Happy Birthday! :)

  Yesterday was Wednesday, and as always, it is my most difficult class.  I think the women in my 6:30 class at Kawanaka have hardened themselves so much to the Gospel that they just don’t participate in class.  But, in a few days, it will be Miwa’s birthday (31st), so we decided that we would celebrate in class yesterday.  Sonomi brought a box of specialty cookies from….yes, I’m serious…Santa Claus.  It’s a pastry shop, a really large pastry shop, here in Shimonoseki.  Very popular.  Actually, I first heard about it when Brian and Yoko were discussing directions and they said, “You take a right at Santa Claus and then keep going…”  I about lost it!  To think, that after all this time…Santa really lives in Japan!  πŸ™‚  It was funny, we all got a big laugh about it, and Santa makes the best pastries in the area.  πŸ™‚

  So, Sonomi brought the cookies, which were two cookies together with a dried fruit cream in the middle.  They were yummy.  Maki brought a bag of chocolate-covered corn snacks in the shape of stars.  They were good too…kind of like those candy bars, with the light, crunchy layers, and can be covered in chocolate that’s pink, or brown, or yellow, they have the fence-like pattern on the surface.  I hope you know what I’m talking about…I can’t think of the name of them.  Anyways, it was good.  Keiko took care of getting the tea and stuff together.  I brought a handful of snacks, but we didn’t eat any of them…I don’t think they didn’t like them, we just had a lot of other stuff…which means, more snacks for me to use in my classes here at the Center!  πŸ™‚

  I had walked from the Center to the train station and then on to Kawanaka from the other station…but it was raining, so I didn’t wear my flip-flops (only because it’s hard to walk in them when they are very slippery).  I wore my dress shoes…but for some reason, my dress shoes decided they didn’t like my feet, and the skin was rubbed off the back of my ankles.  I had to go to MaxValu to get the snacks, so I decided to grab some bandaids.  I also crushed the backs of my shoes, which I’ve seen several people here do.  When I went into MaxValu, one of the clerks came up to me and started talking to me.  He asked which country I was from (all in English, mind you), what state I lived in, and what I was doing here.  From what I gathered in our conversation, He had never been to Ohio, but about 10 years ago, he had traveled to Kansas(!!) and worked with Walmart’s pharmaceutical department.  When I asked him where the bandaids were, he ran and got some from the worker’s supply and offered me those…but I said that I could buy my own.  So, we got that settled, but I think I’ll have to go back again sometime and say hello to him.  I have no idea what friendships I should invest in and which ones aren’t going to lead anywhere, so I just go with the flow and try to make the most of my time.

  Oh, for Miwa’s birthday, I painted a little shelf kind of thing…it was blue with pink and orange flowers all over it and on the sides.  On the front, I put the Bible verse 1 Peter 5:7 – Cast your cares on Jesus, because He cares for you.  I felt this verse was very appropriate for her because her son had killed himself several months ago.  It’s hard to be able to talk with the women on that level, but I’m sure she’s still grieving…I can’t imagine the sorrow that would come from something like that, and to go through it without the hope and peace of Jesus….unfathomable.  Taka helped me and typed up the verse in Japanese and I put it on a card, so that she could read what the English meant.  They were all stunned by it…but I have this love for painting, and a love for birthdays, and I have to use both of those for Jesus.  Ok, this is very long.  Have a great day!!  πŸ™‚

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