Monday, February 5, 2018

Sidewalk Chapel

I have not been posting regularly or even posting so quickly, but I wanted to share this new adventure we tried at Christian Academy in Japan (CAJ).
CAJ's mission is, "Equipping students to serve Japan and the world for Christ."  Quite a task if you really stop and think about it.  How does one equip students to serve?  What does that look like?  Is this equipping only related to academics because we are a school?  We at CAJ, see this equipping as more than just academics.  Equipping includes all aspects of life, it can be a daunting task if we are doing this on our own, but we are partnering with our parents, providing varying experiences for our students.
Middle School has always had a Homeless Outreach program, where the students define homelessness, what it looks like here in Japan, culminating with going to Ikebukuro station early in the morning and passing out lunches for the homeless who sleep in the station during the night.  It was a great way for us to serve those who do not have homes or have regular meals.
This year, the Middle School teachers were looking at different opportunities to interact with homelessness or poverty.  We have one of our parents at CAJ, Dr. M. Bennett, who coordinates with various organizations who help Tokyo's homeless population.  The grade 8 teachers communicated with Dr. Bennett and one event that he organizes each week is Sidewalk Chapel at Yoyogi Park.  The grade 8 class plan to bring small groups two times in February to help with the Sidewalk Chapel.  Today was the first time our students went to meet Dr. Bennett and help out.
CAJ and others who came to help.
Getting instructions on the program

Carrying supplies from the van to set up on the sidewalk.

Setting up to put together bags of dry food

Beginning worship

 I know this song was sung in Japanese, but do you recognize its English version?

Dr. Bennett talked about the Parable of the Sower. 

 The talk was in English with Japanese translation.

Breaking up into small groups. 
Serving hot coffee and tea while in small groups. 

Getting ready to serve dinner
Large pot of delicious soup

Assembly line working well

Our students interacting in Japanese.  

The meal consisted of rice and a hearty soup with many vegetables.  They also had an option of having crackers.  Each person was given a bag of bread consisting of buns and croissants.  We had pastrami sandwiches donated for distribution at the end of dinner. 
It was a delight to watch our students willing to do whatever was asked of them.  They wanted to participate in serving the food as well as a group made a special effort to engage in conversations with those whom we served. 
 I believe this is one tangible way we can equip our students to serve Japan and the world for Christ.  What a great opportunity! 

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