Friday, December 30, 2011

Sorry, AGAIN its Late!

Hey Everyone,

Once again, I am so sorry it has taken me so long to write an update. Things have been so hectic here with Christmas and the New Year. While I have had vacation for the most part since the 16th of December, there has been many things that the Tomobe church has done as Outreach since then as well that has also made it not so much a holiday completely. In Japan, New Years is the biggest holiday but at the church we try to make a big deal out of Christmas due to the fact it is a Christian holiday and Japanese people are more open to it during the Christmas season. It has been an incredible month however and I am so glad that each of you have supported me through this time. It is really incredible to me that it was over 70 years ago that the Japanese attacked America at Pearl Harbor and that I can be a missionary here today.

On the 8th-15th, I went about my normal routine having my English/Bible Classes with my students. I challenged one of my students to come back after our Holiday Break and tell me how she can believe that both God and Shinto are both real. I am looking forward to her response in the next couple of weeks. I told you about her in the previous post. Her name is Masako. Please continue to pray for her as it seems like we are making very little but some process.

On the 10th, I held a Christmas party at my host family's house for students anywhere from high school age to college age. It was very incredible. We sang Christmas songs together and had lots of great fellowship. We also enjoyed many popular Christmas dishes that everyone brought that made them think of Christmas. For Japanese, they think that in America we have Christmas Chicken and Christmas cake, so some brought that. I made a ham ball that my mom makes at Christmas normally. Overall there were many traditional Christmas foods that people have for Christmas. At the end we played the Dirty Santa game. Before the night was over, everyone wanted to sing more and we ended up going into singing worship songs. Even a lot of the non Christian people there were so filled with joy. It was so powerful to see God work at such an event. In the end, about 20 people ended up coming.

A picture of everyone who came to the party

On the 12th, I went to the month Ibaraki Preacher's Meeting and Hitachi Christian Camp meeting. It always makes for a long day, especially since it is all Japanese. However, it is so great o be encouraged by such great men of God at these events. At the preachers meeting we discussed our plans for the All Japan Preachers Retreat next summer since the Ibaraki Preachers are responsible for planning it and then more about the good things going on in our lives. At the camp meeting we finished planning for our camp on the 26th-28th.

On the 14th, I was asked to speak at Ibaraki Christian University in chapel. It was more of like a series of chapels that were related to Christmas in one way or another. I talked about Eternal Life being the best gift/present that we can ever receive from God or gift to anyone.

Me speaking in chapel at IC

On the 15th-16th, we had Christmas parties for the children that come to our school at the church for English. We sang Christmas carols together, games and watched a short version video of the movie, The Christmas Carol. Afterwards, Santa (I) came out and gave all of the children gifts for Christmas. Over the entire two nights we had a little over 20 children all together.

Children's Christmas Party at Church

On the 17th, I took my girlfriend on our first date to a place in Tokyo known as Odaiba. We were able to watch Fireworks, a tree that changed colors show, eat at a nice restaurant, and take a picture with a cool background, walk on the beach while listening to some live music, and look at an amazing sky line view of Tokyo. It was an amazing night.
My girlfriend and I's first date

On the 19th, I was given tickets to go see the Japanese X-Bowl. They were given to me by one of the members who comes to the English/Bible classes at the church. At the beginning of the month, we had Christmas party for all the adults who were part of the school at church. While we were eating, a lady asked me if I had ever played American Football and if I liked it. Of course I said yes to both and she told me her husband played for a Club Team in Japan which is about as professional as they get in Japan and that the Japan version of the Super Bowl was the following week and that she would get me tickets if I wanted them. Therefore I ended up going to Tokyo the following week to watch the game and her husbands team won. It was a great time and I really enjoyed it.

Japanese Super Bowl

On the 21st, I went to a nursing home in Tomobe called Silver Village. At the nursing home, we sang Christmas carols for elderly people and showed them the shorter version of A Christmas Carol. After we finished, I was able to play Santa Claus once again and give cookies to the elderly people. It was great to see how happy they were that people came and took the time just to sing to them and spend some time with them to wish them a Merry Christmas.
Silver Village Nursing Home

Many of you may wonder how I celebrated Christmas this year. Due to the fact that Christmas was on a Sunday, I ended up celebrating Christmas with my girlfriend on the 23rd. For Christmas dinner we made Hamburgers and Velveeta and Rotel Dip for our Christmas dinner.(However on the 24th we had a traditional ham, mashed potatoes, and green bean cassrole kind of dinner with my host family.) We also shared gifts with each other and also enjoyed opening some gifts her parents sent us in the mail as well.
Our tree and the gifts

On the 24th, we had our Christmas Eve worship service at the church building. It involved a brief message from Marlin the minister as well as a couple of members from the church and Cassie and me acting out the birth of Jesus. While the play was short, we had to do it ALL in Japanese. I was Joseph and Cassie was Mary. After the lesson and the play, we had a gift exchange and fellowshipped with one another and ate a popular dish together known as Oden.
My Girlfriend and I as Joseph and Mary

