Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Winter's here!


Well, for the first time in my life, I actually took great joy in the first snowfall of the year! (I know, I know, it snowed a month ago... but that doesn't count!) I decided it was time to go back to my roots - building snowmen and trying to have a little fun with it! On top of that, it was great to see people stare at me as they walked by. What's this guy DOING? He's got the body of a man but the brains of a child! And the snowman making ability of a camel! Well, I had fun doing it anyways. Before looking at the picture below, check out the video. OK? Trust me, it's funner that way!

Monday, November 29, 2010

What's in a name? 名前なんか何だ?

Lately the topic of "name" has come up in my life a lot. Some of you have heard my rants about my name before, but for those of you who haven't, this is what it sounds like:

1) I love my name. It is unique, and as far as I know there is only one other Trevor Raichura in the world. Apparently he disgraced his rugby team in Ireland with some poor defensive play once upon a time. Anyways, the name is unique and certainly brings about interesting conversations: Where are you from? What's the origin of your name? What does it mean?

2) The Japanese people have a hard time pronouncing my name. There is no R in Japanese, nor is there a V. So my name (as you might have guessed from my blog name) is Toreba (with the 'r' sounding like something between an l and an r - hard for anyone to imagine such a sound exists, but it does!) I don't particularly care for the sound of "Toreba" but for people who can't speak English, I'm cool with it... gives me a kind of "second identity"...

3) For some reason, even when I write my name in Japanese, the locals tend to read it "Toreba Rachel"... the letter differences are チュラ (Chura) vs. チェル (Cheru) which to me look different enough that I would be able to distinguish the two! I don't like being called Rachel though! But my former boss, who is quite fluent in English, called me Mr. Rachel (with a good accent, too) and yesterday at church, I was introduced as Toreba Rachel "the missionary" despite the fact that I wrote my name out on the guest card correctly! And today, I got my receipt for my rent, and the landlord also wrote me down as Toreba Rachel! Maybe I oughta look into legally changing my name???

And here's something new: I am not the only Trevor in Sapporo, I discovered. I am not the only Canadian Trevor in Sapporo. I am not the only Christian Canadian Trevor in Sapporo. I am not even the only Missionary Christian Canadian Trevor in Sapporo! I guess I'm not so special anymore, am I?

Well, what does God have to say about names? One of my favorite promises in the Bible comes from Revelation 2:17 - He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna to eat. And I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it.

God will give me a new name when I enter into His presence! And only I will be able to know what that name is! I imagine it'll be like, everyone calls me Trevor (Raichura, and not Rachel, I hope) but the God who created the Universe will whisper my secret name in my ear, directly, and every time I hear it, my lips will curl up in a smile and I'll know that I am deeply loved and unique and special. So, what will my new name be, Lord? Anything but Rachel will do just fine!

こんにちは。トレバーです。最近、「名前」について色々考えてます。僕の名前に関してちゃんとした意見を持っているけど上記の英語をまとめていうと、自分の名前が好きです。独特で響きがいいと思ってます!けど、日本人に言いにくい名前だろうと思います。日本語にRもVもないから、Trevorがトレバーになっちゃうんだね。どっちかというと英語の発音が好きだけど英語ができない日本人のためにトレバーをも認めます(笑) 一つ文句言っていい?僕の名字は「レイチェル」じゃなくて『レイチュラ』です!昨日は新しい教会に出席させていただいたが、ゲストカードに名前を(自分なりに)きれいな日本語でレイチュラを書いたけどみんなの前でトレバーレイチェル宣教師として紹介されました。(ちなみに、レイチェルは英語で女の子の名前です。)それに、今日は大家が家賃を収めるために来たんだけど領収証にレイチェルトレバーと書いちゃったんだ!日本人の皆さん、カタカナを読む時に十分に気をつけて読んでください。人の名前は大切なものだから!



それはどういう意味かというと、私は神様に従って行けば、天に入る時に新しい名前が与えられるということです。しかし、神様と私だけがその名前を知っている。ほかの人たちに「トレバー」(or Trevor... but NOT Rachel! 天国にレイチェルって呼ばれない、ハレルヤ!) と呼ばれるかもしれないけど神様が僕の耳にそのスペシャルな名前をささやいてくださり、それで私はあまりにも神の愛に満ちあふれて微笑まずにはいられない状態になる!楽しみです!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

In the Mail, Part 2 - 郵便物の喜び その②

Today I got home from my part-time job, and within 15 minutes my doorbell rang. Odd, no one usually comes by unexpected. Who might it be? Turns out there was a parcel for me. All-riiiiight! I love getting stuff in the mail! This time a former co-worker of mine from the Okinawa days decided to bless me with some comfort foods. Check the picture below for the inventory. Thank you, my dear friend! May the Lord return the blessings to you a hundredfold!


Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Beauty of Sapporo - Nijuyonken Park



Not sure if anyone else would consider Nijuyonken Park a beautiful part of Sapporo - it's hardly any different from any other park. But I will say that it was nice to discover it - a mere 3-4 minute blade from my apartment, and it has a baseball field and playing area for kids. It was great to just sit and watch kids playing soccer, tag, whatever.

