Pictures!

Here are the promised pictures!

This is one of our favorite restaurants in Hiroshima, we had dinner here for our anniversary!

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This is the shopping area all lit with the “illuminations” as my students call them. Image

Dinner came with some nice glasses of wine. The manager even gave us free tea and a free dessert afterwards!

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This is the Halloween themed area. Sorry for the poor quality…

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Adam gets to see that glass slipper he always coveted…

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Also, I got to decorate a tree with a couple of my students! It was their first time ever decorating a Christmas tree!

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They’re so cute!

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I am definitely thankful for a Christmas break, as short as it is, to take some much needed breathing time! I actually have time to organize things and do those extra little things that don’t really happen when school’s going.  So far this semester has been pretty good, I’m just trying to stay on top of things. I’m starting to think of more new ideas to use in class and to make learning English more fun for those students who don’t necessarily appreciate it as much…  Thank you again so much for your prayers! We feel very loved and supported! Merry Christmas!

Also, for your entertainment, Adam got to be Santa Claus for the kids class that we help with on Saturdays. Here’s a short video and some pictures!  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EaDGP4xHw2M

Tis the Season (Guest Post by Adam Palmer)

Tis the season to be sick in bed apparently.  I am eternally grateful that my last week of work was last week: not because it was too grueling and tiring, but because it meant I could spend this week quietly sick in bed instead of tossing back a handfull of pills and draggin myself to work.  I’m officially two and half weeks into a battle with fever, nausea, congestion and aches.  And as exhausting as that is, I do ask very seriously for prayer for my throat.  I can feel a place where I damaged something from coughing so much, and it hurts most days to talk, and singing is pretty much out of the question.  Please pray that I scratched my throat, not my vocal chords, and that whatever it is heals quickly and fully.

Bad news first: check.  Good news: Tuesday, Lizbet and I celebrated our first anniversary.  Had a nice dinner, walked downtown and saw a full half a mile of Christmas lights, complete with owls, witch’s brooms, glass slippers and whales.  Check back later for pics.

Earlier this month, we had our second monthly bible study.  In an attempt to find something more relatable to my students, I came across this kanji pdf.  It shows how the formation of various Kanji are based on stories taken from Genesis.  It was interesting to see even the chaplain (who graciously translates the more complicated thing for me) show extreme interest in the material.  A great deal of Japanese “religion” is grounded in mythology and even folklore, so giving them religion with dates, names and actual historical foundation might help differentiate it from the hundreds of other stories they hear from their parents and relatives.

I also had a very unique opportunity to share the true meaning of Christmas with that class, as well as the Friday class I teach with the Real Housewives of Hiroshima.  I was able to walk them through a Nativity scene, and then we read Luke 2 together.  Having read this passage so much I almost had it memorized, I was actually amazed at how powerful the same words felt when they were read by these Japanese women who may have thought they were just reading a short story I found online.

Next, we learned about Christmas carols and sang Silent Night.  Afterwards, there was a minute or so of quiet murmurs, until one of them finally asked what the line “with the dawn of redeeming grace” meant.  The term “grace” has no Japanese equivalent, as it’s not something they experience much, but I was able to explain it through a couple metaphors, as well as tie it into Easter and piece the whole story together.  I never considered myself much of a preacher/teacher, but it has been incredibly fulfilling to be able to talk with unbelievers who are willing, even if from nothing but curiosity, to hear the gospel.

That said, I’m sure Lizbet will follow up with pics and a few words about her school year.  I leave you with this video of a song I wrote recently that, all ego aside, is undeniably awesome.