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Archive for May, 2012

“…I was sick and ye visited me…” Matt. 25:36

Sunday, May 27th, 2012

Hello again everyone!

Last Sunday after church in Ibaraki, we went to visit a sister in the church by the name of Sister Juliet. She had a stroke about 5 years ago and she’s been in a hospital/nursing home ever since then. Anyway, last Sunday (20 May), we went to visit Sister Juliet in the hospital. There were 14 of us total that went and when we walked in, Sister Juliet was SO surprised!! She was able to push herself up out of bed and sit up. She stayed sitting up until we left. We prayed with/for her a couple times, Brother Okonushi gave her some tapes of the most recent messages that have been preached at Ibaraki UPC, and we just stayed and talked with her for some time.

I think the thing that stood out to me the most about that visit was each time she said, “Oh…I just want to be able to go to church again. I want to go to church again…” There were a couple times at first when she said it that she was smiling but later into the meeting, she would start crying each time she said that. And when she started crying, that got everyone else teary-eyed. To me, it showed me that often times we take for granted the fact that we can go to church whenever we want to. Sister Juliet can not do that. She is one of those people who is like David and will say, “I was glad when they said unto me, let us go into the house of the Lord!”

Anyway, here are some pictures that were taken while we were visiting Sister Juliet.

This was the first time we were praying for Sister Juliet.

Here is Rebekah, Mitsuko, Brother Vic, and Brother Noel.

These two were very happy to see each other. :)

She was so sweet….

Like I mentioned previously, Brother Okonushi has been recording the services at Ibaraki and has been saving them to take to Sister Juliet. He buys the tapes and batteries so that Sister Juliet will have a way to listen to some preaching. Sister Kris was getting the tape player ready for Sister Juliet to listen to.

Sister Juliet at one point reached over and grabbed my dad’s hand and said, “Oh Pastor…I really want to come back to church. I wish I could be back in church again.” Then she just broke down crying and we all started praying again.

At the end, we were all giving her hugs and getting pictures with her. I don’t have a picture of the two of us together, but I did snap this shot of Sister Perlita and Sister Juliet together.

After we said our good-byes (actually, we said ‘mata ne’ not ‘sayonara‘), we left the building and saw this:

Then we all wanted to get a group picture in front of the pretty flowers.

Then I got this ADORABLE picture of Justine. Isn’t he such a cutie?!?!

After leaving the hospital, we went to Choshi to see a place where they had a park service right on the beach. And let me tell you something, the beach was SO pretty!! I have a thing for beaches here recently anyway so I always think they’re pretty.

There was even a lighthouse there that you could go out onto the top balcony area. It reminded me a lot of Enoshima Island.

It was very hazy that day but it just made it seem like a lazy afternoon.

After Brother Okonushi, Justine, and Mitsuko walked down towards the water and over towards the rocks, Rebekah and I got the courage to walk down just a bit as well. What I really wanted to do was to walk into the water and get pictures of the waves coming in…BUT that wasn’t an option at that particular time.

You know, you have those certain moments in time when you have huge waves coming in, like the 3/11 tsunami….

…or maybe smaller waves such as these…

…or other times when everything is so sweet and calm…sorta of like our trials in life. Just a Rachel Analogy :)

Sister Perlita saw me taking a picture of all of them and posed for it. :)

I think this area is so pretty!

That is Brother Vic walking right along the water on the left.

I kind of messed with this one a bit with the contrast and all that. I think it looks neat this way.

I love how the camera caught the wave as it was coming it.

As I was messing around with the picture, I was trying to figure out how to how to make the beach colored but the water black/white. Maybe next time I’ll try to do a colored water, but black/white beach.

Some of the waves that were coming in were pretty good sized. Well, they were nothing compared to the 3/11 tsunami waves, but when you’re standing right there as they’re coming in, they look pretty good sized. Had I been in the appropriate clothes, and not holding my camera in my hand, I would have just stood there and let the waves hit me. But I couldn’t do that.

Justine, Brother Okonushi, and Mitsuko-chan.

I just love Justine!! He’s SO stinkin’ cute!!!

There was an area up above where we were standing on the beach where there were some seashells and some some dollar pieces. Rebekah, Sister Perlita, Justine, and Mitsuko were picking up the shells. That was fun looking for the different shapes (especially heart shapes).

