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Japan Update - Week two

Hello everyone,

I know it seems like a long time since the last real update, but we are just now finishing our second full week of work here in Tokyo.

So far, things are continuing to go extremely well. Every day is very busy, as each of us are working with right at about 15 readers each, most of whom come twice per week. We begin each day as a team with a devotional together at 9:00am, and then begin work at 10:00am. Our last reading session ends at 9:00pm, so from Wednesday through Saturday we remain pretty busy all day long. Unless we make a trip to the store, we sometimes don't even make it outside the building much during those days.

Our readers have proven to be a very interesting and diverse people. They range in age from teens to late 60s, their level of English conversation ability varies from beginner to fluent, and their interests and personalities are quite different. We have housewives, young professionals, students, retirees, businessmen, and storeroom workers. Two of my readers who are housewives bring their young children (I work in the children's room of the church so I am stocked with all the cool toys). It is our responsibility to find a way to connect with each one of them, which usually doesn't prove to be difficult because the Japanese are a very courteous and accommodating people, so they generally work to do the same. This being the second week, we are just seeing the beginning of the personal side of some of them. Some will probably open up in a very personal way before the project is over, and other may not.

I have been very impressed with the local church's attempts to connect with readers during our project. We have a weekly Share Group on Wednesday nights that is a group English discussion time that involves the church leaders and some members and as many of our readers as are interested. We also do parties every Sunday and the church members were highly involved in our first one. They also do many little things like make posters of our activities (after our K-State themed party last Sunday, the next day a large poster appeared with photos of K-State and large K-State logos and photos from the party). They also keep fresh flowers on our tables with small scripture cards. There is also a looping video of our last party plus past LST activities. So, it's the little things.

Today I am preaching during church, which will be an experience because preaching through a translator is extremely different than my typical conversational style. It must be completely scripted so it can be translated ahead of time (Japanese translation is difficult). It also means one phrase at a time, then translation. One phrase. Translation. One phrase. Translation. One phrase. Translation.

We have every Monday and Tuesday off. Last Monday we spent a good part of the day in a huge municipal park that is nearby in Tachikawa. This involved walking about 6.5 miles, which was a decent workout. On Tuesday we navigated our way through monorails, trains, and subways, and visited central Tokyo. We got an American fix at Hard Rock Cafe and then saw the sights from Tokyo Tower, which is Tokyo's equivalent (literally) of the Eiffel Tower. We then hopped the subway to the Imperial Palace, which we did not know had already closed for the day. But perhaps the best part of our "weekend" was our visit to a conveyor-style sushi shop where you pick plates of sushi off a conveyor that passes in front of you and pay per plate. Cheap Japanese sushi passing endlessly in front of you is a small miracle of life in itself.

Tomorrow we will be heading out to the Tokyo Bay area to take a short cruise and then visit an old Buddhist Temple. We'll also probably stop at a huge bazaar that is basically a massive tourist souvenir shop. So if you have any requests for touristy junk, make them now.

So, that is pretty much the latest from this side of the world. Please continue to pray for our readers and us as this project progresses. There are signs of hope in some and we want to effective servants in helping people know the power of the story of Christ and what that can really mean for them.

Domo arigato!!

God bless,

Cary


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