On the 25th, I had the opportunity to preach again. I ended up talking about how God and Santa Claus relate again kind of like I did at Ibaraki Christian. However, I changed the meaning of the sermon to be Kamisama's coming to town which means God is coming to town. While we know when Santa comes every year, we have no idea as to when God will come back. We will judged in the Book of Life whether we have been bad or good just as Santa chooses whether we have been bad or good enough to give us coal or presents. Overall it went really well. The only problem was I did not have enough confidence to speak in Japanese completely so I had a translator again. I am hoping before long I can do it on my own though.
Preaching at Church on Christmas Day

From the 26th-28th, I attended the coldest church/retreat I have ever been on. We ended up going to Hitachi Christian Camp to have camp and work on some cabins. During the night, it got down to about 20-25 and it was very cold. There is also no form of electricity there or very much running water which meant now heaters or showers. However, by the time we ended camp, we were able to finish the cabin we were putting windows in. Also, I was asked to give a small devotional talk at the camp at the morning campfire devotional. I ended up giving my first devotional in Japanese only. While it was challenging, I felt like I got the point I wanted to get across that God gives breathe every day and we should be thankful for each morning that we are alive. After camp, it was nice to get home and have nice warm shower and feel clean again.

Just Finished Putting in a Window
Everyone who came to Camp

On the 30th, I went with some of the old students I attended Omika Church with two years ago and my girlfriend to go see the Broadway musical, The Lion King. Although it was in all Japanese, it was one of the best shows I have ever watched before. I hope that someday I can see the English version in New York City.
Everyone who went to see The Lion King

On the 31st, I went to Karaoke with one of the church members for a few hours. After Karaoke, I went with another one of the church members to have dinner. After the dinner we met up with another church member and watched a movie together at his apartment. After the movie was finished, it was time to go to the church to go and pray for the start of our New Year.

Karaoke Room

As I mentioned earlier, New Years is a bigger holiday here than Christmas is and most of the Japanese people have the first week of the New Year off. That has made this first week of the New Year quite slow as it has just been a week to relax and do nothing. On the 3rd I went back to Tokyo to watch the American Football Japan Championship game between the number 1 pro/club team and the number one college team. I know that is not how it goes in America, but that is the way the Japanese do it. I think it would be quite a game to see the Super Bowl Champions face the number one college team in America. Anyways, other than that everything has been kind of chill and slow this week. Next Monday is another holiday in Japan known as the Coming of Age Day. This is for everyone who will turn 20 in Japan this year. At this time, those who turn 20 are considered adults from that day forward. It is kind of a big deal in Japan so I will not begin working again until next Tuesday. I will try to do better at keeping you updated from here on out. I am sorry for the long post. I just wanted to get you up to date on everything. If any of you have any questions about whats going on, please don't hesitate to email me at anytime. I would love to hear from you. Thank you all for your prayers and support and may God bless you all.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Week 11 & 12

みんなさん、こんばんは! Good evening everyone!

I am sorry it has been a long time since I wrote you last. Things have been somewhat busy recently and they are starting to slow down somewhat once again because of the New Year approaching. However, we still have many Christmas parties to do before the real holiday comes in. However, things have started to wind down.

The past few Saturdays have been very busy. On the 19th, Tomobe Church hosted a night where a group from a couple of churches in Hitachi came to teach us new songs. The group is called Accapella Praise Night. The singing was great and very uplifting. Afterwards Marlin and Jeanne and I went to eat with some of the young people who were singing group.

Acappella Praise Night Team

The young people we ate with afterwards

On the 20th we had church as usual. The 21st we took a trip to Costco in Tokyo. For those of you who do not know what Costco is, they are supposably all over America. They are like a Sam’s Club where you have to be a member. While we were there we picked up food supplies for church camp as well as some personal supplies. It was nice to be able to get some things from America as well. After shopping we went to Omika church to plan more for church camp at the end of the month.

Costco in Tokyo Japan

On the 22nd and 23rd were holidays. I ended up going to Shizuoka on the 23rd with the other young people from Tomobe church to an all church worship. It was great to see some older friends I had not seen in a while and meet some Christian brothers and sisters that I had been told to meet from people in America but had not yet had the chance to meet them. The singing was incredible as most churches in Japan have such few people that it is hard to have the same kind of singing you would hear in an American church.

Everyone who came to the all church worship

You could see Mt. Fuji from the building where we had the worship

On the way to the all church worship

I continued my normal class schedule on the 24th and 25th. On Friday, I generally meet with a man by the name of Tamio. Tamio is not so interested in Christianity but wants to know what his purpose in life is. I believe I told you in the last post that we are reading the book Purpose Driven Life together. The past couple of weeks he has seemed to understand the meaning of it more but still has a hard time grasping how to comprehend it and put it into action. Pray that his heart will soften and that he will understand that this is a process he cant do on his own to figure out life but that he needs God to help him understand his life more. After my classes were over that night, I had the young people over to the house for our young people activity and devo at the house. We played video games in my bedroom. We had about five or six people show up.

