Hello Brothers and Sisters,
I hope this letter finds you all well. Things have been pretty good here, but have started to become very hectic. This will officially be my very last past. Cassie and I have decided to move back to America in April. She will be working at Northwestern Mutual where she worked before and I am still currently looking for a job somewhere in the city. Ideally, I would like to do youth and family ministry. However, it looks like most of the positions for that are all filled. Since living in Japan, I have really started to enjoy teaching. I found a program online in the states called Teach for America. They send people to teach inner city school kids while working to get their teaching certificate. I applied for it and am going through the interview process. However it is very competitive. If that doesn't work out, I would like to work at and International Office somewhere or doing something at OC or something along those lines. Anyways, be praying as I start to prepare for my journey back home and all the reverse culture shock that Cassie and I will be going through.
I would like to start out by saying that Cassie and I went on a weekend trip to Kyoto and Hiroshima. Kyoto is where the old capital of Japan is located. Hiroshima in case you forgot is where America dropped the first atomic bomb. While we were there, I was afraid that so many people would give us rude looks and stare at us wondering what we were doing in their neck of the woods after laying one of the biggest bombs in world history. However, it was completely opposite. They are probably some of the nicest people I have ever met in Japan. They also really enjoyed talking to Cassie and me as well. Talk about forgiveness. I just wanted to share this small bit as a starter because I thought it was really cool. Now for an update.
In front of a dome that partially survived the bomb
Since my last update, not a whole lot of new has been happening to be honest. I continue to study with Kato every Tuesday night at the church building. On a side note, Kato was part of the Japanese Peace Core in Ghana. This has lead him to keep strong ties with African people and even start an African group here in Ibaraki. It is rare to see Japanese people care so much about Africa. I also have a connection with Africa after going there in 2008. In Kato's African group, they meet once a month and have a presentation about Africa or do African things. I volunteered to speak at it for him tomorrow on the 3rd. I am looking forward to this opportunity in trying to connect with him in as many ways as I can and show him how much I care about his life like Jesus would ours.
My Speaking Poster
I also have continued to lead worship on the first Sunday of every month. On January 20th, the church had a 2nd wedding ceremony for Cassie and me and the church. After I said our closing prayer for worship and gave the announcements, I asked if anyone else had any other announcements they needed to make. One of the members raised his hand and said that there was a wedding ceremony that was about to start. They brought out a wedding card, a money tree, a gift, and cake and even had a veil for Cassie to put on with a bouquet of flowers and a corsage for me. It was really nice of them to do it and we are so thankful to have had them for a church family. It has been a great blessing being there and working with them. On February 16th, we had a Valentine Day party at the church building, but I had a 102 degree temperature and was unable to do much of anything except sit and try to talk with others the best that I could before I ended up going to the emergency clinic to get some medicine. Cassie did her part there though and got to talk with lots of people. I also preached last Sunday morning. I showed the church Cassie and I's wedding video and pictures and then talked about being the The Bride of Christ. I was also been invited to speak at another congregation about 30 minutes from our apartment on the 17th, but because I was sick, I was unable to do so. Nevertheless, I was able to reschedule and I will be preaching there a week from tomorrow.
2nd Wedding Ceremony
Last but not least, Cassie and I met with Saki unfortunately for the last time probably. I was really hoping to reach her the best that I could for our last meeting. I also didn't have a whole lot of time because she had curfew that she had to be back for. Cassie and I decided to give her a Japanese-English Bible. I remembered her telling me how bad she wanted one when I studied the Bible with her last year. When I gave it to her, she said, "YOU REMEMBERED!" I told her when she became a Christian I would get her one since she had full intentions on getting baptized. However, after a number of things that went wrong for her, she decided not to do it. However, she continued to want to study with me. I also recall one of my Christian friends telling me that the reason she started to consider becoming a Christian was because a Bible was given to her. I decided that this same thing may happen to Saki someday. I pray that someone will reach her in the future years and that I can keep in contact with her and continue to encourage her. I hope that she will also take time to read this Bible. Please pray me that someone will touch her after I leave and that she will come to know just how much God cares for her.
Meeting With Saki for the Last Time
Well I think that is about all. It has been great being a part of the mission here in Japan. Although we are very sad to leave, we think it is the best decision for the time being for both of us. Please pray for us and that we can have a smooth transition back home. We love you all and are thankful for your support.
Jared and Cassie