June 20, 2010

Back in the USA..... =)

AP writes:

Well, I have been home for a week now. I can't believe that much time has passed by! It has been good to be with my family and re-adjust to the time zone. Jet lag hasn't been too bad which I am forever thankful for. Abi slept for 19 hours once we got home. Now that's what I call a deep sleep!

I am hoping to be able to put LOTS of pictures on the blog soon. We downloaded all of the pictures into the Kawase's computers so I should get them sometime near the end of this week and then figure out how to put bunches on the blog! 

It was amazing to see God work through us when we least expected it and felt the least usable for ministry. God truly does move in mysterious ways. Being able to see another view of who God is and see Him through the eyes of a different culture group was an incredible experience. Many good friendships were made and others were strengthened. I am so thankful that God allowed this trip to be written in my history! God is so good!!!! =)

I'll write more later. I am currently trying to study to take another test before I leave for Georgia in a week. I'll post pictures soon!!!!! See ya in July! =)

June 13, 2010

dancing in the orient - day fifteen/sixteen-

We're at the Narita Airport, two hrs. from takeoff. Below is our final trip diary and a few pics attached.
See you soon.
Sue

_________

SATURDAY, JUNE 12, 2010 : TOKYO

Quick Sketch:

  • Zushi Beach
  • One hr. visit with Nagisa & mother
  • Ja Mata Hatanakas’
  • Kobe Beef , Hymn Singing, and Nakadairas’
  • 10 Yukatas + 20 slippers + 1 bed = slap-happy fun

Trip Diary:

Dear Friends and Family,

Our final day has been pure relaxing, fun, connecting with extended Kawase relatives, and playing the American tourist. With our busy two weeks, this has been a welcome chance to relax and debrief.

Saturday after breakfast, Reina, Hatanaka’s 15yo daughter, took the teens to the beach. Walking along the Pacific shoreline in the sand and water was relaxing. They discovered live starfish; some stayed on for devotions.

After their return to Hatanakas’ designer home, Nagisa arrived with her mother. (Nagisa was a JCCC student in 2008 who we had taken in at a crisis moment in her life.) How good to reunite with her and meet her mother for the first time. We were moved to tears when at the end of her visit she stood before us, reading a long thank you letter in her broken English. She is finishing her teaching degree in Japan.

Late morning we left for Jiyugaoka, a suburb of Tokyo. The Tokyo commuter trains and stations are quite busy. There was no way we could have made it without Yutaka and Jenna’s Japanese language. The rushing of black-haired crowds in all directions is a sight to see. These people are used to the tight spaces; they learn to talk quietly but move swiftly from place to place. We enjoyed seeing an evening train packed to the gills! The train screeches to a halt; the doors open. No one gets off the crowded train. But a line of 15 people still push forward into the train. The final people in the line turn around and simply back up into the crowd then hug their purses, skirts, briefcases to themselves as the soothing whistle blows and the doors close. Despite one woman’s skirt getting caught in the door, the train sped forward. Very efficient. A sight to see.

Our final visit was with the Nakadairas’ . Yutaka’s uncle and aunt and cousin welcomed us to their home. So did G’ma Nobuko. How pleasant to see them all. Immediately we were invited in for a meal of Kobe beef, rice, salad followed by ice cream. (Beef is very expensive in Japan; Kobe beef is even more rare—the beef cattle are massaged and given beer to give us very tender steak….a very expensive and delicious plate!) Oishi to ippai desu nee! (delicious and filling). The guys were wide-eyed when they were given seconds! A gift from God!

Uncle Kenkichi is a retired Tokyo appellate court judge. More importantly, he is a believer who for the last 25 yrs. has argued many cases (even before the Japanese supreme court ) on behalf of minority groups in Japan, especially the Koreans. He is a man of words. We each gave our greetings and thank yous to this dear family, all translated. At his request we worshiped together, singing “Jesus Loves Me” and “It is Well.” He then presented each of us with Japanese yen to spend. You truly can never out give a Japanese person!