On Saturday the 26th, we had a Thanksgiving dinner at the church building and invited everyone in the community. All together we had about 25-35 people from the church and the community come. We had everything from Turkey and dressing to mashed potatoes to sweet potatoes. Many people were wanting to know if I still got to enjoy Thanksgiving and the answer is yes. While it was not the same as Thanksgiving at home, it was close enough. Also, while we were there, I met a few new young people and tried talking to them as much as I could since they do not know English. By the end of the night we were joking together and enjoyed talking to each other. I ended up inviting them to a Christmas party by the end of the night and they seemed very interested in coming. I hope that they will come again this week so I can try to find ways to build my relationship with them.

Everyone enjoying Thanksgiving Dinner

Everyone Who Came

The Food. Yes some people actually brought sushi

More of the food

On the 27th, I was able to have a Bible Study with my student Masako again. Masako seems to be at a very confused state. Recently we have been studying about God. She told me that she believes that God was the one who created the Earth. However she also believes the Japanese (Shinto) way that everything that exists is a God. I told her that if God created everything and God wants no other Gods to exist then how could everything be God. She is still having a hard time grasping how to understand that. However, I feel that we have made a little progress. Pray that Masako might come to realize how it is not possible for both to happen. I gave her homework to think about it because we will have a month before we can meet again. Please be praying that she may come to a realization of some kind during this time.

One of the days I had been really looking forward to is the 28th to come. In the morning and afternoon, I went to Ibaraki Christian to teach my classes. After I finished, the time had finally come to see my girlfriend Cassie. It had been 80 days since I had seen my girlfriend and it was becoming very difficult for us to both be so far apart and have completely different schedules. However, she finally arrived on the 28th in Japan to become an elementary teacher assistant. It was so great to finally see her and spend some time with her. We spent the day Wednesday together and even went to Ibaraki Christian so that she could meet some of my students. Afterwards we went to the beach and then had dinner with some of my friends who are teaching in Mito. (Allen and Laura). Afterwards we came home. The rest of the week Cassie went with me to watch my classes and the things I do at work. On Saturday, we finally got her moved into her apartment and settled in.

Eating Sushi with Cassie after she arrived

Noriko and Yuuki took me to the airport to get her. These are some of Cassie's good friends.

Well I am going to stop there for now. I will write another update here in a couple weeks again rather than in the next 2 and a half weeks. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me by email at

Thank you all for your support and prayers and may God continue to bless you!


Friday, November 18, 2011

Week 9 & 10


I send you greetings from the church here in Tomobe. Everything here has been really busy lately. All except for this week. Many of the people I study with were busy this week so I had some extra time on my hands this week and spent it in other ways than usual. Here is what has been going on since we last talked.

The last two Sundays have gone pretty well. I preached my first sermon last Sunday at church. I gave a lesson over Thanksgiving since we will be having a Thanksgiving dinner at the church next week. I wanted to give everyone a lesson over what it meant to be thankful and why we celebrated the holiday in America. Everyone seemed to like it and I feel that I was able to reach a lot of people and what they needed to know.

This last Monday, I attended a Preacher's meeting in Tokyo at the biggest church of Christ in Japan. I forgot how much I really dislike that city. There are so many people and it is so busy. At the Preacher's meeting I was able to meet some new preachers from Japan and get to know them. After the meeting, I spent some time looking around Tokyo while waiting on the people I rode with to finish another meeting they had to have before we left. I attended the church in Tokyo's first service a couple of years ago. It was crazy to me that it had been two years since I had last gone there. It was great though to go and be encouraged by the other ministers of Japan. I was also asked to speak there someday soon by their preacher. I am looking forward to doing this.

The past couple of Tuesdays I have gone to Ibaraki Christian to continue my Bible studies rather than going on Wednesdays. I decided to go on Tuesdays because there are more people who can meet and have studies on Tuesdays rather than Wednesdays. To my surprise, this last Wednesday my class jumped from having four people to about 10 people. I was so amazed to have so many people. At the end of our study somebody said, Christianity is way too positive. I thought it was interesting someone might say such a thing. I guess we haven't gotten through all the bad parts yet either that it holds. It was great though to have so many people. After the OC students left, they left me with 30 more students who wanted to continue studying. While it is most likely for the English, it is still a great opportunity that could lead to great things. I may have to start going a couple days a week just so I can get more of the 40 people who want to study a chance than just about 25% of them. I also studied with another girl this week who told me that the tsunami helped her to believe there was a God. She said she grew up going to a English Christian School like Tomobe has and felt that was also part of the plan God had for her to believe someday. I hope that I can continue to study with her very deeply. She is very interested and has such a strong desire to know more.

