I had set the alarm for 5:30 so I could finish working on my message. After an hour or so, I was pleased with how it had turned out and walked over to campus so that I could email it to Nori, who would be translating for me during the service. I returned home to finish getting ready; Trudy and I left for church a little before 9 so I could attend the pre-service meeting and Trudy could help the women begin to prepare a Thanksgiving dinner. Since it was the weekend following the holiday, the church had declared it “International Thanksgiving Sunday” and had decided to prepare an American-style feast following the service for the first time ever. They had even printed up special invitations to mark the occasion and had asked the only American family in their midst to play a role in leading the service. Fiona was in charge of organizing all the food that was going to be served, but, being Australian, had never cooked turkey before. Trudy had therefore been called in to lend a helping hand that morning.
Around 9:45, Lisa and the kids set out for church together, but Justin soon realized that he forgot the computer that I had asked him to bring to the service and he and Nathan returned home to retrieve it. They ended up meeting Lisa and the others at the church building, since Brennan had showed Lisa how to buy tickets for the train, as well as which one to take.
We ended up having a great turnout for church, there were about 60 people there, including a record 13 Americans! In addition to the Kerrs, there was a couple from Denver who were living north of Kyoto with their two children, as well as two college-age students (who were in Japan to teach English) in attendance. Justin ended up doing a great job on his communion message and I felt that my sermon was well received. I started out talking about what Americans typically did to celebrate Thanksgiving, then went on to describe the somewhat unusual holiday we had experienced in Japan. Finally, I talked about the places the word “Thanksgiving” occurred in the Bible (mostly in Psalms), and how “thanks” is only good when you are giving it to someone else (namely God).
After the service, everyone enjoyed a wonderful meal together. The food ended up coming out perfectly, despite the lack of experience by most of the cooks, many of which had never before eaten the dishes they had prepared that day. Following dinner, Shinobu, a professional singer by trade, sang for all of us, and people went around the room saying what they were thankful for. By 3 pm, everything had wrapped up and I took all the kids back to the house, while Trudy and Lisa went shopping with Nami and Tsuneko.
Later, after the girls had returned home, they set about packing while I took the kids to the park next door to our house. They all wanted to play hide-and-seek in the twilight, which we did, until Trudy came out to call everyone inside. After we ate dinner, Jordan desperately wanted to check the courtyard on campus for the presence of dancers that we could join, a continuing quest of hers that had come up unfruitful for the last three nights in a row. Justin and Nathan therefore headed to the courtyard to check it out and called to say that there were, indeed, two dancers there. A number of us then decided to head to the courtyard to partake of the festivities, while Trudy went to the International House to pick up the wireless internet signal, and Brennan opted to remain at home.
The rest of us had a great time acting like fools, dancing around the courtyard in front of a mirrored pillar to the music that was being played by the dancers who were there. Since we were standing directly between the two of them, the music that we danced to was actually a strange mix from their two opposing stereos. After we had danced our fill, we returned to the house and went to bed.