The team from Cerritos has been here for five days. We have packed A LOT into five days. Hopefully I’ll have time to do more reflection, but here are a few highlights so far:
We LOVE what happens in homestays!! Families from our community agree to host the Americans who are coming. As we tell the team during training, often they enter parts of a home that no other outsider has ever entered. Many of these families do not have others over for dinner (it’s not very Japanese to do that). Some have never had a non-family member stay over nite. So its a great opportunity to get to know the families and go deeper.
We were quite impressed by the time that one homestay put into for making a schedule and explanation of appliances around their home for Shirley. The I.s are an older, retired couple who we love dearly. And we have to say- we were nearly on the floor by the translation of the buttons on the intricate Japanese toilet, which includes a bidet:
There is so much care and love that is poured into the homestays- on both sides. We love to watch this happen.
The first big event we had was a line-dancing class, which we called “American Cowboy Dance.” It was so fun to see a lot of our community and church friends joining together with the team to boogey away!
One family agreed to do a homestay for the first time ever. The mom studies English with me, and the Dad is planning to start studying with Eric in the fall. He came to the dance class- we loved his complete abandon as he and Matt got into the steps. Their family also attended our English camp yesterday and came to the coffee house as well. It’s been neat to see him forming relationships with our church friends, as well.
One of the most wonderful ways that God has arranged the homestays is with the O. family. They live in our neighborhood and have 2 children in our children’s classes, and another daughter who was born with a lot of disabilities. I asked if they would be interested in hosting one of the California team members. She said she’s always wanted to, but because of their special-needs daughter didn’t think it was possible. I contacted Lori, coming on the team – and she was thrilled! Lori is a physical therapist who works with special needs children and with the Special Olympics! Staying with this family helped her friends at work have a better grasp of why she would come to Japan on a missions trip. Watching the O. family at the line dance event, and watching Lori carrying around Miyu and freeing up her mom to enjoy the time, was such a joy. I love how God arranged all of this!
Please keep praying for all of the team members — tomorrow they will all spend the day sightseeing with their host families. Some have had different chances to share about their Hope with their families, and we continue to pray for deepening friendships. Also, we would love your prayers for our family. Owen has been off and on sick all week. Last night he woke up during the night with a bad earache. Today (Sunday) I took him to a special clinic and discovered that he has strept throat. Eric and I have been tag-teaming all week so Owen can get better. I have not been feeling great all week, and wonder if I need to get to the doctor as well. But overall we are doing well and thankful for all the great work that God is doing. I’ll post more pictures and stories soon…