Albright Japan Trip ’14 – Rpt 2
Today (August 19) marks two weeks into this Japan trip. Our travels here from Memphis were uneventful but it continues to be a long trip. One surprise this year was the limitation of only one checked bag each by Delta Airlines. Not that we had checked two bags apiece before, but we did usually have an extra box of books and gifts.
Practically all of our books are now electronic. This reduces weight considerably. Also having access of Costco permits us to buy some gifts once we get here. This allowed us to reduce what we bring further. For the seventy-two days that we will be here we have two checked bags (46 and 47 pounds) plus a carry-on (24 pounds) and a laptop case. There was no need for the extra expense of an additional bag. This also saves a bit on handling things once in Japan.
Hot and humid described things when we arrived. We try to use the air-conditioning sparingly to conserve energy. But there are times when it is just necessary, particularly at night and when street smog gets bad. We have been blessed with some overcast and cooler days particularly after the recent typhoon.
The first day we made a trip to Costco to purchase items for the trip. I set up my office while Josephine unpacked clothes and settled us in to the dorm room and kitchen/office.
For the past two weeks I have primarily concentrated on writing two lessons and then beginning translation. I have three big lessons to give for the Japan School of Evangelism. I am working diligently to get these ready. In the midst of this I also wrote a lesson for the Ochanomizu church Hakone Bible Camp (August 22-25). Please check out our trip schedule.
Our first Sunday here was spent with two congregations, the Yokota military congregation and the Yokota Japanese congregation. Masa and Mari Nonogaki minister to these congregations which both utilize the same building. The U.S. military congregation meets in the morning and the Japanese in the afternoon. A typhoon just happened to be in the area on this Sunday. While Tokyo did not get a direct hit, it did feel the effects of it through rain and wind. Attendance was off a bit because of this. Sixteen at the military assembly and ten at the Japanese. At least three families were absent at the Japanese assembly because of the weather. I shared a lesson with each congregation and one military family invited us to lunch with them. They live “off-base” so it was easy to visit them. On base visits require registration and other paper work.
The second Sunday we worshiped with the Tachikawa church. Naoyoshi (Nao) and Noriko Fukushima minister to this congregation. This is the congregation which we visited in 1969 when it was a military congregation and then worshiped with while in language school (1977-80) after it became a Japanese congregation. They graciously let us stay in the third floor dorm.
This particular Sunday Nao went to minister to the Sendai congregation in Miyagi Prefecture. This was timely because I could cover for him in his absence. I found out two days before that I would also be teaching the Bible class. Thankfully it was on Acts 1 so the preparations for that did not take too long.
Following worship we had a meal of cucumbers, ham, and egg over ramen. These times are always great opportunities to fellowship and get to know one another. There were twenty-three for the worship period.
That evening we took two wonderful ladies/sisters out for supper at a local restaurant. Noriko Fukushima and Akemi Sano are two very diligent workers behind the scenes for the Tachikawa church. We enjoyed the time with them and so very much appreciate their ministries.
While we are involved in preparations for classes, we do try to take some time to get out of the dorm. Because of the heat and humidity we usually walk early in the morning or in the late afternoon. Any grocery shopping is done at Inageya across the street from the church building. These walks among the neighborhoods and fields in Tachikawa are restful. Even though they have very little space (most houses are zero lot houses and I mean zero), they seem to always have some pretty flowers. We enjoy looking at these and seeing new building being done in the area.
Camp is coming up at the end of this week. We will be able to get out of Tokyo and into nature a bit more. We will meet up with the Ocahomizu church in downtown Tokyo at 9:30 a.m. to board a bus. Hakone is very beautiful and the place we stay is a very nice hotel with views of Mt. Fuji on one side and Suruga Bay on the other.
One bit of very exciting news came from Steve and Debbie Carrell. They are ministering at the Matsudo church where we will visit in September. Steve wrote, “During our worship this morning [August 10] at the Matsudo Church of Christ, Mr. Keiichi Yukusue confessed his faith and was baptized into Christ. We are thrilled that he has decided to commit his life to Jesus and we pray that he will grow in his faith each day.” This gives meaning to all we do. We rejoice with the Matsudo church and give thanks for this new brother-in-Christ. You can read the Carrell’s reports on the Park Avenue church website.
Thanks for your continued prayers and encouragement. – Dwight
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