Dave & Barb Bindewald

Friday, December 27, 2013

Japanese Class Year End Party

NEXT is our Japanese Language School in Chiba. I got to come because I take a refresher class. They had a year end party today with "nabe" which means pot. It is made with fish and meat stock broth with chicken pieces, onions, carrots, mushrooms, cabbage, daikon radish, noodles and konnyaku which means -- are you ready-- "solidified jelly made from the rhizome of devil's tongue." That's what the dictionary said. Today was cold and rainy and this dish hit the spot. I couldn't stop eating it. I don't know how many bowls I had.

There's a can of gas below that runs a burner. You just keep adding stuff and eat away. So much fun.

Teacher Sachiko is at the far end of table. She did all this prep for us. 

Because it's Christmas and New Years, most of the students couldn't come, so the Japanese staff was also invited. 

This is dessert - on the left is chocolate and vanilla filled cakes and on the right is a kind of pie thing made from two pancakes filled with sweet red bean paste. With hot coffee...mmmm.

Then we all went around and said what we enjoyed the most during the past year.

And then we had a fun activity. This is called "fuu fuu pin pon" which I think translates to "huff puff ping pong." Check it out...

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas from Japan!

The kids Sunday School put on a Christmas play after worship and lunch last Sunday

 One of the smaller shepherds trying to get his lamb to cooperate

 Angels announcing good news

Then last night on the 23rd we had our Candle Service

 This guy was so excited about his gift - a battery powered candle

 Snack time afterwards. Cold night but warm fellowship!

There are more Christmas lights in Japan than ever. This house is on the way to church. Might not look like that much compared to some of the craziness in the US, but for Japan this is a lot!

And then today (Christmas Eve) I had an invitation to be Santa Claus at an Oyumino neighborhood preschool. They aren't Christian but the staff knew where the church was and that foreigners were there, so they stopped by to see if one would be Santa for them. The oldest with the most white hair was selected!

 I got dressed in a supply room and waited for my cue.

 First I went into the toddler room and two of them immediately burst into tears.

 Then on into the main room where 4 or 5 other older classes were all assembled.

 Only about 5% were crying in here.

 They asked if I had come because I heard them singing their song to Santa earlier that day. I lied and said yes.

 They asked if any kids had any questions. This boy asked how old I was. I said 62 and he said, "Whoa!"

 They had prepared sacks of presents for each class and they came up by group and I handed them out. Even the ones who were crying took the presents.

 Then we started over and took class pictures. Some were willing to sit in my lap!

After the presents and pictures I was given one minute to give a message from Santa. I was able to tell them the real meaning of Christmas was the birth of Jesus who came to save us from our great trouble, that he is the best present of all. They invited me back next year!

Here's our church at Christmas worship giving you our best wishes for a merry Christmas!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Earthquake and Typhoons! But we are fine.

A pretty strong earthquake woke us up a little after 2:00 am today. It kept going longer than usual. Even though we were not near it (about 300 miles away), we felt it. Nothing fell or broke. It was in the same area as the big one 2 years ago.

Click for larger image

We also have 2 typhoons near Japan. We just have rain and wind today. This symbol 台 means typhoon, 高 means high pressure and 低 means low pressure.

We are fine, but freshly reminded of the frailty of life and the illusion of safety based on anything other than God himself.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Video From Last Week's Typhoon

Normally this area is empty of water. It is an overflow basin for the neighborhood. This is the first time in over a year that we saw any water in it!

Monday, September 30, 2013