When in Paradise . . .

This past weekend Fuse Jesus Community to a trip to the beach! We all stayed at a YMCA beach camp and had a great time. Upwards of 20 people went, all with a strong desire for unity, fun and a better understanding of Christianity.

Some of Fuse at the Beach

Some of Fuse at the Beach

We went Friday and had a great time riding the train. Some people went by car, but as you can see, we train riders had a

Riding the train

Riding the train

great time. I got a chance to speak with one of our youngest members. He is becoming very  with the church and his mother is an amazing woman of God. It such a blessing to have this family be apart of our church. This young man doesn’t have a very strong father figure in his life, but I feel the men in our church are providing him with that. It is such a wonderful opportunity we have, and a fun one on the beach.

We had dinner together there and did some rock jumping. I’ll have you know I didn’t jump from anywhere too high, but I did have a go at it. It was great just being with everyone and laughing. We played card games, told stories and just got to know each other better. It really helps to

Card Games

Card Games

build the unity of the church.

We also did devotions on the trip. I was encouraged by the discussions held by everyone. Even our non-Christian friends were asking good questions and really analyzing the Bible. So wonderful!! Many people in the church are really starting to feel connected and current members are getting passionate. I’m excited for everything happening here.

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Worship on the Beach

I am also happy to call these people family. Through all the tough things going on back home, I always have a shoulder to cry on or someone to pray with me. I’m beginning to feel at home here, and I couldn’t imagine doing anything else with my life right now. I won’t lie, I’m hurt from all the bad news I’ve received from home, but I’m trusting God and His plan for my life in Japan.

I’ve been encouraged by Psalms 146. Today I’m just reading it over and over, praising God for his goodness and believing in His promises. I know He can care for my family too. If I’m needed I’ll go home, for a time, because I won’t abandoned Japan either. I’m committed to what God asked me to do.

~*~*~*~Prayer Requests~*~*~*~*

-First thank God for all the good that has been happening at Fuse. Woot! Woot!

-For my family to have strength during this tough time. That God will show Himself to my brother and will strengthen my mom and sister. Also to encourage me.

-For one of my friends here. He mother is very sick and losing a lot of weight. My friend took her mother to the hospital this morning. Pray for healing and the Spirit to comfort my friend.

If It Ain’t Good . . .

So, a lot has happened in the last couple of weeks; well months actually, sorry about that. But let’s start off by saying God is good.

My Awesome Japanese teacher!

My Awesome Japanese teacher!

Can I now say ‘thank you’ to everyone who helped my family while mom was injured.

THANK YOU!!!!!

My mind has been racing a hundred miles an hour, and though I know my blog is suppose to be intended to talk about my experiences in Japan, I think I need to share this. God is good. And I don’t mean rainbows and flowers and hugs for all good; I mean a God kind of good.

Now that I’ve been home and I heard the whole story with what happened to my mom, I think it has finally sunk in that she should be dead. By all accounts, mom should be dead. In fact, she had two opportunities to die during this whole incident. One in the accident itself and once with the allergic reaction to the medicine. Mom of course didn’t tell me everything ’cause she didn’t want me to worry, and you know what, why should I have been. It was the grace of God that saved her life both those times.

God wasn’t the one who drop a pallet on my mother. He didn’t do it, He didn’t allow it, and He sure as heck isn’t trying to teach my family something through it. Otherwise Jesus is a liar in John 10:10; God is an Indian-giver of free will as God gave us this world and we handed it over to Satan and chose death in the garden, which is not implied in John 14:30 (if God took away our decision to have evil in our lives, then we don’t have free will);  and the Father is a child abusers clearly not seen in Matthew 12:22-30. My God. Is. Good. James 1:17.

Why would God waste so much of the Bible if this fact wasn’t true? Why would there be Psalms on top of Prophecies on top of healings, miracles, signs, teachings and stories about God’s goodness if He didn’t want us to have it. Why lie to us so much that He’s good? Why bother to be our help in times of trouble or walk with us through the valley of darkness if it’s His will that we suffer through it? In that case we should all stop praying.

With my mom being in and out of the hospital like that, I promise you, I would have lost heart if I didn’t believe that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living (Psalms 27:13).

My God, is good.

The day before I left for Japan Bro. Wiley shared Psalms 91 as he prayed for me. Having him pray for me meant a lot, having him pass away while I was overseas hurt a lot. At first I felt a little numb, and then I spoke to God saying, “If anyone should have been healed, it was Bro. Wiley.” Clearly there was some mistake.

