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Thanksgiving 2010

(Note to Facebook friends...again, if you are reading this and you don't see any photos, please go to our blog page at www.johnstonjournal.com to see the pictures.)

I'm blogging out of order, and going back to November. I wanted to write a bit about our Thanksgiving dinner here at our house, especially because it was our last one in Japan. It was neat to hear comments about how our friends had been looking forward to the turkey dinner. When they came, they no longer needed an explanation of the dishes that were being served...the turkey was now familiar, the stuffing, the cornbread, and the cranberry sauce. Before the pumpkin dessert was served,  one of the kids recognized it and was so excited about eating it again! I found the whole evening to be quite heart-warming this year, because Thanksgiving Dinner at the Johnstons had actually become a part of their yearly "tradition". There was something very special about things being "familiar"...we all felt right at home being together, and eating together. There was a comfortable-ness about it that made my heart smile.

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A really fun part about having Thanksgiving in Japan is that it becomes an international potluck...it's not just American food, but they add on to give it a Japanese flair, and I love it!

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Another thing that I have loved is to see how natural it has become to have the Japanese kids go upstairs into Zack and Ellie's room. The language barrier is definitely there, but Zack has become quite the entertainment man recently--he has magic tricks and science experiments to WOW the kids all night long. Ellie is always gracious to share her toys with her friends, and to let them play with whatever they'd like. We are so thankful to have children who love to have guests in our home.

Finding crafts for the kids to do is one of my joys. It's always a challenge to find materials for a cheap price, but I've gotten really good about going to the 100 yen shop (like the dollar store) and getting great deals. This year was no exception...I was able to get small plain wreaths, and really yummy scented autumn potpourri. All I had them do was to glue on the potpourri pieces arount the wreath with hot glue, add on a ribbon accent, and...

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...voila! They turned out to be adorable fall decorations!
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And of course, the evening cannot be complete without sharing verbally about Jesus, the One who deserves all of our thanksgiving and praise. First, we showed them on youtube a Japanese song called, "You Were Born to be Loved". Before dinner, everyone wrote down on a piece of paper all the things we were thankful for (health, family, car, job, school, etc.). I asked them, "What if one, two, or all of them are taken away from you? What if tomorrow you lose your job? What if next month you find that you have a disease? What if your relationship with your family becomes difficult?" The message of the evening was this: no matter what happens to your circumstances, Jesus loves you always, and He never changes.

We took turns reading the following Scripture verses together:

Romans 5:8--But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 8:38, 39--For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

I John 3:16--This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.

I John 4:9, 10--This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.

I John 4:16-- God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.

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WE LOVE THESE FAMILIES!!!!!! And Jesus loves them infinitely more!

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