The Sapporo Snow Festival is a big winter event in Hokkaido. Visitors from all around Japan as well as the world come to see the huge snow sculptures (large snow sculptures which measure between 12 and 15 meters tall).
During my full-time language learning time, I had a chance to be a volunteer to help to build a sculpture. Training and equipment were provided. During the three weeks of the building period, I was teamed up with some experienced volunteers to work on different parts of making the sculpture. We made a sculpture of the Hokkaido bullet train.
Besides learning the skills of making a sculpture, I got to use my limited Japanese to talk with my team mates while we were working and taking breaks. One of the volunteers I met there joined our Cantonese class and other events in our church plant for a time.
After learning snow-sculpting skills, I tried building them in my garden. I made small sculptures and every winter, now, I build a chapel in an igloo shape. Making snow sculptures and igloos not only became my hobby, it also helped me to release my stress. It’s now an important family tradition every winter.
While making the igloo, my son and I spent days and nights outdoor during our free time, making snow blocks and using serrated scoops to cut shapes. We tried to use a milk carton to make ice cubes with colour to decorate the igloo. We also put small light bulbs on it. The igloo helped us to connect with the community—it attracted children to visit and provided a topic for us to chat with our neighbourhood.
One of our neighbours told us that she felt scared when she was walking home late one evening. When she saw the glittering light from our igloo from afar, she knew that she was close to home, and she felt safe and hopeful. We were able to share with her our testimony and how Jesus is our hope.
The cold and large amount of snow in Hokkaido is a challenge to a lot of people. We thank God for giving us a way to enjoy the cold and snow every year. We also thank God for helping us to use that as a way to connect with people.
By an OMF missionary
Will you pray for Japan?
- Pray that Christians in Japan would find creative ways to reach out to their neighbours.
- Pray that God would bring people to serve with in Japan who can use their hobbies to reach out to others.
- Pray for Japanese people who meet Christians, that the Holy Spirit would work in their hearts to make them long to know the God of the Bible.