I started crying and it hit me, the last place I wanted to be was anywhere away from the presence of God. I wanted to go home; home being my church family at Family Worship Center. The next day I was on a plane home. I never questioned God’s goodness, after all I had seen my God do, after all I knew of Him, I knew that He was still good.

Cancer is not good, so it’s not of God. Early death is not good, so it’s not God. But Bro. Wiley has the victory right now; he’s in God’s presence. Just because one person wasn’t healed the way I wanted doesn’t mean God became less good.

My enemies the world, the flesh and the devil are working to destroy Christians. The devil may have taken a natural life, but he’s too late to stop the impact God had on people through Bro. Wiley. In fact, God was able to take what Satan meant for destruction and turned it into something good like in Romans 8:28 ( a verse I will never misquote saying, “God let that happen so He could do a greater work.” NO! It happened, but God is bigger than the situations around us).

Jesus said we are not greater than our master. Our Master didn’t die of cancer, He died from persecution. And even then God raised Him from the dead. Bad things happened to all of us, I know that, but we have to stop blaming God. God is for us (Romans 8:31) why would He then stand against us!? We as a church, the whole church Fuse, FWC, every church, need to stop believing the comfortable lie that God is just doing whatever He ‘wills,’ and start believing the Truth that God told us we are fighting against the powers of darkness (Ephesians 6:12 ). We are actually fighting! Which involves a lot of hurt that is not being caused by our leader, but by the enemy.

I’m sorry if I’ve offended anyone, but the armor of God comes with a sword. When I read my Bible, I find a good (merciful, righteous, justly, holy, powerful, everlasting, ever-present, long-suffering, comforting, compassionate, kingly, perfect) God. We need to use that sword to cut away the lies.

Remember also, God said He will correct us through His Word (2 Timothy 3:16 ), not through sickness, death, poverty or the like. I know I need to keep working that God is good into my spirit. Satan is working over time to take that from me, but you know what, I’ve got a good sword to deal with that lie.

Thank you Jesus for saving my mom and for giving Bro. Wiley the victory of being with You. Thank you Jesus for always being for me. And I need you so much just to keep living. You make this all worth while!

~*~*~*~*~*~*Prayer/Praise Requests ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Just be thankin’ God that Fuse is going to catch fire with God’s truth. We are going to let the Spirit guide us, counsel us and strengthen us. We are not going to back down from Truth or from what is right, even if that is really hard to do. That every person who comes through our doors will be blessed regardless of whether they stay or not. And it can be said, “It was good to be in the house of the Lord!”

Praise God mom is well!

There are a lot of members to Fuse and the Noborito church who are drawing closer to God, just continue to pray for their eyes of understanding to be opened.

And last, pray that I can keep my focus on God. With everything that’s been happening, I’ve easily allowed my happiness to be drawn from a job well done or from another Japanese person coming to church instead of drawing from Jesus. I also draw too much happiness from those around me. Pray that I keep Jesus the center of my heart and not good works.

~*~*~*~Pictures~*~*~*~*

Sorry there are so few, I think my facebook page has more for you my good friends. :)

Kara, Go and I out to see the fireworks after church.

Kara, Go and I out to see the fireworks after church.

Lily, G and Go-chan, dear friends of mine!

Lily, G and Go-chan, dear friends of mine!

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My good friend G and I posing.

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Lily is great!

Na-chan and G posing on a hike.

Na-chan and G posing on a hike.

It’s No Wonder

Life is good. Sorry for taking so long to update. I’ve been a bit busy with classes and moving.

All I know is God really thinks things through. Every time I turn around I’m being blessed by these wonderful people God’s surrounded me with. From food, to a bike, a phone, manga shopping, lessons for classes, shoulder napping, directions, hugs, advice, patience, encouragement, reminders to take it slow for my first weeks in a new country with a new way of life, Japanese lessons, English lessons, company while waiting for immigration, piano lessons, a cheap place to stay, coats and jackets, killing spiders for me, giving me lessons on using a gas stove without laughing at my screaming, video tutorials on daily life, car rides, prayer . . . I’m undone by the sheer love God surrounded me with.

And in all my “epic greatness” I am deeply hurt that I can’t personally thank them enough. There is nothing I can give these people to express what a blessing they’ve been to me. Nor do I think words can do proper justice to how much I treasure these people; I feel loved and safe here, which is more than I deserve.

So my job with the kindergarten is amazing. I love working with the 4 kids we have. They are so sweet and smart. I help assist teacher Yisel to teach, what I consider, an American kindergarten curriculum in English. The kids know their English and boy do they love to chat. Best of all, we get to teach the children about the Bible. Each week they memorize a Bible verse and currently are learning about how God created the world. Such a wonderful opportunity to give these kids a foundation in the Word.

