Sep 25, 2011

with Deans!

My last stay in California, I was able to spet time Dean family.
I met them in Okinawa and actually when I was in states last time, I stayed with them.

The reason I stayed with them this timing was to attend Suzie' (Regina's sister) wedding. She is wonderful lady who loves the Lord. She met her (now) husband at Bible College. (Bridal College remains!! haha) 
It was so beautiful and glorifying wedding. They truly showed the marriage was by the Grace of God. They were great witness for Christ.
Sue and her dad Michael
Regina and Claire
Beautiful Couple
worshiping Jesus as a couple/one

With Rizzi family
with Dean family

One of the memory I had there was the conversation with Josh at one night......
Josh, he is so intellectual guy. It was so funny.
He found out my major is International Relations with emphasis on U.S..
So he would ask me many questions on U.S. politics. But, on the contrary, I really do not like talk about politics with others. (if it's not in class or just for joke or something not deep) So, I kept saying "Ok, this is it. We need to stop this conversation!!", but he insisted asking and talking about it!!
well, well, now it has become a good memory but at the time, it was funny but very nasty at same time. haha

I think Regina had hard time reading me. I was getting used to American sarcasm. So I was being little sarcastic time to time, but she couldn't tell if I was serious or not!!! Sorry Gina!!
I thought it was very funny though...

I love seeing their kids growing up too. Jeremiah was still baby when I saw him last time. Now he talks!! I really enjoyed playing with Jer and Claire the Smarty!!

I truly miss them, but know I will see them again.

God bless you!!

Sep 17, 2011

SanDiego with Gaines

So, it is always hard to say goodbye....
I said goodbye to Cook family and headed to SanDiego.

There, in SD, I stayed long friend of mine, Gaines family.
I actually had privilege of serving Jr.High ministry with them in Okinawa.
I remember playing guitar with the oldest, Christian. He name our band "Holy Fire Band". (because all we played was "holy fire") He was so adorable!!


So, I walked into the house and met Christian. He first said, "So, now I have to call you Mr.Yasutomo ?"
I was like "NOOOOoooooooo!!!!!!"(in my mind)
I kindly said, "you are my friend, call me Yasutomo as you did in the past!!"
Luke the younger son was all grown up. and I first met their youngest Hannah as well.

They are the one, I think, who took my word most seriously when I said "I'm here to hang out with you!" haha
Though we didn't do much, but it was so relaxing time.
Of course, Steve took me super cool burger place in downtown. We went on hiking and went to Rancho.
I went to Christian and Luke' baseball game too!! Luke was so cute in his playing, Christian was actually really good batter!!
              downtown SanDiego                        Luk and Christian after the games
The best part of the SD was Wednesday night when Steve took me to Horizon Chapel, Adoration with Evan Wickham.
He is all time one of my favorite teacher/worship leader.
He taught on Acts 12. It was super good!!! I was just absorbing the truth.
We had extended time of worship as well which was extraordinarily good!!

with Evan Wickham

I haven't mentioned his wonderful wife, Tiffany. She fed me super nice foods.
She is more like my good friend than sister or aunt. haha
We actually had fun playing sarcasm that I have acquired in states.

As I spent time with them. I saw their heart for Okinawa, Japan.
I really pray that they would one day come to Okinawa as missionary.
But God always has His best. This is just my hope ;)
with Steve and Tiff

Funny thing is I leave for Okinawa this morning and Steve is already in Okinawa for his job. Hahaha
I said goodbye to them with teary eyes, but I'm seeing him again this soon.

But, I truly miss all the Gains family!!
Thank you so much!!

One day at beach!!!

oops, I forgot to mention one friend!!!

So while I was staying in LaHabra, I was able to hang out with my friend whom I met first in Okinawa about 6 years(!?!?) ago, Lynsie.
I think she absolutely Love Japan. She has been to Okinawa twice and to Tokyo twice!! That's very crazy.

So, I had seen her at her last three trips. (She came to Japan to help relief in Tohoku while I was in England.)

So when I got in states, I was able to get hold of her and by the grace of God, it actually worked out!!
She took me to Huntington Beach which was one of the coolest beach ever!!
Huntington Beach

She came with her friend Amy, so I got to know her as well.
We had lunch at Ruby's, walked around the main street, went into stores....etc
Hurley Store!
But the best part was bike riding!!!
We rented a big bike which seems for two people, but they put all us thee in it.
So it was kinda small for us, little bit hard to pedal but nice work out, I say.
With Lynsie
With Amy

 Another Best Part is that they took me to their job, PETSMART....... which I thought strangest place ever!! They had suite room that had TV, they had phone for dogs...... apparel for dog.....

At night, we went to midweek Bible Study Calvary Chapel Montebello which Lynsie and her family go to. The church sends mission team to Japan almost every year, and I am so grateful for their support. 

with Pastor Pancho

I was able to see some people I know at CCM as well. And I also got to know her family and her BF. I really love the church, which is so loving and welcoming!!
Lynsie and her bf Derek who works at church.
He was really cool guy!

Thank you Lynsie!! Come Japan again!! lol

Sep 13, 2011

Cook Family クック家

After I said goodbye to Iha family, I headed to LaHabra to stay with Cook family.

