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Tuesday, June 28, 2016

My first JAFAX Experience

Greetings Warriors and Scholars.

I hope you had as good a weekend as I did. This weekend I brought the Nerd Chapel Sunday Morning Service to JAFAX, an anime convention in Grand Rapids, MI. Let me tell you about my weekend.

Friday started interestingly before I even got to the con. While eating a donut at Rosa Parks Circle, I met a guy named Justin who is a former Army Ranger. We discussed faith, God's big plan, etc. It was a great conversation and he seemed to leave more encouraged than when he had come over. I then went on and sat by the resting place of former president of the USA Gerald R Ford for a minute to pay my respects. After that I found a series of plaques discussing Native American tribes in the region to read. Then, before the con, I read some chapters out of "Holy Heroes:The Gospel According to DC and Marvel" by Scott Bayles.

So, on to the con. This was a "reboot" for JAFAX. They had formerly been a college con with no charge for attendance. Now they are no longer at a college and for the first time had to have registration and charge for badges. The wait on Friday was a very long one. I spent more than 2 hours in line and some said they were in line for 4 hours. I think they may have had issues with wifi that contributed to this and as a gesture of apology they allowed those who only got Friday badges to come back on Saturday for a free badge and do the exploring they missed the day before.

Anime and Japanese art are the main focuses of JAFAX. There were a couple of booths selling kimonos and booths selling anime videos, various cosplay items, art, etc. The panels were plentiful and they had 2 viewing rooms for anime shows. I attended one panel on making a hero and another with voice actors reading scripts from movies and such with differing voices. There was also a tiny table-top gaming room. On Saturday I cosplayed as Martian Manhunter and was not the only DC cosplayer. I also saw some Marvel cosplayers and 1 Star Trek cosplayer as well as some Star Wars in the mix. See pictures below.

Over the weekend I had some very friendly conversations. People seemed quite open to the idea of a "nerd friendly church service" at a con. We had 7 people plus myself attend and although some came late, I was just glad to have them come at all. The message was based on the concept that all humans are "Ronins" (masterless warriors) in some way but that God still wants to adopt us. We looked at how this all began with Adam and used David as an example of an adopted Ronin.

I think this was a successful weekend. Next year the registration bugs should be worked out and I expect a good experience then as well.

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