King Family Fest in Japan

Like the previous weeks, this week too got off to a slow start. I took my time to, read write and study. I went on walks and into coffee shops, sometimes alone, sometimes with Ciera who is about as busy as I am. Wednesday evening I had another English conversation class with the same student I had met the week before. After we finished, I directly went to the power night. A couple of meters before the church I coincidently met one of the church members who is studying German, so we walked the last few steps together, and I tried to help him with some questions, and to have a short conversation until church started. That night, Christian continued to talk about spiritual warfare and especially focused on two types of suffering: suffering because of sin and suffering to grow spiritually. He concluded his message, with some tips, on how we can win our battles, using Elijah as an example. After the message, we split into two groups. The Waseda Bible Café members, and the rest of the church. First, we talked about the message we had just heard and then we made some plans for the Bible Café and discussed things that could be improved. Together with Yukie, I am now officially in charge of media content. This means that I need to remember to take some pictures during the events, and maybe turn them into pretty-looking Instagram stories or posts.

On Thursday Ciera and I repeated everything we did the previous week. We went to Waseda University to have lunch, and then we walked around and tried to talk to people. This time we had a pretty good start to the conversation. This week’s Bible Café event was an “American Party”, and Ciera, being the only American in the group, was in charge of preparing a game and organizing food. For the food part, we decided to do that together, and our strategy was to go up to Waseda students and ask them for help. We started by explaining that we were throwing an America-themed party and that we needed to get snacks. And then we asked them, what they would expect at such a party. What is the first snack that comes to mind? Though that we managed to invite someone who seemed interested in the party, and we showed her the Bible Café Instagram account where she could find more information. Later we met up with Zion, Yukie, Naomi and Christian. This time we split into two groups. Naomi, Yukie and Ciera together and Zion, Christian and I as the second group. My group first went to pick up a guitar for the worship that we will have in the Bible Café but then Christian thought we could already start playing the guitar on campus. We sat down on a grass hill, and Christian started to play, while Zion and I prayed and observed our surroundings. I noticed a girl who was constantly looking in our direction and at one point she even came a little closer. Christian noticed her too, so when he stopped playing we decided to talk to her. We started by talking about music, and other interests and then slowly started to bring up the Bible Café. She seemed interested and had time so we asked her if she wanted to join us. She accepted the invitation, and so we walked together to the Phoenix Lounge (the name of the place where we are holding the Bible Café).

When we arrived, we saw that the other group was just as successful in bringing someone. Naomi called me to come meet this guy they brought because he had spent two years in Germany, so obviously I was supposed to welcome him in German. We are an international Café after all. A friend of Zion’s also came that day, and a bit later in the evening I found out that he learned a little bit of French in school, so I got to practise my French skills as well. After this successful night, we happily went back home, chatting and laughing together.

Earlier that day I had asked if I could create a new flyer for the Bible Café. The main reason is that on the flyer we currently have is a quote that says “All you need is the Bible and Coffee”. But we have never served coffee — only tea, soda and snacks. So I felt like this might not be the best quote to invite people with. Naomi permitted me to do it, but before I got the chance to start Yukie asked me, if I could create a new logo for the Bible Café that we could use as an Instagram profile picture. She sent me a drawing she had made and with that as inspiration, I created a few logos, some quite similar to her drawings, some a bit different. I sent her the ideas and we both had the same favourite. As it was already past midnight we decided to ask the remaining members the next day. (The design that Yukie and I preferred got accepted and was already the new profile picture the next morning.)

Yukie’s Sketch
One of the designs that resembled Yukie’s Idea
The design we chose

I was looking forward to Friday the entire week. Because this Friday was a very special day. I heard from a little Bird that Shannon and Elias were in Japan, so I asked them to meet up if they had time, and they had! We met in Shibuya to have breakfast together, or rather Brunch. Then we spent some time together walking through Yoyogi Park and visiting Harajuku and the Meji shrine. We had a great time catching up, chatting about random things, and sharing our passions and hopes for the future and our missions. It was great, and I wish the day had more hours. But at some point, we had to say goodbye.

While I marvelled at the beautiful flowers, Shannon couldn’t hide her excitement over the pretty grass

I went back home to prepare a prayer point for prayer night and to read the Bible for a bit. Then I went to prayer night, where Christian once again gave a short message, telling us that our Words and what we say hold tremendous power and that we must be careful what we say, even if it is meant as a joke. Then we commenced with our prayers. After the prayer night, I finished two flyer ideas for the Bible Café, again with Yukie as a consultant, before I finally went to bed.

On Saturday I had an early start. Ciera is a runner and she asked me if I wanted to join her on a Park Run. This is a weekly meet-up of people who all run together. It is a 5k course and everyone can run at their own pace. The nice thing about this is, that you have a community and people cheering you on and motivating you.

Beautifully coloured sky while on our way to the Park

The run was in a Park that was rather far away so we left the apartment at 6 AM. The run started at 8 AM and because we had some hiccups on our way home we arrived back home at 11:20. Such a long morning just for a 5k run.

In the afternoon Yuka, Llyza and I went to Bible school, while Ciera remained at home, wanting to catch up with personal things and resting after this long morning. This time the Japanese part, or the Bible-specific part was about the book of Romans and the first and second Corinthians. After we learned about the context, history and more of these three books, Christian continued his teaching about Timothy, the difference between being a son of God and a servant, and also how to be a good servant in church and for God. As always we remained in church for a bit to chat and I showed the two flyer designs to Naomi. Neither Yukie, Naomi nor I had a favourite, so we let Zion decide. He decided on one design but asked if it could be more colourful, so I did that once we were back home.

For this Sunday I was especially excited. Saturday night Shannon had messaged me, saying that they had planned to meet a friend at a different church, but they never replied so she and Elias were thinking of coming to our church. After I sent them the address and the times of the services, they decided to come to the morning service. So I picked them up at the train station shortly before we started, guided them to our church and introduced them to as many people as possible before we started church. The morning service circled the topic of raising spiritual children. After the message, we decided to do an English sharing circle, which Christian joined. He then started to get to know Shannon and Elias better and asked them if they would stay for the afternoon and even share a short message. They both enjoyed our little church and were more than happy to stay for the second service and to say something. So we all sat together and enjoyed lunch (this week Llyza made an Indonesian dish). So in the afternoon, in the second service, after we finished the worship, Christian introduced Shannon and Elias and asked them to come to the front.

They talked about God as a Father and his love for his children. I couldn’t stop smiling because I was reminded of the many times the King family visited us in Switzerland, and how Shannon would share testimonies and messages there. This was especially special for me since I will miss this year’s Italy fiesta, which I was very sad about even though I feel tremendously blessed to be in Japan. So I was just soaking in this moment full of joy and nostalgia over the many Italy fiestas we had experienced together. After they finished sharing their message, Christian added some words, about being an obedient child of God. Naturally, we stayed a long time after Church, not only talking but also celebrating one of the church members‘ Birthday. But, once again the time to say goodbye came. So I walked Shannon and Elias to the train station and once more we shared a heartfelt farewell. But, the day was not over yet. The next weekend some missionaries will visit us, and, because most of the church members don’t have space to house them, they will stay at the church. So we gave the church a deep clean. Since everyone helped this was done rather quickly, and we were soon able to return home.