I hope all of you are doing well. Well it is Thursday morning at 12:22 A.M. and I am not sure when I will be update you again. It may be another couple of weeks before I wrote you so I thought I would go ahead and stay up late and write this post for you tonight. I was unable to write it this afternoon because I went to take my driving test today. I ended up passing the written test, but failed the driving test. However, I have been told that every foreigner fails 1 or 2 times before he actually passes it. I have only met one person who has passed it on their first time. I wasn't too concerned, and I will be retaking the driving test again next Wednesday. Well quite a bit has happened the past couple of weeks so I will try to keep this as short as possible.
On the 2nd, Toru Hirosawa, the guy who plans to go to OC next year to major in Bible and Ministry turned 18. On the 18th, I took him out to lunch for his birthday. However, what he didn't know was that there was a surprise party for him on Friday. I got his mom to invite all his friends and they all came to the church and I grilled hamburgers for everyone. Overall it was really tasty and Toru was very surprised. If you would like more information about Toru, please let me know. He needs more money so that he can go to Oklahoma Christian next year. Japan desperately needs ministers, especially young ones because so many here are very old. Also, last Saturday Toru took his TOEFL test to see if he could improve his score in order to enter Oklahoma Christian. The last two weeks also consisted of studying with Toru quite a bit so he could do better last Saturday. We studied for about 5 hours two days before his big test. Overall, I think he did very well on the test. We will know more results in the next week or so.
This is Toru!
Toru and his friends!
On Tuesdays and Wednesdays this month, the campus minister at Ibaraki Christian and I started to have Personal Bible Studies with Saki, the girl who wants to be baptized. As of right now, the campus minister, Uzawa san is teaching her basic Bible information. At the end of next week or the following week, I will begin teaching Saki what it means to be baptized and how you should live your life after becoming a Christian. So far, the studies are going very well. However, Saki is very nervous about talking to her dad. Please pray that everything will go smoothly and when she talks to her dad everything will work out. In Japan, younger people have a harder time becoming Christians because of their parents opinion. Please pray that Saki's father will soften his heart and it can all go well. I was also informed this week that I will be the one who will get to baptize her.
On the 6th, we had a lot of the guy English Teachers over at the house so that we could watch the Super Bowl. Although it aired live here in Japan on Monday morning, they replayed it again at night about 8. It was a great time to spend with the English Teachers and good to watch the Super Bowl even though we were unable to see the Super Bowl commercials! Go Giants!
Everyone watching the game!
Last Sunday, we had our monthly church meeting. At the meeting we discussed some of the future things going on at the Tomobe Church. Also during the meeting we discussed getting more people to do worship. I volunteered to lead the worship service every first Sunday of the month. I will have to do a majority of it in Japanese. This will help make me more confident to start preaching when the time comes. I am looking forward to this incredible opportunity. We have also continued to have our Guitar Learning Class before worship on Sundays. While I am far from being good, I am beginning to make some good progress. Of course, we also have worship every Sunday morning that I have been attending.
Last Friday, I had a Mexican party for my students that I study with at Ibaraki Christian. Overall, we had about 10 people show up in all. I made enchilladas, tacos, queso, guacamole, refried beans, rice, hard and soft tacos, quesadillas, and also had chips and salsa. For dessert I also made a sopapilla cheesecake. Many of the students said they felt like they were in Heaven after eating it all. After we ate, we had a Bible study over how even though all that food tasted great, and seemed like we were in Heaven, Heaven is going to be an even better place than the food we ate. Once we finished the Bible study, we did some exercising to burn of all the calories we had eaten.
The guys being crazy on the couch!
Our Bible Study!
Everyone that came minus a few!
Trying to shed all the calories we gained!
This last Monday, the 13th, consisted of my monthly meetings. In the morning, we had our preachers meeting and discussed who could preach at a congregation where one of the ministers died a few weeks ago. After discussing that among relief work topics and camp information, we all had lunch together and actually finished our meeting before lunch for the first time in a long while. Later that night, we headed to Hitachi for our monthly camp meeting. At the meeting we discussed the theme for Spring Camp which I came up with. Working for God with the scripture Colossians 3:23 in mind. Cassie, my girlfriend and I will also be responsible for designing the camp poster by next month.
This was before the camp meeting! The chain was too funny to pass up posting on here!
Overall, my weekly classes have been going well. I have been unable to meet with Masako, the lady I recently began to start reading Genesis with because her daughter just had a baby. She has been very busy staying at home trying to help her daughter so I have not been able to study with her lately. The other lady I study with Setsuko, continues to come every week. However, as I mentioned earlier, she is much more interested in learning English than the Bible. I hope that eventually our studies together will soon begin help her to realize its not all about English. Please pray that her heart will also soften and she can gain fore than English from our studies. I also continue to have my elementary class on Friday nights. Those students are also there for English only and our really crazy. As of now they are not interested either. I hope that I can show them a love and patience that they may want to know more of what Christianity is all about.
As far as my teaching plans, I met with the Mito Board of Education a couple weeks ago. It is not currently official that I have a job yet. Please pray that this all goes smoothly and that the transition for my visa is a smooth process. I have been told sometimes it can be kind of difficult process to go through.
Some of the things that are coming up in the next couple weeks are as followed:
-This week, we have been preparing for an LST group to come. A group from Argentina and America will be coming to Tomobe Church to do a Let's Start Talking mission trip. Let's Start Talking is a program that sends people out all over the world to churches to give free English lessons by using the Bible to teach English! Because of the high demand of English being learned around the world, many people end up coming. Please pray that their trip will be a blessing to the church here and that they can bring more people to the church and help us grow.
-Marlin Ray, the missionary at Tomobe Church will be returning home this summer to take Toru to Oklahoma Christian and go back home to try and raise more support. While he is gone, I will be preaching a time or two every month from June to July. I will be doing this while I am a teacher.
-Once a month, we have been meeting at Toru's house to have a Church Home Bible Study. Although, Toru's mother is a Christian, Toru's father is not. I have talked about him previously coming to church, however he has not been in a while. Pray that these Bible Studies will reach him in some way or another.
-At the end of April or the beginning of May most likely, I have been asked to come speak at the Ochanomizu Church of Christ in Tokyo. Ochanomizu is probably the biggest Church of Christ in Japan ranging from 150-200 most likely. I am looking forward to this incredible opportunity. On the day that I go, there will be a bilingual service for both Japanese and foreigners. They are normally separated on Sunday mornings.
-Due to Ibaraki Christian being on Spring Break, I am going to continue to have my Bible Studies with my students. Starting this Saturday, we will meet in the capital city of Mito at Starbucks and start having Bible Studies there on Saturday mornings.
-I hope to start posting some videos soon!
Well that is all I have for right now. If you have any questions about anything, please don't hesitate to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I would be happy to talk to you more about anything. I love you guys and I thank God for you and your love and support.