Pictures of Kyoto

Pictures of Kyoto

Monday, January 12, 2009

Last week in Japan

Oh how we miss Kyoto. We have been on the move for quite a while and no time to just reflect and look back at what we have left behind.

We had an awesome 2 years in Kyoto and would love to go back sometime in the future. We now have many friends in Japan and will miss you all. This post is a reflection of our last week in Japan. The above picture is of everybody who came to our bye bye party. We had a great send off in which we both felt very loved and appreciated. We received so many presents and so many photos were taken; my mouth was sore from smiling and my fingers were sore form hold up the peace sign. ha ha.

Our students and some of their children.

Students at our party. (Rie you are not looking.)

Our good friends Yuichi and Tomomi.

One of our favourite Pastors, a faithful man of God, took us to dinner with his daughter (rainbow child -Nijiko.) Both generous people loving Jesus and the people around them. We went to a sukiyaki restaurant.

Nijiko in action cooking for us.

Lunch with Luke and Izumi. (You guys are awesome.)

Here I am giving my last thankyou message to the morning service at the church. I thanked them for welcoming us for these last 2 years; they made us feel like family. I thanked them for letting us stay in the church house because otherwise we would have been sleeping out on the street. Even though the guest house was one of the coldest places I have lived in. Crickey it has cold in that house.

Pastor Kohira, Tomoe Sensei and Kuri Sensei came to the airport to say good bye. It was sad, but also gave us joy as we now look forward to seeing them at the airport again one day. Either when we return or when they come and visit us. :)

Big thankyou to Pastor Kohira and Tomoe Sensei for everything. Keep up the excellent work you do in your Chruch and community.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Trip to Mt Fuji

Day 1. Well we finally got away for a 3 day holiday at the end of October. We travelled first of all by foot - 15min, subway - 16min, then Shinkansen (Bullet Train) - 2 hours. Then a 2 hour local bus ride and finally arrived at Kawaguchiko where we stayed for 2 nights at K's House, a great back packer hostel. Though tired from travelling we grabbed some mountain bikes and went for a ride around the lake, whilst checking out the views of Mt Fuji. Very refreshing.

My fingers walking on Mt Fuji

Day 2. Today we headed up the mountain in a bus. We only made it to the 5th station as climbing season has closed for the year. You can only go to top if you are an experienced climber and crazy. I so wanted to go.

5th station is 2305m high. Which is higher than Mt Kosciusko in Australia.
At that height it was freezing.

This was as close to the top as we could get.

Day 3. We spent today on a sightseeing bus travelling around seeing different lakes, caves and an old village. The caves were a result of past volcanic lava flow from Mt Fuji. We also went into an ice cave where many years ago they made big blocks of ice. We also went to a bat cave, but sadly there were no bats. Can't believe we paid money to go to a bat cave that had no bats. It was fun though climbing around in these narrow lava caves.

The Fuji we were hoping to see. Photo of a picture.

For more pic's of our trip click here

How to find the right Marriage Partner.

Have you ever thought about how easy it was for Adam to find a marriage partner?
What did Adam have to do to find his marriage partner? He laid down and had a sleep and when he awoke, there she was, Eve. That’s it. A match made by God. The first relationship; how easy was that? I used to think that’s unfair, why do I have to wait?

But if Adam was here tonight, I think he would reply, “Finding Eve was easy, as you put it, not because we were the only two people, but because back then, before we disobeyed God, I simply trusted God, my Maker, to bring what was good.”

Like Adam we need to trust God for everything. Whether it’s a marriage partner, a job, strength to raise your kids, healing; we need to trust God. When I was single I had to learn to trust God for everything. He brought all the things I needed in life, including my wonderful wife. God knows all your needs, trust him.
1. Trust him for all your needs. Phil 4:6 “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything let your requests be made known to God.” Matt6:33, Prov3:5-6

2. Honour God with Your Relationships. The Golden Rule for any relationship, be it either in marriage, romantic or brother/sister or friends is found in Luke 6:31, “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” If you want to be treated with kindness do so to others. By doing this you will honour God.

