I do not know what the deal is, but it is 7am and I have been awake for almost 3 hours already. I could NOT sleep. So I gave up and came to get on the computer. However, even though there is wireless internet here, it is painfully slow compared to what I am used to. I am soooooooooo spoiled!
We are in Toyohashi now. Just finished 3 days at church camp. It was awesome. I love this church family. It is our second time to minister here. They are truely family. And there are tons of kids in this church. These kids are awesome. I was so touched watching them play with each other and play with Hana at camp. And during TWO HOUR long worship services that all sat and listened intently. They sing the songs, talk to adults and are so sweet to each other. You might be thinking, what is so awesome about that? But in Japan, this kind of well adjusted, happy and active pre-teens and teens are a rare sight. Most of them are pretty withdrawn around adults and it is rare to see more than 4 or 5 kids in a church. They don't have any grand youth program/kids program at this church, nothing flashy at all. It is just obvious this is a group of adults that loves each other and loves on those kids and most of all loves Jesus, and it shows.
The pastor here is a riot. He is a 12 year old running around in a 60-something year old's body. Last night he started a water gun fight with all the adults who went to eat dinner. Luckily I was inside giving Hana a shower, and only got sprayed through the slightly cracked bathroom window! But Rocky came in pretty wet, and he said that sensei at one point started filling buckets and dowsing people! At camp, sensei was barking at everyone from a balcony once. During dinner last night, we laughed and laughed together. He (and the rest of his church) are just full of the joy of Jesus Christ!
At camp we watched a video about Christianity in China. AWESOME! The persecution they endure from the government actually serves to spread the Gospel at an alarming rate. What happens is, people get arrested for meeting in house churches. That weeds out "nominal" Christians right from the start. Then those who are passionate about their faith and on fire for Christ end up being forced to run from authorities and spread out to avoid arrest. They go from town to town spreading the Gospel until they are discovered and then they run again, spreading the Gospel even more. There is no way to know how many Christian's there are in China, but is a LOT! Amazing how God uses what man thinks is going to put a stop to the power of His Word, to only make it even more powerful! But of course it really put the existence of the church in China and the hardship they endure at the front of my mind. I find myself thinking about them and praying about them constantly right now.
And it breaks my heart for the Japanese. They are politically free to choose to following this incredible Savior and so many of them are so appathetic it is hard to get them to even think about the need for God for even a second. What will have to happen to wake up the souls of the Japanese people??? I'm not sure I want to know...
So I recently read The Shack... OH MY GOODNESS! All I can say is, you HAVE to read this book. It IS fiction, and in that you have to take some of the "accuracy" (of the theology) of it with a grain of salt. But all that aside, and keeping in mind that it IS fiction, it is powerful. It totally says about suffering, exactly what I learned through Dad's death and our journey of infertility (which we are still on, by the way). This book, you just have to read it. Even if you disagree 10,000% with the theology of it, the message is powerful. WOW. I can't wait to read it again.
The Olympics. I am missing like 90% of it being on the road right now, and further more being in Japan. Nothing against the Japanese, but the media here ONLY covers Japanese participants. I have seen a tiny bit on the tv here about the US swimmer who is doing so well, but otherwise can't get any coverage of the US. The coverage is really very poorly done. Like last night, I was watching the mens track and field hurdles race, and the guy in lane one disappeared from the race after they left the starting blocks. The Japanese media totally ignored it, and filmed the race to the end with shower the winner for 2 seconds, and then zooming in on the Japanese runner (who came in fourth) and interviewing him, and then going on to something else. I am dying to know what happened to that lane 1 runner. Ugh! Most of all, in the summer Olympics, I LOVE gymnastics and diving. Probably won't get to watch much of that either, and of course, the coverage would only be of the Japan teams anyways. So that's sort of a bummer. I would love to have a satelite TV right now, and about two weeks with NOTHING to do (HA, in my dreams!). I want Hana to see it too. *deep sigh*
Well, I better go ahead an close for now. Some little munchkin is going to come stumbling out of her room any minute now, and I just heard the washer finish my load. We are staying in an AWESOME furnished apartment provided by the church we did camp with by the way. Praise God for wonderful accomodations, with nice beds, a fridge, a washer, AND air conidtioning! Off to hang the clothes out to dry!
hugs and blessings,