Monday, November 30, 2009

The Holidays and a Surprise Visit

Well, the Christmas holiday season is in full swing here with all of us missionaries. Amy and I have started decorating our house, not much to decorate but we're having fun none the less. Today we (Amy, Ben, Benny, Caren, Debbie, and Vanessa) helped Tim and Christine decorate their house and ate cookies and drank hot chocolate/apple cider. It was so much fun! The house looks beautiful but more importantly we had a great time bonding.
For those who hadn't heard, my dad came and surprised me with a visit last week. He arrived on Friday night. Dad had it video taped. That night was actually the night before my debut as one of the worship leaders for the Fuse Jesus Community. Needless to say I was incredibly nervous. To lead worship you have to not only sing in English and Japanese, but also to have all the songs that I'm singing memorized. I was so stressed on Friday and Saturday that I was almost sick to my stomach.
Well the night that Dad came we finished up worship practice and I wanted to go home and practice my Japanese for worship the next day, but everyone else wanted to stay and "have a meeting to discuss what to do for street performances once it gets too cold to do music". The whole point to the meeting was actually to buy time until my dad got to the church. Everyone else was so excited for my dad to come and they kept dragging the meeting. I started getting really frustrated, mainly just because I felt so unprepared for Saturday.Dad walked into the room, I jumped across 3 ppl and threw myself into his arms. It was so good to see him! After dad and I left the church we headed back to my apartment to get some clothes for me, because Dad and I would be staying at the new church building for the Noborito church. It was so weird having my dad walking through my house. I've pictued it in my head so many times at what I wanted to show him and what he would think of it.
That night we talked for a little bit but went to bed pretty quickly. The next morning (Saturday), Dad brought out all the presents from different people from church and some family. There were so many presents! Thank you to everyone who sent them! I got a lot of coffee, chocolate and a whole bunch of other things. Then we sat around the house and talked until we had to leave for the Fuse. It was so amazing to have Dad come to the Fuse. It's another one of the things that I have been dying to show my parents and basically everyone at home. It was even more special that Dad was there on the week that I was to lead worship.
Dad and I went out for tempura for lunch. Which is basically fried food. We had prawn (shrimp), pumpkin, green beens, and squash. Plus of course rice and mizo soup. Dad did good, he ate all the food. Then we walked around Machida and I took him to the 100 yen store. Then we had a street performance after that. Joe and I sang a couple songs together but mainly it was just Joe singing and playing guitar.
Worship went well. I messed up on the first song and completely forgot the Japanese for the second verse of it, but the rest went really well! Once I got really comfortable being on stage I completely relaxed and I really enjoyed myself. It didn't matter if I messed up. The chorus of the second song became my prayer for worship that day, especially after I messed up.
The chorus says, "Jesus we're living for Your name. Never be ashamed of You. Our praise and all we are today. Take, take take it all."
After the Fuse we went out to eat with everyone, but quickly went back to the house so Dad could get some rest. It was so nice being able to spend time with Dad!
On Sunday we went to Shibuya and Shinjuku and walked around ALL DAY! The only time we sat down the whole time we were out was at lunch (which was Burger King). We went to the busiest Starbucks and we walked around Shibuya and all all the different stores there. In Shinjuku, we went up the Shinjuku towers and looked out across Tokyo. You can see for miles and miles up there. The city just stretches on until you can't see it anymore, it just doesn't end. Then we went to a park near the towers and walked across it to an old temple. There was a wedding going on inside the temple. That's probably a sight I will never see again while being here in Japan and it was so great to see it with my dad. After that we walked back to the train station and towards the Christmas lights they had up.
On Monday, the Fuse Jesus Community had our Thansgiving meal. We had so much food! All in all we had about 30 people come and Dad spoke and gave the Thanksgiving message. He did amazing! Then after dinner a group of people all came back to the new building and had dessert. The last of the people left for the night around 10pm...and the celebrations started at 3pm. It was a long and great day!
Tuesday we had the team breakfast like normal, then we all went out for curry for lunch. I had a bean and chicken curry and dad had just chicken curry. Curry here is amazing. We usually go to a restaurant called New Dehli and the owners love us because we all go about once a week. The food tastes amazing and it's fairly cheap. We get a salad, all the nan we want, nice size bowl of curry, and a drink for 780 yen (about $8).
After curry, dad and I met up with Mark and Yuiko for coffee and to talk. It was really amazing to have 3 of the biggest role models in my life meeting and talking. Dad has influenced my love of music and my relationship with God and all my standards and most of everything in my life. Mark and Yuiko has influenced my love for missions and being a worship leader.
Then Ben, Joe, Vanessa, Debbie, Amy, Dad, and I all went hiking. We were going to go walk through some old houses here in Noborito but they were closed for the day. We hiked around for a couple hours, climbing up and down lots of hills and stairs. We were all exhausted!!!!
Wednesday Dad, Ben, Benny, and I went to the old houses and walked around then Dad and I went out for sushi with Yas. Yas and his two daughters (Sarah and Fiona) had stayed with my family in the states 8 years ago. Dad tried boiled octopus, raw octopus, scallops, sea urchin, ikura (salmon eggs), crab, and shrimp sushi. I think he liked all of them except the sea urchin and the ikura. The only new thing I tried this time was the sea urchin. Sea urchin looks kinda like cat food and has a TERRIBLE taste! Other than that I had ikura, crab, and shrimp. Not too adventureous, but this is my 4th time having sushi.
After sushi we went to the Fire Deptment and we got to talk with the chief, look at all the vehicles, and watch them train. Dad loved it. I got bored after we hit the hour and a half mark. We were there for two hours. But I was glad Dad got to visit the station. I know he was really looking forward to it.
That night we all went out for a Japanaese BBQ. We had the typical meets beef, pork, and chicken, but we also had pigs tongue and diaphram. The odd thing...the last two things were my favorites of the night. We didn't get home that night until nearly 11pm and still didn't go to bed for a couple hours.
Thursday Dad left. It was a really sad day, and yet at the same time it wasn't nearly as hard as it had been when I had left the States. I miss Dad a lot, but I also know I'm right where I'm supposed to be right now. God has given me a peace and I know He's given me that because I'm directly in His Will.
I'm so glad I got to spend a week with Dad. I wouldn't trade that week for the world.
The next month is going to be a busy month for all of us short termers. Two of us leave on Thursday (The Bens...they're here from Grand Junction, Colorado and have been here for the past month). Then on the 15th Vanessa leaves for the States and on the 18th Caren will leave as well. It's weird to think we're loosing half of our team.
Also this next month we will be having an International Food Party for the Fus and that night we will also have communion. That's on the 12th. On the 19th, we will have our Christmas program. For that we have a gospel group coming to sing with us. On the 16th, Joe and I will be singing Christmas songs for our Japanese class. On the 28th, we are having a Fuse Jesus Community Day Trip and we will be going ski-ing for the day. We'll leave the night before and take a bus all night, ski all day, then take a bus back that night.
Thank you for all the continual prayers and support. It is all felt here. None of us would be here without all the help from everyone back in the States.