Gakufuku High School
Today our team went to Gakufuku High School. It was a change of pace from Seiko because they were running the activities for us instead of us being in charge of the interactions. They made a schedule of the day, and planned so many activities for us to see and do. We met some of the Japanese students and played True or False with them in groups. We then travelled in those groups and learned about traditional toys in Japan. While playing with the games and toys, we got to learn so much about the culture, but also the Japanese students that we were interacting with. We used this time to ask them questions about themselves and try to be intentional with our conversations with the limited English that they know. Another aspect of the culture that they introduced us to was Japanese calligraphy. It was so fun to learn about the electives that they get to take.
Lunch gave us another opportunity to interact with the students and have good conversations. They provided us with Bento boxes full of authentic Japanese foods. The best conversations we had were with the students when they took us to the Gokoku Shrine. A group of Japanese students tried to explain all of the rituals and things that they do so that they can be heard and their prayers be answered. It was hard for them to communicate to us about how many times they go, and also why they go to the shrine.
We noticed that the Japanese students who went to the shrine didn’t really know why they went. They showed us how they send prayers and how to make wishes, but one of them said they go to “pray and hope”. Pray and hope that their wishes are answered, answered by gods that aren’t the one true God. (The translation for our God in Japanese is the same word as their multiple gods. It is very hard to talk about our God when it is the same in Japanese as their multiple gods.)
It broke all of our hearts to see and hear them talk about worshiping and praying to something that won’t give them everlasting life. To gods who won’t save them or answer their prayers. To gods that won’t give them peace and comfort. Who won’t fill their lives with blessings. It made us so sad to hear that they don’t know why they worship, or what they worship.
After visiting the shrine, we went to watch Karate and Kendo. It was so crazy to see and hear the sounds! They yell so loudly when they do both of the sports and it was so fun to watch them. The Karate team got second in the country of Japan! We were all starstruck because we were in the midst of such great talent! Watching Kendo made us all a little scared because they were screaming so loudly! After saying goodbye and coming back to the church and Cindy’s house, some of us helped prepare Japanese Rice and Curry. Most of tried to eat it and stepped out of our comfort zones. The majority of the LCF team members liked dinner! One of the ladies from the Japanese church who helped us make dinner made a book to show what she put in the dinner. It was so cute and fun to see her so excited to teach us the Japanese way. We had great conversations at the dinner tables and we all talked and laughed.
Our biggest struggle today was seeing the shrine and and feeling the heaviness surround us. The rain, thunder, and lightning set the mood for how our hearts felt. It was hard for us to comprehend the emptiness of not having a relationship with our God. We pray and ask you to pray for the Japanese people, and that their hearts, minds and eyes be open towards hearing the gospel.
That the Japanese students who showed us the shrine would allow us to continue conversations with them about the Lord and how He has transformed our lives.
That as a group we would be unified in one purpose to spread the gospel and put aside our own motives to focus solely on the goal.
As we are halfway through that if homesickness occurs we will be supportive of team members and cling to the Lord to fulfill our emotional needs.
Kaylin and Gabby