I have been fighting a cold all week. Thankfully it’s been nothing more than fatigue, a bit of a sore throat, and a little cough. Perhaps it is because the weather has been all over the place this week – at the beginning of the week it finally got frigid but then today and yesterday turned out to be incredibly warm and mild.

Today I went with a fellow missionary, Annette, to her prenatal exam at a clinic. She amazes me! She has a three-year old, a one-year old, and another on the way in a few weeks PLUS she hosts myriads of folks over for dinner, takes care of her kids, feeds her family, helps her husband, etc. I worked with her husband ‘s parents in Sendai back in 2001-2003 and having Annette and her family around has been a breath of fresh air. Because Annette’s husband Matt is fluent in Japanese he is able to lead Bible studies, discipleship groups, preach, teach, and do a whole host of other things at the local church. I am enjoying getting to know Annette and their adorable children very much. I am doing my best to teach her Japanese and she has turned out to be a very good student! Two other girls asked me to teach them Japanese lessons so I find myself busy doing something I didn’t expect to be doing here – teaching Japanese to my friends!

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Annette C. and her daugher Karissa

One nice thing about being in Japan is being stretched a lot in the area of hospitality. Because of my wonderful Japanese cooking classes, I am able to make a good number of Japanese dishes which makes the prospect of having people over much easier and very pleasant. Also, being able to read packages and the directions has been a big help. I went a little overboard and wound up inviting about 12 people over next week for dinner – I hope it’s not too overcrowded. I am finding out how much of a joy it is to extend hospitality.  I am not necessarily good at it, but I like doing it whenever I can. I am learning so many recipes here and cooking is much more fun than I ever imagined.

I took some photos of my MTW family here as well as the Green Chapel where I attend church most weeks. I am so thankful to be part of these two families!

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MTW (Mission to the World) Ladies’ shot

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Veteran missionary Jane with baby MJ (Michael Jr.)

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Michael and two of his kids (he looks so young – I’d never guess he is the father of five and has three master’s degrees and his PhD!)

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Here is a semi-group shot – this shot was taken at a team pizza party last weekend – we got PIZZA HUT

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GREEN CHAPEL! Little baby Shoto keeps growing and growing! He is Pastor Aoki and his wife’s third child. I hold him every chance I get. He even threw up on my lap during the worship service last month – haha!

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Pastor Aoki preaching

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Sunday school craft

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Miku and Shoto (the Aokis’ oldest)

This weekend I am heading to Kyoto and will get to see the glorious fall folliage. I am visiting a friend who used to live in Philadelphia for two years -I used to teach her English. Since we last met she had a beautiful baby girl named Sakura (cherry blossom) and I can’t wait to see her again!

I am also starting to think of coming home – I fly back home December 17th and there are so many people I want to see and catch up with again. Hopefully I will be able to see everyone while I am home.  I am planning to come back to Japan until December 2009, God-willing. After my time here ends I don’t have any particular plans, but I am glad to know what I will (hopefully) be doing for the next year or so. And I am so much more glad that God knows what His plans are for my future. Anyway, I will post a few more photos of fun times here with some of the sweet ICAN (International Christian Academy of Nagoya) teachers who live in my apartment complex and other friends. I am so blessed to be here!

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Jenn (from Tennessee), Nobuyo, and Yisel ( from Uruguay)

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With Julie, a dear, sweet friend who returns to the US very soon 😦

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With Julie, Steph, and our new friend Marina who is Japanese but grew up in Queens, NY

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