Osaka Castle

Osaka Castle

Hello friends! Thank you for your prayers for our safe trip – we’ve made it to Japan!

You may be wondering what Erich and I have been up to since landing. Our last post was over a month ago! It’s been a crazy past two weeks—let me tell you the highlights of our experience.

こんにちは!たくさんの祈りを感謝します。無事に日本に着きました!日本に着いてからのエリックと私の状況についてアップデートしたいと思います。

Table of Contents

  1. The Send Off from Moran Park Church
  2. The Arrival
  3. Settling Down in the Hobbit Hole
  4. Group Counseling
  5. Lifehouse
  6. Erich’s Thoughts

I. The Send Off from Moran Park Church

モランパーク教会に送られて

During our last week in the States, we had the honor of being sent out by Moran Park church. We can’t articulate how much we felt loved and accepted by the community that we are a part of. People prayed and prophesied over us encouraging and loving words. As one of the first missionaries being sent out from Moran Park, we are so excited to continue the relationship with the church and help develop our church’s new missions program. Keeping our home church involved in this adventure is one of our top priorities!

アメリカにいる最後の週に、モランパーク教会から宣教師として送り出させてもらえました。この教会でどんなに愛されて受け入れられてもらったか言葉にできないくらいです。皆に祈って暖かい預言をもらいました。この教会から送り出される宣教師として、これからモランとの関係を続けて、教会のミッションプログラムを起てるのを手伝えることができて嬉しいです。ホームチャーチを私たちのアドベンチャーに含んでいくのを大事に思っています。モラン本当に大好き!!

II. The Arrival

到着

Instead of flying directly to Osaka, we stopped off in Saitama, where my parents live to visit for a few days. Less than 12 hours after we arrived at my parents’, my dad put us to work observing and helping out with group counseling — an important part of my Dad’s work. It was an all-day affair, and by the end of it we could barely stand! We had Sunday free, which we used to eat delicious udon and waste a few hours looking for a mobile phone carrier, and the next day they helped us make the six-hour drive from Saitama (Tokyo area) to Osaka so they could help us move into the temporary apartment. We are so thankful for my parents—they are just so supportive of us!

到着後、大阪に直接行かないで私の実家の埼玉に数日泊まりました。実家に着いてから12時間もしないうちにお父さんの仕事で大事なグループカウンセリングを見学しながら手伝いをしました。一日中のセッションで、終わった後は倒れて寝ました。日曜は休み、月曜日に両親に大阪まで6時間運転してもらって短期のアパートに移りました。お父さんとお母さんに感謝!こんなにサポートしてもらって申し訳ないくらい。

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They are the best parents in the world. Erich and I cannot survive in Japan without them. They drove us 6 hours to Osaka, helped us settle in to the temporary apt, and they are just SO supportive of us. #yayGod #erichandemi

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III. Settling Down in Hobbit Hole

ホビットの穴に引っ越して

 

Tour the New Apartment (above)

The temporary apartment is a 20 square-meter studio right next to a major train station and Osaka castle. It’s a really, really tiny place. Erich often stumbles and hits his head on things because he’s a giant in a doll house. We keep the windows closed except for a narrow slit because they have no screens and the sill is below waist level, which would make for an interesting 11-story drop if Erich derps in the kitchen. The day after we arrived, an extremely helpful real estate agent, and our first real friend in Osaka, helped us find our dream apartment: a two bedroom, 81 square-meter apartment, which is about a 30-second walk to Erich’s Japanese language school. Jesus, you are so good! We are moving in there on the 25th of this month, so please feel free to visit Osaka!

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A castle next to our apt. #Osaka View on Instagram

Thank you so much to all of you who were praying for our future apartment! We nearly signed on another apartment before the Lord spoke to us that it wasn’t our home. We waited and the same day found a much better apartment.

短期アパートは、天満橋駅前と大阪城の横ににある20平方メートルのスタジオです。すっごくちっさい場所です。188cmのエリックは頭ぶつけまくってたんこぶ作りながらすごしています。

着いた次の日にお部屋探しのミニミニさんに手伝ってもらい、夢のアパートを見つける事ができました。80平方メートルの2LDK。エリックの語学学校からダッシュで三十秒。神様ありがとう!今月の25日にそっちに引っ越すので、大阪遊びに来てください!

新居のために祈ってくれてありがとうございました!もう少しで神様がそこは私達の家じゃない、と教えてくれたアパートと契約するところでした。そしてその日待って、もっといい場所が見つかりました。

IV. Group Counseling

グループカウンセリング

We had a rare opportunity to observe my dad’s group counseling the day after we arrived to Japan. What we observed were the power of the enemy and the power of Holy Spirit on Japanese people’s hearts. In the end of the session, Erich and I got to pray for almost 20 people at the scene. 19 people’s hands shot up in the air when asked if anyone wants a prayer. We bound the enemy and prayed for the holy spirit to fill each of them. We are thankful that we are being used by Him! More to come on this experience.

日本に着いた後、父の仕事を見学する事が出来ました。私達が見たのは、悪霊と聖霊の力でした。セッションが終わった後、約二十人の方達のために祈ることができました。祈りが欲しい人、と聞いたとたんに皆んなの手が上がり、聖霊に満たされるように祈ることができました。神様に使われて嬉しい!

