I forgot to mention something that happened this past Saturday. I was walking to meet a friend at the local Denny’s (there is a Denny’s here but the menu is totally different) to get a ride to my once a month English club for kids. It was raining really hard that morning, and much to my surprise, I saw a little girl crying her eyes out, alone under her little umbrella, calling out “Mommy! Mommy! Where is my mommy?” (in Japanese, not English). I looked around but didn’t see anyone. I assumed her mother would come running to find her any minute. However, no one came so I stopped a man passing by and said, “Hey, sir? This little girl is saying ‘where’s my mommy’ and I don’t know what to do.” He looked as bewildered as I did and tried talking to her. All she did was cry and cry. Thankfully, my ride pulled up a few minutes later and I explained to her what happened. My friend (Ayako) tried to talk to the little girl but since it was raining we went inside the Denny’s. I was so shocked – things like this don’t really happen in Japan, or so I thought. Japan is so safe and orderly and I was in shock to have found a lost child! All the Denny’s staff were shocked, too, and we all tried to get some information out of the little girl. We found out her name was Ayura and she was four years old. That was about all we could gather. I had some play dough in my teaching bag and she was very happy to play with it and chatted with me. After about 10 minutes we were friends and by the time the police arrived, Ayura let me hold her in my arms as she told the police her name, that she was four, and the name of her preschool. The police got my information and as we were about to get into the police car to drive around the neighborhood Ayura pointed to the nearby apartment complex and said, “That’s where I live!’ A minute later her frantic mother ran across the parking lot, tears flowing, and grabbed her daughter and hugged her. Apparantly, she had gone out alone leaving her two kids for a few minutes and her daughter went out of the house alone looking for her. I think that is what happened, but I am not positive. I really hope the mom gets in touch with me sometime soon. I’d love to see that little girl again – what a sweet child! I was glad I happened to be there at the right moment – I am certain God was watching out for her and sent me there to find her just in time.

Today I was thinking a funny thought. Why am I in Japan? There are many reasons but honestly, one of the main reasons is that about ten years ago, I was in a tiny used bookstore in Mullica Hill, NJ and was looking in the biography section and saw a book – its binding looked interesting to me so I plucked it off the bookshelf. It turned out to be an early 1950’s edition of “Shadow of the Almighty,” a book about a Christian missionary who was killed in Ecuador. That book literally changed my life and I have read it over and over through the years. After reading it, I decided that I would like to try and be a missionary. I only chose Japan because at the time in 2001, my misisonary choices were China, Korea, or Japan and I was deathly afraid of learning Chinese (or seeing people eat dog) and South Korea already has a ton of Christians so I chose Japan. I went to Japan from 2001-2003, went back to the US and worked, planned to go back to Japan in 2005 but couldn’t because my mom needed heart surgery, and I finally made it back here last April 2008. I am so thankful for this year in Japan – I have enjoyed seeing two different parts of Japan (Sendai and Nagoya) and travelling all over Japan to see Japanese friends I met in Philadelphia during 2003 to 2008. I am so thankful to be here, and I hope my experiences living abroad will be a blessing to many others back home. Not everyone gets to travel the world like this – I shouldn’t take it for granted.