Monday, April 30, 2012

Please Pray

May 1st will be "Chicka, Chicka, Boom, Boom Day" at KCS! A Local English Kindergarten for Japanese students will be visiting us today. All total looks like 19 visiting kindergarteners + 8 of their parents + 2 visiting teachers, joining our 13 students + 3 teachers (Grades 1-4). 


Hoping some of the students decide to enroll in the fall. Praying all have a wonderful time! 
The skies are cloudy with chance of rain - hoping it will stay clear enough for outdoor recess.



Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Sunday, April 22, 2012

GPS - God's Plan of Salvation

Drama Night, Friday, April 20.  
Eagle Theater Company presented: 

 GPS- God's plan of Salvation

Synopsis
Buckle your seat belts for a fun-filled, inspirational ride on the Holy Highway with GPS (God's Plan of Salvation) as your guide!  Join Andrea and her friends as she takes her drivers license test on the Holy Highway! Andrea learns a few lessons the hard way, but she does perservere under trial and learns that with Jesus Christ in his life, the road of obedience leads to the throne of God!

The students did a great job! 
 I think they were just as excited about having someone do their hair and make-up as they were to perform for an audience!  Considering there are 11 girls and 1 boy in the musical - that makes sense.  They looked adorable.

Fun story - It was the first time for many of the girls to wear make-up. We asked the students to be careful not to rub their faces or the make-up would smear or come off.  About 30 minutes after her make-up was applied by a parent volunteer one of the directors asked a first grader a question. She gestured with her hands and shook her head no but used no words.  Eventually the director realized this first grader thought that she wasn't allowed to talk after her lipstick was applied.   
  


^Set - road signs

^GPS and the car - with 4 rows of seats - and the headlights that really work.

^The police scooters, helmets & handcuffs

^Gas tank

^The view from the back of the theater - Middle & High School one-act play in progress.

Synopsis:
Several actors are rehearsing a play when they find a script on the stage that isn't a script of the play but of their lives. It turns out that the script reveals exactly what they are doing at that exact moment and the actors find themselves questioning fate, the director and other truisms. 


We had probably 100 people in the audience.  Besides KCS students and staff, there were relatives of the performers, prospective students, KCS alum and friends from the Heguri community and International community.   We don't have a stage at school so we are blessed to be able to rent the community theater for a reasonable rate and only 10 minute walk from school.  

^Principal Greeff is thanking Mrs. Oliver & Mrs. Katsuda for their work creating the set and props.
THANK YOU, also to all the volunteers who helped with all the details from transportation to sound to  bake sales! 

Thank you to so many who were praying for this evening.  Things went much more smoothly than anticipated. It was a great time to interact with so many of the KCS community and get to know some new friends too!  I'm sure we'll be going through "drama withdrawal" in the coming days - as we miss the practices with the drama club!

Ms. Z, director of Middle & High school Drama, and I, director of elementary drama, received some beautiful flowers and a box of specialty breads.   

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Strength When Needed


"Just because we don't feel strong when we think about a situation does not mean that we won't be strong when we need to be. God's strength comes to us by His grace, through our faith, but He rarely gives us the strength we need before we actually need it. In this way we must trust Him, which is our part. He asks us in His Word to trust Him, and as we do, He does the part we cannot do."
- Joyce Meyer

In conclusion, be strong in the Lord [be empowered through your union with Him];    draw your strength from Him [that strength which His boundless might provides]. 
                                           - Ephesians 6:10 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Drama Week

You know it's been a long couple of days when a 2nd grader leaves school on a Tuesday saying:

"Have a good weekend, Ms. Harms."

"But it's Tuesday!" I replied.

"I know! I said that on purpose." was her answer.

It's "Drama Week".
We had a long practice Monday.
Technical rehearsal at our rental theater today.
We'll probably squeeze in a small practice tomorrow.
And have our dress rehearsal on Friday followed by the performance.

I'm excited for the students to display their talents and hours of hard work.  The set design is simple but effective.  The music and message are filled with spiritual truth.  Praying that God will bring bless our little production and work in the hearts of those who hear the message.  Praying the energy level stays high and the children stay healthy!

Grades 1-6 - Elementary students will perform:
"G.P.S. God's Plan of Salvation" a musical by Celeste And David T. Clydesdale.  Found here.

Looking forward to Friday, April 20, at 6:30pm Heguri Hall. Doors open at 6pm. Tickets available at the door.

High School and Middle School will perform a One-Act Play called, "The Script". It's filled with twists and turns, just when you think you know what's going on you'll be surprised! Its a very creative tale!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Sakura & Pink Snow

video

This is one of the areas that was just blooming with Sakura (Cherry) blossoms
 on Friday's drive to school. 
^ A river on my way to school lined with cherry trees.


^A VERY old Cherry Tree in my neighborhood. - the wooden sign gives the history of the tree.




Trees by the local elementary school.

 Now that the trees are past their peak leaves are starting to appear and petals are falling.
(No fruit from these trees.)


The pink snow - or cherry blossom petals - even make the sidewalks and gutters look cute!


Sunday, April 15, 2012

Under Construction





Recently my students have been constructing things in their free time.  It's been fun to see first and second graders patiently and cooperatively stacking their blocks, dominoes, and sticks into unique creations.  


 ^The before photos.
The elementary building was in need of new siding, insulation, and roofing.
We held a walk-a-thon to raise money, (see post) and received enough donations to begin.
The building on the left is the elementary. As you can see rice paddies (photo from last fall) are on the side of the building so construction could only take place after the harvest and before planting begins this spring.  



^Construction started during Spring break the end of March.


 ^Scaffolding surrounded the building.
 This is common for construction sites in Japan but also helps keep the debris from the kids. 


