Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Remembering Japan

I've been invited to share with a group of homeschool boys about my experience in Japan.  So I'll take along some sushi and a Japanese apple pear to give them a taste of Japan, and I'll tell them a bit of my story.

I went to Japan in 1978, a reluctant missionary.  It was during my good-guy-for-God period, when I thought that I could just "shine my light" without needing to talk about my faith.  When I got to Japan and met the lovely students, neighbors, and community people with whom I lived and worked, I realized that most of them didn't know the Good News of Jesus Christ.  But I did, and I could share His love with them.  My whole approach to being a missionary changed with that revelation.  I learned to be open about the Lord but not pushy, a friend to the people I met while reflecting the grace of God to them.  And I began to see life through the eyes of people who had no exposure to the gospel so that I could share it better with them.

Along with my story, I have prepared a power point for my presentation tomorrow.  Here are some pictures that I think they will enjoy.

Children's Day in Japan is celebrated on May 5.  It especially honors boys, and is to celebrate the healthy growth of younger boys in particular.  Carp windsocks are flown from homes of families with boys, a very large fish for the eldest son, and ranging in size for each younger brother.  You can learn more about this festival here.

My church family in Sendai gave me this yukata (summer kimono) as a going-away gift.  Here we are, gathered together on the church steps not long before I returned home.

The sweet potato truck!  My pastor's son, Susumu, stands in front of a truck that is set up to cook sweet potatoes.  What a joy it was, on a cold winter's evening, to hear the loud "hooooooo" of the steam whistle on the sweet potato truck as it entered the neighborhood.  We would gather some yen, throw on a coat and shoes (which we did not wear in the house) and rush out to buy a sweet potato, hot out of the steam oven in the back of the truck.  The driver would take our money, wrap a sweet potato in newspaper, and drive off down the road, leaving us happily enjoying a wonderful treat.


Anita said...

What an exciting adventure for you! I especially loved the Sweet Potato Truck!Besides learning about life in Japan, you also expanded your knowledge regarding your personal experience with Jesus and how to share His love with those around you. Thanks for sharing with us!

Ginger Kauffman said...

Thanks for your comments, Anita.

Living overseas for a time always exposes you to customs and ways of thinking that you had never before experienced. One of those things for me was a fresh understanding of sharing Jesus with others. Another was the sweet potato truck! Sometimes now, on a cold, dark night, I remember the delight of that attention-demanding whistle and wish we had such a lovely tradition in the US!