One of our students’ parents are Buddhist. I was shocked during the orientation when they questioned Yisel about the school being Christian. (I would have guested they would have known). Yisel handled it well explaining the school was Christian and if they chose to keep their child in the school she would learn from the Bible. They seemed okay with that and are continuing the program.

Tuesdays and Thursdays I work in the after school program (to which the kids are becoming more behaved). I’m beginning to put lesson plans together along with teacher Kara. Great opportunity, but tiring all the same. I always feel like the after school kids get the leftovers of my brain power.

I got my residence card some Friday again. I can now legally work and rent property in Japan. Which is good since I have 5 jobs and an apartment (Which I’ll explain more in a bit). So it was my first time in the Immigration Office, but it felt a lot like being in the DMV office. A lot of people coming in and few going out; all just waiting for their number to be called. It was boring, but great to have done.

However, while I was getting my forms from Pastor Tim to take to the office, we started talking about my planning to move to an apartment with church member Midori. So I expressed that I was planning to move in with her and Pastor Tim asked about my support from home. Well, I thought I was only going to be a volunteer for the first 5 months and then the church would be able to pay me for my work. Nope.

I was to be working as a volunteer for the entire school year. I hadn’t been counting on that, and I have to say I felt a little sick in that moment. My budgeting system of a $1000 a month just drop to $500 a month (rent being $300 a month). I have no plans of backing out of what I said I would do. I chose in that moment to trust God would pay for everything through the other 3 jobs I had at the time. Had being the key word here.

That Friday night I learned from one of the secretaries that my Sunday morning class had been canceled. Luckily the child will be taking a different class with one of the other Fuse members who needs money, but for me it wasn’t very comforting to hear.

So that Saturday Fuse had a leadership retreat in the mountains to which I wasn’t expecting to have to pay for, but went based on my decision to trust God. We talked about the vision of Fuse, the Holy Spirit and what God is trying to do in Japan. I had been praying for just such a meeting since my first time to Japan. It was indescribable, it was the boost I needed after a rough week. Praise God for it!

A group of us at the leadership retreat.

A group of us at the leadership retreat.

I’m super excited to see where Fuse will be going from here. God is doing amazing things to which I’m only beginning to see. So, to add to how cool God is, I was able to pick up a few more teaching jobs, all of which I like, and the kindergarten is able to pay me $100 a month. All included I’m pretty much able to support myself for the year. I will still need to budget wisely, but hopefully this time next year I’ll have a full time teaching job. Woot!

~*~*~*~*Prayer Requests~*~*~*~*~*

-Please pray for one of my kindergarten students. She was in the hospital last week due to an infection in her kidneys. She is recovering, but pray for her all the same. She is the daughter of the two Buddhist parents; so pray for their salvation too.

-N. Korea has been making continued threats against Japan and U.S. bases here. I want to say that I am not too worried about it as it would be a rather dumb move for N. Korea to bomb Japan, however, I’m not stupid enough to ignore it. We even have 48 hour safety kits for our kindergarteners in the event Yokahama or Tokyo do get bombed. (Almost like a hurricane kit only factoring in radiation) Please pray for their government, that they would find Christ.

-There are several needs among the Fuse community. Please pray for health for every member, myself included. Finances, as Tokyo is a VERY expensive area to live in and support money can quickly be spent on rent, trains and other daily needs; especially when you’re trying to work and be a missionary at the same time. Pray for our leadership and for a continued move of the Holy Spirit. And pray for the members of our church who are considering becoming Christian.

Week One

Hello everyone, I hope this post finds you well! It has been a very busy first week back in Japan, but also an amazing one. I think I can safely say I am over jet lag and I’m adjusting well to everything.

Wednesday was my first real day in Japan and I spent most of it relaying my trip over. I got to meet many of the new Fuse team members (all of which are amazing). I was greeted warmly by everyone! I went to my first Cell Group that night and had a great time worshiping God and getting to know more people. Cell groups are what Fuse calls the house meetings where small groups of church members and friends meet each week. Here members build community and work on one on one discipleship as followed in the Model of Apostolic Discipleship.

The purpose of the cell group is to help build strong community as well as help new members (Christian or not) feel welcomed into the church. The group gives everyone a chance to contribute and feel apart of what God is doing for the group. Then when members make a decision for Christ they already feel apart of the church and can grow to help lead a cell group when more people come. This is the core ministry of Fuse now, so it is different than the first time I worked here, but I really like it. I also get to make a lot of good friends up front so I shouldn’t get lonely here.

