Report 1 — August 29, 2013
As I write this report, we are two weeks and two days into this trip. The next day after arriving we went to Costco to purchase some food items which we will use during our stay. It is more economical to do this than to buy from the local store in smaller quantities. We also had supper with Steve Carrell, missionary in Matsudo and long time friend. Debbie, his wife, is currently hospitalized for chemotherapy.
Three days after arriving we headed up to Ibaraki (two states above Tokyo) for the 68th Annual Summer Seminar for the Ibaraki area. I was the second speaker for this and spoke on “The Lord Who Likes to Work” from John 5:1-18. It was a great occasion to see many from various churches in the area. There were seventeen congregations represented with ninety-nine in attendance. It was hosted by the Mito congregation. We were able to ride up with the group from the Tachikawa congregation where we stay.
For our first Sunday in Japan we worshiped with the Tachikawa church. This was the congregation we initially worshiped with when our family first came to Japan in 1977. The Tachikawa church family has graciously permitted us to use the dorm on the third floor as our “base of operations” for 15 years now. This area feels like our second home and really reduces the cost of our ministry.
The minister at Tachikawa asked that I meet with him at least five times in a mentoring session. He took a class on spiritual development in June and this is part of the homework assignment for the class. I felt honored to be able to do this and am also benefiting from our times together. At this writing we have met two times to discuss various things and offer encouragement to each other.
This past weekend we went with the Ochanomizu church to their Hakone Bible Camp. I was the keynote speaker on the topic of “The Christian in Society.” At one of the sessions we divided up into two large groups dealing with the Christian in the workplace and the Christian at school. I sat in on the one concerning school and was encouraged by the discussion. We divided into three groups and were given a situation to consider. We were to advise the Christian in the situation on how best to respond. How would your respond? 1) Your Christian friend has been betrayed by a trusted friend. As a Christian your friend knows she is to forgive seven times seventy. But she cannot bring herself to do it. 2)Your friend is dating a non-Christian and he is thinking about marriage. However, he is pressuring her to have sex. 3) Your friend has been hurt by her friend. She wonders how to resolve the problem.
This Bible camp is held at a hotel between Lake Ashi at Hakone and the Suruga Bay. It is a lovely area with many spectacular views. We were able to see Mt. Fuji which is unusual for the summer months. The camp concluded by going to Numazu to worship with the congregation there. The Numazu church was started through the efforts of Sarah Andrews after WWII. They are a very active and energetic congregation. Following worship we boarded our bus and returned to Tokyo. We saw three car wrecks on our return to Tokyo which is very unusual for Japan.
We began our Wednesday night class at Ochanomizu and Thursday morning class at Tachikawa this week. We are studying 1 John. There are time restraints with the Ochanomizu congregation since the class is at night after a work day. However, the Tachikawa morning class is longer and followed by a meal together. It is exciting to study the Bible together and also to have a time of fellowship over a meal.
Dwight & Josephine