Hope you are all doing well! Things are going pretty well here! There is quite a bit to tell so I am going to go ahead and get with it.
For the past month we have had a LST team here with us. They have been averaging about 35-40 English Bible Studies every week. A couple of weeks ago during their off day, we went and spent some time with the a couple of the people they have been studying with. We ended up having Tenpura which is like a fried fish and fried vegetables. You can see a picture of what it looks like below. This is one of the LST readers named Maria Laura. She got the Sky Tree Tenpura. Sky Tree is the new tower that is being built in Tokyo now to make the tallest tower in the world!
Maria and her Tenpura Sky Tower
A couple of pics with the LST team in Ibaraki
On the 3rd, Cassie and I held a Spring Sing party for all the old exchange students and people who love OC at Cassie's Apartment. We had a few people show up. In the picture below you can see the two girls who came earlier with Cassie and me. After the party was over, we returned to Tomobe to have one of LST's weekly parties. On the 3rd we had an American Breakfast Party. We had pancakes and sausage. Japanese people normally eat fish and rice for breakfast. These parties are used as an outreach to have fun and show that Christians can also have a good time as well. Altogether there were 25 to 30 of us.
Spring SIng Watch Party!
As of this month, every first Sunday of the month I am responsible for leading worship. For some people this may seem difficult enough just to lead worship. However, I also had to lead it in all Japanese. While my Japanese is not horrible, I have still have yet to improve a whole lot more. However, I lead a prayer, did communion and contribution, led singing, and gave the announcements all in Japanese! I am not sure how I did but I got an applause afterwards so I guess I did alright. After worship we had our monthly church meeting in the afternoon and then guitar class later that night along with evening worship. Because part of the LST team is from Argentina and one of their friends came to visit the church from Argentina and he only knows Spanish, we ended up having a trilingual service. Also, to my surprise, one of the students I had been studying with at the college, who lives an hour away by car also ended up coming to worship. He not only came on the 4th at night but also on the 11th, this last Sunday. This last Sunday marked the tragedy for the one year anniversary since last year's big earthquake. I wanted so bad to be a part of a group that might have done something that day. However, I ended up staying home sick. Please continue to pray for all the family and victims and the troubles some of them are still having!
The following Monday, I decided to go to eat lunch with the student who came to church on Sunday. We had curry together and I talked with him some about why is not a Christian yet if he believes in God. He was telling me that he is responsible for the family grave which is Buddhist. While he still believes, he has a long way to go. Please pray that he can find a way to explain to his family that this is not necessary for him. Also this last Monday we had our monthly preachers meeting and camp meeting. Cassie and I also presented our design for the poster for this spring's camp. When I returned from the camp meeting, I had the surprise and pleasure to see a guy I studied the Bible with at Ibaraki Christian a few years ago. I have been trying to get in touch with him to start studying again since I arrived, but he always told me he was too busy. However, I am hoping after some talking that we had this last week and spending some time together that we can get back to studying again. Please pray that this person can see that God wants what is best for him and that he keeps looking towards the right path. His name is Keiichi!
Keiichi and Me!
On Mondays I have continued to attend the church Bible classes. As of now, we are studying the book of John. Also on Mondays, I study with Masako. Last week Masako and I talked about how the reason we have many races and languages is because of the Tower of Babel. This week we talked about Cain and Abel. While I am not sure how she is starting to feel, she has been very open about talking about being a Christian. Please pray that Masako's heart can be changed and that she wants to know more about the gospel.
This last Tuesday, Cassie and I went to have dinner with a girl who went to OC as an exchange student for the past 8 months. We had a really good time and got some good Italian Food.
For the most part, Tuesdays and Wednesdays have been slow recently because Saki (The girl I hope to baptize) returned home. As of right now, I have not heard from Saki as to whether she has talked to her dad or not if she can be baptized. Please pray that God will help her with the confidence to as her dad and that he will be understanding and allow for me to baptize her.
Lately, things with Toru have been crazy. Toru has had many people to spend a lot of time with so we have not got to study as much lately. As of right now, Toru will go to OC in June. Please pray that Toru will get the funds to be able to attend college there. Right now, things are quite tight with him going. Please pray that God blesses this effort.
On Thursdays I have not been able to study with Setsuko because she has been having problems with her shoulders. The other lady, Hiromi,whom I have been studying with has also began to have a hard time wanting to come. Please pray that they can regain health.
On Fridays, I have been able to finally begin to study with another lady after the church cooking class is over. However, she is not a Christian. The first week she was begging to not study the Bible with me. Nevertheless, this week we were able to get some talking about Christianity in rather than only speaking English. Last week I also promised my elementary class that if they averaged a 70% on their test that we would play games the entire last class period and I would get them cake. After taking a book comprehensive final, most of of them got High B's and Low C's. Therefore we will have a fun class with games and food this Friday. Last Friday after my elementary class was over we had a youth group activity and went to play pool. Over all we had quite a group come opposed to the small group of 4 we had on our first youth group activity night of playing pool.
Having a Devo before Pool!
Last Saturday, we had another LST party and had cookies and tea/milk. Overall there was quite a group that came. Everyone enjoyed playing cards and eating cookies. However, I ended up getting a stomach ache and ended up not being able to participate. By the looks of everyones faces, it looked like everyone had a good time.
In other news, today will be my last day of classes at the church. My contract with the schools in Mito will begin on April 1st therefore I will move to Mito on April 2nd. I will use the next couple weeks to relax and begin packing to move from Kasama to Mito which is about 45 minutes away by car. I will also be able to get my car on the 31st of this month. Last but not least and MOST IMPORTANT, I asked Cassie, to marry me yesterday. We will be getting married December 29th this year in Oklahoma City. As of right now, LIFE IS GOOD! I hope to keep you updated when I can as a teacher but it won't be near as frequent. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to email me. May God Bless each of you! Thank you all for your support and prayers you have given me during my time as a missionary. I pray that I can be an effective vocational missionary once I began teaching. Thank you all once again.
Cassie said Yes after asking her to marry me and reading 1 Corinthians 13