On the drive to Choshi and back to the church in Ibaraki, Sister Josselyn was teaching Rebekah Tagalog. Yes, Rebekah is learning Tagalog. It is kind of funny because I will ask/tell something in Japanese and Rebekah will answer in Tagalog. So I try to guess what she is saying based of what I said or asked.

Anyway, that’s how last Sunday was spent. We had a good time of fellowship all day and a touching time at the hospital visiting Sister Juliet.

God bless you all! I’ll be writing more soon.

Rachel

 

母の日お目出度うご座います!!

Sunday, May 27th, 2012

Starting out with this entry, I’d like to just give a quick, loud shout-out to all of our mom’s out there. So…

母の日お目出度うご座います!!!         

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!!!

So, anyway, we were able to spend Mother’s Day in Ibaraki this year. These are all the mom’s in the Ibaraki church.

My mom had made some little cheesecakes, some with cherries on top and some with mini chocolate chips on top.

We also had some pen and bookmark packets that we handed out to the mom’s.

Brother Okonushi also handed out some Ghana Chocolate (which, by the way, is very tasty!)

Everyone was so happy for the gifts.

We then had a prayer for all of the mom’s.

I just wanted to give all of you mom’s a great big shout-out. We love and appreciate you all!

God bless!!

Rachel

JUPC General Conference

Friday, May 25th, 2012

Hello again, everyone!!

Well, it’s been a few weeks since I’ve been on here. I hope to get caught up over the next couple days.

So, as a few of you know, or maybe several of you, our Japan UPC General Conference was 2 weeks ago (4-6 May). We were privileged to have Brother and Sister Bernard come visit us and to have Brother Bernard minister to us.

On the first night, Rebekah and I rode with the Datsomor’s to the Mizuho View-park Skyhall where the conference was being held. Traffic was horrible (it was Golden week, a big Japanese holiday) so we got to church a little late so we had to sit in the back. It was a little more difficult to get good pictures from back that far but I was able to get a couple.

Brother Yokoyama was translating for Brother Bernard.

The altar was packed that night.

This was the theme for the conference.

Brother Marsh from Okinawa (not originally but as a pastor from Okinawa).

I love how Sister Yokoyama smiles while she’s playing the piano sometimes.

Brother Matsui was praying here with Sister Lourdis. We were very surprised to see her there, but we were also very happy to see her there. I gave her a huge hug when I saw her!

I think this little girl got the Holy Ghost on the second night.

Sorry there aren’t many comments or descriptions. For pictures like this, the picture mainly tells the story.

The female praise singers for the weekend.

And the male praise singers.

These are all of the people that receiver their local licenses. We have Brother Ishibashi, Brother Arai, and Brother Higan. Their whole families were called up there to be prayed for.

Brother and Sister Ishibashi’s two boys are so cute!!

Brother Matsui and Brother Lucas.

The licensed ministers were called up to pray for those who were getting their licenses.

I have more to say a bit later about what Brother Doan was talking about at this point. But that has to come later.

At one point, I think it was Brother Lucas that asked for all of the ministers to go up and pray for Brother Shalm, who is the regional director for Asia.

Sorry I don’t know the names of all of the translators (other than Brother Yokoyama and Brother Matsui). I know one of the translators is Sister Diaz from Okinawa, but I’m not for sure which one she is.

Across the front row is (from left to right): Brother Perry, Brother Clevenger, Brother Doan, Brother Bernard, Sister Bernard, Sister Lucas, Brother Lucas, Brother Shalm, and Brother Yokoyama.

We were also blessed to be able to hear Sister Bernard play the piano and sing for the altar call one night.

Sister Lourdis!!! We were SO happy to see her there.

Brother James Asante.

The guy on the left in the red tie is Brother Doan’s oldest son, Nathaniel.

This is for you, Sister Felicia!! Here is Sister Felicia with the Bernard’s.

After the last night of service, we had a youth fellowship. All of the youth from 12-19 years old were invited. I think we had about 18-20 people there that night plus Brother Arai and Brother Ishibashi.

We had a lot of fun that night!! We always have so much fun at these youth fellowships.

I don’t remember the name of the boy on the far left, but next to him is Joshua Doan, Hikaru, Kenni, and Nathaniel Doan.

I don’t remember what we did for this game, but I do remember that we were all laughing.

This kid is so adorable!!!! One of the games we had, if we got it wrong, we had to put these different accessories on. It was pretty funny!

Kenni was playing with his “hair”.

Here is Enos. Doesn’t he look great in blond hair? :)

Here is his “professor” pose.

