We have just finished a very full few days with a team from Imani Baptist Church in Kentucky. They came to participate in an annual gospel concert in Osaka as well as a gospel concert that we had in Sanda on Sunday. Because of the swine flu issues and numerous other problems, the ticket sales for our Sanda concert as of last week were very low. But we were so thankful at the concert on Sunday that the room filled up with almost 200 people (including staff and volunteers), with at least 25 of those being friends from our neighborhood, English classes, and school community.
In addition to the American gospel team, several other well-known gospel singers, and the main organizer Jaye Koyama, there was also a special “fellowship choir” for family members from Sanda, including Eric and our kids! Two of Eric’s elementary English students also sang in the concert.
Here is a 2 minute video with a few clips from the fellowship choir, led by Jaye. The first half in part shows the –discomfort– of being helpless parents either sitting in the audience or singing in the back row, out of reach of your children, when their dancing shoes take over… Overall though it was a wonderful collaboration and showed the power of Gospel music to touch the heart (you can see the choir members crying in the midst!).
There were surveys which about half of the attendees filled out. It was really amazing to read their comments: “The tears started flowing and I couldn’t stop them.” “I am not a Christian but I felt God’s presence throughout the concert.” “I want to bring all of my friends to this concert if you do it again.” There truly was a wonderful sense of God’s spirit stirring through the auditorium. Please pray with us for our friends who were clearly moved by the event and experienced a touch of God’s presence. We feel that salvation is close for two of these friends – please pray!
We had the pastor and his wife of the Kentucky church stay with us for the last two nights and thoroughly enjoyed the fellowship and time together. The children really loved them too, and were sad that they were leaving already this morning.
Each team that comes over to work with us brings their own special peculiar interests in Japan and the culture here. We were greatly amused by this team’s love for Japanese…. shoes! One of the members brought five pair of shoes with her from the U.S., but then also bought five pair while she was here. Our homestay had to buy a new suitcase to fit in her new purchases! Annie couldn’t get over it – Eric teased them about helping the hurting Japanese economy.
Here is the team, as well as a celebration dinner after the gospel concert. Olivia, like her older brother and sister, is also quite crazy about Jaye!
We love ministering as a family — at times putting on our dancing shoes — with so many partners from various places as we share the amazing news of the Gospel!