Everyone who showed up to my study that surprised me Tuesday.

On Wednesdays the past couple weeks I have had spare time. I spent last Wednesday preparing for my Sunday this last week and I spent this last Wednesday hanging out with the guys I told you I go to the ocean with to just discuss religion rather than going into the religious building. This week, I hung out with them an had Mexican food at the Mexican restaurant and also went to the mall with them. Afterwards, we came back to my house and they stayed the night and the next morning I made them biscuits and gravy. A couple of them came to my house a couple of years ago and loved my moms biscuits and gravy so I told them if they stayed the night I would make it for them. Overall I think they had a great time and even though it is hard for them to accept religion, I hope that someday my friendship and kindness may make them wonder. I always try to stand out in some way when I am with them. After they left Thursday, I had my classes on Thursday night with my elementary student and Toru and came on home to sleep and get rest because I caught a cold and was having a hard time overcoming it.

After stuffing ourselves with biscuits and gravy!

On Friday the past couple of weeks I have continued my classes still. Last Friday night, I went with Toru and Benjamin the young people at Tomobe church to the mall and did our activity. We didn't stay long since my cold was making me so tired and ready to go to bed. I also had my afternoon classes. The class I started with the man who wants to know more to life went really well. We read a chapter of Purpose Driven Life together. After reading that together, he seemed to get it but had a hard time accepting that in order to go further in the study about knowing the purpose of life, he had to forget thinking about himself. He didn't seem to think he could do that at the time. I hope as time goes by that he will forget himself and want to move forward with the study. Please continue to pray for him. His name is Tamio.
Dinner when I went to the mall with Toru and Benjamin. This is Benjamin

After this paragraph I will leave you some prayer requests that you can pray for from the things I mentioned in this post. Please continue to pray for me and my mission here. May God bless you all and don't hesitate to contact me if you want to know anything at and I will respond to you. Thank you all for your prayers and support.


Prayer Requests

1. We have a successful turnout and accomplished mission for our Thanksgiving dinner. We have invited the whole community and hope that many will come.
2. My Bible studies at Ibaraki Christian are a success and that I can find a way to teach more students who are willing to learn
3. Pray especially for the girl who is interested in Christianity to stay eager in wanting to learn more about God and that I can find a way to help her to become confident in wanting to be a Christian. Her nami is Saki.
4. The guys I spent time with eating dinner and having over at the house will be more receptive to Christianity
5. Toru can continue to learn English well enough for OC and that he can find the funds to go to Oklahoma Christian next year as a Bible major.
6. Tamio will be able to forget about himself so that he can learn the purpose of his life like he is wanting to know and so we can move forward in our study about what his purpose in life is.
7. I am pretty sure that I have decided that I want to stay as a missionary rather than becoming a teacher. Please pray that I can find the funds to stay next year and if any of you would like to support me please email me and let me know so that I can tell you how you can get the money to me.
Thanks again. God bless you all.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Week 7 & 8 Update

Hello Everyone,

I hope that this update finds each and every one of you well. Things here in Japan have been rather crazy lately. It seems as if there have been many earthquakes recently. I also hear that you guys in Oklahoma had one tonight. Don't be too afraid! They aren't all that bad. Well I suppose I will get into an update for you guys to read.

The past two Sundays have been pretty good overall. The attendance at church has maintained pretty steady with about 15 people every Sunday for worship. Last Sunday was extra special however. One of the ladies that I have started to study with came to church last Sunday. It was so exciting to see her come to a service so soon. Her name is Masako san! I will try to post a picture of her soon. Also, after church last Sunday, almost everyone in the congregation drove about an hour away to go eat lunch at a Mexican restaurant together. It felt good to finally get a taste of my favorite food.

At the Mexican Restaurant

On Monday, the 24th, we went to Toru's parent house to have a Tomobe Church Home Bible Study. Toru's parents generally take off on Monday's because they make good money on Saturday and Sunday with their sushi restaurant they own. Toru's mom is a Christian however, Toru's dad is not. At the end of the study, Toru's father said that he liked the study. That was a very encouraging moment.

My Tuesday's generally consist of having two English Bible studies with people who are from Marlin and Jeanne's. One of the readers I have told you I have had the studies with is known as Kawasaki san. After our study this week, I learned that Kawasaki san believes in the miracles of Jesus and all the things Jesus did, he is just not sur what is holding him back from being a Christian is the vibe that I got from him. He never fully opened up and said. The other woman I am working with doesn't seem all that interested in the Bible right now, but English. Hopefully with time she will see how great it would be and may become more interested.

On Wednesdays, I have normally gone to Ibaraki Christian University for Bible studies. While I still went to the college the past two weeks, it was hard to do any Bible studies because of the school hosting a festival this week. The week before, everyone was busy trying to prepare for the school festival. However, the Pac Rim students from Oklahoma Christian left this week and left me with 30 different English Bible Studies to continue. It is likely many of the students are not interested in the Bible portion, but the English portion. However, that is 30 more great opportunities right. I will start next week to try and revise a schedule to where I can work with these 30 students along with the 8-10 I am already working with.