3. Get a vision of your partner. Proverbs says, “Without a vision we dwell carelessly.” If you don’t know what sort of marriage partner you want you could fall for the first person that is nice to you. When you know what you want it’s easier to say, “No” because you know what you’re looking for.

Writing a list is good, but be careful not to make it too unrealistic. “He has to be 6 foot tall and black, speaks Japanese, English, French and Spanish, loves shopping, children and cats; has lots of muscles, money and hair. No bar codes permitted.” If this is your list you could be waiting a long time.

What’s important list?

4. Prepare yourself – work on you. When I was about 26 all I owned was a car, a drum kit and a big water bed. I wasn’t prepared for marriage. How was I going to care for someone else? I used to pray “God bring me my wife.” I had to change it to, “God prepare me for her; so I can be ready for her, to be able to care for her.”
So I got a hair cut, bought a house and learnt how to cook.

5. Don’t waste you singleness. The thing that kept me focused through my single years was that I so wanted to serve God. He made a sacrifice for me so I wanted to sacrifice my life for Him. Your single years are a gift from God; don’t waste them worrying about your married years. Focus on serving God now.

6. Make time to meet people. You won’t meet your future partner hiding in your room. Meet new people in a safe environment. The best place is the church. Bring your friends to church. Create events that people will want to come to; so new people will come. Lead them to Jesus and they may find their partner here. You also may meet someone that is brought here.

7. Follow Jesus’ Example. Eph 5:22-27, 33 Paul is speaking to husbands and wives. We ought to follow Jesus’ example just as He loves the church. God calls all our marriages to be filled with love and respect.
Wives – respect your husbands,
Husbands – love your wives.

Some people could say, “But I’m not married, what does this mean to me?”
In marriage we need love and respect. For those wanting to get married you can prepare yourself by learning to love and respect other people now. Whatever status you are at in life you can apply this to a degree.

- To love is to give, not to think about what you can get from other people.
- To respect is to think highly of someone.

If we become people who love and respect, our marriages will get better.

If we become people who love and respect we will prepare ourselves for marriage.

If we become people who love and respect we will live and work with people better.

We will enjoy life more and we will shine His light in this world.

Friday, November 21, 2008

What’s your Story?

We all have a story. This is a question you might be asked by someone if you are late. Maybe your wife/ mum/ friend might say, “What’s your story? Why are you late?” Or maybe you did something wrong and you could be asked, “What’s your story?”

Have you ever asked God, “What’s your story?” In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. John 1:1-2, Isaiah 14:12-17 In the beginning was God, In the beginning was the Word, Jesus. They were together and they were one. God had created all the angels and one of them called Lucifer wanted what God had, he wanted God’s throne. So Lucifer was cast out of heaven with the other angels who also rebelled against God.
There is betrayal in heaven even before God makes man.

So In time God set’s about making man. It was a great day in heaven when God made man. Gen 1:26 God said, “Let us make man in our image.” God would visit the man and they would walk together in the garden. It was a beautiful scene, the creator walking in relationship with His creation. In Gen 2 God brought all the animals and the birds to Adam so he could give them a name Panda, Monkey, Tiger, Galah, Kangaroo and Koala. What a tough job but they would have had fun coming up with all the names. Then He makes a woman for Adam. God is giving Adam everything he needs.

However, one day Gen 3 Lucifer appears as a slimy snake. “I know how to get back at the Most High God. I will get His creation, this man, to turn away from God.” As we know the devil succeeded and Adam and Eve were cast from the garden. Sin had entered the story. God’s story had suddenly gone bad. What a dark day in God’s story; more betrayal. The darkness lasted 4 thousand years until Jesus came and dealt with sin. He made a way for us to come back to the creator. What a great story! God’s story is full of love, joy, rebellion, betrayal, pain and loneliness and finally restoration and victory. SO let me ask you, “What’s your story?”