Thursday I helped with fellow missionary Kara’s after school class. She has about 5-7 kids who spend the afternoon in the church

Two students from the After School Program wrestling.

Two students from the After School Program wrestling.

basement after school. The time is suppose to help them hear native English speaking. I’ll be working as her assistant. We’ve been working to better structure the time and find more ways to keep the kids interested in learning English. They’re a rowdy group, but loveable all around. I work this program every Tuesday and Thursday now. Good times! Please be praying that opportunities to share Christ’s love come up during the class. That would be great!

Also Thursday I went with the Monday night cell group on an outing. We pretended we knew how to golf . . . Like points, I made many friends, so it was a good time. Though not your typical definition of missions’ work, these friendships give God a chance to show His love to others. I think this past year has really taught me a lot about the ‘power of friendship.’

Paul and Sarah golfing.

Paul and Sarah golfing.

'G' and Chitose playing golf

‘G’ and Chitose playing golf

We’re not strangers who are trying to force a religion on people, we honestly love and care for our friends and we want them to have the love and salvation that we’ve found in Jesus. The lost sense that; know that we actually care for them as people and not only as numbers on Sunday. And I can’t even begin to describe the comfort I have knowing my friends are praying for me, and now I get to return that love to another group of people. I’m liking this cycle.

Sakura Also this past week, the sakura (cherry blossoms) were in full bloom. Very beautiful! Fuse went on a hanami (going to see the sakura) and 24 people came. So encouraging and beautiful! Easter Sunday was also great! It was good to be back at church and I was so happy to see how many people were in attendance. It was also a comfort knowing not everyone was Japanese. Our church is really focused on helping ‘people’ find Jesus.Sakura 2Sakura 2

On a sadder note one member of Fuse has gone back to America. Phil’s time in Japan is over and we’ll miss him a lot. I’m sad I didn’t really get to spend time with him before he left. He came to Japan about a month before I left the first time. It was good to have so many familiar faces and I wish Phil the best in his future music career.

Group

That pretty much sums up my first week. There was a lot more to tell, but I don’t wish to bore anyone. God is doing so much here, and I can’t wait to see it all. I’m even excited to see what God will do in me. I know I have a lot of growing to do, and there’s no doubt in my mind that I’m  surrounded by the right people, at the right time, in the right place doing the right thing. Woot! Woot!

~*~*~*~*~*~Prayer Requests~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

-First Thank God for my safe return and the blessings I’ve had so far.

-Please pray for the after school program, the two private lessons, and the kindergarten class, all of which I help with. I’m mentally overwhelmed with the thought of being responsible for so much as well as working with Fuse. I know I can do all things with Christ, but pray I manage my time well and always bring the Spirit into every situation.

-Pray that new people will be invited and come to cell groups. Pray for the cell group leaders that they will have wisdom and compassion. Also that each member will take it upon themselves to serve others and disciple them.

Back at It

So I made it safe and sound. I have a doozy of a travel story though. My first flight was at 6am from Tampa International. Sunday night my family and I stayed up late watching movies and spending a little extra time together. I only got two hours of sleep and we left the house at 3:15am.

In Tampa my carry-on bag ripped open in the side, all the food shops were closed, and I was running late through all the security checks. I hardly had time to kiss my family good-bye, just to find that might flight had been delayed due to mechanical problems. (But no need to worry, the airport informed me that the new part for the plane had just arrived and they’d be able to install and test it within an hour, somehow that didn’t comfort me about the flight).

So I tried to buy a new bag for a carry-on, unfortunately they were too expensive for my taste. I got on the plane placing my important items in my laptop case. We took off and I was enjoying the sunrise when suddenly the upper left part of my lip became numb. After a moment the numbness spread through the whole left side of my mouth. I got a flight attendant and asked her if high altitude could numb a person’s face. She said she’d never heard of it, but she’d ask her co-workers.

The numbness went to the left side of my nose and I began to have acute pain behind my left eye. I started praying at this point not certain of what was happening to me. The flight attendant returned and told me her co-workers thought it might have something to do with sinus pressure. I put my head down for a while and then felt a pop behind my left eye and the pain was gone. I thanked Jesus it was nothing serious and for getting rid of the pain.

I landed in New York to snow. I wasn’t really dressed for the cold and I was shivering my entire time there, even in the airport. Before getting on Japan Airlines for Japan, the attendants called me to the desk to ‘receive important information.’ I knew they were going to ask me if I had purchased a flight out of Japan. (I don’t have my missionary visa yet, I’ll get that here, but a tourist visa to Japan requires a passenger to  have a way out in 90 days.) I told them the truth that I didn’t have a ticket to leave, but that I do have a Certificate of Eligibility and will get a long-term visa while in Japan.

