Inside the Boat – in my Happy Place

Today for the first time this year we experienced autumn! I have been SO SO homesick for fall.  Even though we are in a northern region of Japan, because there are so few trees that change colors – and in some areas so few trees — it doesn’t ever really feel like my favorite season here.

]Today, our three oldest kids didn’t have school because of a sports event on Saturday, so our family took a two-hour day trip to an amazing obscure gorge in Iwate prefecture called Geibikei.  Thanks Adairs for telling us about it a year or two ago!  We joined the mostly-older tourists in taking a 90-minute boat ride down the gorge, led by an experienced boatman who shared tidbits of information on the way there, and serenaded us on the way back with traditional Iwate folk songs.  I don’t think I have loved an experience so much in a long, long time.  Time away with my family… the spectacular views… the boat ride…my favorite flower with a few blooms left even in October…. the ducks and the fish competing for our attention… eating our simple Japanese lunch while sitting in a traditional boat… the joy of all of our kids… the falling leaves from high above.  This day was very near perfect.  We are excited to go back and experience Geibikei in the different seasons.

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Snow Camp!

We are still recovering from snow camp – but in a good kind of way.  Our two nights/three days were SO MUCH FUN – i think for everyone.  We had about fifty attend, and it was a wonderful blend of ages, from very little to high schoolers to  parents in different life stages.  It was unusual in some ways to have afternoons completely free for playing in the snow, going to the onsen, sitting around and talking, playing games…. My prayer for this camp was that participants would:  a) have the funnest time they’ve had in a LONG LONG time, and b) that all would have chances to experience more of the love of Jesus.  I think God answered!

Rather than lots of words, this blog is going to be — lots of pictures.  You can see the snow fun…. One of our staff said on the last day that it was worth it to see the faces of sheer joy as they went down the hill on the intertubes.  I screamed every time – it was as fun as any of my childhood memories.

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It was really fun to do lots of games and skits that participants would NEVER expect!  And what I loved was no matter how crazy they were — everyone was a great sport and willing to do what it took.  Once again– I love seeing the faces of glee…

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The camp staff were so awesome… it is run by two families, and all of the kids in the families are part of the serving staff.  They touched us so much!  They did whatever they could to make sure that everyone had a great time.  Thanks to a scholarship fund that the camp had set up, all of our local Ishinomaki residents/survivors were able to go for an incredibly cheap price, allowing whole families to attend.

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And I think… that in various ways– through the fun, the worship, the times of sharing about God’s immense and gracious love for us… that people experienced God in a new way.   Getting away can be so, so good for the soul.

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