It’s not about you being born, going to school, starting work, getting married, then having kids and so on. It’s about how you fit into the master story. Does your story fit into God’s story? Or are you out there trying to make your own story happen. Trying to get a degree, trying to pay the bills, trying to get married, trying to find meaning in life. Many people live life like this, because they only see their story. They want to be the star in their own story.

But I would rather have a small role in God’s big story then be the lead role in my own small story. I used to see God’s big story, the bible, the gospel message here and my little story here. Grace had come in and saved me and changed my life. But I was still living my story, trying to be the lead role in my own story. I needed to see that my story is not about me and God entering it, but about my story being apart of God’s big story. There is only one story to be told. God’s big story and you am apart of it.

When we are in God’s story we can touch other people’s stories. We can help other people see why they are alive, why they are here. All of our stories need to fit into God’s big story. God created man to have relationship with him. God wants to have a relationship with you.

God wants to be in your story because you are in His. You are in God’s book. Psalms says that God has a book and you are in it. Even before you were born He wrote about you.

God has a story and we are in it. You weren’t made to live your own story; you were made to be in God’s story.

Who made you? Sony or Nintendo?

Nintendo, of course is a Japanese company. They make computer games. Nintendo 64, DS, Nintendo Wii.

Japan is known to be a very creative country that is always making new breakthroughs in Technology. This month at University of Osaka a robot was made called Repliee R1. It is based on a five year old girl, has silicone skin and can blink. She can move like a human and can talk. Its inventors hope it will help elderly and disabled people by doing basic tasks such as getting objects and even bringing drinks. I’d like to own one of those.

Japanese people are very good at making things. But have you ever stopped to think who made you? Some of you are thinking, “Oh, I know, my mum and dad.” Ok. Well who made your mum and dad? “That’s easy, my grandma and grandpa made them.” OK who made them, who made the first person? Was there a company called Nintendo which designed the first person? Everything has a beginning and everything is made with a plan. So who made you? Who thought of you?

Some people believe there was a big bang and earth was created then a slug popped its head up out of a pond. Then it become a fish, grew legs and arms, starting walking, went to a barber, got a hair cut, put on a suit and went to work for Toshiba as a salary man.

I want to tell you, YES there was a big bang. The bible says, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” God said, “Let’s make earth,” and bang, there is the planet earth. God said, “Let there be light.” and BANG there is light. Then on the 6th day He says, “Let us make man in our image.” And He formed the first man out of the earth. The first man was not made from a cosmic bang but rather by a loving creator forming him. And so you are created by God. God saw you being formed and said, “I have a plan for you. You are wonderful to me.” You are not a mistake, a number, you are special.

But we have all turned away from the one who has created us. We have chosen to worship and live for ourselves; choosing to worship nature rather than the creator.

He wants you to come back into relationship with Him so you can know why you are here. What’s your purpose? So God sent Jesus His son to forgive you and cover your shame. He came to show you the way back to your creator. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, the life.” Worshipping the trees and water won’t bring fulfilment to our lives only coming back to the father will do this.

No matter what you’ve done or what’s been done to you, no matter how you feel about yourself, your creator loves you. Imagine having a friendship with the creator of your life, of everything. You can. I have. I talk to Him everyday. He told me to tell you, “That you are made by God, you are special to Him, and He loves you.”

Saturday, November 08, 2008

October - What a month.

What a busy month. Birthday, sushi, karaoke, dessert night, purikura. We went to dinner with friends for Sharons birthday. Forgot the name of the restaurant, but it was on Kitayama street, near our house. They serve a four course meal and also viking stlye bread. As much as you like. Yummy bread.

We returned to our favourite place,the sushi train. This time without any of our friends so we could eat all the sushi they think is strange. Burger sushi, meat ball sushi, pork sushi.

But I also like shrimp sushi.

Then there was the famous dessert night. One of the girls had 6 bowls of ice-cream. It's not everyday you share your ice-cream with 10 other people.

And we were able to go out with some of our students and there family. They take their family to karaoke once a year, so the girls were really excited and sang like professionals. Always a good time at karaoke. Even if you can't sing.