I was told to be ready to buy a ticket out of the country once I got to Narita. Upon reaching Japan I was asked a million questions about my visa. I couldn’t really give a solid answer. I was taken to buy a ticket to Korea for $900 and that’s when I reached in my ripped carry-on to find my wallet missing. I tore everything out of the bag thinking that the Japanese were going to think I was trying to dodge paying or that I was some sort of threat to the country. Luckily I remembered that I had moved everything of importance to my laptop case (after 13 hours you forget little things like that.) I was ready to pay.

But then, instead of paying for a ticket, the attendant told me not to buy anything and to follow her. So I did. She took me to customs and told me not to mention anything about the visa. She told me to go through the line, hand over my passport and say nothing. I went up to customs and handed my passport to the man at the desk. He looked at all my paperwork and said, “You’re staying 90 days?” I didn’t say anything in response. He stamped the paper and let me in. . . I’m really happy I actually do have a long-term visa, but I’m not sure how I feel about everything that happened there.

I thanked God I was in and didn’t have to buy a ticket.When I got to the baggage claim area, my flight’s bags were all gone. I couldn’t find my stuff. Everything I own is in those bags, and they appeared to not have made it to Japan. I smiled and couldn’t suppress a light laugh. Everything I owned was gone and I’m laughing like a fool. Guess it would give me a reason to go shopping.

I went to an attendant and through sign language and multiple paper exchanges, the man was able to take me to a back desk area to ask about my bags. It was then I saw both bags behind the desk. Because I had taken so long in customs my stuff had been moved out of the way. It felt really nice to see those bags.

I thanked God that, as crazy as the day was (and this is with details left out), nothing went wrong. Sure I had a bump or two, but if a bad day teaches you anything, it’s that nothing is all that bad. Had any of my scares that day been realized, I know God would have had my back. Jesus died to take sickness away, God supplies all my needs, God can make a way that does not involve $900 expenses, and I’m not sure what to say for the carry-on, but I love how knowing God keeps us from freaking out over the little stuff.

It’s just so good to know Jesus. I really don’t know how people live without Him. I couldn’t have made it through that trip without the reassurance of Him. So, to make a long story short, I had a rough trip getting here, but I’m super happy to be back in Japan.

There were so many friendly faces to greet me when I got back and it’s wonderful to have a family and home so far from America.

Sorry I don’t have any picture up yet, I’ll get there don’t worry.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~~*Prayer Requests~*~*~*~*~*~~*

-For me to focus on what God is doing in Japan and to easily get back into the flow of things.

-One of my roommates had a death in her family. She is sad because of it, but she is also struggling financially which of course adds to her stress. He bank is not allowing her to withdraw enough money to pay for the apartment she is moving into. She is being pressed on all sides, but we know a God who’s bigger than that.

-Sickness is floating around too. Please pray for health for the entire Fuse team.

-Easter is coming up. Please pray for a good spiritual turn out this Sunday.

Thanks!

It’s No Use!

こんにちは! It’s not only been a while since I’ve posted; it feels like a lifetime. But better late than never.

 
One of the main reasons I’ve neglected to post is I wanted to have a proper answer to the question, “What now?” I currently am in Florida with a little more than a month left before I travel back to Japan. I’m looking to be back with the Fuse group again on or around March 25th. I’ll be working with the church again, but I will also be a kindergarten teacher’s assistant. Exciting I know! If you’re not sure of what I’ve done with Fuse before, feel free to read through my old posts.

I have saved up enough money to get back and live comfortably for 6 months. I will be volunteering as an assistant for those first few months until the church is registered. Then the church will be able to expand it’s school and afford to hire me as a teacher. So that’s something to be praying for.

Since that was the generic answer, I’d like to elaborate. (Warning: This is going to be a long, drawn-out story! All pertaining to going back to Japan was above. Again, you’ve been warned.)
Leaving Japan was pretty hard.  I wasn’t ready to go and I was more than angry that I wasn’t able to stay for a whole year due to money. I set the table for breakfast that Tuesday morning like I had since I got there and I ate with the friends that were now family. I can still vividly remember looking back as I walked from my Japanese church and dwelling Jan 10th knowing full well that my new family was just finishing breakfast and were heading into the Fuse meeting. It took more than I had in me not to cry, and I was spent by the time I reached the train station.  It all hurt and felt amazing at the same time; but I hadn’t expected it feeling that way. I didn’t know what I was going home to or who I might be when I got there. But stepping out to where my family was, it felt like no time had pasted at all. It was like I was merely hanging out in the airport for a couple minuets and going home with my family like I had every night. That wasn’t the feeling I wanted as I was hoping for something ‘grander.’

