Saturday, May 25, 2013

Waiting With Open Hands

Today we are cleaning a room in this house, preparing it for the arrival of my sister! She just graduated from high school and will be landing in Tokyo two weeks from now.

We are also preparing a talk for the youth group at Nishinasuno Church. We'll be talking a little bit about how we ended up here. It is a funny thing to think about. Our friend, Steven Cutting, likes to interpret the story of the good Samaritan as someone who allowed God to use their life. We are coming to realize that being "used" is a big part of what it means to be a volunteer, a servant, a missionary, and a compassionate being. Without really knowing what we were doing we told our church, "Use us, please." Though our hands were empty God has used them in uncountable ways this year. He has also placed in our hands blessing after blessing.

A big blessing this spring has been all of the wonderful leaf vegetables we have. They grow quick and do well to fill our stomachs in the awkward gap between fall storage and summer abundance. Our onion and potato stocks are finished now. Our summer vegetables are just beginning to leave their seedling stage. Yellow flowers are slowly peeping out here and there on a tomato plant or two. We wait for them to mature and munch on some more spinach. 

Next week is rice planting. We have already started in a few paddies. We've picked the rocks from the paddies, fertilized them with compost and chicken manure, sealed the banks, tilled the soil, filled them with water, and raked out the straw. We've selected the best rice seeds and kept them safe, warm, and wet in a green house until now. Finally it is time to pluck the little chopstick sized, wiry, green rice seedling up and stick it down in the mud. More on this next week!

This week the participants all gave a short presentation on the work that they are doing in their home communities and sending organizations. 

Warmer weather has everyone feeling a little more "genki" or healthy/excited/happy/energetic. 

Jenny is drying parsley because we have so much of it. 

The blackberry vines are blooming around the fish ponds!

One of these is not a tree.

To celebrate Jenny's life that has lasted for nearly 23 years so far I planned a special day out. We rode a train to the capital city of our prefecture, Utsunomiya, which is famous for one of Jenny's favorite foods, gyoza!

The Gyoza head couple. 

We made a new friend.

We also hit up some prime time karaoke! In Japan to do Karaoke you just get your own private room so you can be as weird and awful as you want. We got pretty weird but sang every note on key...kind of. We also discovered that Jenny is better than me at gangster rap. Represent.

In the 24th year of our life, we plan to keep our hands empty and available for use. We aren't sure what'll happen to us but we have a feeling that everything will work out.

I would like again, to thank all of the wonderful people who have filled our hands with what we need to do this work. 

Much Love and Peace to you all. 

Doug and Jenny


  1. hahaha "represent!" that's awesome :D i always love reading your posts and seeing your pictures! I just had my 4th month here in Brazil, which means that everyone else's time is starting to wind down! I wish you guys the best as you begin to reflect on the end of this year. thinking of y'all from Sao Paulo! :)

  2. wonderful pictures! :) i love gyoza, too....^^
    it's great to see that you are enjoying yourself and the participants settle down in the community :)
    how many volunteers are there this year? i heard there's a korean girl, too? it's really good there are many volunteers again, from all over the world.
    enjoy your last weeks at ari!! :) it'll be good ones!