Spring is my absolute favorite season in Tokyo. The weather is delightful and the city shines the most beautiful. There is a freshness in the air and everything seems more bright and lifeful. Right now the Cherry Blossoms or 桜 “sakura” are in full bloom. It is during this precious moment of ephemeral beauty that Japan stops to experience 花見 or “flower viewing”.
As I have shared in previous posts, recently I have been focusing on building more relationships with Japanese people centered around culture, art, and food. Starting mid 2015 and developing further into this year, I have had the joy of making many new friends. These foundations, I believe, will create the opportunity for doors. I am asking Holy Spirit for his guidance and also the inflowing/outflowing of the love of Jesus to be able to reflect him and make Him known in these relationships. I am still learning how to do this but so far it is greatly enjoyable. Already, I have been able to connect people with other missionaries in my YWAM community and also people from my church in Tokyo.
Last week I went with some of these new friends to enjoy the beautiful gardens in Japan. The gallery of photos above were all taken during that day. I tried to capture the faces of many of the people I saw there to show a glimpse into this part of Japanese culture. This day was so much fun!
A few months prior, I had gone to a cafe to do some writing. While I was there, a Japanese couple came up to me and introduced themselves. I ended up talking with them for around 3 hours and they invited me to go with them to 花見. It ended up being a rather large group with around 20 people. About half were Japanese and the rest were international friends from countries including: Germany, France, and Sweden. I brought some of my friends from church and it was wonderful.
One of the other community building opportunities that I was able to enjoy was with one of my Mongolian friends from church. She recently got baptized and now is passionately investing in Mongolian people she meets in Japan. We decided to host a Mongolian food night and invite both our non-Christian and Christian friends. We are now planning on doing more events like this and inviting more and more non-Christian friends. I am excited about this opportunity.
Another cool friendship is with a guy I met during an art walk in a part of Tokyo called Roppongi. He was volunteering at a street installation during the Roppongi Art Walk and I got to talk with him for quite a while. Later I had coffee with him and my illustrator/roommate friend and we talked a lot about Japan and art. I ended up getting coffee with him again at a delightful cafe in another part of Tokyo called SOL Coffee. I got to meet the owner of the cafe and hear her story of starting the business with her husband. Now we are dreaming of maybe doing a collaborative art project sometime.
Things at my church, Cornerstone Tokyo, have been going really well too. I am serving on the worship team there and have started playing keyboard again. From time to time I work in the kids ministry as well but my main focus is on hospitality. One of the fun parts of having church in Tokyo is that you meet people from all over the world and it has been fun greeting new people, deepening friendships and doing life with others during other times in the week.
I am continuing to teach every Friday at Yotsuya International School. The students there are wonderful and God has been giving me more and more love for them. Recently I got to attend a graduation ceremony for some of the students from that school. Also I have been helping at my friends private English school and we celebrated with some of the middle school students there who also recently graduated. I love them all!
Thank you for your continued prayer and support. I would ask for prayer that God would continue to teach me how to love people the way that He does. It seems that he has given me countless opportunities this year to build relationship and community with many new people. I am excited about this but definitely need His guidance and love.