I hit “play” on my iPad, and all the kids and their mothers came running to dance the Hokey Pokey again. They all put their right hand in and shook them all about, and the mothers were just as excited as the kids. I was encouraged, and I jumped right in with them, even with little sleep and not in the best health.
Yesterday, I got a sore throat and a little congestion. I had a hard time sleeping because I woke up several times unable to breathe (I had closed my mouth). But I refused to let that keep me from ministering to the children here, and I threw on a mask. Still, easier said than done, as the medication I am taking is drowsy medication.
Seeing all these children with such joy and excitement replenished my spirit and re-energized me. It kept me going through the morning as we made paracord bracelets, stress balls from balloons and flour, braided strings, bookmarks, and wordless gospel keychains. And it kept me going as we taught the Cha Cha Slide and the Macarena among others.
I also greatly enjoyed holding the little Japanese baby boy that I have become friends with. I was able to hold him and put him to sleep, and I may have gotten a few winks myself.
After our classes today, we went to another sushi place that has a conveyor belt delivery system, although there was no English menu like there was in Tokyo. Pastor Ken kept recommending and ordering his favorites for us, and all of them were good. One of them was sea urchin, which has more of a pasty texture than a traditional fish texture. I liked it and trying new things is exciting, but I have found that I fall back on salmon and tuna.
After the sushi, we went to another Onsen—a natural hot springs bath house—with Pastor Ken and Janet up in the Yamagata mountains. It wasn’t as hot as the first Onsen we went to, which was actually more bearable.
It was a little more difficult going with Pastor Ken than with Kazuki because his English is more limited, but we still had a great fellowship time. It was interesting to see Pastor Ken speaking to another Japanese man that he and we didn’t know.
This made me think about how these bath houses could be a great opportunity to build relationships with neighbors in our community and Missions Director, Josiah, and I joked that we should start one in Fort Collins. As Janet described it to me, as the clothes go off, their masks and reservations often are removed as well.
I hope to go to bed earlier tonight and get a refreshing sleep and hopefully be healed of my sickness. In order to do that, however, I should stop writing. But I want to give a huge thank-you of support, encouragement, and prayers from everyone back home. I hope that through these blog articles we can show you not only the work that God is doing in Japan and in our lives, but also be a way to show how grateful we are for our readers and supporters back home.
This article was originally written at 11:24 pm on July 28 in Yamagata, Japan and originally posted on the LifePointe Church website.