This is Amazing Grace

We finished This is Amazing Grace by Phil Wickham. You can download the mp3 on my soundcloud.

 

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Out With the Old

Greetings everyone. Sorry, this post doesn’t include any new music. Just a boring update on life.

2014 brought many surprises. At the end of 2013 we were blessed with the opportunity to take a couple months, visit the states, and kind of regroup and recharge before starting another term in Japan. We started 2014 thinking that we would be ministering with the Japanese to the Japanese in Japan indefinitely and were content and happy with that. Excited and thankful, actually, to be able to serve in the way that we felt God had called us.

The spring brought the continuation of projects that I had laid out for 2014. I was planning on recording a CD with our church choir, so I was deep in writing, arranging, and rehearsals for that. Our various outreaches seemed to be seeing fruit and we were more or less pleased with the trajectory of the year.

Summer brought with it challenges that have already been addressed in previous posts. Challenges that I would never wish on anyone, but can honestly say now that I am thankful for. August and September saw our family pull roots from Japan and relocate to Indianapolis, IN, USA.

While initially somewhat depressed, Nozomi and I were encouraged and strengthened by the Word of God and believers that truly showed the love of Christ to us. Physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Some of those people were you, some of them old friends, some of them family, many of them people that we had never met before. The bond between followers of Jesus Christ truly is something to behold and a testament to the reality of our Savior who is very much alive and well.

Our stint in Japan was the longest I had been in one place since I was thirteen years old. Moving back to America included a little culture shock; the move showed me how used to Japan I had become. We moved to a different apartment, started using a different language, started a new job, started making new friends, new school, new routine, etc. The transition has been much smoother than expected. There have definitely been growing pains and we are still working some things out, but God is faithful and I am more sure of that now more than I have ever been.

I am SO thankful for the church, church leadership and body that God has led us to. I cannot explain how good it is for our family to be here right now. While Nozomi and I are still figuring out what going back to Japan looks like, if/when God leads us to a different place, it will be very hard to leave. We couldn’t ask for a better place to be able to learn, grow, and serve. We are in the process of getting as involved as possible and hopefully be a blessing as we are being blessed.

Last Sunday I played music during a church service for the first time since leaving Japan. I forgot how much I love doing that. Don’t get me wrong, I love just sitting in the congregation and singing with everyone. But being able to play an instrument WHILE singing with believers, there are few things I enjoy more. It’s like when you’re singing and you just want to dance or something to express how you feel, I can play an instrument to express how I feel while singing. I feel like I get doubly blessed during the music portion of the worship service. Grab your wood blocks and bang them together while you’re singing, you’ll get the idea.

Nozomi, Russell and I went down to the immigration center this morning for Nozomi’s final interview. She was approved for permanent resident status! She should get her green card in the mail in a month or so. Also, since we’ve already been married for more than 2 years, she automatically receives a ten-year card as opposed to the normal two-year. I submitted all of her paperwork at the end of October, three months from submission to approval. I still cannot believe that she was approved so fast! No more getting detained in airports, no more hassles at the BMV, etc. God is good, all the time.

Please don’t stop praying for us. Even though we are in a good place, there are many things that we are still still in the process of figuring out. Please pray for me that I would maximize my face time with the leadership at the church and grow as a husband, father and leader. I need to be more attentive to my family’s needs. Pray for Nozomi to continue to find her place here at the church. Pray for Eve and Russell to continue to pick up English, Russell especially.

I know I keep teasing that there will be new music posted here soon. We’re getting closer. Any particular songs that you would like to hear?

I usually don’t post pics, but here is my family goofing off. Love them.IMG_8806

Back to the Drawing Board

Hey guys. I haven’t posted anything forever, I know. I apologize. My family has been going through some stuff and I haven’t known what to say to you all. I still don’t know, I’m just going to make it up as I go tonight because I’ve already waited too long.
As you may or may not know, my wife, our two kids and I moved to Sapporo, Japan in 2009 to share the gospel with the Japanese and minister to both Christians and non-Christians through music. We enjoyed our time immensely and feel that God used that time to teach us and grow us and bring glory to His name and give His gospel to the Japanese. Over this last summer some extreme circumstances came about forcing us to have to make some very hard decisions on a very short time table. Ultimately, we felt that God was telling us to go back to the States for the time being. To “drop back and punt” if you will.
We moved back to the States a few weeks ago and are now living in Indianapolis, IN. I am working at a church here in Indianapolis. Nozomi and I are very excited about serving, learning, growing, healing and training here.
Although this transition has been hard and painful, we do believe that this is what God has for us right now. We still feel called to minister to the Japanese and music is something we will always continue to do in some form or fashion. The church we are in now does have a ministry to Japanese people and we plan on being involved in that.
My instruments were one of the causalities of moving so unfortunately there won’t be any videos or new music for a little while. I’m hoping to be able to afford to put something together by next spring, we’ll see.
You all have always been so encouraging, thank you so much. Please pray for us as we try to continue to obey the Word of God. No matter how difficult, that we would not compromise. And that through our obedience others would see Christ.
On a happier note, my buddy Jon Pahriabeld has done a total website redesign for me that is just waiting on me to find a programmer. So, look forward to that, I know I am.
Believe and obey, my friends.

