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At the request of a pastor friend in Ishinomaki our team started doing an English time at a local nursing home which we affectionately dubbed “Old Folks’ English.” The facility is gorgeous and there are only 29 residents in the whole building- wow! Last time’s event was definitely my favorite thus far. Not only was the class very well attended but we stayed chatting and laughing it up with the residents for two whole hours after the class finished! Several residents suffer from dementia, but many are still quite “with it” and able to communicate without any problem.
During tea time
Me playing the keyboard for the residents

Shaking hands and greeting each resident – physical touch is very important to the elderly!

To my surprise, a 100-year old woman joined the class! She did great and managed to say “How are you?” and “Happy!” She joined us for tea time and was a real ham. When asked to pose for a photo she stuck out her tongue at the camera and couldn”t stop giggling afterwards for at least 15 minutes.

I have a feeling this kind of ministry is quite rare in Japan, but it is very valuable and rewarding. Spending time with elderly folks is really terrific because they are very eager to talk and it eases their loneliness tremendously. We have a blast every time and I’m wondering if we can do this kind of ministry in other places in Tohoku as well. For those of you already serving in Japan, why not give it a try?