Stories From Japan 4 – Stella’s Stories

This week we’re going to defer our own story time to Grandma Stella, the oldest missionary in Japan. She is an absolutely unforgettable woman who will challenge anyone she meets to live for God in the fullest. In 2008, we had the privilege of meeting Stella and her husband Ralph just before he was promoted to Heaven. Ralph and Stella lead the ministry in Takamatsu, where we served until near the end of Ralph’s life when he handed things over to Mike and Barbara Gray. Here is an interview with Stella filmed at the very end of ’08 that I’m sure will bless you. While this was filmed, there were also 2 short videos filmed on TEAM Japan that will open your heart to the laborers and you might just see us pop in for a bit :D

View on

Posted via email from Reeds in Japan

Sakaide Matsuri (Festival)

Just a quick little video from Sarah Strobridge of a Japanese festival parade.

Posted via email from Reeds in Japan

Stories From Japan 3 – Kayoko & Hanako

Hooray! Our Stories from Japan series has made it a 3rd week in a row (almost). We also posted an update on our future plans today that you should check out too! 

In this, our second video story from Japan, we tell the story of how we became acquainted with 2 lovely ladies named Kayoko and Hanako through our English ministry. Please continue to pray for them and their family.

Posted via email from Reeds in Japan

Japanese Coffee and Hot Tea Vending Machine

We’ve seen plenty of vending machines in Japan, but this one definitely seemed top-of-the-line. Everyone thought it was pretty cool. You could get hot and cold drinks and it had multiple languages.

Posted via email from Reeds in Japan

Driving on the wrong side of the road!

Well, depending on where you’re from. It was one of my first times driving in Japan. It was nice to be inside from the rain.

Posted via email from Reeds in Japan

Setouchi Chapel, Takamatsu

This is Setouchi Chapel! I had a cold so my voice sonds a bit funny.

Posted via email from Reeds in Japan

Clapping to wake the gods

Download now or watch on posterous

MVI_0102.AVI (4688 KB)

Sorry for the poor quality. This is a man trying to wake the gods by clapping at a Japanese shrine. Breaks my heart every time.

Posted via email from Reeds in Japan

10 Minutes Away

One warm Summer night we were having a “Movie Night” with all the ESS college students at Setouchi Chapel and our movie disc kept freezing. I felt bad because I knew all the students had come to watch the movie together. Some traveled as far as 45 min by train. So when it was obvious that the disc wouldn’t play, I decided to ride my bike back to the store to get an exchange. Most of the students were shocked that I was willing to do it, but in my mind, the store was only an 8 minute ride away and I didn’t want the night to be spoiled. Some of the students tried to stop me and some wanted to come with me. I just tried to hurry out the door so we could pick up where we left off. As I started down the road, I noticed a guy had followed me. He quickly caught up on his bike and we rode together, chatting about what to do once we got there.

When we arrived at the rental store, he explained what happened to the cashier and we were told that we could grab another disc. Unfortunately, the movie we had was the last one, so we were subjected to picking another movie for the whole group. Of course this is the 21st century, so we texted the leader and asked which of 2 movies everyone wanted to see. They made a decision and we hurried back to pop in the new movie.

One of the most interesting things about this story is that it seemed so common in Japan. Our friends would drop everything they were doing to come and be together. It almost seemed countless how often they put spending time with others over spending time on their own endeavors. This type of thinking seems to promote community better than any method I’ve seen. We even adopted such a mindset – and going everywhere on bicycle helped a lot.

Technology has it’s advantages and it’s frustrations. For the oldest and longest-serving missionary in Takamatsu, it has more of the latter than the former. Stella Cox reached Japan first in 1953, beating her husband by a year. As communication advanced over the years Ralph, her loving husband, kept up with their supporters using every modern form including email. So when he went to be with the Lord in 2008, Stella was left to do a job she had never needed to do. And naturally she needed a little help. This is where I come in. 

Stella would call me to come over and help with her prayer letter nearly every month. Sometimes I was rewarded with her famous pancakes, and sometimes not. But often this phone call came out of the blue and I was generally busy studying Japanese or in-between English classes. Knowing that her house was a short 10 minutes from ours, I would usually hop on my bike and pedal on over to help. Now that we’re in America, things may be 10 minutes away, but the distance is much greater. I’m not sure whether it’s the difference in my head or if it’s having to get into the car, fight traffic, and spend gas, but somehow it seems like much more of a burden to travel that 10 minutes here.

This is one of the things that we’ve struggled with since coming back. In part, I believe it’s a difference in communion between the two cultures, but largely it feels as if our automobile-dominated society is somehow missing out on a lot of opportunities to bond and spend time together. Think about these things in light of Christ’s life of sacrifice and discipleship – always with His disciples.

Posted via email from Reeds in Japan

Prized Japanese social values that withstand ‘Westernization’ | The Japan Times Online

Interesting look into the values of the modern Japanese person. I’m not sure whether from being associated with Japanese culture or from my upbringing, but I would likely rank the same traits at the top. I just wish the author showed the full ranking!

Posted via email from Reeds in Japan

Beautiful Footage of Japan from BBC

Make sure to watch it in 1080 if you can. The quality is amazing. Some of these scenes are a bit cliché, but gorgeous nonetheless.

Posted via email from Reeds in Japan