I think if I had come here a couple of weeks earlier, I would have seen some beautiful foliage! Just the same, it didn't look too bad from where I sat. Today was a beautiful day for blading - sunny and 15C... unexpected after last week's highs of 5C, and especially with winter right around the corner! It's supposed to snow 3 days next week! So I am thankful that God gave me this day to just relax, do a little exercise, get into His Word, and enjoy nature.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Beauty of Sapporo - Cafe Angel

Today was just a blessed day overall. I woke up early (well, relatively) and got into the book of Exodus. Then breakfast while studying, writing a few meaningful e-mails, and trying to make more contacts in Sapporo. Part of that was visiting the Christian cafe located near one of my workplaces. Cafe Angel is a cute little place where you can just sit and chill and have a good meal or coffee. When I walked in, I went to a table and a guy called over, "You're the guy who came in a few weeks ago, right?" 'Fraid not. But just that was enough to get me talking to him, and it turns out he is a pastor in Sapporo - who speaks good English and has the Holy Spirit in him... I could just tell! Then the guy across from him said, "Hey you went to Canaan Praise Church last Sunday, didn't you?" 'Fraid so. (Not really afraid, though.) So we got to talking as well. Then the server came along and she said, "Hey, you're Sakiko's friend, right?" 'Fraid so. (Again, kidding.) And then another server comes along and says, "How you going?" (What? Japanese guy speaking with a thick Australian accent? Believe it!) So anyways, my time at Cafe Angel was filled with cool encounters.

Then I went running (no snow means keep trying to run) and after that went out for dinner with my English student, Shota. Overall it was an outstanding day. Thank you, Lord! And you better believe I will be back at Cafe Angel soon - great place to hang out! Full design points on the cake!



Monday, November 15, 2010

No More Running? (Winter Coming Soon)


Well it's almost winter, and while that is the best season for running in Okinawa, it is easily the worst here in Hokkaido. Besides the snow piling up high, slippery conditions and the cold would make even the most avid runner stay indoors, or find some alternative way of staying in shape. So to avoid the pre-hibernation fattening process, I'm hoping to play some hockey and curling this winter. See you runners in the spring!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Kansai Meeting #5

After our time at Kachoen, we sat down and enjoyed a beverage (well, I enjoyed ice cream and the boys had sandwiches) together. We spent some time sharing how God has worked in our lives, what prayer requests we had, and even had a time in the Word. I was so blessed to meet Paulo, Ryota and Keiko! Thanks for introducing your friends to me, Yumi! Afterwards, the boys left for their respective homes, and the remaining three of us went to Chinatown in Kobe. It was awesome! We ate pirozhki on the way there, and then had pork dumplings once there. We all felt like we could handle a little more food, so we then went to DonQ (pronounced Donku, so I hear) for some bread. We had an incredible time chatting and in prayer. Thanks for a fun day and night, Adullam crew! I sincerely hope to come back to Kobe to see you all again!


Flower & Bird Garden - 花鳥園

On Sunday afternoon after church, I met up with my friend Yumi and some of her friends (Paulo, Ryota and Keiko) and we walked around a place called Kachoen. The Chinese characters making up the name of the place say it all - Flower (花)Bird (鳥) Garden (園). For me this was a special treat, as I love viewing all of God's creations up close. Of course it is much better to see these things in their natural settings, but since that is not exactly possible (or easily done) in Japan, why not dish out a few yen and help support the economy?

So we saw all sorts of cool flowers/plants, and lots of exotic birds as well! Since I was unable to see the "promised monkeys" at Mino Falls, I was really excited to be able to get close to the birds on Sunday! God has such amazing creativity! Look at all the varieties of birds and plants, and you cannot help but be overwhelmed and humbled. He has made the heavens and the earth and the seas, and all the creatures therein. Awesome!


Thursday, November 11, 2010

Kansai Meeting #4

"What do you wanna do while you're in Osaka? You wanna go to Spaworld? It's only ¥1,000!"
"Sure, sounds good bro!"
Back in the days before blogger, I had a livejournal account, and I chronicled my trip with a certain eccentric Californian who had moved up to Osaka from Okinawa and had a strange affinity for public bathhouses and hot springs. We went to Fukuoka and Oita (Beppu/Yufuin) together and had a blast! I have never lived in the same area as the guy (the year he lived in Okinawa was the year I was back in Canada), and yet we have this friendship that can't be explained. Anyways, Aaron DeLeon took me to the legendary Spaworld in Osaka, and we had a great time! It was great seeing you again bro, and especially hearing all your stories about boxing and teaching English! God bless you bigtime! (I only use that word because of you, man!)


Kansai Meeting #3

Traveling between Osaka and Kobe was not easy, but it was definitely worth it! Since Pastor Saeki lives in the westernmost part of Kobe, and Osaka is east of that, my commute "to town" took around 90 minutes one way. But to see friends of this caliber, it was worth it! On Saturday afternoon I met up with another good friend of mine from California that I first met in Okinawa. May I present to you... Christina Duran! Christina is working at an elementary school teaching kids English these days. She has been in the Kansai region for almost 2 years now, and I think she is here to stay! With us was another friend of mine, one I met on an airplane ride back in May. Thanks for joining the fun, Yumi! And thanks ladies, for the time of prayer - it was one of my favorite times on the whole trip I took. (Oh, these pictures were taken at Mino Falls - a beautiful little place just outside of Osaka.)


