Betty Braasch - A Visiting Worker in the Orient - Okinawa 2011

Konnichiwa! (That’s Japanese for Good ) from Afternoon at the comfy hotel room where Edith Roper and I share a room here in Okinawa---are 6 sister workers in the next 3 rooms down the hall and 4 brothers in 2 rooms on the next floor down. Wish you all could have enjoyed the scrumptious Okinawan dinner we had today---one of the friends here invited us to a buffet restaurant with every kind of strange-looking but delicious dish possible!!  It was Dalton’s birthday, so the dinner was topped off with a chocolate fondue!!

Before going further with Okinawa, I’ll back up to Cavite  - -we had the BEST-ever convention there, with abit over the 900 they’d expected—overflow on Sunday sat in the dining tent and it was about full too!!  Such wonderful response in prayer and testimony right through the very last meeting. One little fellow had to stand on the bench beside his parents so he’d be seen to give his testimony!

There’s a wonderful crop of young folk in the Philippines and it was inspiring to see/hear them.   Friday and Saturday afternoons, the workers who weren’t on the speaking list, gave their testimonies, among them the 3 who are starting in the Work, and needless to say, that gave a very special touch to the convention, too!  They spoke of wanting to just fit in, to be obedient even when they don’t understand, and to have all their own plans and will quieted so God can work in their hearts and they can be used in the Harvest Field.

“Uncle Erwin” Hoeste spoke on Sunday AM about 2 gardens before Jesus was crucified the garden of Gethsemane (the flower of submission blossomed) and the garden where Jesus' sepulchre was (the garden of eternal victory came into full bloom---flowers of hope and promise).   "Salvation’s price was paid on the cross of Calvary by the victory won in the garden of Gethsemane.” All that the disciples had seen in the resurrection would give them great confidence in the promise made at his ascension---“I will return”!  We had been visiting with Erwin the day before, about MacArthur saying that to his troops---and it wasn’t hard to tell he was very glad to return to “his troops” there in the Philippines too!!

Believe it’s tomorrow that Erwin returns to the USA---so we think of him saying “good bye” again to that land he loves - and it’s not hard to understand why he does!!

It was hard for US to say good bye on Monday AM, too!!  As usual, it was “early up”- by 3AM our quarters were buzzing!! By the way, the word for “dawn” in the Philippines is: pagbubukangliwayway !!!  So, guess they have to get up early to get it all said by night, maybe?!!!  Another little taste of that language is “pananampalataya”---all of that to say “faith”!!  No wonder it takes so long to translate every sentence in the meetings!!! 

(Last week our quarters were quite dainty-looking when all 47 mosquito nets were in place around each of our wall-to-wall beds!!)  The first van of visitors left for the airport at 4AM, and by the time the rest of us left at 6AM, clean-up was well underway - though most of the 40-some tents were still up.  Tables were piled HIGH with sheets and towels to be washed from some 80 beds - but a happy, lively crew worked on it, so likely by the time we landed in Okinawa at 6PM, they’d have had it all rounded up!

The first thing I heard after Edith Roper said, “Welcome to Okinawa” to me, was “We’re sure sorry about Stephen (Bransby)”- I thought he must’ve gotten sick - but turns out he didn’t get his visa to come to Japan!!!  We said,  “See you tomorrow” when we parted in the airport in Manila on Monday AM, as his ticket was thru Tokyo and mine thru Taiwan, but he hasn’t gotten to come at all!!  Sure HOPE he’ll be able to be here for next week at Hiroshima, though - we have our fingers and toes all crossed. It meant a re-vamping of the speaking list here and several of us are on THREE times now due to his absence!!

It was good to fly from Manila to Taiwan with Alan Cooke, but he stayed in Taiwan for the conventions.  Stanley Morrison and Diane Knaub are here in Japan but in the N. part of the country - so no doubt they’ll be hearing even more about  the earthquake and tsunami than we, though we do have one of the sisters (Tsugiyo) from the Sendai field with us here in Okinawa. She came to this island to rest, because she's having problems with dizziness since the disaster - not to be wondered at!  Makoto, a young brother here with us, went to help there too, so told us abit about it---our hearts surely go out to them all!  Sounds like our friends are doing very well, though---none of them lost their home, so that’s wonderful!

Was very special to spend Mon night in the home of a young family here in Okinawa - and have dinner with her folks (and the brother worker’s) across the street, the next day. (Doesn’t sound like there are many friends on this beautiful island, at least not many whose homes can be open for the workers to stay and that’s why we're staying in a hotel - there may be around 40 for the meetings, including the workers).

Yesterday morning, these friends took Edith and me to see the Shurijo Castle, built at the end of the 14th century and was used for 500 yrs by the rulers here!  It was bombed in WW 2, but restored in 1992 for tourism -with all the splendor of these eastern cultures!!  Speaking of cultures, I’m now eating with chopsticks!!! (Glad that along with chopsticks, they hand us a “WetOne”!!) After the meal, one of the brother workers thanked me for entertaining them!! I gave in to the temptation of using a fork at that restaurant this noon though---whew!!  But there ARE NONE here in this hotel!!  Think this would be a good way to go on a diet, eh?! Just a block from this hotel there’s a waterfront with a number of ships moored at the piers - a wonderful place to take a walk and find a spot to get ready for meetings!!

“Arigato-gozaima” for your prayers - (that’s “Thank you” in Japanese) - the list will tell you we do NEED them!!! The names are quite a challenge for the tongue as well as for  …but brain, as you can see very dear hearts behind them, a grand privilege to be among them, a feeling of “tried & true” comes out very strongly!!

Very gratefully,

Betty

 

Okinawa, Japan Convention--- April 21-24, 2011

Thur 7PM:  Jim Easton, Tsugiyo Takaesu

Fri  10AM:  Jim Ludlam, Okja Jung, Makoto Utsuki

        30PM: Dalton McGuinness, Betty B, Setsuko Yabiku

         7 PM: Verdun Korvemaker, Yasuko Yabu

 

Sat  10AM:  Jim Ludlam, Betty B., Edith Roper

     2:30PM:  Jim Easton, Yasuko Yabu, Makoto Utsuki

          7PM:  Dalton McGuinness, Setsuko Yabiku

 

Sun 10AM:  Jim Easton, Betty B., Okja Jung

     1:30PM:  Verdun Korvemaker, Tsugiyo Takaesu, Edith Roper