Christmas Gifts & JOEE-ful Music

Lining Up Gifts from CAJ with JOEE Teacher, Lexi (Names on bags blacked out for privacy)

The Christmas season was lively in the children’s homes that are receiving JOEE lessons. This year, with a well-organized gift drive carried out in coordination with Christian Academy in Japan, JOEE was able to bring personalized gifts to all 44 children in residence at the St. Francisco Children’s Home in Ota-ku and to the 5 children in the JOEE program at Chofu Gakuen Home. This year, the children (especially the teen individuals) were given an opportunity to request specific gifts so that we could meet their needs. Gift donors did their best to find the perfect gifts for all of the youth. The gifts were presented at Christmas parties – one held on Dec. 19 and the other on Dec. 23.


Christmas Helpers Joyfully Load the JOEE Van at CAJ

Our two JOEE Christmas parties were aided by volunteers from Tokyo Union Church and its sister congregation, West Tokyo Union Church. Helpers played the piano, the violin, bells and a harp to bless the children with beautiful Christmas music. The JOEE students had learned a few simplified carols and exuberantly sang, “Joy to the World, sing joy, sing joy… sing joy, sing joy, sing joy! Sing JOY, JOY, JOY! Sing JOY, JOY, JOY!” It was a good reminder that the foundation of JOEE is JOY!

2回のJOEEクリスマスパーティーには、東京ユニオンチャーチとその姉妹教会である西東京ユニオンチャーチのボランティアが協力してくれました。ピアノ、バイオリン、ハンドベル、ハープなどを演奏していただき、子どもたちに美しいクリスマス音楽を届けていただきました。簡略化されたキャロルを覚えたJOEEの生徒たちは、「Joy to the World, sing joy, sing joy… sing joy, sing joy, sing joy!Sing JOY, JOY, JOY! Sing JOY, JOY, JOY!」と元気よく歌いました。JOEEの基本は喜び(JOY)だということを思い出させてくれました!

Tokyo Union Church Brings the Music to St. Francisco
Meeting a Heavenly Harp and Harpist for the First Time

After the singing, the children heard the story of Christmas, the reason for this celebration and gift-giving — how God sent His Son, Jesus, as a gift to the world, to be born in a humble manger in Bethlehem. The story reminds us that God especially cares for and blesses the poor and the outcast; God honors those who are put down by society, like these children growing up in institutional care homes. These kids, often cruelly labeled “throw-away children” in Japan, are actually valuable gifts and should be treated as such.


Little Ones Help to Tell the Christmas Story

Every child at St. Francisco Children’s Home received a Christmas gift bag. Inside, they found pairs of new warm socks, books and school supplies and a gift chosen just for them. Our volunteers had great fun helping the children cut strings, open boxes and install batteries. The Christmas party ended in a joyful cacophony of thank-you’s and goodbyes. The children were even waving to us from the balconies as we drove away.


While we wish that we could give every child a gentle and loving family to care for them, we do what we can in making sure that they are safe and have joyful and positive learning experiences as they grow up in a care home. Please help JOEE in any way that you can. Financial gifts can be made through Global Giving by going to this link:

Joyful Opportunity English Education – Global Giving

すべての子どもたちに優しくて愛情に満ちた家族の温もりが与えられることを願ってやみませんが、子どもたちが養護施設で育つ間、せめて安全で楽しく前向きな学習体験をしてもらえるよう、できる限りのことをしています。皆様もできる限りJOEEをご支援下さるようお願いいたします。上記のリンクからGlobal Givingを通じて寄付を行うことができます。

A week after the Christmas parties, I received a beautiful handmade thank you card from the children at St. Francisco Children’s home. Inside I found handwritten notes from 17 of the residents. It was so sweet and heartwarming and made my holidays very happy indeed. A Merry Christmas to all and a very Happy New Year. We have great plans and hopes for 2022! Thank you for your support.


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