Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Ueno Zoo Guam

Joel and Amelia built a "virtual" model of Ueno Zoo with their Duplos. Creative kids, they had already built their version of Tokyo Disneyland. We really enjoy playing together as a family, especially during vacations because we have more time to do so.

Joel and Amelia showed off their washcloths from Ueno Zoo. Joel lost his sixth tooth on Monday. Now he can sing, "All I Want for Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth" a bit prematurely.

Monday, July 27, 2009

More Bananas on the Way

We await three bunches of bananas in our garden to ripen. See if you can spot them in this picture. If you can, you win the prize: a smile from me! We can hardly wait to eat them.

Auf Wiedersehen to Jens and Karin

PIU is a place where regular goodbyes take place. This time we bid adieu to German missionaries Jens and Karin Schulz who have played an integral role at PIU as VP of Operations and Finance (Jens) and Director of Admissions and Bookkeeper (Karin) for the past eight years. Jens also served with us in Student Life for one year, and I felt that he and I worked well together. I met them back in January 2001 at Schooley's Mountain, NJ, for new missionary orientation at Liebenzell Mission USA headquarters. They were visiting LMUSA from Canada where they were studying English. We will miss them and we wish them God's blessings as they seek jobs in Germany.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Ueno Zoo

One of the most exciting things that we did in Japan was visit Ueno Zoo. We spent two days there. The kids were free, and Marisol and I paid $6 each for adult admission. Joel and Amelia really enjoyed seeing the animals.

Here is the Farnsworth family "monkeying around."

This is a replica of a dwelling used for the famous Japanese tea ceremony.

The sea lions captivated our attention.

The llama and his friends the capybaras and tapirs.

We visited the Japanese macaques.

One of the many bears on display in Bear Hill.

I wonder how that bear stayed so still for the picture!

Back to the sea lions for a family picture.

Unfortunately the real panda from the zoo, Ling Ling, died last year.

Hippopatamuses are not the only hungry ones, and this elephant is determined to eat.
A visit with the flamingos. "Flamencos" in Spanish. Now you know where the name of the famous dance comes from!

A shoebill stork, up close and personal.
Joel and Amelia "rode" the lizard. Then we rode the subway train back to the guest house. You can visit the Ueno Zoological Gardens online at

Japan Tourists

On our last Saturday in Japan we were out and about to see some of the sites.

We rode the train to Asakusa Temple, a busy tourist trap with countless souvenir stands, but also a regular stop for the Japanese. It is a Buddhist shrine, which allowed us to learn a bit about Buddhism. "Buddhism is an impersonal religion of self-perfection, the end of which is death (extinction)--not life" (The Complete Evangelism Guidebook, Scott Dawson, ed., Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2006). They must accomplish this by overcoming suffering but must deny that suffering is real. They also must convince themselves that they have no personal significance. Their only hope is death and extinction. It sounds like an ongoing exercise of emptiness.

In this picture people rub their hands over the part of the statue where they need healing in their own body. Subsequently they brush over that part of their body and hope for the best.
Fanning incense on themselves is part of the ritual purifying in the Buddhist religion.
Our missionary friend John told us that people also touch and drink the water to purify themselves before entering the main temple.
Marisol and the kids took a break for some snacks while I played photographer.
A woman stopped to pray at two different Buddha statues. We need to pray for more Christian workers to share the good news of Jesus with the Japanese people. Less than 2% of the people are Christians.

We walked a long way to get this picture of the bridge and moat outside the Imperial Palace.
Here is a view of Tokyo through some trees near the Imperial Palace. We enjoyed our "self-guided tour" of Tokyo and the good night's sleep, well-deserved, afterwards.

"Jungle Book" in Guam

This weekend we attended a performance of The Jungle Book presented by Missoula Children's Theatre in collaboration with the navy base on Guam. Our friend Rosalyn played Kaa the snake. We all enjoyed the show very much.

Is Corn Healthy?

Amelia can really crack us up. We bought some corn yesterday, and Joel and Amelia helped to husk it. Then, while we eating she asked, "Is corn healthy?" That is her latest thing: asking if food is healthy. At least she's thinking about it. A lot of us adults could learn from her example!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Son World 2009

July 13-17 marked the week of Vacation Bible School at our church. Marisol and I volunteered to work in the nursery this year. The theme was Son World.

Look at those kids' smiles! We treasured the time with the VBS workers' children, and they didn't have a bad time either.
Amelia danced and sang with the music!
What do you think of Joel's entry for Hat Day?

Reyoline (far right), one of our neighbors, went with us every day but one.
Special thanks to Sora, our nursery co-worker, who joined in the spirit of Crazy Hair Day.
Joel and Amelia came in at the end of the day to help us with the babies.
Our neighbor Joel accepted the invitation to attend with us, although he joined us for only one day.

Our little ones from the nursery did not like the jumper, even though Rosalie demonstrated it for them.

I quickly settled into the nursery routine. For me it was nice to get to know the babies. Marisol was already a pro at it from her experience in the Awana nursery.

Amelia took a break from the activities with her group.

Both Amelia and Joel enjoyed the inner tube game on Friday.
Here is Amelia with her new best friend Deklyn.
Kevin and his helpers, who came from California to help lead the program, did an excellent job.

Even though I am Joel's father, he really could have won the Most Enthusiastic Child award. He LOVED VBS and can hardly wait for next summer.