Wednesday, October 31, 2012

October Update

Hello Brothers and Sisters,

As I write these messages, I am beginning to feel more and more like Paul. However, I am not in jail yet. However, I do thank God for each of you and what you mean to me if you are taking part in this ministry. Things have started to finally cool down here. It gets so hot here when you don’t have air conditioning in your school. However, it is nice to finally have some cooler weather. 

I would like to start out by stating that things have been very stressful for me lately. I am not taking the stress very well at all and it has led me to become very sick and ill. I am continuing to pray and give it to God, but still trying to fight it at the same time. Please pray that I may regain my strength and health so that I can go back to doing things the way I used to. I would also like to thank the Sand Springs congregation for all their encouragement they have given me through the many cards I have received in the mail here. It is great to hear from those back at home and Cassie and I could not be more grateful for your thoughts and prayers that you send us often from home.  Well in the coming update, I will discuss what things have taken place in October. Like always, a lot has happened, but I will do my best to keep it to a bare minimum.

The month of October has consisted of me having a lot of observations at my school. By a lot, I mean that I have had at least five observations. On the first day of October, nearly 200 people came to my school to watch me teach class. However, I was able to stay calm knowing that my parents had finally arrived in Japan to come visit me. My parents came to Japan on the first week of October. We had a really great time together. We spent time in Hitachi seeing where I went to college at Ibaraki Christian University, Kasama where I used to work full time at Tomobe church before I came full time teacher and part time missionary, Mito which is the capital in Ibaraki where I am a full time teacher, and then went to Tokyo for their final weekend here. I think overall they had a good time after getting past eating raw fish and going to the Japanese public baths. I felt like it was good for them to see me teach, lead worship on the first Sunday, and experience some Japanese culture. I  am glad they were able to come.

                              Cassie and I with my parents in front of Tomobe Church

I have continued to meet with Cassie’s coworker on Tuesday nights. We have been recently discussing how important our lives are and with God they become more important. It has been going really well. I am not sure if I mentioned it before, but he has a Christian wife and also went to Africa for the Japanese Peace Corps. These things have led him to be very interested in Christianity, but he still has a hard time believing. Please pray that my studies will continue to go well with him.

                                                 This is Cassie and I with him. 

In the middle of October, I was blessed with one of the most amazing moments of my time in Japan. One of my good friends, Koichi Sukigara that I made at Ibaraki Christian was baptized. Koichi and I had studied a number of times when I had my Bible studies at Ibaraki Christian last year and also when I came as a student we were always talking about when he was going to become a Christian. I am so happy excited to finally have him as a brother in Christ now. Please pray for Koichi as he starts this path and that he will be a great disciple for Christ and the country of Japan.  After his baptism we went to the public bath together.

                                                               Koichi and I 

After the public bath, we had Eagle Bash in Mito. Eagle Bash is kind of like an annual Oklahoma Christian reunion for people who are graduates of Oklahoma Christian University or went to OC as an exchange student. I was able to me the new OC president, John deSteiguer. I am happy to see that OC elected such a great man that is going to make the school a great place to call “home”.  It was great seeing old friends once again and reuniting with those I had not seen in a long time.

This last month there was a meeting for Hitachi Christian Camp as well as a work day for the camp, but I was unable to make either one of them due to being so stressed and sick. I know at the camp they have been working on paving the roads. There is about to be a lot of things that will be changing at the camp. I believe that the next thing to do will be to rebuild the kitchen and getting it set back up again. I hope that I can make some of the following work days and meetings soon after I get back to good health again.

Along with having many observations, we have also had many things going on at school. At school, I have continued go to baseball practice when I get the time. I have also been responsible for choosing the new members of the percussion section in the brass band who will be joining us in the coming month. Last but not least, we had a school culture festival last Saturday. Each of the grades set up a classroom of their own for people to go inside. One of the grades made a haunted house. It was impressively scary for how many supplies and the budget they were given to make it happen. I have also been very busy with lesson planning at school as well this last month. One of the things we covered in class was American Football and the story of Tsutomu Aragaki ( A True Japanese Story). Tsutomu Aragaki’s parents left him when he was child so he was left in his grandmothers care. However, his grandmother died when he was around the age of 14. He became very down on life because he thought everyone abandoned him. However, he heard some hymns on a radio one day so he went to a church and talked to a minister about it. He then told the minister his life story so the minister took him in and let him live with him and his family. This made Tsutomu Aragaki want to become a minister too. When we went to college, he later decided to become a singer. I say all of that to say that we got to talk about Christianity in a class. It served as a door for me to talk about Christianity a little bit at school.  Also, the story talked about a hymnal and none of the kids had any idea what that was so I got to bring my Japanese one and share it with the class. Some of them read it for quite a while. It was quite a cool experience that I feel God blessed me with. I also got to talk about American Football in my other class. It was cool to talk about two topics that mean a lot to me that my kids didn’t know anything about.

Well that is all for the month of October. Please pray for me and the things that I have requested above, especially for my stress. I am tired of feeling the way I do. May God Bless You all.