It is Thanksgiving week, and despite some challenges I wanted to share a few things I am thankful for this week with our Nozomi friends.
1) After the meeting with the women and several Be One staff on Tuesday, our friend Ch. said to Michiko, “So the Bible is like a fish hook, isn’t it? It gets into your heart and you can’t get it out again!” She went on to share how the Bible reading from the previous Friday, then Monday and Tuesday had been from different places in the Bible but she was beginning to see how they are all related. On Monday, Michiko had shared with them the passage from Matthew 6 about not needing to worry about our clothes or our food. Chi said she always worries about what to wear because she feels overweight (she’s not!)- but after reading that she realized she doesn’t need to worry anymore and she is free!
God’s Word is alive and powerful and at work – and yes, it’s a fish hook that gets into our hearts and doesn’t let go. Thank goodness.
2) Yesterday during lunch I shared from Matthew 18, and ended with the verses in which Jesus says that where two or three are gathered, He is in our midst, and if we ask anything…. and I asked my friends there if they had any prayer requests. It was quiet for a minute, so I shared that this week of Thanksgiving is the time when I tend to get the most homesick and miss my mom. Then my friend, Festival Y. said that she had had a dream about her mom the night before (who had died in the tsunami) and that she was feeling especially sad and lonely without her. I asked our friend T. to pray for us. To my knowledge, T. has never prayed aloud before. She was nervous and not sure what to do, but her prayer was so heartfelt and beautiful for us! It was amazing.
3) My good friend Reiko had read on the blog a month or so ago where I wrote how some of the Nozomi women had been talking about the approach of winter and how they were dreading it because it reminded them of the cold of the tsunami. She said it broke her heart…. She went out and bought about 15 pair of soft fuzzy socks and mailed them to me to give out. Yesterday at the end of lunch I read her letter, and there was such joy as we all picked out our favorite colors and put them on, everyone commenting how warm they had become. We then took pictures with our feet in the air – it was great fun!
4) Tonight I was with our Be One team enjoying turkey and all the trimmings. (I have never gotten the apple pie quite right, but today I made an Apple Kuchen that was really quite delicious. Check out the recipe here. It is like an apple pie baked inside of cheese cake on top of a shortbread cookie- what’s not to love about that?) We had a time after dinner of each of us writing on a cut-out leaf something that God has taught us this past year (the kids wrote down something they were thankful for) and then a friend read from the Bible lectionary for today. As he was reading, a text came in from my friend Yuri. I have written recently about her – her three year old Kousei died in the tsunami. This is what she wrote: “Dear Sue – Right now, I’m guessing your mom is teaching Kousei English up in heaven. I think she is holding him and talking to him. I love your mother and Kousei.” Wow. What an amazing message to get. I feel very thankful for God’s active and amazing work in each of our lives.