17 February, 2015

Interview with our boys

We were thrilled to have the opportunity to run a Japan fun night at our home church on Saturday night and we were also given a large portion of the Sunday morning worship time to speak. Very generous! So much so that the boys later commented that they felt we'd taken up a lot of time.

It is 18 months since we were accepted into membership at this church (and we were in Japan at the time). I've said before here that it is important that we do our best while we're in Australia to help them understand what we do. Thereby ensure they understand what they've gotten themselves into!

On Thursday last week the leader of the service on Sunday came around to talk to us. He said he wanted to interview the boys, so that the church could get to know them a little better too. This is unusual. We usually don't ask them to come up the front with us when we speak at various churches. Just asking them to be present with us at the event is enough, in our opinion. They'd rather be at a church where they knew people and knew what to expect.

We wanted to be sure they were okay with this idea, so I spent Thursday night asking the boys questions over dinner, taking notes and making sure they were happy with the questions. This was a great opportunity not to be missed, so I took time to create questions that were meaningful, both to the boys and to those who'd hear the answers.

Here are some of the questions they were asked: 
You all play an instrument, what do you play?
One of you was born in Japan, which one?
How old were you when you went to Japan?

How many planes have you been on?

Where do you go to school in Japan? What do you like about it?

Are you looking forward to going back to Japan in June? Why?

Can you speak Japanese?
        (followed by questions about specific situations where one would have to communicate in Japan, like at McDonalds).

What type of wrestling do you do? Where did you first learn that?

(To our middle son): Since you were born in Japan, does that make you Japanese?

What’s your best friend’s name? Where is he? How many countries has he lived in?
The end result was great. The worship leader did a super job with them and the boys spoke confidently. Later as we talked about it they were bewildered that others were surprised at their performance. I guess one might not expect teens and pre-teens to be articulate with a microphone in their hand in a room full of people (about 50 or so there on Sunday).

But I suspect that not only have our boys had us as their role models (they've seen us up front plenty of times), but they also feel that they have an untold story. The questions we orchestrated for them gave them a chance to show the side of them that most people don't see or ask about.

The unexpected outcome was that they felt homesick for Japan afterwards. I probably should have expected that. I almost talked myself out of not going back to Japan in 2005 when time and time again I told stories about some of the difficulties we'd faced in our first term. Things that you say in front of a group with a microphone can have a profound effect on you.

Thankfully they've pulled up out of that. They've certainly got plenty to keep them busy and distracted. Between school and various extra curricular activities, there isn't a huge amount of spare time to mope.

I'm starting to feel sad too, but more about leaving the people and things I love about Australia behind when we go. But I'm trying to stay as focused as I can on living in the here and now, enjoying what I can (for example, I had a huge mango for lunch).

So thankful for the opportunities on the weekend, and most especially that my boys got a chance to enter into the public realm and say something for themselves.

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