Saturday, September 21, 2013

Team Travels

View from the Tokyo Sky Tree : Matt McNeilly

Our team has arrived in Tokyo and what an adventure it has been
already! Airport lounges have transformed with the addition of our
team. Before even leaving New Zealand we turned a lounge at the

departure gate into an obstacle course, and we found a new friend in a

large, plastic duck.

Josh Champion , one of our team leaders

Matt McNeilly , Occupation: Hipster

With late night flights, Zach took on a whole new persona. His actions

or words are now classified into "that's a Dale statement" or "that's

a Zach statement". Most of this is probably due to the simple fact

that he has grown a spectacular mustache that the whole team has grown

to love. The flight attendants at Air New Zealand seemed to adore it

as well because he scored us a free bag of candies before we left the

Meet Zach Veltung and his "'stache" Dale
Upon our arrival into the Hong Kong airport we were introduced into

our first cultural shock with sporadic tones being murmured that

didn't quite seem to sound like words at all and intricate symbols

printed across the flight status signs. Yes, welcome to Asia. We

moseyed through the international wing taking in everything we could

and excitement was tangible in the air.

As we waited for our final flight to Tokyo we realized we were in for

some fun with the language barrier. Thankfully we arrived in Tokyo right on schedule and no one was suffering too badly from jet lag yet. We passed through customs

breezily and ran into only a slight hiccup when we discovered our

contact was not going to pick us up from the airport, but instead we

were to take a bus from Narita into downtown Tokyo where we would then

board a series of trains to reach our new home.

Charlie, Josh, and Zach waiting with all of our luggage in Narita Airport
The bus ride was an hour long and as we began to drive into the major

city of Tokyo our group went into full-on tourist mode. There was no

shame in any of our "Whoaaaa!!! That's awesome!" or "What?! Look over

there!" The first glimpse of the city was glorious and it was a thrill

for all of us to experience it for the first time together.

The most exciting or perhaps the most trying part of our journey came

in the final hour when we made the trek through the intensely humid

Tokyo Metro Station with our heavy backpacks in tow. Each of us had

our large travel backpacks secured on our backs and our day packs

strapped to our front.  We then hopped on three separate trains before

finally arriving to our new home in Senkawa. Regardless of the heat
and humidity as well as the heavy packs, we laughed and managed to
have a blast on the train. Charlee sparked a conversation with four
Japanese women on the train and though we spent most of the
conversation laughing and lost in translation, our contact helped relay that the
girls were so thankful for our coming to help with the tsunami
clean-up in Ishinomaki. It was such a blessing to see their faces
light up in awe at the fact that people were coming to help their
nation after a disaster that occurred over two years ago.

God is definitely planning to use us in the beautiful nation of Japan

and we can't wait to see Him reveal His heart for this place to us. We

are so excited to spend the next four days exploring Tokyo and

becoming more oriented with the Japanese culture. For now, we are

heading to bed to avoid any jet lag symptoms.


Our plane waiting in the gate in Auckland, New Zealand

Chipan Team in the Hong Kong airport

Danny, Zach, and Matt walking through the metro station in Tokyo, Japan

Beautiful Henriette and Rachelle on the bus to downtown Tokyo

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