Later the teens enjoyed the Japanese private garden outside while some of us rested and chatted further. We took pictures in front of the Japanese garden gate before we bowed, hugged, gave our final “sayoonaras” and sped away on the taxis to the train station where we were taken to Richmond Hotel, just one train stop from Narita airport3pm Sunday. where we will leave at

Our final debriefing was slap-happy fun as the entire team dressed in our Japanese style white robes and slippers jumped on Yutaka and my bed for some former god-stories when Yutaka was a student here 35 years ago. The stories moved to giving thanks for all that God has accomplished in our trip here. What a time we had. There is much more to share. Pics will have to wait…if we find a WiFi connect at the airport.

Please pray for our final trip home…. About 13 hrs from Narita to Detroit, MI…a short 2 hr. layover, before we meet in Kansas City.

Much love and thanks for being our stateside team. We are very grateful for each of you.

With love!

Sue, for our entire team


Hatanaka home.


Nakadairas

Team at Tokyo Garden Gate

Tokyo Trains

June 11, 2010

dancing in the orient - day fourteen-

FRIDAY, JUNE 11, 2010 : Zushi

Quick Sketch:

  • Train traveling north
  • Tourists
  • Hatanakas’ welcome weary travellers

Trip Diary:

Dear Friends and Family,

8:30am our team gave our final “chows” at the Nishi-Hiro train station, then headed north past Hiroshima, Nagoya, Osaka, and finally to Yokohama. There, for two hours we enjoyed being tourists. We had caught snatches of sleep esp. on the shinkansen. We were grateful.

Yokohama, Japan's 3rd largest city is set for tourism—lots of beautiful sites to see--parks, Japanese gardens, waterfronts, architectural structures, and shopping. We thought of John Ho as we marveled at the Yokohama Landmark Tower : built to withstand earthquakes with shifting plates within the foundation. This 70-story structure is the tallest building in Japan and has the world’s fastest elevator, rising 28mph . Here’s a pic and website if you want more info: http://web-japan.org/atlas/architecture/arc10.html Mostly, we laughed and enjoyed ourselves.

At 8pm we arrived at Zushi station where Yutaka’s cousin graciously greeted 10 weary travelers. The Hatanakas’- Ichiro, Itsuko, and daughter-Reina are believers that minister in the corporate and educational sectors. You may have known, they housed Monika & Juergen Kramer’s youngest daughter several years ago. They have a fascinating story of the Lord’s pursuit. It includes a dangerous Zaire I love hearing each believer’s story—each so fascinating and unique. This is certainly no exception. military coup, Buddhism, Havard MBA, regularly hearing the audible voice of God (it began when he was 20yo as a Buddhist.), and a Christian baptism in Boston, MA.

Saturday Prayer:

  • Connecting with former student- Nagisa- here at Hatanakas.
  • Our final trip to Jiyugaoka, a suburb of Tokyo
  • Honoring Uncle Kenkichi Nakadaira (84yo?) who helped us first establish contacts in Japan
  • Reuniting with Grandma Nobuko
  • Travel to hotel by airport: Reorganizing our luggage ; Debriefing

Much love to all!!

Sue


Natalie

More than Ashes

Hiroshima City Hall after Abomb

Hip Hop Blocking

June 10, 2010

dancing in the orient - day thirteen-

THURSDAY, JUNE 10, 2010 : Hiroshima3

Quick Sketch:

  • Reunited with team : heart check-in
  • Last rehearsal
  • Brazilian home-cooked lunch
  • Finale Concert

Trip Diary:

Dear Friends and Family,

Our final dance concert is over! It was truly a grand finale for all the past four months of preparation. The concert was held at the newly built Hiro Civic Center adjacent to the busy train station. Lighting, sound, and stage (with large wings!) and separate dressing rooms made it a perfect place. Natalie and Jenna co-led this one. Who would ever have guessed when they met 17 years ago at MCF that they would be leading dance teams near Hiroshima, Japan!

The local Brazilian hip-hop dancers opened the evening with the vibrant dance:“He Reigns”, followed by “Go Get “em, and later “Living Clean” . Natalie had prepared the dancers well—with four practices each week for the last two weeks—all spoken in Portugese! And this is Japan! They love their Natalie!

