Never would I have imagined that I would move to Japan and celebrate Thanksgiving four times in one week. How does that happen? Jesus.
I am truly overwhelmed by the hospitality of the amazing people who opened up their homes this Thanksgiving. Being away from family was a bummer, but being embraced by new friends and families made the burden of homesickness so much lighter!
Welcome to Thanksgiving Japan style. Four times the blessing.
PART #1 : Liane's! (The Sunday before Thanksgiving)
Liane is a former ALT at the high school I work at, and now she lives outside of Kashiwa with her family. Her house is so cozy and she cooked up the most amazing thanksgiving spread. The best part was that a week or so ago I was telling her how my family often eats creamed corn or creamed spinach during the holidays and it is one dish that reminds me of the comforts of home. So, Liane being the amazing human that she is, cooked it up just for me! Wow. If that's not love I don't know what is!
That turkey was so amazing! And we had a legit dessert spread.
This is a pretty cool shot. All of us have been English teachers at Ichikashi. Kevin is Matt's sempai (mentor), Matt is Stephanie's, and Stephanie is mine! I guess you can call us one big happy teacher-family.
PARTY #2! On Thanksgiving Day, after work, I headed down to Shin-Urayasu area (Disneyland) where my friends Kelli and Jason live with their son Finn! They are missionaries here in Japan and have a cozy little place where they hosted a few of us for dinner.
Finn is such a cute kid! Look at that hair. He also speaks better Japanese than me haha.
Kelli and Amy made delicious sweet carrots, garlic beans, and....drumroll...KALE!! KALE!! I almost couldn't believe it...Kale in Japan?! Oh glory hallelujah. The Californian in me just had a field day.
Kelli, Jason, and Amy are all doing intensive Japanese language study so it is always really cool to talk to them about their progress and the funny cultural things they experiences on a weekly basis being western but speaking Japanese very well! I was so blessed to spend Thanksgiving day with these people.
PARTY #3! This past Saturday, Steph and I headed East of Tokyo to have Thanksgiving Dinner at the Bellos. Now, this is a crazy story. Steph know the Bellos from her church in Irvine, and my aunt knows them from Torrance/Gardena connections and emailed me a few weeks back with their information saying I should get in touch with them. They invited Steph and myself to their home for the holiday and It was surreal meeting them and saying "I've heard a lot about you!"
WOW. How beautiful is that?!
PIC by Mr. Bello! The craziest part about all of this, is that almost everyone in this photo is from California...specifically southern CA area (everyone besides our two Japanese friends in the middle). We spent the night laughing about our common connection and sharing why and how we're all in Japan. The Bellos are here doing suicide prevention and I was so encouraged by their hearts, their hospitality, an the love they have for this nation and these people. What a night!
PART #4! Okay, last one. God is good and blessed me with an awesome church filled with incredible people. I love it. This past Sunday happened to be my friend Gina's birthday as well as the day she got baptised! We dubbed it her "double birthday!" haha. So after service we headed to Maihama to eat hawaiian food (ACAI BOWL YUMM) and celebrate!
After lunch, we headed over to the Kaylor's house (Pastor and his family) who were hosting a little Thanksgiving dinner with some of us English speakers. Their home was so beautiful and Haruka and Daniel (my friends who organized the party) did an amazing job with the food and desserts!!
I had a conversation with Dave, who moved to Japan from Africa many years ago, about the diversity of our church. He said, "when I look around the room, I see people from every continent singing, I think - this is heaven." Amen! It was really cool celebrating traditional Thanksgiving food with friends from Japan, Africa, California, England, Colorado, etc...only God can bring us around in such a beautiful way.
Well that's a Thanksgiving for the books!
I am feeling so grateful for all the love shared this Thanksgiving season and I thank the good Lord for community, fellowship, and such a full and purposeful life because of Him! Thank you Jesus!
And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Now to our God and Father be the glory forever and ever Amen. Phil 4:19-20