Monday, January 28, 2008

Newsletter January 28, 2008

I just wanted to post a quick newsletter about our Sunday.

We held our monthly bilingual worship event known as Afureru! Earlier this month Ken, a former staff member died in an accident and we took this chance to remember him AND talk about death and eternal life. It was a different atmosphere from the normal upbeat and enthusiastic Afureru! meeting but it was powerful. Many of his friends were in attendance, several of them unbelievers (so far!). Please pray that what they heard about the hope of eternal life in Christ last night takes root in their hearts! Below is a simple slide show we put together in remembrance of him. There are some titles between pictures and I'll type their meaning in English below the video.

Thanks for reading and praying with us. Please don't forget about our trip to the states in April/May. We'd love to see you and share with your church/fellowship group so be in contact with us if you are interested.

Many thanks and blessings from Japan,
The Ayatsuka's

the ocean
and Jesus
you loved with all your heart.

that faithfulness
big smile
cute and funny character
you were overflowing with Jesus.

Jesus said "I am the the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will never die but have eternal life."

Ken-chan, until we meet again...

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Japanese foods...

I thought some of you might enjoy it if I shared some of the foods we eat here. There are a lot of neat food items in the winter. Especially at New Years. This New Years we were invited to a mochitsuki (mochi pounding) event at one of the kindergartens where I teach English. I thought I'd share that with ya.

Mochi (moe-ch-ey) is a certain kind of rice that when kneeded or pounded becomes a dough. It is traditional eaten at new years time. You can read more about mochi at Wikipedia here.

Rocky (right) joined two other men in the pounding. They use huge wooden hammers and the mochi is in a large marble bowl. It is best to keep a rhythm going and everyone pound at the right time to avoid hitting each other. Sometimes a fourth man is a part of the team and he reaches in to fold the mochi over at his turn. It takes a brave man to do that part, and he better be quick!

This is my plate of mochi! My favorite is the one wrapped in seaweed on the top right and the one in the middle which is covered in soy bean powder. What you see on the plate are as follows (starting from the top left) mochi covered in shredded daikon (a large radish), dipped in soy sauce and wrapped in seaweed, covered in ground black sesame seeds, mixed with natto beans and in the middle is the soy bean powder. I could NOT eat the ones mixed with nato beans. I am still not able to enjoy natto beans, which are beans that have been "aged" or spoiled. They smell terrible and feel even worse in your mouth. The Japanese insist they are good for you? But anything that is grose or doesn't taste good here is always "good for you"! Read about natto here.

And here is a sweet bonus picture of Hana enjoying her mochi. It is REALLY stretchy huh!?

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Newsletter January 20, 2008

Happy New Year! (a little late) I did not realize how long it had been since I updated with a newsletter. I hope you all are having an awesome New Year. We are busy in the New Year and excited about all that God is doing already.

2008 began with some quality family time. Rocky's brother and family came to visit from Osaka. We enjoyed several days together and the little cousins thoroughly enjoyed each other's company. As always please pray for our sister-in-law and nephews as they do not know the Lord yet. They attend church weekly with Rocky's brother!

Unfortunately just after the in-laws left we were shocked with the news that a very close friend and brother-in-Christ went home to be with the Lord. Our precious friend Ken, who was very active on staff with our Afureru! ministry for many years was killed in a scuba diving accident at his job. We will miss him dearly. His funeral was a bold testimony of how much he LOVED his Lord Jesus and we believe the Lord will do a great work through his death. As a result, this months Afureru will include a short memorial of Ken, and then we will look at what the Bible has to say about death and eternal life. Pray that Afureru! (January 27th) this month will be an extended testimony of Ken's faith and most of all Glorify our Lord!!!

We are seeing God do so much work in the lives of men, as an answer to YOUR prayers as we have asked you to pray for that many times! We now have several Christian families in our church and one husband of a believer member in regular attendance. He will start a Bible study with our missonary church planter soon. Also, Rocky begins a Bible study this week with the co-worker of one man in our church. The three of them will meet weekly for the next 6 weeks to study Bible basics and how to become a Christian. Would you please pray for N-san, that the Word of God would be clear to him and he would come to faith as a result of this Bible study!

We are planning our trip back to the states in late Spring. We will possibly be in Arizona mid-April, for sure going to Colorado end of April, spending the month of May in Texas, and possibly ending our trip in Florida the first week of June! If you are in any of these areas (or would like us to come to YOUR area) and want us to visit your church or would just like to see us, PLEASE let us know as soon as possible. We are looking for churche and individuals who want to support Aroma Ministries financially and through prayer! If your church loves missions, PLEASE we'd love to share our minsitry with you. If we haven't seen you in a while, WE'D love to meet and get caught up! Please be in touch! Email or leave a response here on the blog!

We'd love to hear from each of you and we want to thank you for your constant love, prayers and support! Many blessings on you in 2008!

Some pictures of recent ministry for you to enjoy...

A concert in December where Hana joined us onstage for the encore (but she wouldn't sing!)

Rocky playing at the local train station with another pastor as an evangelical outreach. They hand out CD's and tracts to those who stop and listen.

The Ayatsuka Family headed out for a day of fun at the Aquarium

English Circle
Saturday English and Bible time

We studied how God provided manna for his people this week. So the children made their own "manna" for lunch. It was really pigs in a blanket, not really a kosher meal, but it works to get the point across to 3 year olds.

making manna

going into the oven

reading the Bible story

YUM! dig in!