After we’d been here for about a month I realized that the one thing I missed most was my girlfriends. Don’t get me wrong, I dearly love the men in my life, but I’ve discovered that we women really do need one another.
During that first month, I worked on Sundays so we weren’t able to search out and begin attending a church. At home, many of my girlfriends are also part of my church family so these two needs really went hand in hand. As soon as we began attending Hope Church, I began to pray that God would give me at least one woman friend there. He has answered far beyond my wildest dreams!
God’s been doing that a lot lately. In response to my feeble requests, he’s been pouring out blessings. We knew that finding a Christian church to attend in this country might be difficult so I asked for someone that we could have Christian fellowship with even if it wasn’t in a church setting. He answered by leading us to a vibrant church three times the size of the one that we attend at home! When I asked for at least one woman friend amongst that crowd, he surrounded me with so many that I haven’t even been able to learn all their names!
I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the church’s two women’s meetings each month fall on Wednesdays, my day off. I’m convinced that it was meant to be that way. Two weeks ago, at the second meeting that I attended, I sat with four ladies, all around my age. Two had lived in the States for a period of time so they spoke fairly good English, one spoke only a few words and one spoke no English at all. It was amazing how well we managed to visit! After we’d been chatting for awhile, they told me their names. When I told them that I probably wouldn’t remember all of them, one told me not to worry. Just call us sister, she said!
One of the things that most women like to do is shop together. When I needed to buy all the goodies to prepare the apartment for the coming rainy season, I could have struggled through on my own trying to figure out which packages contained roach traps and what dehumidifying products to buy, but it was so much easier to ask one of my new sisters for help! After church one Sunday, Seiko and I crossed the street to the Don Quijote, a crowded discount store, better known in our family as the Sad Blue Duck, and with her help I got what we needed. If you’re wondering where the Sad Blue Duck name came from, that’s what Matt and Robin called the one near their home in Osaka because the store logo is a rather sad looking blue duck!
Though I’ve made friends with several of the ladies from the church, Seiko is especially dear to my heart as she’s expecting her first baby, a boy, within the next couple of weeks. I can’t cuddle my own wee grandson but I’ll be able to hold Seiko’s baby and as I watch him grow, I’ll be able to see all the stages that Andrew’s been going through.
For a foreign teacher to develop these kinds of relationships with Japanese people, especially in such a short period of time, is highly unusual but when we’re all part of the family of God, amazing things happen!