Japan Mission Day 4: Nursing Home Ministry by Kelen


Today the team visited a local nursing home and sang songs in Japanese, English, and Spanish. It was such a special time of loving on the residents and feeling overwhelmed by their hospitality. They sat us down at a traditional Japanese table and served us the most delicious homemade squash curry with rice and vegetables. Truly an answer to what seemed like an insignificant prayer—we happened to be craving curry! For dessert, we enjoyed a warm pancake filled with sweet red bean paste—also a favorite! After the meal, we sang “Happy Birthday” to celebrate the 92nd birthday of one of the ladies who lives in the home. We were surprised to discover that the Japanese sing “Happy Birthday” in English as opposed to a translated version of the song. Who knew?! Hannah, Cherry and Rich then led us in a few lovely songs of worship in English/Japanese and Edgar and I sang “La Bamba.” It was so fun to see everyone swaying, dancing and clapping their hands to the music. Teruko even joined us and sang a traditional “enka” karaoke song—she is quite the performer! Despite the language barrier, we felt warmly welcomed; sometimes a simple smile, handshake, hug or attempt to speak Japanese is all that is needed to convey the love of Jesus.

Although the cherry blossoms have disappeared in Tokyo, we were blessed to be in Ishinomaki where they are in near full bloom despite the cool, wet weather. Later in the afternoon, once the sun brought light to the rainy sky, the team drove us up to Matsushima where we were able to experience a panoramic view of the surrounding area from Le Roman, a minimalist, nearly all glass café. Enjoying Darjeeling tea, coffee and baked treats beholding this view made for a yummy mid-day snack. Taking pictures there was such a highlight! As I write this my mind wander back to that moment, taking it all in as we knew we had to soon leave such a beautiful place and even more beautiful people who had become family.