Our dancers joined with them in the opening piece, then later in the program added their own repertoire- “When It Was Over” , “Man of Sorrows”, and among others, a powerful Cory Asbury piece “More Than Ashes.” Some of the song lyrics were first read in English, then translated to Portugese, then Japanese. We ended with improv worship to a Battlestar Gallactica instrumental. The evening was a celebration of friendship with these warm-hearted believers; a gift of encouragement during their hard months.

True to Brazilian culture, the socializing continued on and on- first in the civic center lobby, then outside, and finally in a local Italian restaurant. Lots of laughter and hugs… slap-happy fun. Exhausted, we fell into bed after midnight. Our final “chows” and pics taken—our hearts full. We had accomplished our purpose in coming.

Friday prayer points:

  • Four hours of train travel to Zushi (near Yokohama)
  • Late afternoon and evening with Hatanakas’ (Yutaka’s cousin)…pure relaxing.
  • Touching hearts with our team: beginning debriefing

Much love and gratefulness,

Sue

PS: The movie, “Ratatuolli” (sic?) portrays well how much tasty food reminds us of past conversations, places, and emotions. Ask Kimberly. One of the Brazilian grandmas cooked a large meal of soup beans, rice… at noon today. Kimberly’s eyes quickly brightened at the sight and smell….”This is my mom’s food,” she exclaimed! She looks forward to her return with them in mid-July, as we all do with our families and friends. Just three days left here.


Natalie and Kirsti Backrub

Kimberly and Soup Beans

Sayumi and Gustavo

Team Heart Check-in

dancing in the orient - day twelve-

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 9, 2010 : Hiroshima2

Quick Sketch:

  • Team on-their-own for the day—rehearsal, train ride, shopping & A-bomb visit, & more rehearsing
  • Yutaka and Sue counseling day

Trip Diary:

Dear Friends and Family,

As Yutaka and I ate our Wed. supper in the “Thankfull Restaurant” (that really is the name!), it felt like dejavous. Just two years earlier, our last team in 2008 had ended their stay in Kure (town near Hiroshima) with an evening at this restaurant. It had seemed the perfect ending to our time with these joy-filled folk. Never would have we imagined the testings ahead for these believers.

We met for several counseling sessions and various conversations; we have heard quite a few stories—many the same—how hard the last months of trial (abuse on all fronts) have been, but also how faithful God is. We came home both saddened and encouraged—many going on with God despite the hard season, yet other younger believers struggling in their faith. We are sobered. We are called to prayer. We are reminded that in this earthquake ladened land, where every building is constructed in preparation for catastrophe, we too must have solid foundations, and develop our daily personal history with Jesus that will withstand any possible catastrophic event.

We also came away with two other assurances—

-- that God is faithful and will not allow more than we can handle;

--that these people feel incredibly loved by us for traveling the distance to hear their hearts.

The dancers successfully managed their 24 hrs. without their “team parents.” Surprise?! It was we who missed them! We couldn’t stop talking about the great team that we have. Some shopped; others visited the A-bomb Peace Memorial—very sobering.

Thursday prayer—

  • Final rehearsal for Thurs.7:30pm (Th., 5:30am CST) performance at the public auditorium near the Kure train station.
  • Marcio (one of pastors Yutaka, Joshua, & I homestayed with) & friends will prayer walk the streets Th. before the performance, attempting to gather interested unbelievers to performance.
  • Final “chow” (Portuguese for goodbye) Friday morning early.

Much love,

See you in just four days!

Sue


Abi beside advertisement: Beauty


Breaktime


Kimberly and Ashton rest


Marcio (one of pastors in Kure) and family

June 8, 2010

dancing in the orient - day eleven-



TUESDAY, JUNE 8, 2010 : Hiroshima1

Quick Sketch:

  • Chapel with KIC School
  • Sword posing in front of Japan’s oldest castle
  • Shinkansen and Commuter trains to Hiroshima
  • Three Japanese HS gals fascinated with Americano dancers
  • Reconnected with Natalie!
  • Team hiphop rehearsal in open park while
  • Yutaka and Sue joined the Hiroshima Church’s prayer meeting

Trip Diary:

Dear Friends and Family,

After just 40 hrs. with the Bostrom family and students of the Kagegawa International Christian School (KICS) we loaded our suitcases into the 20-passenger Toyota van (a far cry from our Ford diesel van affectionately named “Clifford”—Yutaka did I catch you drooling?!) and headed for the Shinkansen downtown. Paul Bostrom graciously chose to drive us via the old section of the city where we spent 15 min. inside the giant gates of the Kakegawa CastleJapanese swords (replicas) for them to pose with. What fun they had for the few remaining moments! I have no doubt it was a gift from God to seal their time here! complex- the oldest castle in Japan. It was beautiful! Of course the guys immediately began climbing the huge stone base of the watchtower followed by sparring at the gate entrance. A Japanese man noticed them and brought 2

The next 7 hrs. were spent in trains and stations…the further south we travelled the more crowded it became as we headed into rush hour Japan-style. As before, the guys were such a blessing, regularly stacking 50# suitcases overhead our train seats and racing down stairs with a large suitcase in each hand. They were troopers! Pas de Deux trained them for this life!

We were so glad to reach our southern most destination around 6pm. As we awaited our contact, our team engaged three Japanese high school 15yo girls, attempting to try out their English on us. I pulled Jenna and Yutaka into the conversation when needed. The gals were fascinated that we were dancers from America. We invited them to the Thursday night performance. Pray that they come. As we left, we exchanged our American coins for some of their Japanese coins. We had made new friends.

And then Natalie arrived! How good it was to see her! We all cheered and hugged. Of course, it was also great to connect with Marcio, Hernaldo, and later at a pastry/coffee shoppe with Eri, Sayumi (Paula), Hiro, and other friends. It was great, yet sad because of all that has transpired with these Brazillian immigrant believers in the last half year. Their world has been shaken by much abuse at the leadership level. Though several limping churches now, they appear to be holding on to God. Hopefully, they will allow time for their hearts to heal completely.

Last night, the team had a 2 ½ hr. hip-hop rehearsal in an open public park led by Natalie. The Brazillian/Japanese dancers will join our team for a few dances on Thursday night. During this time, Yutaka and I joined Marcio, wife Sayumi and the believers of the new Hiroshima church for a prayer meeting. Unfortunately, the 45min. hum of Portuguese prayer was just enough to “sing” me to sleep! I awoke in time for Yutaka & my translated talks! We hugged and cried with the believers, encouraging them to take time to heal their hearts.

The entire team divided into groups of two or three for welcoming homestays for the next two nights.

Please pray for—

  • The weary dancers--esp. Jenna/Natalie as they lead the two groups (Portuguese/Japanese/Spanish/English speakers)
  • Abi and Joshua our youngest team members-emotionally/physically hard with the constant travel and quick entry/exit in each place here in Japan.
  • Yutaka and Sue --as we travel to the other church today, engage in listening/counseling two separate couples.
  • Jenna--as she leads the team this afternoon ON HER OWN : travelling by train/trolley cars to downtown Hiroshima shopping and/or the Peace Memorial (A-bomb museum).

Again, thank you so very much for your prayers. We are greatly indebted to each of you for “holding up our arms.” Don’t stop…in this place especially, we need your prayers!

Much love,

Sue, for all the team




Kimberly and Maharia




KICS Dance Camp

KISC Camp
Kakegawa Castle

June 7, 2010

dancing in the orient - day ten-

MONDAY, JUNE 7, 2010 : Kakegawa

Quick Sketch:

  • All-day Dance Camp at International School
  • Evening Performance at City auditorium

Trip Diary:

Dear Friends and Family,

This will be just a quick note as we need to pack before 9am, and be “on the road again…” this time to Hiroshima. Monday was filled with a full day of dance. The team divided all the children into three groups to teach them—preschoolers, elementary, and Jr/Sr high. After tough warm-ups by Jenna, then Kenon, the team showed a hip-hop piece and a modern piece. The rest of the day was choreographing with the students. These students are truly international—there are Brazilian, Japanese, Filipino, American, and Korean. Some believing households, some not yet. (Yes, I googled it and Filipino is correct for people from the Philippines.)