Kansai Meeting #2

Friday afternoon, what a beautiful day in Osaka! And what a better way to spend the day than on a university campus? My "don't smoke the juice" buddy from Okinawa (well he's from Cali originally, I think) is studying abroad for the semester at Kansai Gaidai. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the long-lost, but much adored, Keegan Davis! We hung out for the afternoon, eating some good Indian food and walking around campus. I'll tell you, this guy has lots of friends! God bless you Keegs, enjoy your final month of studying in Japan!


Kansai Meeting #1

After the Okutama conference, I flew to Kobe to visit some long-lost friends. First up was my former pastor and his wife, the Saekis. When I lived in Winnipeg from 2002-03, I found a little Japanese fellowship taking place in the basement of a different church. It was there that I met the family, and it was also there that I got my first opportunity to teach God's word in a church setting. Well, since then we have been in touch, and now they have moved back to Kobe, where they are leading Takawa Church - a small place in the countryside. Beautiful land, beautiful church, beautiful family. They graciously allowed me to stay with them for 4 nights, and picked me up and dropped me off at the subway station daily. Thank you so much for the hospitality, Sam & Grace! May the Lord bless your generosity and kindness!

Sam and Grace Saeki - serving the Lord at Takawa Church
佐伯修一、佐伯恵 ー 高和教会で主に仕えています

Great seeing Pastor Sam again!
This church has been in existence for over 100 years. Bless it, Lord!


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Okutama Conference - from the inside

Pastor Tommy leading worship with Eder on the cajon.

Men worshiping the Lord in song. (No sound available - perhaps this is a good thing?)

More time of worship. Towards the right you can see Pastor Tim and his translator, Santo-san.

When Travis is cooking, you know the burgers are gonna be MAN-sized!

As beautiful as the area surrounding the camp was, the true beauty of Okutama was on the inside of the cabins. Not that it's a 5-star place by any means, no! Because the Holy Spirit was with us and filled the entire place! The sessions were sweet - different men led worship each time, and we were able to seek the Lord about many things. Pastor Tim Newman taught out of Philippians about joy, particularly joy in the ministry. There were a lot of challenging words spoken, and I was so blessed to be a part of this conference. Thank You, Lord!


Okutama Conference - from the outside

From last Monday (Nov.1) to Wednesday (Nov.3) I was in Tokyo at the annual Calvary Chapel Pastors/Leaders Conference. It was such a huge blessing to fellowship with other men of God and to hear from His Word through messages and song and of course through one another. I will not give much of a verbal summary of what went on, but here's a little look at some of the sights around the Okutama (Hikawa Camp) conference center.

先週の月曜日から水曜日までは東京の奥多摩へ行って、カルバリーチャペルの牧師/リーダーカンファレンスに参加させていた だきました。日本中のカルバリーのリーダーたちが集まって、ハワイから来てくださったティム牧師のメッセージを聞いたり賛美したり交流したりして最初から 最後まで楽しかったです!以下の写真はキャンプの周りの自然などの写真です。次の更新は中の様子をアップしたいと思っています。

Me and one of my friends from Okinawa, Roy Toma

It sure was beautiful up there! Just another week or so and this would have been all orange and yellow I'm sure!

Some of the guys from the conference: Kevin, Mike, Roy, Jeremiah, Nakayama-san (?), Tatsuhiko, Rich

Logan, Tatsuhiko and Dan. Awesome brothers to hang out with!

I think that's Rusty down there throwing rocks across the river.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Trip to Mainland - Recap

OK, here's a look at what I've been up to the past 8 days.


Sapporo to Tokyo to Okutama to Iruma to Tokyo to Kobe to Osaka to Kobe to Osaka to Kobe and back to Sapporo.

Modes of Transportation/交通手段:

Van, car, bus, monorail, subway, train, airplane, and of course, my own two feet!


Calvary Chapel Pastors and Leaders Conference/カルバリーチャペル牧師及びリーダーの研修会
Kansai Gaidai Festival/関西外大の学際
Kobe Port Pier/神戸ポートピア
Mino Falls Hike/箕面の滝
Spa World/スパワールド
Takawa Church/高和教会
Kachoen - Flower & Bird Park/花鳥園
Kobe Chinatown/神戸の中華街

People blessed by/祝福ピーポー:

The entire Calvary Chapel crew/カルバリーチャペルの皆さん
Bolinger Family (their kids are sweet!)/ボリンジャーご一家(子供たち本当に可愛らしい)
Sam & Grace/佐伯ご夫妻
Shuji and Shimada/主子と島田
Paulo, Ryota and Keiko/パウロ、良太、ケイコ

I will update with pictures of most everything you can read on this update. Well, not the transportation modes. This has probably been one of the best weeks of my life - thank you Lord for all the blessings! I do not deserve this!