One of the games we did, we had to pass something along (I forgot what it was) by balloons until we got to the last person on the team, who happened to be the team leader. If someone dropped the ball, we had to start over again. Anyway, we lost and since I was voted the team leader, I had to go up and put the accessories on. I had everything on from the unibrow, the rosy cheeks, the glasses, AND the reindeer antlers! It was pretty funny if I do say so myself.

I was asking “Is it okay to take it off now? Are all the pictures taken?”

The guys were trying to figure out who was going to be the next team leader.

Here is Hikaru.

Here is the group picture that was taken at the end of the youth fellowship.

Here are some extra pictures that I took on the small camera.

This is the sky one night after church. It was gorgeous!!

Here is Mt. Fuji in the distance.

I also took a couple of videos over the course of the three days and I’ll try to get those up here one way or another but that’ll have to wait for a different time.

I hope y’all enjoy the pictures as much as I enjoyed the conference.

God bless!!

Rachel

Congratulations, Michio!!!!

Thursday, May 17th, 2012

I just wanted to send an “arigatou gozaimasu” the the Javier family and a big “omedetou gozaimasu” to Michio Javier.

A couple week’s ago, on a Saturday evening, my family and I were sitting around talking about how much we wanted a Tagalog/English Bible. We have looked at some of the Tagalog Bible’s before and we really wanted one. We have a Japanese/English Bible, and we wanted a Tagalog/English Bible as well. The next morning when we got to church, we had a surprise (a big one) waiting for us. Brother Vic walked up to us with his wife, Sister Kris, and handed us this…

IT’S A TAGALOG/ENGLISH BIBLE!!!!! My parents started tearing up and my eyes were just a tad on the watery side. It was so sweet of them to get that for us. To The Javier family, thank you so much for your gift. We love you all and appreciate you all so very much!!!

That day, we were also privileged to be able to baptize Michio, Brother Vic’s and Sister Kris’s son.

We prayed with him one more time before we baptized him.

After the baptism, Brother Okonushi went to the supermarket and got some lunch for everyone. That was GOOD!!

To the Javier family, thank you so very much and to Michio, congratulations on your baptism.

To the Ibaraki church, we love you all so very much!! See y’all again soon!

God bless and much love,

Rachel

 

Sendai and Matsushima

Friday, May 4th, 2012

Konnichi wa!!!

Hello again!

So a couple weeks ago, I went to Sendai to see my boyfriend. He had a couple days off from school and he wanted me to come up to Sendai to see him again. While I was up there, he took me to Matsushima (which is absolutely GORGEOUS!!!). I had a great time up there and the sights were amazing!!! Thank you, Hiro!

So first of all, when I go up there, I take the train(s) from the station closest to our house, Ichigao eki (station), and I end up at Yokohama eki. From there I take the night bus to Sendai (or Fukushima prefecture. I’ve gone to both places). Yokohama station is huge (not as big as Tokyo eki though). There is a mall called The Diamond Underground Mall, there. Anyway, this was outside the station. I’m not sure what exactly it is but it’s Japanese and I like Japanese things.

This is only part of the Yokohama station. The rest of it is back behind the Joinus area. Sorry it’s a bit blurry.

On my way to the convenience store, I passed this…

This building here is where I have to wait for the bus. It’s huge but it’s also very pretty.

My bus left at 11:00 pm. I stayed awake until midnight just to make sure that I didn’t have to make a transfer (I had to transfer one hour into the trip on my previous trip up there). Once we left Tokyo station, I fell asleep….fast asleep!

When I woke up, it was about 3:30-4:00 am. The sun was just coming up and it was so pretty.

We were walking around and Hiro said, “There is my parking”. I thought he was talking about that maybe that’s where he would park if he had a car up there. Then he said, “No….that’s my parking…look!” That’s when I saw what he was pointing at…

See?? “Hiro Parking” :)

After walking around a while down in Sendai, we went to a place called Italian Tomato Cafe’ Jr. We got two plates of spaghetti and a large salad. The first kind of spaghetti was a shrimp and tuna (which was good!!)

The other kind was Bolognese Spaghetti, which was also very good.

Hiro picked out the salad and both plates of spaghetti. I always let him pick out our meals and he always does a good job (maybe because he also cooks quite a bit).

Then we went to Matsushima. This was the train that we took to Matsushima.

This is what it was called…

Then we went to マリンピア (Marinpia Aquarium but the katakana only says ‘Marinpia’. The website for that is http://www.marinepia.co.jp/).