 V. Osaka Lifehouse

大阪ライフハウス

Lifehouse was one of two churches we visited in Japan when we traveled for a couple of weeks here last year. We felt an immediate connection with so many people, and we felt God leading us to return an invest more in what they’re doing.

There’s a lot of interracial couple like us – a white guy and a Japanese woman. Services are bilingual, and people here come from all types of diverse backgrounds. There are so many young people — pastors are in their twenties, membership is mostly young, and there’s so much energy in the worship service because it’s like a rock concert! I’m so joyful to see young people rising to be leaders. They are so after Jesus! We even got to participate in their “Speak English” outreach. Basically, we stand on the street and invite people to speak English until cops come shoo us away. Japanese people love white people and English. English attracts people off the street. Then we invite them to a free language exchange group that meets just before church at the same venue. It was a good new experience, and we are looking forward to work more with the Lifehouse people.

去年数週間日本に来た時にライフハウスに行きました。その時にたくさんの人とすんなりと繋がる事ができ、神様が彼らのしている事に投資をすればいい、と導かれている気がしました。

私達みたいな白人・日本人のカップルが多くバイリンガルの礼拝があります。とにかく若い人が多い!牧師さん達も二十代、賛美もロックコンサートみたいな感じで元気な教会です。リーダーとして立ち上がっている若い人達を見ていて嬉しくなる。イエスを追いかけている姿がかっこいい!駅前で英語を話すアウトリーチにも参加しました。英語が大好きな日本人の方って多いんですね!立ち止まってくれた人達を教会のランゲージエクスチェンジに誘うアウトリーチです。これからもっとライフハウスの人達と働くのを楽しみにしています。

VI. Erich’s Thoughts

エリックの考えてる事

Emi did most of the talking on this one, and since I like to talk, I thought I  would squeeze into this update at the end.

恵美が殆ど書いてくれたけど、自分の考えも入れたかったから最後に一言。

D-Day + X

My father-in-law has a great interest in military history, and much to my wife’s annoyance, refers to our arrival in Japan as our “D-Day.” Indeed, every day since our arrival, he has reminded us of our time in-country in reference to that day; hence the the post title. While the metaphor is a bit exaggerated, there’s a certain truth in the comparison. We wouldn’t be so proud as to think our presence in this country will single-handedly change its shape, but for me that day represented seven-years’ worth of dreaming and over two years’ planning.

Learning Humility… Again

謙虚さをまた学び

Whenever I move to a new place, I’m reminded of just how much I don’t know. On top of a new language, whose entrance costs are among the highest possible for English-speakers, the culture presents all types of new challenges. It’s no surprise, the Japanese people are very different from Americans. Being polite here means following a very rigid set of social rules (and it’s not like they’re posted on the door), which is just the opposite of previous experiences in America where society rewards boldness and informality or Morocco where you treat shopkeepers as if they were your biological brother.

People here follow the rules, even when those rules prevent them from performing simplest of tasks. E.g. You’ll see a dozen people waiting for the crossing signal on an empty streets to change even though they could make it across in two strides. You can’t open a simple bank account without going to the hardware shop to create an ink-stamp customized to your last name. Getting a cell phone is near impossible unless you have several forms of ID and have registered your most recent address at the highly-bureaucratic ward office and received their official stamp.

Even so, we learn to adjust by bringing our whole file cabinet with us whenever we do anything more complex than buying toothpaste, and of course we recognize that moving to a new place comes with all types of special challenges that we won’t need to face in day-to-day life. Rule-following also adds a nice, strangely comfortable sense of predictability, i.e. if you know it’s going to be a total pain in the neck, you can only be delighted when things move more smoothly.

I’m also learning humility in our new church community. The Osaka Lifehouse community has been tremendously welcoming and accepting of us. We feel a great connection with them. Still, coming from a place in Holland of consistent promotion, it’s strange being in a community where people simply don’t know you. It’s an odd feeling: going from a place of authority to place where I need to become small, serving others’ visions. It’s humbling, but I’m excited for the time being to serve at Lifehouse, a church that in its relatively short existence has already made so much impact in this city.

新しい地に来ると、どれだけ自分が無知かを思い出します。新しい言語の上に、外人にとって何を始めるのにも難しい文化の中で色々チャレンジがあります。驚く事ではないけれど、日本人はアメリカ人ととても違います。日本では礼儀が正しい、ということは堅い社会のルールに従う、ということです。アメリカではよく見られる勇気や大胆さ、モロッコでお客さんを兄弟のように扱う文化ととても違います。

日本の人は単純な事をするのに全てのルールに従います。例えば、車が全然通っていない交差点で、二歩歩けば通れるのに、皆待ちます。銀行の口座を作るのにも、名字の入った印鑑を作らないと口座が作れません。携帯を買うのは複数の官僚で登録した自己証明書を持っていない限り不可能でした。

でも、いつも大事な書類を持ちあるくことに慣れ、新しい文化での生活に励んでいます。いつも法則に従うのは予測するのが簡単です。

そして、新しい教会のコミュニティで謙遜になることを学んでいます。ライフハウスのコミュニティは私たちを暖かく受け入れてくれました。とても繋がれる気がします。でも、ホランドみたいな皆が私を知っているコミュニティと異なります。権限があった場所から、他人のビジョンに使える場所に行くのは変な感じです。謙虚さが育まれます。でも、この町に大きな影響を与えているライフハウスの下に仕えるのが楽しみです。

Image of Osaka Castle by Travis King