I’m not sure I explained that well, but I hope you understand where I’m coming from with that statement.

That said, when I came back to the states in January, I was so set to get back to Japan as soon as possible; but “as soon as possible” sometimes means “when God’s ready” and that has a way of feeling long. I wanted to get back to doing what I felt called to and would make me feel like I was doing something ‘grand.’

I prayed nightly and began running through the options in my head. Did I want to go back to Japan as a ‘missionary?’ Did I want a job? Where do I see myself X amount of years from now? How am I going to pay for this? What do I offer the church of Japan as a member? Do I really have what it takes to serve the nation of Japan?

So without a clear plan on what to do next, I got a job. Figured I’d save up the money I needed to go back while taking the time I needed to think things through. (Looking back, all those questions seem stupid now.) I worked with children in foster care; a quick reminder that mentioning ‘first world problems’ means talking about loneliness, suicide, rape, death, murder, broken families and forgotten children’s lives. (All that happening in my backyard.)

What I learned from a place where I felt useless most of the time, was a good lesson about myself. All the things I worried about; money, usefulness, being a title ‘missionary’ or not; they really don’t matter. If God is really with me, He’ll be with me no matter where I am. All those questions don’t matter because God’s got that. He said don’t worry and He meant it. Listening to Him should fulfill all those concerns anyway. What I need to spend my energy on is going through things with people.

Working in foster care taught me more about myself than I ever could have expected. When people are hurting, it’s very easy to get apathetic with them, especially when it’s your job. It hurts a lot to watch others suffer. You get drained. And when it’s day-in and day-out that you watch people stumble and hurt, you begin to put up walls to stop the pain from reaching you. It’s not easy looking at other people with real problems and have weak answers to them that you pull from some memory of Bible school.

It was all too easy to forget the promises in the Bible; I had them, but the children weren’t ‘listening’ and so I often didn’t try them. I deeply regret that; the reason that children’s home was not a better place was because I didn’t bring to my position the grace and power God has given me. I did not allow God to use me the way He needed to and I admit it. That I learned.

This time in Japan, I’m not going to quit when things make me sad. Even when with my own eyes I have to see the reward of the wicked, I need to feel with them assured that evil can not come near me. We as Christians don’t get to be apathetic. We need to be crying out for these people; bearing with them because the world isn’t going to. And it will hurt.

So I’m heading back to Japan with a few more scars, but I intend to feel different when I return. And I get to be honest about saying I’m a missionary who’s not perfect, who doesn’t even like the word ‘missionary.’ I can’t promise I’ll do something great like lead a giant revival in Japan, or even be the most valuable member of Fuse. I’m not going to try and be those things.

I’m good at loving people, and I know that will get me hurt, a lot. But that’s what I’m going to focus on doing, because if I lose that focus, that is when I will become useless.

~*~*~*~*~*Prayer~*~*~*~*~*~

Please pray for all the preparations I have to make to get back to Japan.

Pray that God will inspire me for my new teaching position.

Pray for the co-workers I leave behind on my foster care job. And Please Pray for the foster care system as a whole. It really is awful, at least here in Florida.

The End . . ?

So, at the time I was writing this it was Sunday and the Fuse team had gone out to a lunch meeting. I stayed back and worked on my keyboarding for the day and this blog post which I am now posting at the Narita airport Jan. 10 Japan time. :)

I think I need a minute just to get my head together. As many of you know, I have been dreaming about this moment for years! I’ve always wanted to come to Japan and I felt God had been calling me here. This trip has been (insert awesome adjective which has yet to be made)!!!!!!!! What can I say? If I wrote a novel about my time here, it still wouldn’t be enough to express all that God has done!

Which brings me to the sad truth that this trip is over. You know how you feel when you get to the end of a really good book. You’ve been reading that book for about a month of two and you’ve grown to love all the characters. You looked forward to seeing them every afternoon after work or school, and it has been great seeing the bigger picture come together at the final chapter.

Well, for this adventure I have hit the final chapter. When I walk through my boarding gate and sit down, this adventure will have ended. That’s the feeling I think I’m going through now. Yes I know a sequel is emanate, but this story just felt too good to end. :’(

It’s the people I’m going to miss sooooooooooo much. I was never one to care much for sightseeing or “adventure” seeking; but getting to know the Fuse team and the Japanese people has thrilled me daily. I can’t put into words how much I love these people. There are no words.