The performance in the evening was a celebration for the kids for all their hard work during the day. Then, the team performed beautifully the entire 3 sets. Again, tears flowed freely. One deaf man in particular that was sitting near me was moved. I was moved just knowing that though he heard nothing, he could appreciate the dance and message behind each piece.

Our hearts were full though our bodies were exhausted.

After the international school’s chapel, we will leave this place for the shinkansen…traveling till supper to Hiroshima. We look forward to connecting with Natalie, and we hope to reconnect with a former Johnson County Community College student of ours—Nagisa as well.


We are so proud of our team. Each one has risen to the occasion, taking advantage of small opportunities to bless, and serve and love from the heart. Please pray as we prepare to minister in Hiroshima--

  • unity in team
  • safe, unencumbered travel from train-to-train-to-train
  • clear, heaven-sent counsel/listening from Yutaka and I due to the Hiroshima church changes
  • God-conversations

With love,

Sue , for all


PS: No pictures are able to be sent today. Will try another day.

June 6, 2010

dancing in the orient - day nine-

Crowded Japan

The T/J Team and Emily Hong: L-R top-Jenna, Abi, Ashton, Joshua; middle-Emily Hong, Kirsti; bottom-Stanton, Kimberly, Kenon



SUNDAY, JUNE 6, 2010 : Shizuoka

Quick Sketch:

  • Team dances/Yutaka preaches at Living Way Church, Shizuoka : powerful
  • Many conversation over Curry/Rice church-wide meal—American C’ian, Indian Hindu, Japanese cripple prayer warrior,…
  • Quick travel to Kagegawa-Paul/Cheryl Bostrom and 13 children
  • Slap-Happy Planning for tomorrow’s dance camp

Trip Diary:

Dear Friends and Family,

We feel as though we are on eagle’s wings; no doubt, we are being carried by your prayers. ARIGATOO!

Today we awoke from our futon sleep(strewn throughout the church bldg) - well rested, though we could have slept longer. We scurried through breakfast, put the church in order, just in time for the arrival of church folk. Living Way Church moved into the present building in March. For those who’ve joined us in previous mission trips (2006 or 2008), you will understand if I say—“there are no pillars in the center of the room to dance into!”

After worship, led by Ako Suzuki (old friends of Glenn and Karen Baron when they were missionaries in Japan), the team presented 3 dances—When It Was Over, Come Thou Fount, & Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus. Yutaka then gave the sermon—an extended thank you and word of encouragement to the church, followed by a sermon on Psalm 19—responding to God’s non-verbal (creation) as well as verbal (the “law of the Lord”) . The dancers then completed the service with a powerful improv. worship piece using none other than a Battlestar Gallactica song! Lots of tears followed. The church warmly received us like never before.

This Shizuoka church takes the “breaking bread together” literally, and each Sunday they provide a very inexpensive meal at the church which builds much community. Since two years ago when we visited last, there is a renewed vibrancy in the congregation and many new faces and believers present. Some of the chats included—

-Stephen (Evansville,IN-teacher of TESL for one yr) who brought one of his new friends, Sumit

-Sumit (Indian Hindu –master’s level researcher of earthquakes). I asked if he was a believer…He smiled and said he is interested and learning. I remarked that I too am “interested and learning”, and that with Jesus I first learned about him through his work on the cross, but that He is so powerful, loving, and wise, that I am still interested and learning.” I told him I am jealous that next week he will hike up Mt. Fuji!

-Deder (sic?) Gordon—one of the oldest Gordon daughters who danced two years with San Antonio Ballet, but is returning to Mississippi to dance with a brand new modern company bringing the message of Jesus.

- Catherine and Ando—another married daughter (two adopted children) of the Gordon’s who expects in the next two years to move to Indonesia as missionaries.

- ?twenty-something male : Can’t remember his name, but I asked how he learned English so well. And this is his encouraging story—a reminder of the power of prayer:

“I studied college in San Francisco, but when I dropped out later, my parents refused to provide funds. Since I wanted to stay in America, but had no job, no food, and no bed I was desperate. A friend introduced me to a church family, provided for me, and introduced me to Jesus. I later returned to Shizuoka as a very new believer, still so hungry. As I was reading my Bible, I realized that I needed to be water baptized. I prayed what to do next. My apartment was located behind the old Living Way Church building and every Sunday I began hearing English worship songs sung. I was fascinated. Finally I developed enough courage to knock on the church door. Ricky Gordon, the pastor greeted me. I told him, ‘ I have come to be baptized!’ This was in the fall of 2008, and I have been with the church ever since.”

