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My mind is a blur when I try to remember what we’ve been doing this past week. We’ve been continuing to shop for stuff for the apartment, had many meaningful conversations, met new people, met up with friends, gone to team meetings…it’s been a very busy week!
Fireworks at a local temple

Moments like these make me smile! We were spontaneously invited by a new friend to go to see fireworks at a local Buddhist temple. I was deeply moved to see the awesome taiko (drum) performances of young children and see the joy and excitement of the people as the fireworks were lit. Everyone got in a giant circle and we went through round after round of various types of handheld fireworks. Even though it got incredibly smokey, we had a very nice time. On the walk back home this sweet woman shared with us that after the tsunami people fled to the temple and it was used as a refugee center. She shared that she lost her cousin in the tsunami and I was speechless once again, honored that she’d share some of her painful story with us.

We also enjoyed a lovely visit to see an old friend of mine who I met ten years ago in Sendai. Her family runs a ryokan, traditional inn, in a beautiful area called Naruko and it was great to meet her family for the first time.

Our apartment is coming along! Here you can see the room where we sleep and our double-sized futon and blue curtains.

Here is our small kitchen with a stove, small fridge, and Japanese-size oven that we got for free from a friend.
This will be our kitchen table until we get a nicer one. We actually have to move again into another apartment next month so that is also keeping us from purchasing too many heavy things until we move again. A young German man is coming at the beginning of October to work with us for one year as a volunteer and will live in the apartment in these photos. We are very excited about that and hope his time in Ishinomaki will be blessed!

Two personal things: I am realizing that I need to slow down! We have been increidbly busy since we arrived but I am feeling the need to slow down, take rests, get more sleep, and be more disciplined with my time. Another realization: I am convinced that I really need to improve my speaking skills. I am quite rusty and have forgotten a lot of vocabulary words since I left Japan in 2009. I am actively searching for advanced language courses to take in nearby Sendai and plan to commute there a few times a week for some serious language studies. Unfortunately I have not been able to find any courses beyond intermediate level in Ishinomaki or a private teacher. Thankfully there is a fairly cheap, convenient bus from Ishinomaki to Sendai that will enable me to commute easily and I hope that I will be able to find the courses and teachers in Sendai so that I will be able to speak more freely and easily in Japanese.

We recently saw a great video posted on Facebook that features many of the people we see on a regular basis! It is a wonderful encouragement to see and hear the stories of what God is doing in the city of Ishinomaki and beyond.