Each one, God blessed me with each one. I don’t want to imagine Japan without this group of people; and I won’t.

What makes all of this really hard, is I’m leaving them for something else I really love; my American family. (Church, friends and relative included). There aren’t even concept to express how much I love the people of Lakeland.

So I guess I go home and plan a trip back to Kawasaki; but that seems so bland to say.

I want another Japanese Uno game, to beat my little brother at least once at video games, go biking the Tama River, walk Hollingsworth, walk the beach pretending to understand my friends (which could possibly be done in each country ;P), DDR on level difficult, have a pizza party and game night with all my family members, go out to dinner with friends, watch movies and analyze the characters, go to class and be frustrated with the material, go to church and worship with a family of believers . . .

So that leaves me only one choice, learn the art of being in two places at once. I’m working on it. lol

To my Fuse/Japan Family:

I will miss you guys. I wish I could have stayed longer. Thank you for everything you’ve done for me. I hope I showed you how much all your love meant to me. If not, please hear it now. Each of you have had such an impact on me, even those of you who only visited for two weeks. From the Brazilian team to my Bible study class, all of you have changed the way I view God, myself and my world. Thanks you. You won’t be forgotten!

To my State Side Family:

Sup? I can’t wait to be in your loving embrace again. I’ve missed you all!! I’ve learned a lot as you can guess. Please be patient with me as I readjust to American life. I’m sorry if I sound short with any of you or can’t seem to express my ideas right away. I’m still thinking through a lot of my experiences and I do feel a great sense of loss leaving so soon from this trip. Also, I Want To Know What You’ve Been Doing Too!! I missed you, so please tell me about yourself when next we meet. I really want to know! Love ya, see you Today!

One Week to Go!

First off, I’m fine. I guess the media jumped all over that 7.o earthquake we had yesterday. I did feel it, but it only measured a 4.0 in the Tokyo area. I will admit it was the strongest one I’ve felt thus far, but it wasn’t too scary or dangerous. We did all get under a table for a minute, but it was more just because it lasted sooooooo long. I think earthquakes are just weird; everything shakes for a few minutes and the house will sway a bit. It’s strange. They happen so often here that people don’t react to them anymore. Once I was at the store and didn’t even know we had one till someone asked me if I felt the thing. They really are that mundane a thing here.

Second, I feel this is a bittersweet time. I’m super happy to be seeing my family soon. I miss them so much! We have many things to catch up on. I will also get to go home to Family Worship Center and see the whole family for the first time this year! Beaches, warm afternoons, GRASS! There is so much I love about Lakeland and I can’t wait to be surrounded by it once more.

But I deeply love Japan. I’ve made so many wonderful new friends and family members here. I love the serenity of the river and mountains and beaches, but also the excitement of  busy streets and fascinating strangers. I’ll greatly miss this patch of the world!

The only solution, Come Back! I know I’ll be back in Japan very soon. I love this country and I’m excited to see what God will do thru the coming years.

Sorry this is so short, but at least it’s an update, right. :) I’ll get a better summary of my trip up soon.

Happy New Years Everyone!

And . . .

So it’s been a while since I last updated, but that’s not because little has been happening. I’ve been keeping very busy. There has been plenty to do getting ready for Christmas. I got to write a play and direct it which was really fun.

Great things have been happening in Japan. So many of the Japanese who have been coming to Fuse have expressed that they are enjoying being there. Many read the Bible on their own and they are asking very good questions. I’m kind of sad that I’m leaving in three weeks. (I’m happy I will be seeing my family soon).

Because I have sooooooooooooooooo much to share, I will do so through pictures and video!! Should be fun. :) But First,

_-_-_-_-_-_-_-Prayer Requests_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-

Continued prayer for the Japanese we have been working with.

For the continued health and healing of all Fuse members, myself included.

For the finances of three new missionaries with the Fuse Church.

For my diploma. I’m not completely sure what’s missing where, but I’m being told I don’t have enough credits to graduate. I know God will work this out, but I’m very angry with the school and I don’t want to be.

_-_-_-_-_-_-Picture Time_-_-_-_-_-_-_-

These first picture are of the Christmas play I helped write and direct. The plot: Aiko, a young Japanese woman, is lonesome on Christmas Eve and wishes to find love. Her Friends, Maro and Amane, hope to hook her up with one of their friends at the bar, but it might not be the love she was looking for.

