I heard it again today... It took me a long, long time to figure out why the phrase "on the mountain of the Lord" recurs with such frequency (!) here in Aomori. But, as Pastor Ashina reminded us today, Genesis 22:14 "So Abraham called that place The LORD Will Provide. And to this day it is said, 'On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided.'" was the rallying cry when they first built Aomori Christian Center in the 1970s.
Pastor Ashina & his wife Megumi
It was also in the 1970s that Shuichi Yamanouchi wrote his "Tomo Yo Utaou" - perhaps the first Japanese Gospel folk songs. Missionaries may have moved on, but we've discovered that many Japanese Christians still like to sing these songs. And it was encouraging to hear today how God has used these songs in the lives of His people in Aomori.
Christians here are STILL writing songs. The songs Luda, a Korean-Russian resident of Japan and member of Aomori Gospel Church, writes are probably not as well suited to congregational singing, but they do sound nice when she sings them! Which she did for the Mini Concert in Part 2 of our 賛美キャンプ (Praise Camp is direct translation but doesn't quite get the whole meaning across.)
I enjoyed it all... but in the end what we all liked best was singing ourselves! And we did that for an hour and half when during the last session of the day we sang our favorite songs and hymns, old and new.