It is my joy to be writing this letter to you from Takamatsu, Japan – and it is unbelievably Friday already! The past week has absolutely flown by for us. And rather than start by talking about Japan, I need to start by telling you all the wonderful things God did this time last week! As we were gearing up for our trip and taking care of some last minute work, we were bombarded with gifts and goodbyes like never before. It was such a tremendous blessing to see God pour out through his servants. We can’t thank any of you enough for all the sacrifices and prayers that have brought us here. It is my joy to report that those last gifts pushed us up and over our goal! We collected enough money for both the flight, and for the Grays. I can’t tell you how excited we were to realize that. God moved so quickly in this trip, it’s jaw-dropping. We didn’t have much time, but we planned in-faith, and He so graciously provided everything we needed before we even left.
Pumping up the bicycle tires.
On Saturday, we left our home in Lynchburg and dropped off our pup with the Reed parents. Another prayer that was answered was our place in DC. On Sunday, we drove up to Woodbridge and stayed with my old roommate and had a great time with his family. They were kind enough to get up with us at 5am to get us to the airport on time. At 11am the next day, we were very thankful to reach our final destination – and a bed. In Japan, it was midnight, so we slept well until the next morning.
This is what "ramen" means in Japanese. Delicious!
Our first full day in Japan was Wednesday – crazy how fast time flies – and we hit the town for some amenities and groceries. While we were out we saw no less than three people we knew! Two were college students, and one of them met us later to help us find some WiFi. It was so exciting to be reunited with old friends. We felt very welcomed by everyone we saw. Later that night, we met with an English student whom we both taught and had ramen for dinner with him. As we walked together around the Mall, he mentioned a disease that some Japanese used to get that caused them to be separated from society and outcast. We told him about the lepers that Jesus would heal and His acceptance of those society shunned. Please pray with us for another meeting with this young man and, more importantly, that the Gospel takes root in his heart.
Bobbing for Apples with the ESS members
On Wednesday our favorite ramen shop was closed, so our first meal was udon instead. We posted a video on reedsinjapan.com of the udon shop, and yesterday we got to eat our favorite food in all of Japan – a steamy-hot bowl of ramen. We’ll post a video of that online as well. It’s nothing like “cup of noodles.” After lunch we fought off jet lag and waited until our first ESS (English Speaking Society) meeting. There we had fun judging their Halloween costumes and shared about the history of Halloween and how evil spirits are very real. We brought some candy from America to share and had a great time seeing old friends and making new ones.
Yuzo making Takoyaki at the College
From today through Sunday we’ll be spending a lot of time with the ESS members at their college for a “bunkasai” or festival. We hope to see many of the students who weren’t able to come last night and set up some meetings with them to share our heart. They’ll be making and selling “takoyaki” or octopus balls as they’re sometimes called. They are gooey hot balls with octopus meat inside and sauce, mayo, and fish flakes on the outside. The first time we tried it we weren’t fans, but now we love it! It’s definitely very different from anything you’d find in the US. Please pray that our time together with the students can reflect the love of Christ and bring them closer into a relationship with Him.
It's great to be reunited with these guys. Please pray for them.
Our last prayer request is for our iPod touch. It’s helped us a lot in the past, but this time it was left on the plane! We’re praying that we can get it back, but it’s hard when you don’t have a phone or internet. Hopefully one of the airline attendants set it aside. We spoke with someone yesterday who got us a phone number for the lost and found. Thank you for all your prayers. We’re adjusting well and we’ll write more soon! Your partners in the Gospel,