I've known them for about three years. I first met them when I was in CA last time. Pastor Lance is a senior pastor/founder of Calvary Chapel LaHabra and Kayla (oldest daughter) works at the office while going to college.
Calvary Chapel LaHabra

Pastor Lance at the Japan Conference

I spent five days with them. Though it was very short time (I felt), it was very good time and had wonderful experiences.
First bomb was Harvest Crusade!!!
When we are seated, pastor Lance said to me something like "Isn't it wonderful to see all those churches and christians working together as body of Christ?".
Yes, it was so beautiful to see that, and I was just amazed and blown away!!!
The crowd of people
Greg Laurie preaching
People came to accept Jesus into their hearts

To every family that I stayed with, I would say "I'm really here to hang out with you. So don't think that you have to take me places.". But, they did take me to places. So nice of them.
One of the highlights was the Angel's game!! My fist MLB game!!
Takahashi pitched for few innings and they came back from 2 points behind and won!!
Kendra got on the big screen, so I just jumped and got in too!!! It was sooo fun. haha
Group of us
MercyMe had concert after the game. We were able to get the very front row!!

Last Sunday with them, they had birthday-party for Kayla at the beach!! I LOVED IT!! (I was playing volleyball most of the time there. hahaha)

Either in Japan or in the states, I can't wait to see you again. Thank you Cook family!!

Sep 12, 2011


CALIFORNIA was the next destination after England.
I was picked up by Iha family at LAX. Iha family is my mom's side relatives.
And our fist stop was "IN-N-OUT"!! What a place to start my California bound!!

They've been to Okinawa number of times. But last time they were there, my family spent whole day with them and got to know them well. The last time I was in California, I couldn't see them, so it was so much blessing to finally see them this time.

They live in Garden Grove, OC. So I saw the fireworks of Disney from the house, which I thought super COOL!!!

Ivett, their mom, was so kind and care for the family a lot like Okinawan. She would tell me "You are my family, so this is your house." and made me feel really comfortable.
Alex and Hiromimaire were super fun to hang out with. They had to work but they did a lot to help me while I was there. They taught me many American cultures as well. haha
Kazuo-san, took days off from work for me and drove me to places. He is very kind man. I was able to share my faith with him too. I was so grateful.

The highlight was absolutely "Cheesecake Factory"!!! I adore cheesecake!! To me, the fact that I could cheese from 30 cheesecakes was as if I was in heaven. haha 

Thank you so much, Iha family!!!

バラーデ家 Velarde fam

So many of you know my first destination was the city called Exeter, located about three hours west from London. There I stayed with the Velarde family. Damian was my highschool pastor whom God used a lot to lay the foundation of my faith in me.
He left Okinawa about five years ago and was led to Exeter to plant a Calvary Chapel. The church has been blessed and is growing in the Words of God.
I was able to attend one Sunday service. There was at least 30 people worshiping the Lord. It was very encouraging to see.

They have five kids who have grown so fast and amazed me!! I met the youngest, Grace for the first time. They are so friendly and fun to be around. I was always entertained by them.
Velarde kids (minus Grace)

The time with Damian and Sandra was such a blessing and refreshing. I was able to hear how they planted the church and how God is working in the church as well as in the city. I was so encouraged by them. They are simply awesome.

ダミアンのセミナー、"Gospel Centered Life"(ゴスペル中心の生き方)は大変インパクティングでした。福音は未信者のためのものではなく、信じた(クリスチャンになり長い)私にも必要であり、常に思い起こし、深めていく必要があるのだと。
And of course, I was blessed with the chance to go to CreationFest, where I had wonderful experience!!
I was able to hear from Pastor Brian Broderson whose messages I always listen to on my podcast on live. That was so neat experience :)
Damian had a seminar too. He taught "Gospel Centered Life"; I've already heard most of it through the conversations I had with them previously. (I think he was thinking about it always)haha 
"The Gospel has 'NOW' Power", "We as Christian need to preach the Gospel to ourselves daily." he said. It was really impacting message to me, reminding that the importance of remembering what Christ has done for me, that Christ has already given me all we need, and He became our everything.

Damian teaching

The two weeks passed too quickly!!
There are so much more to tell, but I'd stop here. 
With Damian, in front of BigBen

next up, California!!!


Hi there!! I'm on the plane from Toronto to Narita. This has been the longest trip ever.(not craziest I had on the way to LAX)

Though I arrived in JFK, I only stayed in NewJersey for two days and spent the rest of the stay in Virginia. So I had to take a train from D.C. to Newark Airport Sunday evening. So, I got to the airport around 10pm and spent the night there. Then next early morning, I went to check in only to find my flight had been delayed for 3 hours...... Then later on, when I got to the gate, it was again delayed for half hour. Fortunately, I had much layover time (6h) in Toronto (hoping to get a chance to do to the city...), so I didn't have to worry about catching the connection flight. But, they put me in earlier flight to make sure I catch it.

So, the fact you are reading this post mean that I was able to get back home safely.

On plane, though it was tough and made me sad, I was looking back my past 5 weeks of traveling, I couldn't help to thank God for all the people who graciously had me stay at their houses.

So I decided to introduce my friends who allowed my to stay in order, first to show my gratitude, second to keep myself reminded of their kindness in next few posts.