This is one of a series of emails I sent while preparing and living overseas in Japan, from April 2008 to April 2009. They are mostly for my own benefit, but also for anyone who may care to read them. Enjoy 🙂
Well, it’s been a week since I’ve sent out an update by email, so I thought I better get one out to you all. Yes, I’m still alive and loving it out here. I haven’t had any culture shock, although the reality of what a year means, and halfway around the world, sunk in this week more than any other since I’ve been here. It brought pretty much a day of heartache, but I have the peace of God that He knows what He’s doing and why I had to be separated from you all for the next year.
After International Cafe, I have felt much more at ease with my teammates and with my Japanese. I’m actually starting to remember the names and faces I thought I never could! Ha. 🙂 I feel more comfortable in my classes and with lesson planning, so things all around are just going great. I haven’t explored any new restaurants yet, but Samantha and I are planning an excursion this afternoon for lunch and a haircut (for her…I’m not that brave yet!). There’s a whole in the wall restaurant just a block down from the Center called Brasserie Quixote…a strange mix of language in Japan, but I have always loved the story of Don Quixote, the Man of La Mancha, so it’s been my desire to go for some time now. I’ll post the results in my blog. 🙂
On other notes, Pastor Tony is on a month-ish long retreat through the US, speaking at Liberty University and a couple of churches, and then going to his parents’ 50th wedding anniversary in…Montana, I believe. Please pray for him and his son Titus and the handful of Japanese church members who are with them. On another pastor note, PT, I was able to bring up your sermons on the computer in the main office! No worries, I will still be able to learn about the Beatitudes! Heh. It was great to hear something from home, I really enjoyed listening to the past few weeks, it made me feel like I was almost back at *FBC.
Yesterday, I had both my best class and my worst class. The best class, my Super Kids 1 class, is made up of 4 1st grade boys and 1 girl. They are so great! I just want to eat them up whenever they’re in class. Yesterday, I was trying to get them to understand “Stop!” I made a motion with my hands, moving down and out from my body at my sides. Without even blinking, Hayato made the same motion and yelled out, “SAFE!” From then on…whenever they finished something…be it the stack of cards to learn numbers, or the cards to learn colors, or even coloring the crayons on the pages…they all yelled out “SAFE!” It was the most amazing thing I had seen in a while. My other class…my Super Kids 2 (aka Super Demons), finally caught on to the whole potato chip rewards system. As promised, they only received one potato chip each this week…and they were so distraught over it, the played Rock Paper Scissors to decide who ate their chip first. With the goal of a whole bag of chips for next week, they were absolutely perfect. Playing Hangman with them was another story…we’ll have to work on that concept.
Yesterday I looked up Shimonoseki on Wikipedia and was sad to see that they only list about 10 notable sites for the region. There is so much more to do around here than just go to the Wharf, the Aquarium, the Kaiko Messe Tower, Castletown and the Akama Shrine. Me being the easily amused person I am can think of dozens of great things for the city. I was sad. It would be like saying the joys of Cincinnati are restricted to Newport, the Great American Ballpark, the Zoo, and the Museum of Natural History.
On my way to church today for my Saturday morning class…I passed an elderly woman with blue hair. Like she had taken a blue marker and run it all through her hair. I’m learning so much here! 🙂 Keep me in your prayers, this ministry, and the leadership here. There are some amazing people here and I’m so glad that I get to work with them for the next year. Also, you could start praying now for God to raise up English teachers for the Center. After July, I’ll be the only one truly on staff…and then someone else should be coming later on, but it’ll be tight. Pray about it, maybe God is asking YOU to come out here. (It should be a single lady…as long as I’m living at the Center…but after I’m gone, it can be two single guys.) Regardless…if you ask, they are sure to be willing to work with you. I appreciate your prayers and your emails. They are a joy in my week. God bless ya!