For Richard and I, attending a church means being actively involved, not just showing up for services on Sunday mornings. When we started attending Hope Church almost three years ago, we wondered how God could use us there when we didn’t understand the culture very well and didn’t speak the language of most of the people. God knew what he was doing, however. We soon met Smoky, a young American who had been living in Japan for several years. He was hoping to start a beginners English class that would meet after church one Sunday each month and was looking for someone to help. What a perfect fit! The class soon became one of the highlights of our month.
We spent this Friday to Monday staying with Smoky, his wife Ikuko and their two darling children. What a wonderful time we had! Though Ikuko was initially concerned that we wouldn’t be happy sleeping on futon on the tatami floor, we assured her that we’d spent an entire year sleeping that way and that we loved the idea.
In no time, 26 month old Nile and his 10 month old sister, Jubilee (born the same month as our granddaughter, Jami-Lee) had warmed up to us and we delighted in being pretend grandparents for a few days. Nile, who speaks a combination of English and Japanese, even started calling Richard Bampa, the exact pronunciation that our own grandson, Drew, uses!
On Saturday morning, we were privileged to attend a beautiful Christian wedding at Hope Church with Ikuko and the kids while Smoky worked. The bride was the daughter of our good friends, Koji and Etsuko, and our ‘Japanese daughter’, Seiko, sang. Unfortunately, the groom’s parents are strong adherents of one of the largest sects of Buddhism in Japan and refused to attend the wedding.
On Sunday after church, Smoky and Ikuko hosted a beginners English class reunion party in our honour. What a great time we had visiting with several of those who had been part of the class. It was a reunion because, though they continue to see one another at church each Sunday, the class hasn’t met for the past few months. Smoky has been too busy with work and with two wee children, he and Ikuko haven’t had time to keep it going. They’d like to find another couple to help. Hmm… if only teleportation was more than science fiction and we could somehow transfer ourselves from Canada to Japan on a regular basis!
Apparently Smoky and Ikuko enjoyed having us stay with them as much as we enjoyed being there. They’ve invited us back for our last two nights in Japan and have even offered to drive us to the airport when it’s time to leave! We are so blessed!