Sunday we were able to go to Wakaba mission again with the Smiths. It was really sad to say goodbye to the people there. They were all standing in the doorway waving and bowing. Over the three weeks we have been here we have been able to learn some of these peoples names, see their faces often and communicate with the ones that can speak some English. God has allowed us to meet them and given us a love for the people at Wakaba!

Wakaba is a small mission and it was started from a larger church in Tokyo called Chofu Baptist Temple. Chofu is one of the strongest JBBF churches and has started many mission works. We drove there right after the morning service at Wakaba after a quick stop at McDonalds for lunch. Tim and I were asked to give our testimonies at Chofu in their afternoon service. We were also anticipating the arrival of Minoru and Ritsuko C. to come and listen to our testimonies!

At Chofu they had a business meeting before the service and voted that Wakaba mission will become independent in February of next year and that Jim Smith will be the pastor. That was very exciting for everyone. Next a group of their junior high school students got up and each gave a short testimony of how God has been working in their hearts from the past week at camp. That was very encouraging to Tim and I since we work with middle school students. It was also encouraging to see young Japanese people serving Christ with their life and making decisions to help them grow as believers. Next Tim and I went up to give our testimonies and Amy Smith translated for both of us. We were so excited that Moe’s parents came and it was great to get to meet Minoru for the first time! In the afternoon service Jim preached through Romans 9. After the service we had several people from Chofu come up to greet us and say they would be praying for us. Everyone always says they hope to see us again soon as missionaries to Japan! The assistant pastor at Chofu welcomed Moe’s parents to the church, sat down next to them, and helped them find the Bible passages while Jim was preaching. Afterward his wife made a cup of American sweet tea for us, the Smiths, and Minoru and Ritsuko. We all sat down to talk for a little bit and enjoy each other’s company. God is so good and I am so thankful for the opportunity we had to see Moe’s parents and visit with them and to share some truth and be ambassadors of Jesus Christ to them. Their family is always on my heart and I have been praying for them to be saved as soon as we decided to host a Japanese exchange student! They are such a sweet couple and very kind! Most of the conversation was in Japanese between the Smiths and the C. family, but that was ok because I knew we would be leaving soon and I was excited for them to make a connection!

Ritsuko bought me a yukata as a gift! A yukata is traditional dress similar to a kimono but cooler and made to be worn during the summer. It was very special to me because it was just another way that God had met a simple, unimportant desire of my heart. I thought that a yukata would be neat to have just to wear as an example to show people and children someday when we are explaining about Japan on deputation, Lord willing. And God provided! He is always worthy of our praise and it is always humbling to be reminded of how much our Great God cares for his children!

We left Chofu Baptist Temple and made a quick stop at a convenient store to grab a snack to hold us over until dinner. God is in control of all things, and we ran into Minoru and Ritsuko again at the store! It was so neat just to see them one more time and to wave goodbye again! In Japan you wave goodbye and keep looking at the people until they are completely out of sight! A quick wave would imply that you don’t care a whole lot. So we waved again for a long time until they walked out of sight!

We drove on our way back to Jim and Amy’s house but we decided we were going to stop somewhere and get a bite to eat. We got to go to a Costco in Japan! It’s the only western supermarket we have seen in Japan. Most stores are really small and there’s nothing like Walmart here except Costco. We stopped there to have a huge pizza. It’s they only place in Japan that you can get a decent priced pizza. Everywhere else pizza is a delicacy and costs around $35! It was fun to look around the Costco and we enjoyed our dinner with the Smiths!