The day after we got back from Kyoto, we embarked on the second stage of our winter adventures. This time, we went to Sendai to stay with an OPC missionary family, Murray and Tsuruko Uomoto. We had met them briefly in May when we visited the Cummings, but we wanted to get to know them better, to learn about them and their ministry–especially since Tsuruko is trained in Christian counseling! We are abundantly thankful for the time that we were able to spend with them; we left there encouraged and built up, and full of desire for a future of ministry.

We met them Sunday morning, and attended the church that meets in the living room of their house! They invited us to share in their family devotions, and to join in reading the Bible in Japanese, one verse at a time. Believe it or not, it was actually really encouraging for us–it made us both feel like it was something that we really can do. They also taught us about and encouraged about the importance of praying in Japanese; that too, was exciting. And of course, we talked long hours about ministry and missions in Japan . We learned about their mission team, and the unique challenges that they’re facing, as well as the problems and challenges that face all missionaries and Christian workers in Japan. We asked all kinds of questions, and got some really good, wise, and helpful answers on all kinds of topics. And we talked about the need for counseling here, and some ideas of what my future ministry as a Christian Counselor in Japan could possibly look like. Jen and I trust that God will continue to guide us as we take the ideas and dreams we talked about before Him in prayer.

We also got to meet  Fumitaka, a lively 8-year old boy from a local orphanage that the Uomotos frequently host. We enjoyed playing and talking with him; but even better than that was the spiritual growth that we could see in his heart, even over two short days. He loved reading the Bible at family devotions, and for the first time told the Uomotos that he believes in Jesus! He even went so far as to say that he wanted to be a pastor (like Mr. Uomoto) when he grows up! We thank God for Murray and Tsuruko’s faithfulness to share the gospel with him in a genuinely loving and caring way. We hope we can do the same.

With Uomotos

(Clockwise from top left: Jen & Mike, Tsuruko, Murray, Fumitaka, and two random neighborhood kids.)

New Year’s Eve was great as well. We went int the heart of downtown Sendai to walk along the central promenade in the snow, munching on yakiimo (roasted sweet potatoes), and looking at the beautiful lights that seemed to go on forever:

Sendai on New Years' Eve

Then on New Year’s Day, unlike most Japanese who go to either a temple or a shrine, we went to a wonderful New Year’s Day church service, and then had a proper traditional osechi-ryori meal, made by Tsuruko. The Cummings were able to join us for both, which was a great blessing as well!

With Cummings and Uomotos

And, to top it all off, we got to spend a whole day and a half with Melissa, the OPC missionary associate who works with the Cummings and the Uomotos. She was great to spend time with; she’s so spunky and lively and full of good vibes. We laughed like hyenas about all kinds of crazy things–kanji, sushi, and who knows what else. We’re so blessed to have made so many new friends in our short time here!

With Melissa

There’s so much that we could write about, but suffice it to say that our Sendai trip was an incredible time, used mightily of God in our hearts and lives. What a great end to winter break, and most likely, to our travels in Japan this time around! Please pray for the missionaries in Sendai, and specifically that God would raise up young men and women to join the mission and keep it going, even after the current members retire. And as always, pray that God’s kingdom would be advanced here and throughout Japan!

-Mike