I will record the sermon for those that worship by Zoom.
On Saturday (April 29), we will journey to Mito in Ibaraki Prefecture for the annual spring joint worship. This will be the first time to have a “hybrid meeting” which means it will be in-person and via Zoom. We are looking forward to the in-person fellowship. It will last from 9:30 until 3:00 in the afternoon.
It has been 6 years since we were in Japan in the spring. We really enjoyed the flowers – Dog Wood, Rhododendrons, Azaleas, along with so many others.