At the school festival with a Pac Rim student (Jose Cruz) who is helping sell tacos with English majors

The last two Thursdays have been also interesting. This past Thursday was a holiday so I spent time with the young people from Tomobe Church having lunch and helping one of them who is an American get a cell phone. The Thursday before consisted of my elementary class and English class with Toru. While there is only about a strong group of four people in the young people group now, it has been an encouragement and helped everyone grow stronger I think spiritually and is great for everyone.

I am not sure if I have ever posted a picture of Toru but here is Toru and I before eating lunch at the church for a potluck.

In fact, a couple of Fridays ago, the young people group held our third activity together and went to sing Kareoke together. All together we had five people show up. While it was a drop from the past couple of events will still had a great time. Also, this past Friday I started a new English class with a new person. During the Bible portion of our study, he openly told me that he was tired of not knowing what the purpose of life was. I told him that if he stuck with me, we would be able to answer that very shortly. I am hoping that I can reach to this man in a way that he sees that there is a purpose in his life that he has been given.

Kareoke with Tomobe Church young people

Generally, I like to do nothing on Saturday and just relax because that is the only day I really have to do absolutely nothing most of the time. The past two Saturdays have been busy however. Last Saturday, I went with Omika Church students to go to a restaurant where you catch your own fish in a little pond and then when you have enough fish for everyone you take it to the restaurant up the hill and they cook it for you and you eat it fresh within minutes at the restaurant on the hill. It was a pretty awesome experience. Today, I also with Omika Church went to an orphanage. We ended up putting sweet potatoes underneath a fire and cooking them with the kids. It was also a great time to show these kids the love of Jesus because they do not have parents who are there to show it to them.

Fishing Trip with Omika Church Students

Listening to a Story at the Orphanage

Well that is about all I have. Once again I know it is a lot of information but I hope that it is helpful to each and every one of you to know what I am doing. If you would like to know anything else, please don't hesitate to email me at if you have any more questions. Please continue to pray for the items below. Thanks to all of you for keeping up with me and praying for me in this journey.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Weeks 5 & 6 Update

Hello Everyone,

Sorry that it has taken me a couple of weeks since I last updated my blog. Things have began to really pick up and start to become very busy. Once again, I will only be explaining most of the things that you have not heard before in previous updates and small pieces of information from things you have already heard.

On the 9th, the one month exchange students from OC who are on their study abroad trip known as Pac Rim started their time here in Ibaraki. In the group there are about 22 students plus the teacher and his wife and children. I ended up going to Omika Church where I attended when I was an exchange student to try and meet some of them. After church was over, I headed back to Tomobe where we had the memorial for Usami san's one year mark since her death at the cemetery. This is very common in Japan to do for Buddhists funerals but we had a Christian one for her. You can read more about Kimiko Usami in the previous post.

Everyone who showed up for Kimiko's 1 Year Memorial

On the 10th, I went with a couple of members from the Tomobe church to have lunch because it was a holiday. It was a couple of the younger members which turned out to be a great time of encouragement for one another and resulted in me getting a cheap $30 used guitar so that I can connect with some people who are really into it and try to learn how to play. We will began the guitar classes next week.

On the 11th, I began had a Bible study again with the man I mentioned in the previous post. He had already answered all of the questions from the text book we use and didn't take long to get through. I don't think he is all to interested in the Bible so hopefully we can get him more into the Bible part. I also started to study with a new woman. It is very difficult to teach her the Bible through English but I hope gradually things will become more interesting for her.

On the 12th and 18th I went to IC again to do my normal Bible Studies. With the Pac Rim students being here, they have also started about 30 more English Bible studies with new students. I am hoping to pick some of those students up when they leave next month. I also tried to get a couple of guys to come with me on the 12th, but they are scared of the religious building on campus so I decided to go out with them to the ocean and just try to not study the Bible, but question them about why they hate Christianity so much. By the time I had finished they both said they may consider coming to one of my Bible studies. However, this past Wednesday, without even asking, one of them said they planned on joining it. I am hoping that I can reach to him really well and give him a better idea about how great Christianity is and also get his friend to come with him. In Japan, it is harder to convert a man more than a woman.

The guys I talk about Christianity with at the ocean!

Over the past couple of Thursdays and Fridays, my elementary classes have become much easier and my students are finally starting to cooperate and try to learn. They have really been more of a joy to work with than they were before. After my elementary classes on Thursday and Friday, Toru and I did our normal learning about the Bible class on Thursday. However, after one of the other members claimed they wanted to learn more about the Bible too, I decided to make Toru's English classes on Thursday and Bible classes on Tuesday so that we can have more of a Bible type study with more people and the Christians have a better idea about what Christianity is about.

