After we had a full morning of VBS, our exchange daughter’s mother, Ritsuko, met us at Wakaba mission.  We were so excited for her to be willing to take a two hour train ride from Tokyo just to meet with us.  She had a long conversation in Japanese with Amy Smith when she first arrived.  We are thankful for Amy’s good speaking ability to be able to talk with Ritsuko.  She was impressed with Amy’s language ability.  She also told us that the small church environment was very welcoming and comfortable to her.  She said it gave her good feelings. Amy had invited her back to church any time and told her about an English Bible Study they have.  We exchanged gifts with her and then Tim and I left to spend the rest of the day with Ritsuko.

Ritsuko is very nice and we immensely enjoyed our time with her! She took us to a Chinese restaurant for lunch.  Tim accidentally ordered a feast that filled up our entire table with just his food!  Ritsuko was very open with us and we had good conversations.  Then we took the train to Ikebukuro, which is a ward of Tokyo.  We went to a building complex called Sunshine 60.  This place is filled with shops and is sixty stories tall!  We were able to go to the top of the main building in an express elevator that started in the basement! The elevator ride was like a theater show, the lights went out and the whole inside lit up and looked like a planetarium.  Once at the top we were able to view Tokyo and look out at the mass of Japanese people.  We were able to see cemeteries where the cremated bodies are kept.   We could see Tokyo tower.   From a spiritual viewpoint we also saw a mass of people who don’t know about Jesus and are on their way to Hell.  Someone at least needs to tell them so they have the opportunity to repent and believe in Jesus Christ.  There are so many spiritually blinded people.

Next we went to an aquarium and saw big rays! Tim and I bought our first items in Japan in this huge shopping center. Then they neatly wrapped each item and put them in a decorative bag with nice tape to close it. Some culturally different things we noticed is there are no trash cans anywhere and you can’t get free water anywhere.  If you have trash you bag it and throw it away when you get home.  They have extravagant vending machines with all kinds of drinks including hot ones and even other things you would normally buy in a store.  We enjoyed some ice cream and Tim tried the popular green tea flavor.

We were able to talk about some spiritual things with Ritsuko.  Our train was stopped a little longer then it should have been so Ritsuko mentioned that she was wondering if someone has committed suicide by jumping in front of the train.  Suicide is the first thought that crosses a Japanese persons mind when the train is delayed.  Ritsuko said she thinks the suicide rate has increased because of the decline of the economy.  Tim explained to her that because the Japanese tend to define their life based upon their career and then loose their job because of the economy then they no longer have hope or see any purpose in living. We explained that Japanese can have lasting hope and meaning for life found in Jesus Christ.  And we would love to help her understand more about Jesus.  She said she hopes that we can come back to Japan to live as missionaries.  Tim and I mentioned that we were giving our testimonies at Wakaba mission the next day and she said she really wanted to come but she had to work.  We had a great afternoon with her and I gave her an American hug when we left and she said she appreciated that and wanted to keep in touch through email and asked if we could now be friends.  Relationships are deeply felt in Japan and it’s very important with who you have a connection with.  Please continue to pray for God to work in the hearts of the C. family and other Japanese people!