It was a busy winter for Katherine and I, from having holiday after holiday to celebrating our church wedding in the Philippines, to planning, organizing, and executing the Noche Buena event, and moving back to America, and trying to survive this whole COVID thing, we haven’t had much time on our hands.

But before all the craziness ensued, we were able to take a short trip out to Japan to visit with the Cauthorns!

We ended up arriving a day before they were ready to host us, so we spent a night in a hotel near Dontonburi, and after settling in we took to the streets to explore the nightlife!

The next day we did a little sightseeing while the Cauthorns were at work.

We were then able to meet up with Gil at the train station and head back to their home for dinner and fellowship, and of course spending some quality time with their two super cool daughters!  

The next morning we went around a bit while Gil was at work. We were able to travel to Kyoto and see Fushimi Inari-Taisha which had been on my bucket list for a while. Then we were able to go to Uji, one of the best areas for tea in Japan and we were able to visit the oldest tea house in the world and visit with a man who was the 24th generation owner and operator of the tea house there. After going to this tea house we were able to go and have tea with a real life tea master! And we learned the term 一期一会 (Ichi-go ichi-eh) which means One time, One meeting, or once in a lifetime. It means that you should treasure the unrepeatable nature of a moment.

When we had finished at the tea house we headed back to Osaka so that we could go to the home of the pastor of Mustardseed Church Osaka and have Thanksgiving Dinner! 

It was a great time of fellowship and it really felt like home, we were able to get to know a bunch of people that we had only heard about in stories and getting to enjoy some pretty awesome food that really made us feel like we were back home in America! 

The next morning was a fun filled day of adventuring around Osaka with Gil, Michika, and the girls. We started off taking the train downtown to see Osaka Castle. It is a beautiful building with beautiful landscaping and a pretty awesome view of the city. When we had finished up at the castle we went to a near by shopping center to grab some food. After we had finished up with lunch Michika had to leave us unfortunately for a meeting. Gil, the girls, Katherine and I, then went to the illusion museum and had some fun there before heading back outside to catch a boat ride around the castle that we were unfortunately unable to make because we were 2 minutes late. That was ok though, because we were able to take the girls on the HEP 5 Farris Wheel, which was always a good time. We then tried to get some food, but the wait times were so long that we ended up heading back to the house to pick up the car and then grab some conveyor belt sushi! After dinner, we headed back to the house for the night to relax.

The next morning we had church at Mustardseed Church Osaka and it was a great time of fellowship and worship. It was really cool to finally get the chance to see the church that I had heard so much about. On my last trip to Osaka Gil and Michika had just started to attend Mustardseed and they had not started serving there, so this was the first visit that I was able to get up close and personal with the ministry that they are doing there. 

Gil gave us a tour of the facility that occupied 2 floors of a building the church owned downtown. We were also able to see the ministries that the Cuathorns are involved with. From English classes, to children’s ministry, to administration, and counseling. The Cauthorns are a huge part of what makes Mustardseed what it is and we are so grateful for them and proud of their service in that community!

After, we did our tour, it was time for the Cauthorns to attend a couple of meetings, so Katherine and I went and toured the near by Umeda Sky Building, the 3D Museum, and then grabbed some lunch, before meeting back up with them for the commute home.

On Monday it was back to business as usual and we spent our last day touring around one of my favorite cities, Kobe. Where we took in the sights, walked the shopping street, and indulged in some Kobe Beef, which turned out to be an early Birthday present from my awesome wife!

We then headed back to downtown Osaka to grab a couple gifts for some people back home, then headed back to the house for our final night with the Cauthorns. 

When we got back I was able to have one last chat with Gil about how proud of him we were and how thankful we were that he was filling some crucial roles in the church there in Japan. We then said our goodbyes and then went to bed.

On, Tuesday we grabbed some breakfast out and then headed straight over to the airport for our flight back to the Philippines. 

All in all it was a great trip. We were able to make some really great memories, grow our relationship with the Cauthorns, treat them to some fun activities, spend time with their awesome kids, and encourage them to keep up the good work and keep running the race for the prize! I am sad that we only had a few days with them, but I look forward to the next opportunity we will have to go and visit them, or for them to visit us! 

If you would like to learn more about the Cuathorns or to donate to their ministry, please follow this link!