On the 14th, we had our second youth group activity at the church building which was ping pong. It was the best turn out we have had yet when we went from having 4 young people at the activity to 6. Toru invited a couple of his friends to come and he ended up talking about the existence of God. Toru is the teen who wants to go to OC that I have been telling each of you about. The friends he invited are not Christian and I was impressed that he decided to talk about the topic he did. After Toru spoke the guys ended up staying around for another 2 hours hanging out at the church and playing different games which turned out to be a great time. We also have a few other people who have started to become interested in the community and I hope that next time even more people will come.
Pictures of the people who came to play Ping Pong and our Bible Study for our 2nd youth group activity!

On the 14th, the minister and his wife and I went with Toru and his mom to the Oklahoma Christian Eagle Bash which is the way the International Office at OC promotes the college for International Students. Its also kind of a way for all the people who have been involved with Japan/Oklahoma Christian/Ibaraki Christian to kind of have a reunion together which allowed me to see some old friends of mine who came to OC as exchange students when I was at OC. While it was a great time, after seeing the price of OC, it kind of made a lot of people feel that Toru does not have a chance to go to Oklahoma Christian because it is so expensive. If any of you have any way that you could help Toru, or know a way that he could get to OC, please let me know.

Pictures with some old exchange students and OC Pac Rim students.

On Monday and Tuesday, I went to the Ibaraki Preacher's (and some of their wives) Retreat. We spent time learning about the different ways people have been helping with relief work up north, and praying for them as well. We also spent time in worship together as well. On Tuesday we spent time planning for the National Japan Preacher's Retreat that takes place every year in Japan. Next year, it is the Ibaraki Preacher's job to plan the retreat so we spent a lot of time planning for that as well. It was another great experience for me to have a chance to become better friends with some of the preachers in the area.
If you look in the picture however, you can notice something. About 60-70% of the men in the picture are probably going to be unable to be minsters in the next 15 years and Toru is the only one who is in high school interested in becoming a minister that anyone is aware of. This percentage makes up most of the ministers in Japan which makes it vital that people like Toru can go to OC next year so that the church will not die in Japan. This is also why if I plan to stay as a long term missionary next year that I am going to need as much support as I can get. I want you to consider contributing to this great cause as I close this post. Japan really does need missionaries and Japanese ministers even more so because they can connect with their own people better.

Well, that is a look at what has been taking place over the past couple of weeks. If you have any questions about things that are taking place, please don't hesitate to email me at so that I can answer any questions you might have. Please continue to pray for the prayer request below. Thank you all for your support and may God bless all of you.!

1. That Toru and I will be able to work together well enough to get him prepared to go to OC and that he will get the funds to go.
2. My Bible studies at Ibaraki Christian will be a success.
3. The Tomobe Church will find more ways to grow spiritually and numerically.
4. I am considering wanting to stay longer as a missionary rather than becoming a teacher and need to make sure that it is what I need to do. Last night I read about Abraham having a strong faith in God and was rewarded and I feel that as long as I trust in God he will provide the funds I need, however I need to make sure that I am spiritually willing and financially able to do these things.
5. Kimiko's husband may come to know God.
6. Kawasaki san may become more interested in Christianity. (The man I studied with on Tuesday) as well as the woman I started to study with.
7. The woman's husband who comes to special worship may become interested in Christianity and have the desire to become a Christian
8. The guys I go to the ocean with will be more open to Christianity

Saturday, October 8, 2011

One Month Anniversary in Japan!

Good evening everyone!

I hope this letter finds you well and each of you are all doing just fine and dandy. This week has been a pretty good busy week overall and I can't express to you how ready I am to hit the bed and get to sleep tonight. Before I get into detail about the week, I had lots of great experiences this week. I think overall one of my favorite things was to help a person quit smoking tobacco. I won't go into heavy detail about them, however I wanted to express my joy about this first and it being one of my favorite things about the week.

Anyways, overall this week has been the same as any other normal week. I feel like overall, each of you have an idea of what my daily routine is on a weekly basis from the past couple of posts and I don't want to keep giving you the same information to always read. Therefore, I am going to just put things that have been progressing from here on out. I will give you a little information about each day but not near as much.

Sunday-We had our church service in the morning, evening English worship, Japanese worship, and our special worship. During the special worship, the woman who normally comes brought her husband again for the third time.

Monday-We had our normal members Japanese Bible study. I continued to learn many new Japanese words. After the meeting we headed to Hitachi Taga church for a camp meeting which was an encouraging and uplifting time through worship and talking about camp.

Tuesday-I started to have a one on one Bible study with a man who has been coming to Tomobe church for years to learn English. He is a very smart man and I hope that he will continue to be interested in these one on one Bible studies. He retired as a school teacher some time ago where he taught English but never thought he knew it well enough as a teacher so came to the church to know more after he retired. Tuesday night, Toru and I did our normal night of learning more things about the TOEFL and I taught him how to write a 5 paragraph essay. We will see how that goes and hopefully I can teach him to be a better writer. It is amazing so many of the mistakes he makes in English that I learned in my Teaching English as a Foreign Language class called Structures of the English Language. Hopefully I can use the tools I learned from that class to help him.