As I chatted further with my new friend, we exchanged more details, and I realized that he was the fruit of our prayer walks as we circled the church community praying for their neighbors. Both of us were very encouraged.

- Naotaka— This gentleman (30’s) has been with the church for about ten years. He is crippled, some brain damage, walking slowly with two canes. This is his story—

His parents raised him in Oregon. As a new believer in college, Naotaka was in a serious car accident which left him in a coma. The doctors told his parents that there is no way he will live. So, his parents returned him to Japan to die. Instead, he miraculously lived. Then He was told that he would not speak, but slowly with prayer he began to speak. He was told that he would not walk, but with great pain and lots of therapy, he is now walking. This man is a living miracle! I asked him why God brought him back to Japan to live and not die? He said, “For prayer… I am called to pray for Japan!” Immediately the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart, and I began weeping, realizing that God was allowing me the honor of meeting one of the great prayer warriors of Japan. I began praying for him. Pretty soon he began shaking and fell to the floor. I firmly believe that this man will see with his own eyes the revival of Japan; what many only long to see.

By 4:30pm we were on the bus, heading to the train station. We gave our goodbyes, and traveled 15 min. south to Kagegawa. Here , Paul & Cheryl Bostrom and their 13 children lead a Japanese/English congregation, the Sakuragi Christian Center. They are third generation missionaries. Several of their children are adopted from Eastern Europe, another is a 12 year Down’s child whom they adopted just a few years ago. They began an international school two years ago that is thriving, except for space!

We spent the evening renewing/gaining our friendships, then planning for Monday’s dance camp at the school. Because the team is tired, it was hard to plan….yet, very slap-happy! We fell into our futons, strewn throughout the schoolrooms, separated by make-shift “curtains”- sheets hung on clotheslines. Oh, how we love the mission life!

Thanks again for your prayers. There is so much more to share; we save that for our return in just 6 days!

With love,

Sue



Edith and grandson Rui

Fujikawa new friends

New Fujikawa friends with Kirsti and Kenon

Penguin salute: Jenna, Kirsti, Stanton, Kenon, and Abi

Signatures on Ashton's Heel

JP: Centered

JP Writes:
The weekend of May 15th, we found ourselves in the middle of our beautiful country, LITERALLY! One of our "Intro family" members was getting married in her hometown of Hesston, KS. Chastity has been a big sister and tremendous role model for Ashton and Mallory since that first week that we arrived in Kansas City. So, we loaded up and made the 3 plus hour drive to the beginning of nowhere for the Saturday afternoon event. The wedding itself was absolutely beautiful, the perfect picture of the bridegroom-bride relationship that God desires for us to enjoy with Him. But, that is a blog for another day.

What struck us during our trip over to Hesston and all day Sunday as we explored the Heart of America was the simplistic beauty of the land, the vast emptiness, the pace of life in the towns that we passed through, and the peace and quiet of the landscape. Especially the quietness. It seemed as though the quietness screamed at us at times.

As we stood at the top of the 40 foot high tower at the Maxwell Wildlife Reserve scanning the 2,400 acres for the ever elusive buffalo and elk somewhere (anywhere!), we couldn't help notice the sound of nothing. No cars, no planes, no music, only the wind blowing through the tall grass and wheat. At times we couldn't handle it and somebody had to speak.

Same thing at Coronado Heights where as legend has it after scanning the horizon for the Seven Cities of Gold and finding nothing Spanish explorer Francisco Coronado gave up his search. In his search for man's riches, he failed to notice the beauty and riches that extended to the horizons right in front of his eyes. As we looked out over this gift from God, we couldn't help but enjoy the peace and quietness as we "explored" this hilltop .
The pinnacle of our trip, at least to me, was standing in the geographical of the center of the United States just outside of Lebanon, KS. Again, the quietness and remoteness jumped out at us. Here, in the middle of farms was a stone marker, a small abandoned motel, a picnic area, an 8 seat chapel and three very large crosses. The thought hit me, "why do we cram into cities of millions of people, racing from here to there, busy, busy, busy?" These people had the right idea. Slow down and enjoy what God had placed around you.

