I love the fall. I think the changing colors of the leaves are beautiful, I love the crisp coolness in the air, I love pumpkins and apple cider and everything about fall in general. Its just a beautiful season! I also like to celebrate Halloween, but not in a scary way. I just love having a reason to dress up and hang out and have fun. And I love carving pumpkins! The fall in Japan comes a little later than the fall in Kansas. October's weather is definately cooler, but its still mostly sunny and on the warm side. It begins to get colder in November, which is also when the leaves really change and become beautiful. Something else that is different here is that Japanese people don't really celebrate Halloween. (At least not as big as Americans do). Some little children will dress up, and some high school/college age/young adults may go to some Halloween parties, but thats not the norm. Even though it is different, most of my team here in Japan also enjoys having an excuse to dress up and have a party, so thats what we did! We invited our Japanese friends to come dress up and party with us. About half of the people we invited could not come, but it still ended up being a very full party and we ran out of food! We made chilli and cornbread, cheese dip and a few desserts. It was so much fun! I put together a collage of pics of the party so that I could show more pictures all at once.
Sometimes when little children see Mike, they cling to their mothers and start crying. Mike is a big white guy and they are not used to seeing men like him. So this year, Mike chose to be a bunny, in hopes of not scaring any children at the party. It worked! No children cried, one even sat on his lap. I was a fairy, Cooper was a pumpkin, and Brayden was supposed to be a pumpkin but he never would wear his costume. But he sure did have a wild time playing with the other kids!
Another thing...You cannot find orange pumpkins in Japan. You can only find small green ones, used for cooking, at the grocery store. Well, a few days before Halloween, a friend at the park brought me an orange pumpkin. I couldn't believe she had one...I asked her how in the world did she get it? Her husband is from England, and he teaches at an international school here in Nagoya. They had ordered pumpkins ONLINE! (Isn't that funny? Maybe I will do that next year...) After the school was done using them, they were going to get rid of them, but somehow she ended up with one and brought it to me. I'm a little embarrassed to say that it totally made me giddy like a child. I even got Brayden all giddy'd up about it. He was so excited to carve it. He had said he wanted to put his hand inside and pull out all the slimy stuff, but once I cut it open and he looked inside he changed his mind. I also cooked the pumpkin seeds, too. They were yummy!
One last thing...totally unrelated to Halloween...we found a place to meet for our church! We weren't sure how difficult it would be to find a place, but I think God directed us and provided this place for us. We will be meeting in a sports bar called Strikers, where we will be able to use the second and third floor of the building. It is already equipped with lighting, sound, and projection equipment! Awesome! It has room for about 40 people. Our first service is going to be on Dec. 20th. There are enough musical people on our team to put together a little band for worship. We have already begun practicing our songs in Japanese...its so exciting! Mike is going to give a sermon (using a translator) about how God came to earth to rescue us. He will get to explain some of the gospel to first time hearers. Please pray for the people who will come to that service to have open, fertile hearts and ears to receive the gospel!