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.

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