I won’t ruin the ending for you, you’ll have to read  the play or bug me when I get back to Florida. This was super to work on. (All those years in Harrison finally paid off. Woot! Woot!)

Beginning of the Christmas play was a beautiful jazz song with a dance by Fuse member Airi.

Yuriko (Main character), Naomi and I performing a scene during the play.

Moment in the Play where Yuriko and Joe dance around.

These next picture are of my trips around Japan. Fun Times!! Most times I tried to meet up with some of the Japanese girls from Fuse, other times I was just enjoying the wonderful world of Japan.

Asakusa Temple; this is the building a budda's bones are kept in.

Asakusa Temple Garden

Asakusa Temple

The girls I went to Asakusa with; Miho, Sachico and I

One of the Missionaries here, Phil, made a video of his time here in Japan. Some of the shots are from church or our Japanese class, but most are of normal life in Japan. I thought it was pretty cool, so here is his work.

I also spent some time with two of my good friends here in Japan. We spent most of the night in Tokyo yesterday in Harajuku and Shibuya. S0 is my housemate and Naomi is a good friend from Fuse.

Belle and I posing at the Disney Christmas Lights display

Naomi and So posing with Pooh Bear

So and I playing DDR in Shibuya

Us posing in front of Hachi, the dog that waited for its owner even after his death.

I hope you enjoyed the pictures and movies. I’ll be seeing you Florida folk soon. Please keep praying for me. Also,

!MERRY CHRISTMAS!

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas!

Sorry for such a delay in updates; I was working on two big projects which I’ll explain a little later. I want to say I’ve been having a great time in Japan. I think I should start by saying I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. So there is obviously no Thanksgiving in Japan, but we all celebrated it regardless. All the Americans in our group insisted it be done, and luckily all our friends agreed to indulge us.

The Thanksgiving Table

So we set up the downstairs tables and everyone brought something to eat. We got a large turkey from the base along with a few other Thanksgiving essentials. At first we didn’t know if we had enough food because not everyone said what they were going to bring, but God made sure there was more than enough (to which I get leftovers).  Several Japanese came to our feast and they were surprised by our spread. We all prayed and said what we were thankful for. It was very traditional and fun!

It was nice to have all the people I’ve grown to love surrounding me. I’m also glad I didn’t have to miss out on one of my favorite holidays. It was also nice to let the Japanese see our church family just relaxing together. I got to overhear that one of the older ladies invited was thinking about becoming Christian. It was super encouraging.

But with Thanksgiving over we are now moving into the Christmas Season; a busy time for all. I am also moving closer to graduation. Only a few things left to do before I’m done! Exciting. For school I’ve finished my final paper on the book “What is Mission?” Good book. Also, I would also like to thank my mom for paying off the last bit of my tuition. She’s The Best!!! I would once again like to point out that it is because of my family that I am able to be here in Japan as well as be this close to graduating college. God gave me the best family EVER!

Thanksgiving via Video Chat

 

 

 

 

 

 

Other than school work I have been trusted to write and direct the Fuse Christmas Play. (Can we say pressure) I’ve never written, directed and possibly acted in a play all at once before. I’m happy to have this opportunity, but believe me when I say I now fully appreciate the work the directors at Family Worship Center go through. It’s a lot of mental work. There’s also the job of encouraging people to participate in the drama. (Why I now see recruitment as a very important ministry). I know God will use this play for His glory.

Decorated Store

Christmas, from what I’ve heard, sounds like the easiest time to get Japanese to visit the church. Unlike America, Christmas is not viewed as a family time in Japan. Christmas is more of a Valentine’s Day with couples spending Christmas Eve together. Families might get a cake to celebrate or share a few homemade gifts, but it isn’t the main holiday. Schools and jobs continue as normal on the 25th unless they are on winter break already. Not many decorate, and those who do are usually businesses just trying to lure customers in.

Train Station of Sagamiono

Regardless, there is still an openness to the gospel around this time, and if ever a Japanese was going to hear about Jesus now is the time. It feels strange to be so close to December and other than stores, there’s no real sign of it being Christmas. I must say I do miss the way my family decorates the night of Thanksgiving. The house seems warmer with the glow of the Christmas tree and the smell of cinnamon candles. But I’m still expecting this to be a great Christmas! I think it will be cool to see how God move during this season. He did very well during Thanksgiving.

_-_-_-_-Prayer Requests_-_-_-_-_-

Just be praying that this Christmas play goes well and that God will bless every part of it.

Health for some of the Fuse members. Just thank God that it’s done and He’s healed them.

Traveling mercies for a few of the Fuse members who are heading home for Christmas this year.

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