Monday, September 26, 2011

Second Week in Japan

Hello Friends and Family,

I hope that each and every one of you are all doing well. I thank God for each of you every day and the blessing you have been for me in supporting me in this journey as a missionary. I can not express to you enough, how thankful I really am.

Well to start out the week last week, we went about our busy Sunday. On Sunday, we have four different services. The first one involves the normal Sunday morning service. However, Sunday night, we have an English service, a Japanese service, and then a special service for one of the members because she has to work. The best part of the entire service last Sunday was the special service. In Japan, work is very important. Therefore it is hard for some people to get off work and go to church on Sunday's. However, this woman makes time after her long day at work to come have a small service. The best part of last week was that it was her husbands 50th birthday and he decided to come with her. While he is not a Christian, it was great to have him come to visit.

Monday came and it was my first holiday in Japan. The holiday was pretty much Old People's day in a round about way. I spent a majority of the day talking with my family and friends back in the states. It was nice and try to catch up on rest too since I had a very busy week for my first week. I was even able to get a lil American football in when I didn't think I was going to get any at all.
Dallas vs. San Francisco Game

As Tuesday came, we went about our usual business teaching classes. However, I had made plans to go visit Ibaraki Christian on Wednesday to go and get a schedule worked out at the college and to see some old connections. However, we were hit with a huge typhoon that came in. While it was a strong typhoon, the only damage that caused any problems was part of the roof coming off the garage at the church which is made with plastic and will be a minor fix to repair. After the crazy typhoon had passed, we were also hit with a 5.3 earthquake. Not too big, but big enough to cause some things to move. After we had our morning class and lunch with our only student that showed up, we went home for the day which became like another holiday because no one likes to get out in typhoons. Once Thursday arrived, I was able to go to chapel at Ibaraki Christian the next day and take care of the plans I had made for Wednesday and get back in time for my night classes. During my Thursday night class, I teach an elementary school student class and a mentor class for a high school student who is trying to go to OC next year as student to get his ministry degree. This is extremely uncommon for people his age to be a Christian yet alone having the desire to be a minister. I will get a picture with him soon and tell you more of his story.

On Friday, it was the Autumn equinox which is a Buddhist holiday which also means that we got another holiday. During Friday, I spent the time with one of my old friends from America who is originally from Ethiopia but was adopted in his teenage years. He was once a Muslim but now a very devout Christian and a huge encouragement to be around. We were able to spend some time together through encouragement and prayer. During the night, we went with his wife and friends from Mito church who has been working with some girls from Fukashima who were hit when the tsunami and earthquake occurred in March. While I am not sure of their entire story, we had a great time together. I was also asked but one of women if I would be willing to study the Bible with her because she is interested in knowing more even though she is a Christian. I am also looking forward to helping follow up on this interest.

Spending time with Allen

Going to Dinner with Allen and Friends

On Saturday, we spent another pretty slow day relaxing for the most part and enjoying the weekend. Overall, the week was pretty slow and a lot of down time due to the typhoon and two holidays we had including a Saturday. It was kind of nice so that I could really get back up on my feet and kind of overcome some of the leftover jet lag I was facing from the week before. It has also been good for me so far this week as I am fully rested and ready to go.

Well thats all I have for this week. I will be back next week with another blog with many more exciting things that I have been working to try and get going. I hope to share more of this with you next week after I have been working on it for a few days. Thank you all for all you do.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

First Week in Japan


Hello Friends and Family and Supporters. It has been an extremely long time since I have been able to get back with you. In fact the last time was probably right after I received my visa probably. Well now that I have finally arrived,I will be using this site to give you an update about my life in Japan. I hope that it will be useful to you in knowing the work I will be doing here in Japan.

It all started about 10 in the morning on September 8th, I left my parents at the Tulsa International Airport. While my mom was really crying, what she doesn't know is that it was about to come out of me butI was really trying to stay strong. I was about to start though too. Anyways, after a flight from Tulsa to Denver, Denver to Los Angeles, and Los Angeles toTokyo, I finally made it to about 21 hours later. When I arrived in Japan, I had 5 of some of my greatest Japanese friends that I have made over the years through the IC and OC exchange program waiting for me. They were even kind enough to take me out for sushi and to Coco's restaurant for pizza. These are probably two of my favorite restaurants in Japan and I was already starting out living my life in Japan on Cloud 9.