Wednesday-I went to Ibaraki Christian to start my Bible studies. You may be wondering why in the world am I going to a Christian college to have Bible studies. Well, even though it is a "Christian" college, less than 1% of the students who attend there are actually Christians. There is a chapel service on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, but it is during lunch and students are not required to attend. This is the importance of having Bible studies there. Anyways, I am so excited to see the things God has planned for my work there. In some research I have done lately, it stated that most of the people who become Christians in Japan are college students. The only drawback is keeping them interested in it once they leave college. Due to OC study abroad students coming to Ibaraki Christian this month,Chapel normally grows from about 4 or 5 Japanese people to as as many as 30 Japanese sometimes plus the OC study abroad students when they are there. The OC students also normally have a devo on Wednesday nights. This devo normally draws many Japanese people to come because they enjoy the singing. My goal is try and get to know these students who come on Wednesday night and try to get them to come to a small group I will be starting on Tuesday nights once the OC exchange students leave in November. Therefore for the month of October, I will go to Ibaraki Christian on Wednesday for this purpose but will begin going on Tuesday once they leave. Also while I am there, I will continue to have my English Bible studies. This month, our Bible studies are at weird times but once November starts and I began to go to IC again on Tuesday, I will be able to teach up to as many 8 or 9 students who are wanting to be in the classes and I still have 2 or 3 that want to join them that I will talk to tomorrow at church. It is an exciting time and I am excited to see what God has planned here just as much as I am in Tomobe. As I stated before, October is kind of a crazy month to have all the students, but I was able to have 5 in my classes this week who made time to come for a lil bit since Wednesday is not the best for them. In the pictures below you can see me having a study with one group then I had a one on one study with the girl in the second picture. Her name is Kana and she is interested in both English and the Bible. I am excited to see the plans God has for all these people.

Thursday & Friday-Thursday afternoon, I went and had lunch with some girls who went to OC as exchange students. We had a great time just catching up on life. There is also a chance I may have talked them into coming to the church in November to starting another Enlish/Bible class. However, it won't be able to happen until the OC exchange students leave because they will be busy with them. You can see them in the picture below.

On Thursday and Friday I had my classes with my elementary students as usual and my mentoring with Toru. My elementary kids have a hard time knowing how to pronounce and recognize the letters of the English alphabet so I made a bet with them last week that if they could recognize the letters lower and upper case and pronounce them all quickly and not making one mistake I would give them $10.00. Only one of them attempted to do it and he missed two so I am giving him one more chance next week.
My time with Toru also went great as usual as we studied the book of Ephesians and talked about our daily time with God. It is so encouraging to someone else's view point and the way that look at a verse that you would never think of. I really enjoy my time with Toru and learn a lot from him. On Friday, we took a break and Toru and I watched Evan Almighty so he could practice some of his English in a film and learn some slang. Overall it was hard for him to keep up but we both had a really good time watching it.

This morning, we woke up and went to the church building around 9:00 to clean up the outside of the church because tomorrow we will be having a one year memorial for one of the old members who passed away about a year ago.
The woman's name was Kimiko Usami. Kimiko was a dedicated worker for the Lord and was attending OC so that she could receive a Bible degree. However, a few years ago she was diagnosed with cancer and unable to finish her education. However, one of the OC professors, Dudley Chancey, came to Japan every summer to teach her another Bible class that would help go towards her degree. However, she was unable to finish it. While Kimiko has passed, she was a great influence to many people including myself. I was able to meet her when I came to Japan as an exchange student and her faith in God was just so powerful to me. While Kimiko is gone, there are so many people who have not forgotten how great of a woman she was and will always remember her for her strong purpose. In the picture above, you can see Kimiko and me a couple of years ago when I went to visit her at her house. You can also see Kimiko's husband too. Kimiko's husband was not a Christian but he also did not hold her back too much either from doing the things she wanted to do. As of right now, there is a minster who goes to their house to play a Japanese game with him, however he is not fully giving in.

Prayer Requests:

1. That Toru and I will be able to work together well enough to get him prepared to go to OC and that he will get the funds to go.
2. My Bible studies at Ibaraki Christian will be a success.
3. The Tomobe Church will find more ways to grow spiritually and numerically.
4. I am considering wanting to stay longer as a missionary rather than becoming a teacher and need to make sure that it is what I need to do. Last night I read about Abraham having a strong faith in God and was rewarded and I feel that as long as I trust in God he will provide the funds I need, however I need to make sure that I am spiritually willing and financially able to do these things.
Thank you all for the things you do. Keep praying and keeping in touch with what is going on in your lives. I love each and every one of you. May God bless you all abundantly.
5. Kimiko's husband may come to know God.
6. Kawasaki san may become more interested in Christianity. (The man I studied with on Tuesday)
7. The woman's husband who comes to special worship may become interested in Christianity and have the desire to become a Christian

I want to thank each and every one of you for all you do and if it wasn't for you, I wouldn't be able to partake in this mission God has given me. Thank you all.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Week 3 in JAPAN!