This is the entrance to the aquarium.

There was even a carousel in there!!! And no, we didn’t ride it although that would have been funny… :)

There was a penguin area there. The penguins were so cute!!

After watching the penguins for a few minutes, we then went inside to look at the rest of the animals.

Look at those eyes!

Has anyone ever seen an alligator stand up like this?

It almost looked like a statue. Hiro and I were trying to figure out if it was even real or not. Once we got closer, we noticed that the eyes were moving….

About that time, there was a show going on outside so we quickly walked through the rest of the aquarium so we could go to the show…it was a seal show!! It was so cool!!!

The seal show was so awesome!! The seals did so many tricks…they even clapped their fins!!! I loved it!

I couldn’t understand all of it, but I was able to pick out some. I was just enjoying the show most of all.

We went back inside for a few minutes until the next thing on the agenda started. I thought this was the best picture out of what I took in that time frame.

The next thing was a penguin feeding. That was pretty awesome, too!

This penguin (the big one) was especially pretty.

This is the type of fish that was being fed to the penguins.

This penguin was so pretty!

This one was a feisty little thing.

She kept trying to escape…

She was actually getting quite close to Hiro and myself. She got so close  that she was able to reach out and nibble on my hoodie zipper.

This is the little penguin area. Do you see that red sign on the glass?

Take a closer look….

These two guys look like they are trying out some dance moves or something.  :D

Miss Feisty finally got off of the table and started walking towards Hiro and I so I snapped a picture of her.

Then we went to the bay area. That area was so beautiful!!!

Matsushima is made up of so many small islands, some of them so small that they only have one pine tree on it.

This tree looked at first like it was growing on top of the rock but it’s roots were still in the ground.

Hiro and I got a snack at one of the shops and we sat outside to eat it…well, at first we sat outside. This seagull decided that it wanted some of our snack, too. We were just a little worried that it was either going to attack our food or that it was going to…use the restroom…on us. So we took off to go inside. :)

We went on a little sightseeing cruise of Matsushima Bay…it was awesome!!

This is the boat we went on.

This is the gorgeous part!!

That little odd shaped island on the right is the small island with only one little pine tree on it.

The weather was getting a bit cooler (but not quite cold at this point) and the wind was picking up a bit…

….but the sky was beautiful!!

One cool thing about the sightseeing boat was that you could buy a bag of some type of french fry things and feed it to the seagulls. It was so cool!!! I had so much fun doing that! Hiro and I were laughing the entire time.

I got Hiro’s picture of him holding a fry that he was gonna feed to the birds.

The sunset was beautiful, too!

This is facing a shrine that was right there on the bay.

See all those little rocks out there? Well, some were pretty big actually…anyways, those are all islands.

This is going to the shrine that I mentioned above.

This bridge looked neat until you got right in the middle of it and looked down….the slats were set just a short distance from each other. You could see the water up underneath the bridge. I know I’m not very fond of heights and I’m not sure Hiro is either.

The scenery was gorgeous up there. I love it!!!

This is from the shrine looking out over the water.

I love all the little red bridges.

Hiro got a taxi that took us up the this certain observation point…the sun was setting and it was absolutely gorgeous up there!!!

The taxi driver asked Hiro if we would like for him to get our picture.

There was a little cafe’ type place up at the top of this observation point. That’s where Hiro took me to eat that evening. Watching the sunset (even though it was cloudy) was gorgeous!!! I kept looking at Hiro saying, “This is beautiful!! I love it up here!!”

This was what we had that night. Each of us had a tray like this. Normally, whenever Hiro asks me what I want to eat, I tell him to pick something. Both of us like pretty much the same things, so we will normally get the same thing. That, or he’ll order two different things and we’ll split both things.

Anyway, I’m not sure what all the names are of everything, so I won’t go through and tell you everything. I’ll just say that everything was very good, but I just couldn’t finish everything. Normally, Hiro and I have small snacks through-out the day, so I don’t eat a lot when we have a big meal.

This is the cherry blossom jello. It was oishii!!!! So delicious!!!

The view was gorgeous!

After that, we went back to the station to head back to Sendai, which was only a 25 minute train ride or so away. We walked around around down there and just hung out until my bus got to Sendai station at 10 pm. Then I started the trip back home.

That’s all I have from my last trip to the Tohoku area. I’ll be working on another blog entry here soon so y’all stick around and I’ll get another one done here soon. :)

Much love and God bless,

 

Rachel