Sick

So I lost my voice.  I’ve been getting this weird cold about once a year every since we moved to Japan.  It’s always moves down into my chest and messes up with throat a couple weeks.  Well, this time I got and couldn’t rest my voice, we had concerts and whatnot that had been scheduled way ahead that I had to do.  Long story short I destroyed my vocal chords.  Like, hurts to talk above a whisper destroyed them.

I know I was promising a few videos right after Oceans, looks like it’s going to be a while, I’m sorry.  It’s a real bummer not being able to sing, but maybe this we open me up to work on some instrumental stuff.  Been trying to carve out some creative time for some new original stuff as well.

If you don’t mind praying that my voice would heal up quickly.  I’ve never pushed it this far before so I have no idea how bad it is/how long it’s going to take to heal.  (Sad face)

Happy news, the concert last week I think was a success.  People heard the gospel, we’re following up with them now.  Praying for fruit.

Later.

(good) Drama

First off, finished the lyrics for Oceans and a few other songs.  SHOULD be able to get those recorded maybe beginning of next, sorry it’s taken so long.

In the meantime, had a video I wanted to share with you.  Our church has a drama team that recently did the uber-popular Everything skit.  It’s a fairly simple skit with no dialogue so it’s not difficult to do.  We supported it with simple media in both Japanese and English.   I just added a verse on the end to make it a little more evangelistic.  Share, copy, be encouraged.  Even though I’ve seen quite a few versions of this before, I cried like a baby last Sunday, kind of embarrassing, but I did.  But then I remember when the song first came out forever ago and loved it, so maybe I’m a sucker for the song.  Hearing the lyrics along with the drama gets me every time.

Here you go.

Hey

Sorry for the hiatus.  I’m thinking I can probably post a few new videos in a couple weeks.  Been working a lot on music for our choir.  We’re doing a few Brooklyn Tabernacle songs that I’m pretty excited about.  Do any of you work with choirs?  If so I can post some of those songs.  With the choir, it is by necessity much more involved.  A lot more moving parts so actual sheet music is required most of the time.  But it is rewarding and the Japanese seem to respond particularly well to gospel choirs.  Also choirs are a great “gateway” to other music ministry opportunities for church members.  A lot of people are willing to join a choir that wouldn’t do anything individually or in a small group because of the “safety in numbers” element.

If any of you work with choirs, especially Japanese choirs, I would love to hear about your experiences, etc. and learn from/with you.

Thank you all for the posts and requests.  The post are encouraging and the request are a nice reminder that we’re providing something that is helping you in your respective ministries.

As always, worship the Lord with your life and the music will follow.

Holy Spirit

New video.  Holy Spirit by Brian and Katie Torwalt.  You’ve probably heard, seen Jesus Culture’s cover of this.  I think they did it at Passion last year.  This song was suggested to me by Jessica on YouTube, thanks!

Trying different things to see what works for most people.  This video has lyrics across the bottom in both hiragana/kanji AND romaji.  Boom.

I really like this song.  The translated lyrics flow very well, really happy with them.  Like always, tell me what you think, hit me with new song suggestions, etc.

Lyric/chord chart is here along with a romaji version.

Lyric page update

Hey, just wanted to let you know there’s been a couple additions to the lyric chart page.  Check it out.  I know we haven’t been cranking out a lot of songs recently, I’ve been spending a lot of time on my Japanese.  I’ve put it off for years but it’s catching up to me so now it’s time to take the bull by the horns.  Throw up a prayer for me if you don’t mind.

Much love.

To Our God

Hey guys.  New song here.  To Our God by Bethel Music.  This was a request I received from a new friend named Jon.  I really like this song, we’ve been using it a lot here at our church.  As I starting recording, I was just planning on doing a normal acoustic piano arrangement, really simple.  But I played with a couple sounds, arps and plugins and it ended up being this big synthy thing.  I like it, but doing a video seemed like a ton of work considering all the parts involved and such.  Watching midi editing isn’t exactly captivating.  Plus all my videos I shoot with my phone and there is no way I have enough memory space for all that, lol.

Anyways, I decided to do a lyric video.  I know some churches, Bible study groups, etc. will use lyric videos to sing along with during their music time, especially if there isn’t a musician or instruments readily available and I was wondering if that was something that would help you guys out in your ministries.  This song ended up being about 7 minutes long so it’s not the most practical one to do a test run with, but I just wanted to try something new and get some feedback.

As always, support the musicians.  Buy Bethel’s stuff, they are reaching so many people through their ministry including myself.

The audio recording I used in the video is a free download on my Soundcloud.

Praise to our God, thanks for stopping by.