Good Morning Everyone,

I hope you are all doing well and this update finds each and every one of you well. Things here are going great but are beginning to pick up quite a bit which is also great. I must warn you that I have had many problems writing this post with my sentences going off to different paragraphs and I think I got most of it put back together but please excuse any difficulty in trying to read this post.

Last Sunday, we had our curry and rice luncheon. Every fourth Sunday the church has curry and rice together for lunch which is prepared by a different person every month. After lunch a member of the church from Peru played us some music from Peru after we finished eating. After he finished playing, him and I talked for about 2 hours about different things in our lives and got to know each other better. He only knows Spanish and Japanese so I had to use what Spanish I remembered from elementary school and Japanese to speak to him which was kind of interesting but feel like we were able to communicate and understand each other for the most part. Sunday nights service turned into a larger group than normal and led into a great discussion which led to a couple of people being prayed for in wanting a stronger relationship with God. After the service was over, we also had our special service for the woman who has to work and her husband came once again. Overall, last Sunday was very special.

Monday the church had its own Bible study with two people. It was in all Japanese which I am still continuing to try to learn which ended up being more of a time where I learned a lot more useful words than being able to give anything to the Bible study. All in all, it was still a good time to fellowship.

On Tuesday I headed up to Ibaraki Christian to start trying to begin some Bible studies.
I was overwhelmed in a good way to have such a large amount of people interested in wanting to join the classes. At first, I only planned on about 2 or 3 people to join, but by the time I left on Wednesday I had 7 signed up and was informed last night 3 more people are also interested in coming as well. It is so amazing. God is doing such great things in this ministry and I hope it continues to grow. On Tuesday night, I stayed in the same town as Ibaraki Christian and went to onsen with one of my friends and back to IC on Wednesday to go to a meeting about Pac Rim students and to help with some CRASH work.Due to Pac Rim coming to IC next week, we cleaned out the house where CRASH, the relief group, keeps a lot of their supplies. By the way, I will go into detail about Onsen in another post for those of you do not know what it is. It is a public bath that you can find in many places in Japan. It is a lot better than it sounds. After finishing the CRASH work, I came back to Tomobe and had my English class with Toru which went incredibly well where talked about his desire to do ministry.

On Thursday I had my elementary class students first and then Toru and I met again and had his Bible class. To give you some information on Toru, he is an eager senior high school student wanting to do ministry. He is trying to study hard so that he can pass the TOEFL test(The test that proves your are good enough in English to take classes at university level) to go to Oklahoma Christian next year. He wants to go there to major in Bible and Ministry so that he can come back to Japan. Toru is probably the only Christian in his school and does not mind it one bit. He has a strong passion for ministry and hopefully he will pass the TOEFL soon and have enough money to go to Oklahoma Christian next year to get a Bible Degree. Please be praying that I can teach him English well enough that he can pass this test and receive enough money to go to OC next year. Japan needs ministers, and Toru would be a good man for the job.

On Friday, Marlin and I fixed the roof of the garage at the church because the typhoon had blown part of it off. After a long day at work, with work still to do, I held our first youth group activity. At one time, the church had quite a few young people but recently it has dropped significantly. We came to the church and had a devo and sang a few songs together and then went and played pool together. Toru also invited one of his friends which was really awesome. We plan on having an activity every other Friday and hope that we can grow the youth here at Tomobe church more.

On Saturday morning, Marlin and I woke back up and came back to the church to finish fixing the roof which took a few hours. After we finished, I came back home and got ready and went to a church about an hour away for an activity with some of the students I spent time with when I went to Ibaraki Christian and church with when I was an exchange student. There were also a few other people who came as well and it was another great time of fellowship and eating Korean food together.

All in all, things are starting to pick up and I am beginning to get very excited. However, I am looking forward to the plans God has in store for the future. Please be praying for the following things:
1. That Toru and I will be able to work together well enough to get him prepared to go to OC and that he will get the funds to go.
2. My Bible studies at Ibaraki Christian will be a success.
3. The Tomobe Church will find more ways to grow.
4. I am considering wanting to stay longer as a missionary rather than becoming a teacher and need to make sure that it is what I need to do. Last night I read about Abraham having a strong faith in God and was rewarded and I feel that as long as I trust in God he will provide the funds I need, however I need to make sure that I am spiritually willing and financially able to do these things.
Thank you all for the things you do. Keep praying and keeping in touch with what is going on in your lives. I love each and every one of you. May God bless you all abundantly.