A newspaper article at the picnic area indicated that only about 2,000 people visit this site each year. How sad. But this place spoke volumes about the spiritual atmosphere of our country. Here in the dead center of our country stood that chapel and 3 crosses. Just like God, whether anyone noticed or not, they were there in the heart of America. Symbols of why our country has been blessed as it is has been. Politicians and others can say what they might, but these are symbols of what made our nation great.

We tend to take for granted what a privilege it is to live here. Luke 17 records the story of Jesus healing ten men of leprosy. Even though all ten were healed only one returned (the non-Jew) to give glory to God for the blessing. Very few of us tend to turn back to God and thank Him for blessing us and the country in which we live. In this story Jesus even responded to the one that came back to thank Him. In essence Jesus said "Uh, I blessed 10. What's up with the others? Aren't they thankful? Where are they?" They were too focused on themselves and their vanity. They were too eager to show off how good they looked to the leaders of their day and to everyone else. The same can be said of today. Too often we are to focused on showing everyone how good our ministry/occupation/lifestyle looks rather than focusing on thanking and worshiping the One who blessed us with these things.


The quietness at the center of the United States was a prophetic reminder of the quietness that comes forth from America to the heavenly throne room. We are no longer centered. Like the Israelites of the Old Testament we have ceased to see the need for God. I am thankful that the Lord allowed me to stand in the heart of our country and intercede for the turning of our hearts back to Him. Will you join me in praying that the U.S. church body will wake up and break it's silence? Blessings.

Be joyful always, pray continuously, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus

1 Thess 5:16-17


June 5, 2010

dancing in the orient - day eight-

SATURDAY, JUNE 4, 2010

Quick Sketch:

  • Morning with Hogondai Home Stay families;
  • Crystal Chapel Dance Rehearsal
  • Crystal Chapel Full Performance
  • Fast Train to Shizuoka

Trip Diary:

Dear Friends and Family,

We’ve certainly begun the fast-paced leg of our journey, travelling south thru Honshu, the largest island of Japan. We spent the morning in Hogondai with our host families (looking at a map of Japan, Hogondai is a suburb of Yokohama--south of Tokyo.) The late morning and early afternoon was given to “blocking” our dances in a very small space at Crystal Chapel. The dancers would swirl into each other, hit corners of walls, and slap faces as they passed each other…actually a little dangerous. Thankfully, they had humor.

We forgot to prepare them for the Japanese culture of hiding emotions. When there was very few smiles and laughter and clapping during the performance, they wondered what was wrong. It was a lesson in dancing “for an audience of One.” But later as we prayed for several , the tears flowed freely. Afterwards, a church crowd sent us off with continuous jubilant waving until our bus was out of sight.

A one hour bullet train ride south brought us to Shizuoka where Ricky Gordon and Hiro picked us up. It was great to see old friends. Ricky and Sarah Gordon raised their 5 children while laboring to build a church community here. They also have 5 other adopted Japanese children; and if that’s not enough, they have an adoption ministry of special needs children. It is not unusual to see a 20- something brawny guy with a Downs babe in their arms. Presently they have eight babes.

We sleep in the church on futons, after processing our hearts; Many times we’ve seen at the half-way point in our trips, the tears begin, as the Lord unearths and gently shakes loose some of the lies and idols we hold on to. This is no exception. It is beautiful to see the team gathering around and loving each other through these moments.

Pray for—

Yutaka’s sermon and Team’s dance on Sunday at 10:30.

Kakegawa Dance Camp and Performance on Monday

Natalie Wilson in Hiroshima

Much love and gratefulness,

Sue



Kimberly and Ashton Practicing in the Airport

Hokondai Homestay

Chisako and ....Translators

Kirsti and Ashton dancing 'Lifesong'

Jenna dancing 'Come Thou Fount'

Kimberly and Kenon dancing Hip Hop