I hope everyone is doing well. I pray for all of you back at home daily and pray that the Lord has been each of you richly in the way you have blessed me.
The past couple of weeks have been great. Most of all it has been going about the same routine. I have continued to have my classes with all of my students. Altogether I currently have about 20 students and about 8 classes every week.
For those of you who didn't know, I will become an English teacher starting in April rather than missionary. After April, I will no longer have the support to stay. Therefore I recently started to prepare for that. I had a health check up a couple weeks ago on Friday and so far I am still in good and excellent condition. I was also able to figure out my blood type! In Japan, it is a big deal to know your blood type because it determines your personality. I ended up being type O which means I am a agreeable, sociable, and optimistic. However, my worst traits are that I am rude, jealous, vain an arrogant according to the blood type traits. Below is a picture of the city flag, the country flag of Japan, and the prefecture flag (a prefecture is like a state). I took this when taking care of stuff at the city hall.
On the 22nd, Cassie and I went to visit Omika Church of Christ, the church I used to attend when I was an exchange student. Afterwards there was a potluck and we did some singing with a few of the young people. You can see a couple of them in the picture below. The one on the far right is Saki, the girl who is interested in becoming baptized and the girl to my right is Maki. Maki is also not a Christian yet. I hope that she can become one soon. Maki recently just graduated from Ibaraki Christian. I went to school with her when I was an exchange student there.
On the 23rd, Cassie and I went to dinner with one of my students named Setsuko. Setsuko is very hard to teach the Bible too. She is more interested in the English aspect rather than the Bible aspect. After dinner, I had to return home because we got our first snowfall for the year. The pictures below are a couple pictures I took the next morning while walking.
For those of you who have been praying for Saki, I appreciate it. I have not been able to study with Saki the past couple of weeks because she has had final exams and reports to write for college. However, starting next Tuesday, the campus minister and I will have Bible studies with her for the month of February over baptism and what it means to be a Christian. Pray that these studies will be a success and that Saki's dad will allow for her to be a Christian. While it is not illegal in Japan to be a Christian, people look at it as very strange. Pray that this will all go smoothly and Saki can be a Christian soon. Once again you can see her picture above on the far right.
In one of my other classes, I am studying with a lady named Masako. Masako is the lady who believes that the Christian God created the Earth, but also that everything around us is a God. I think I may have come to the point where she sees how there can not be a Christian God and everything being a God. Last week, she decided she wanted to start from the beginning of the Bible to learn more about the Christian God. I feel like I am making some progress, but still have a long way to go! Please pray that Masako's heart will open up and that she will believe in the ONE and ONLY God!
Recently, another one of my friends said that he wanted to be a Christian so that he could be one of the big leaders of Ibaraki Christian one day. He thought that all the leaders had to be Christian. While that is not the case, it is the case for a couple of the positions only. However, I told him that also meant being a real Christian and not just a Christian to be leader. After a while we got to where he said he was interested in studying the Bible. It blew me out of the water. He is one of the last people I would ever expect to want to study the Bible. I will leave his name unknown for now, but please pray that I could also reach to my friend as well.
Last week, another one of my students who comes to my Bible studies at the college, spoke in chapel. I normally do not go to the school on Wednesday, but I decided last week would be a good idea to go and support him. He talked about how he really wanted to go to a big school in Tokyo but ended up at a Christian university. Before college, he was not a Christian or interested in Christianity. Since going to Ibaraki Christian, he has become interested in Christianity however. His speech talked about his plan and then God's plan for him. It was really well done. While Naoi is not a Christian, I hope that someday enough people can help him become one. Please pray that Naoi will also become a Christian soon and that people can say the right things to him to make him want to become a Christian.
Last night, I had a couple of the same guys and one new guy come over to the house again so that I could make them biscuits and gravy and eggs for breakfast. This is not in any way close to a Japanese breakfast. Most of the time a Japanese breakfast consist of fish, rice, nattou (fermitted soy beans) and tofu. Sounds healthy right? It probably is about 10 times more healthy than the biscuits and gravy we had this morning for breakfast. Last night we had dinner together as well before they came over and also went shopping for a little while at a used store.
I have also finally decided to give in and get a car. I really was not wanting one but it seems to becoming more of a necessity at times. After I become a teacher, it will be useful for a lot of things. I got the car for free but I am going to have to pay about $1500 for the every two year car inspection Japan requires on most cars. However, I am just thankful I will have a car. I have recently started to study for the driving test. You can see a picture of the car below. The car is a 2002 Toyota Raum
Well that is about all for now. I will update again here in a few weeks. I pray that this reaches each of you. If you have any questions, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org anytime. I would love to hear from you!