I love the smell of campfire smoke. I really do. Whenever my jacket smells like a good campfire I intentionally avoid washing it, just so I can keep it lingering. If you asked me why I liked it so much I wouldn’t be able to tell you. Maybe its because of the smell itself? Or maybe its because of the memories I associate with it. If the later is the case, then I have another memory to add.
Such a memory happened over my third weekend here in Japan. Kimiyoshi Kurihara does a nature school every month here on Tsushima Island. Its a wonderful way to mingle with the people here and is especially enjoyable for the kids that come. We do all sorts of things, from talking about aviation to baking pizza in a brick oven. On this occasion we had some returning kids and some new ones.
To start out, Kimiyoshi had a presentation for all the first timers. He brought them in and gave them a slideshow talking about aviation, even giving his own experience working in the mission field in the forests of Guyana. It was a great opportunity to talk about Christianity, and for many new students this might be there first time hearing about Christianity from a Christian.
After the slideshow, everyone got to make their own glider out of Styrofoam. The children had a blast as they watched their workmanship glide all around the room. Afterwards we gathered the rest of the kids and brought them to the field next to the building. Kimiyoshi proceeded to set up and fly a small drone and a remote controlled glider.
Then the children had yet another treat as Kimiyoshi brought out a paragliding wing, which is the large rectangular parachute the enables the user to steer during flight. We got a volunteer and rigged him up to the parachute. We had no intention of flying but just wanted to give a demonstration of what the take off looks like. We got some of the dads together and we all ran together pulling the boy in the paraglider just enough to get the wing splayed out. What a show!
Now, for lunch! Now I don’t recommend a brick oven for fast meals, but definitely for tasty ones! We got the fire starting in the oven and on some other wood stoves which were for the rice, soup and tea… because why not have some miso soup with your pizza.
Anyways, we got started to get all the wood together and start the fires. Though we are on an island, it is still quite well developed, and I don’t imagine many of these kids have needed a fire in there lives, so I think it was an exciting experience for them. We built up the little fires and lit the small pieces of wood, and took turns blowing into a section of bamboo to function as a billow. Eventually we got the brick oven very very hot. Time for the pizzas!
Kimiyoshi’s wife, Haejoo prepared some homemade dough for us and we had a great assortment of fresh vegetables, including mushrooms, onions, and tomatoes. We all took turns putting in the pizzas. It was so interesting to see the different shapes the kids would make while attempting to get a circle. Eventually I got my pizza, and it was fantastic, you just cant beat a fresh brick oven pizza.
Along with that we also had local gentleman volunteer to make crepes for desert, the kids enjoyed that to! They were pretty tasty, I had to keep myself from eating to many.
When we finished eating it was time to go and before the families left, Kimiyoshi made sure that they each got a copy of this months Signs of the Times. The people gladly accepted the gift and we pray they read it. For many of them this may be the first piece of Christian literature in there homes, so please pray that it reaches there heart.