Although I arrived in Japan Friday night, I was already ready to go to work on Saturday morning. I woke up on Saturday morning and decided I would go with the Crash Japan group to the north where the tsunami and earthquake caused a lot of damage. It was amazing and devastating how much this disaster had caused. There were some children there who were balding already because of the stress that this had caused on their lives. There were also many other children who were sick with various problems. It was extremely sad to see what these people were going through. While I was there, we passed out free food for the community as well as giving them supplies they could use such as laundry detergent, toilet paper, paper tow
els, soap, and those kinds of things. There were quite a bit of people that ended up showing up and it was great to see some smiling faceson these people.

You can see tsunami damage inside.(Many places looked like this) You can also see here where the entire block was probably filled with houses but are gone due to the disaster.

People getting cleaning supplies and preparing food to give to people

On Sunday, I spent my first Sunday in worship. The church has about 30 members at the most but only about 15 that come every Sunday. After morning worship we had a pot luck for me.
We then spent the afternoon at the church planning what my week would entail. After that we had an English worship service at 5:00 and another Japanese worship at 7:00.
Tomobe Church Building

Once Monday morning arrived, I had yet another busy day ahead of me. I spent the morning going to the Ibaraki (which is like a state) Preacher's Meeting with all the preachers of the Church of Christ in Ibaraki. These are generally held on the second Monday of every month. While we were there one of the ministers from the church I attended noticed I was there and decided to sing the first song I led in Japanese when I was an exchange student as the song they sang for the meeting because it was my first one. The first part of the meeting was encouragement through prayer, scripture and song and then the last part of it discussing future events that will be occurring through each of our congregations and throughout Japan within the church. After we finished the meeting, We all had a meal that was prepared by the congregation we held the meeting in. After the meeting was over, we had to then head home to prepare for our Hitachi Christian Camp meeting. During this meeting we discussed what all the people who ran camp thought what was good about camp and what things needed to be better. While I was unable to go, I was able to give some input based on when I was an exchange student. We ended up eating pizza and it was a great time for fellowship with some people I had not seen in a while.
Ibaraki Preachers Meeting & Hitachi Christian Camp Meeting

I spent the rest of my week watching Marlin and Jeanne (The missionary I am working with and his wife) teach their School of Life classes. In fact, I ended up teaching one on the fly because Marlin had a last minute meeting come up that he had to atten
d. The School of Life classes are English classes that are offered at the church building. Everyone who comes is expected to pay a small fee for books and for the electric bills at the church. This low cost helps people become more interested in coming because it is a much lower cost than any of the other English schools around town. However, as part of it being such a low price, the people also get a 30 minute Bible study at the end of each class. Some of the Bible studies are all Japanese for beginners. While some of them may not be interested in the Bible yet, they are interested in having a Bible study enough that they do not have to pay the higher price of a regular English school. These classes normally last Monday through Friday and can occur anytime from 9:00 in the morning until 10:00 at night. This helps make it convenient for people to come based off of their schedule. On average, each class has about 2-5 people and there are about 10 classes all together. Nearly everyone that comes is also not a christian.

After spending my week watching Marlin and Jeanne teach there classes and teaching a couple
myself, I spent a couple of nights this week hanging out with some old friends of mine. One of these friends of mine is that I hung out with is named Aguri as you can see in the picture. Aguri loves to ride motorcycles and he knows that I loves to ride motorcycles. Therefore every time we get together, we like to race motorcycles at the arcade place. Aguri became a Christian a few years ago but has a hard time being active in the church and doesn't attend very regularly. I am hoping that I can get him involved again very soon.

On Saturday, I went with Marlin and Yasuki, another member of Tomobe church who is about to probably go to preaching school to a cemetery to fix the Tomobe Church Family grave. In Japan, funerals are usually a big deal and are often held in the form of a Buddhist funeral. Bodies are also cremated as well. Most people are generally buried with their family but several years ago, Tomobe church decided to make a church family one. Since that time in 1993, 3 members of the church have been buried there. However, most likely due to the earthquake, the inside of it was being filled with water. Marlin, Yasuki and I went to fix it on Saturday and then came back to the church to help the ladies finish cleaning up the outside of the church building.
Trying to fix the Tomobe Church Grave to keep it from leaking

Well, I know this was a lot of information, but I wanted to give you an idea of how my first week has gone. It has been extremely busy and I have a lot more busy things coming up in the near future. I hope from here on out that I can keep it to more of a minimum but I felt like most of these things were important to share with you. If you have any questions about anything, please don't hesitate to email me at and I would be happy to answer any of your questions. I thank God for each and every one of you when I pray and sharing with me in this mission. May God bless each and every one of you.