Wow! What a day we had yesterday. We went back to the church we started with Pastor Yoshi. It was a special day - their 20th Anniversary! When we came into the city by train my tears started flowing; from the train I saw the river which we walked along every day with our dog Sneakers...the familiar train station and stores and streets...so many memories! We walked along the little streets to the pastor's house and connecting church, and there received HUGS from old friends. Japanese people do not usually hug; that's what made it so special. My lady friends hugged me and held me and we sort of rocked and patted each other and cried. What a gift from the Lord! I am so grateful. Here are some pictures from the day:
Seiseki Grace Christ Church
Talking with Mrs. Satake
Pastor Matsuoka leading the singing of "In His Time"
Dave and I sharing our memories after the service
Mr. Hotehama and his wife and daughter - he came to the church while he was a college student; he now writes software for GPS navigation systems in English for Japanese cars!
Mrs. Matsuoka (Chihiro) sharing her memories and gratitude for the past 20 years
Mrs. Miki, long time friend and church member
Mrs. Nakazawa, a lady who came to Christ through our English Outreach Ministry; she is a delightful woman has been faithfully attending all these years
good friends and sisters in Christ
Michio, the Matsuoka's oldest child
We met him when he was 5 years old at CIU in Columbia; he is now married, has a one-month-old little girl and is a pediatrician!
These two ladies are "seekers" - not Christians, but interested in Christianity and the claims of Christ. It was somehow refreshing to hear people clearly and unashamedly say "I am not a Christian". Even when Pastor Matsuoka asked them to come up and say a few words, he said "Mrs. so-and-so is not a Christian..."and it was completely natural and accepted. They are welcomed as a special part of the church family.
The Matsuoka kids (3 out of 5), a cousin, and Pastor Arai, the pastor of the mother church that helped us plant Seiseki Church and has been Pastor Yoshi's mentor
Group picture taken after the service - definitely a day that caused us all to "look up"!
It was an AMAZING GRACE kind of day!