That was the first verse I memorized at Bethany Chapel when I was a child. I wonder how much time has passed since then…Anyway, I was in the same church last night. There was an event named Swedish Christmas Night at the chapel. A young Swedish man named Marcus is now staying at the church and introduced about his country, especially in Christmas time, last night.
There was a small concert at the chapel in the event. Marcus is a trumpeter of a band in his country. So, mainly Marcus played the trumpet and Mark, the minister of the church, played the guitar, and the participants sang songs together: Angles We Have Heard on High, Hymn to Joy, O Holy Night, What Child is This? and Amazing Grace and so on. That was a fantastic time.
I went to the church for the first time when I was 8 or 9 years old. I happened to meet this tall white man in my neighborhood at that time. The man was Rev. Hans Magnuson from Sweden. He established Bethany Chapel nearby about 50 years ago. I don’t remember the matters, but I began going to Sunday school and learning English from him then. As I was growing, however, I lost interest in Christianity and English. I stopped going to church and forgot about Hans in the process.
I can no longer see Hans at the church. He passed away about 10 years ago. Now his son Mark is the pastor there. Actually, the young Swedish Marcus’s grandma is Hans’s sister. So, Marcus’s eyes widened when I told him that Hans was my first English teacher before he was born. Of course, I added hastily, “Oh, don’t try to calculate my age.”
I enjoyed listening to music, singing songs, having wonderful Swedish food, and talking to many people there. I had a really great time! I wish you a merry Christmas! God Jul!
Bethany Chapel http://church.ne.jp/bethany/us/index.html