^This week the scaffolding came down!
Looks great!




^The After photos.  1st floor holds 5 & 6 grade, 2nd floor is 3 & 4 grade.
Praising God for the completion of this phase of construction!

^More than buildings were under construction. 
 This week Junko, a professional singer/song writer and a worship leader at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, CA. visited KCS. She led a workshop instructing our High school worship team. We learned so much! Then she gave a concert for the whole school.  We were so blessed to have her come.
(Note: the photo of Junko with students is blurry to protect student identities.)

As I pray for my students, I've been reminded that we are all "under construction".  I'm thankful that our Master Carpenter doesn't give up on us.

Philippians 1: 3-6
3 I thank my God every time I remember you. 4 In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy 5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, 6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.


^At my house there was construction going on too.
My house was recently connected to the city sewer system. While I was at school Friday, the construction crew dug up a piece of my driveway, connected the pipes and then poured new cement. 



^When my parents visited, my dad helped construct a set of shelves to go in the closet of my house.

^ Real Men use pink power tools!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Easter Omedeto!

Happy Easter!

We celebrated at Keihana Baptist Church (formerly known as Ikoma/Saidaiji Baptist Church).  
^The children shared a special number.
Later in the service the adult choir sang.
The Pastor gave the message on Colossians 2: 6-14.

^After the service there were announcements about the church building project.
Good news - Yesterday was  a special ceremony to begin the construction similar to a ground breaking ceremony in the states.  


^Then there were some decisions to be made. We discussed stained glass window designs, and voted on the color of siding - (between:white & cream, cream won). Above Noguchi-san and Ibaraki-san are holding up color samples as church members look at the photos of options.

^There was a ceremony to celebrate the 2 children entering 1st grade this week. 
(The start of the Japanese school year is April.)
The worship leader asked a few questions - including 
"What is the name of the elementary school you will be entering?" 
When the worship leader asked his son, Jun-kun,
 Jun replied, "Dad, don't you know?!"
Which had us all rolling with laughter. 

^Kao-chan with her school entrance gift.

After the service, Keiko-san, one of the church members, announced that she will be getting married in the fall and introduce the congregation to her fiance who was visiting today.



Then we celebrated Easter with a potluck. The table by the wall was filled with amazing Japanese food! (The line of people is just to the left out of the photo.)
An interesting difference between Japanese and American pot-lucks. Here, when the meal is finished, those who brought food divide up the leftovers and send them home with whoever is still there at clean-up time. I brought muffins, and came home with a sampling of red bean rice, salmon salad, deviled eggs and a dessert with sweet red beans. 
(In America typically if there are leftovers whoever brought the dish takes it home.)

^Here's the giant egg shaped cookie. 
 Jun-kun is pointing out that the most delicious part of the cookie
 will be the bottom part with the chick on it.

^One of the church members decorated dozens of cookies- enough for each person at church to take one home.  Cards with Bible verses were on the back.
^The children, during children's church, had decorated hard boiled eggs to share with everyone.



^On my way home from church I stopped at the mall to get supplies for Drama Club and saw Mario and Luigi, of Mario Bros. fame, were visiting. They had their go-carts parked to the side.

 How did you celebrate Easter?

Friday, April 6, 2012

Sakura

Cherry trees are starting to bloom in Nara.
Here are some photos taken near Heijyo Palace site. This site has 1,000 cherry blossom trees but as of today most were not yet blooming.  I'm looking forward to returning to this site next weekend!




TV and websites publish a forecast of dates when the cherry trees will open their blossoms.
For one cherry Blossom forecast  Click here- 2012

Celebrating

When one lives in a country where less than 1% of the population are Christian, and one of the most important celebrations of the Church happens - its a wonderful thing to be able to share the celebration with others.

Today the KCS students & staff celebrated EASTER.
This holiday is not known in Japan. Not even the commercial traces of the holiday are evident - the stores don't have easter candies, or pastel colored M&Ms.  (Just for comparison: Halloween & Christmas are popular commercial holidays in Japan.) 

Today as I watched my students celebrate  Easter - I reflected on the fact that before they came to KCS, 5 of my 8 students had never heard about Jesus and how he died, was buried and rose from the dead to give us life & relationship with him. 

We started the day with Chapel.  Worshiping Jesus - led by the High school worship team (representing Ghana, Japan, USA, and Kenya).  We listened to a gospel message given by Mr. Mason.  He used this powerful video:  "It's Friday  . . . But Sunday's a Coming"


While the students were at recess 48 plastic pastel eggs were hidden in the room.  When they returned the students began the search for the eggs.

 They found 46 eggs in about 30 seconds!  (I now understand why my parents could never remember where they hid the eggs after the frantic search.)


 We talked about the history of the easter egg and how it is a symbol of Jesus' empty tomb.

The rest of the day was a mix of activity - 1st grade students took practice tests to prepare for the achievement tests next week (similar to Iowa Basic tests or Stanford tests).  While the 2nd graders created a mural on the life of Jesus.


^ Jesus was born in a manger and as a teenager wore "J" on his shirt.

^Jesus did miracles - 
Top says: water -> Jesus -> wine -> Miracles 
Bottom is "Walk on the Waves" 

^Jesus died on the cross & was buried in the cave, then "woke up" and went up to heaven.

^Jesus went fishing with his disciples. Then the disciples watched as Jesus went up to heaven.

Here is the finished project.  Top mural is 2nd grade.
First graders did the bottom row - with lots of bunnies, eggs, stars, and people. 

If you're looking for a great children's book telling the Easter story, in a kid friendly way, I recommend.
"Peter's First Easter" by Walter Wangerin Jr.

Peter's First Easter