For many American churches, Easter is a major traffic time where services are often multiplied, larger venues used, and people come out of the woodwork. We were very excited to hear that our sending church in Boston, Highrock, was holding Easter services in the Town Hall across the street, as it holds more people. Yet in Japan, there is no Easter tradition for which people might feel compelled to re-visit church for their annual (or with Christmas, their bi-annual) appearance.
With this in mind, we were excited to have our little worship service feel rather full, with over twenty people attending. Despite writing in the local newspaper, several new people came through the simple personal invitation. At our Language Cafe this week, a lady from our church casually invited the others in the group to come on Sunday for Easter and enjoy our potluck meal afterwards. Surprisingly, two women accepted, with one coming for the her first time! We also had a few occasional attendees and a teenage girl come. Finally, our dear friend Tommy showed up for the first time as he just moved to the Yokosuka Navy Base this week, which is just over an hour away. As he has taught English in Japan and studied Japanese in college, he was a hit when introducing himself in Japanese 🙂 We were very happy to hear him say that he hopes this we be his “atarashii kyoukai no kazoku” (new church family).
One benefit of having older women in the church is that they tend to be great cooks. I remember church potlucks as a kid and always looking for a certain women’s dishes. This is not your typical potluck of casseroles, pies, and buckets of KFC. We enjoyed spare ribs, sushi, smoked salmon, various salads, and other great things.
All in all, a great Easter!