Today the senior and associate pastors from our large church in Bethesda, MD (Fourth Presbyterian Church) came to Kyoto. You should have seen the cameras clicking!
OK…so maybe there was really another reason for the picture taking (sorry Rob and Todd!). We happened to be in Kyoto on the day when the city had advertised that maiko would make a special appearance in front of the blossoming cherry blossom trees. Maiko are apprentice geisha who have already had years of training in the unique art of geisha. We were pretty fired up about the timing, and that the special tempura restaurant where we ate was on this quaint street. We only took Annie with us, and she loved the whole experience.
After lunch, we were able to join the paparazzi in taking some pictures of these dazzling, refined young women.
While the cultural experience was wonderful, our time with Rob and Todd surpassed that. We ate the most amazing tempura lunch any of us had ever had — it was worth being led by our GPS to the wrong district, walking 30 plus minutes in the rain, overshooting it, and finally finding it.
While we ate all KINDS of tempura (ginko tree nuts, lotus root, clam, shrimp sandwich; shrimp-stuffed shiitake mushroom, fern, squid wrapped in shiso herb – topped off with tempura ice cream!), we were able to share some of the challenges we are facing in our church here. We were both touched by Rob’s words after listening to some of what is going as he affirmed God’s timing in all the events, including our return from the U.S.–God sovereignly keeping us away while the crisis evolved so that we could return “untainted” to be able to minister now; our gifts, passion, and experience that God will use as part of his plan for healing. We know it, but it is always good to be reminded that we really can trust Him with the challenges in our lives.
A wonderful day; timely words for us.