The young people this month had a bbq party for there outreach. They had lots of people come. We had a short meeting with singing and a message from ME. It was so cold that I had to keep my message moving so we could all getto the bbq for warm. I had a couple of young people respond so it was worth it.

The boys here are trying to get the bbq started. Japanese style is to use coal and falmeand keep wave the flame till it consumes the coal. Depending on how good you are could take 3o min - to an hour. I think I prefer an aussie bbq with word or gas.

Friday, November 07, 2008

The biggest dessert ever.

I am finally getting to catch up on last months events. We had a great night out at a dessert place in Kyoto. I think it is called "Karefuneya" This dessert cost us $100.00 for 10 people. What a bargain.

I had to buy another one because I was the 11th person. I ate the little one in front and another 4 bowls of ice-cream. It was heaven untill the end.

Beforehand, everyone was so excited and ready to start eating. But afterwards no one wanted to eat ice-cream again. lol.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Why Wait?

I want to talk to you about something I love and hate. I hate waiting. When I order a bento box from the shop I am told, “shyo shyo omachi kudasai.” But I’m hungry. I don’t want to wait.
It’s the same at Macdonald’s, I order a teriyaki burger and I am told, “shyo shyo omachi kudasai.” What? This is supposed to be fast food.
Waiting at the dentist is also terrible. You can hear the drill and sucker down the hallway. I hate waiting.
But there is one form of waiting I do like. No it’s not waiting for Sharon while she is shopping. It’s waiting on God. This can help us deal with many areas of life that we struggle in. We live in a society that is busy, that is about doing not about waiting. It is such a hard thing to do – our minds are so busy all day and to slow it down is quite a task.

People get tired from the constant pressure of life, the pressure to perform, pressure to compete and to pass exams. The pressure to just get through life can cause people to withdraw into depression, or into their homes, hikkomori is an example of this, some even use suicide as an escape. All of these are real problems in Japan.

Isaiah 28:31 – Here is the secret to renewing our strength and rising above our problems.
I love what the word ‘wait’ means. In Hebrew language the word for wait is “qavah.” It means, “To wait, to look for, to hope and expect.” It also means, “To bind, to twist.” Like a rope twisted and wound together. A rope is made of many smaller pieces’ of rope twisted together. It makes it very strong.
So when we wait on the Lord we are tying ourselves to Him, our spirit is being tied to His, twisting, intertwining and being strengthened. And in this process we exchange our tiredness for His life/energy, our weakness for His strength, our depression for his hope, our fear for faith, our sorrow for joy, our sickness for healing.

Isaiah 30:18 – Why is the Lord waiting? Because He is waiting to tie Himself to you. He wants to be so involved in your life. He wants to give you all you need; he wants you to be able to rise up like an eagle, above the stress of life. He wants to be gracious to you; He wants to have mercy on you.

“How do I wait on the Lord?”
Ps 62:5 “My soul, wait silently for God alone.”
The word wait here in Hebrew is “daman.” It means, “To be dumb (not stupid) but dumb as in silent and still.”
Sometimes we have so much to say to God. To wait is to stop asking and praying and just wait quietly.
Lam 3:35 “The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, those who seek Him.”
Waiting involves seeking – time in the word, in worship, in prayer and meditation.

There is no strength exchange in clapping your hands to a dead statue at the shrine or temple. It’s in waiting on the Living God. If you are dealing with negativity, depression, tiredness or the feeling of wanting to withdraw don’t just sit there, open your heart and approach God by seeking Him – Time in worship, in prayer and meditation. But allow Him to speak; sometimes we have to zip it to allow God the chance to speak to us.
He is waiting and wanting to tie Himself to you, to bless you, to strengthen you and cause you to rise up.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Team from Malaysia

Last month we had a visit from a team from Malaysia. Dr Yap Chen Sing and her team came to do a concert and a praise and worship seminar in Kyoto Gospel church plus some other ministry around the kansai area. We were lucky enough to have them stay with us.

Dr Yap's preaching and teaching was a great encouragement to the church and especially the music ministry of the church.

Here we are on the steps if the church ready to say goodbye.
Check out her website here All the Earth