Nyla & Tara - Halfway Point
We just passed the halfway point already! It feels like we’ve been here a while and yet at the same time, the time seems to keep slipping away too fast. All you can do is try your best to appreciate every moment!
This last week (just like the whole trip) held our fair share of adventures, awkward moments, friendship, struggles, and joy in seeing the Lord work!
From every class throughout the week, we learn. From very beginner classes, we learn how to speak clearly, ask good questions, and in general watch what it’s like to teach english (not to mention learning phonograms from the little kids :)). In more advanced classes, we get to ask and learn a lot about Japanese life and culture from both older ladies and college age students. As much as we also want to share with others, a major part of this summer for us is just learning - both from other people and from God! Just trying to soak it all in! And as much fun as the big, eventful things are, we are also really enjoying the littler, simpler things too; things like grocery shopping and cooking, walking around the city, good conversations while we drive and while we are supposed to be going to sleep, learning new words, going to the recycle store, driving through the mountains, talking with new friends, etc. Even hard things like mice and a rat in the house, the language barrier, etc can bring blessing in what the Lord teaches us through them. (Although, we’d be very happy to never again encounter another rodent!!)
About a week ago, we talked about wanting to experience an earthquake while we are here just because we’ve never felt one before. After feeling a very small one on Monday morning, we thought that that would be it and we had gotten what we wished for. However the next night, we were all talking in the living room when suddenly all of our phones went off with a very loud earthquake alarm/warning (all in Japanese, so Nyla and I had no idea what was going on)! The house began to shake back and forth and we went and stood in the doorway. Although it was pretty big, it really ended up to be no big deal at all for us other than it was a surprising new experience for the two of us!
On Sunday we got the chance to go with Yoshi to his church as well as come back for part of the Izumi church service. We loved getting to experience two different churches with different ways of doing things (pentecostal vs lutheran) but that are both filled with people who love Jesus so much! Getting to praise the same Lord in different languages alongside brothers and sisters from the other side of the world is an amazing little taste of heaven! After church, we spent the afternoon with Yoshi and the Matsutani kids. We ate lunch and ice cream, worked on a puzzle, played monkey in the middle in the street in front of Cindy’s house, and hung out in the church for a little while where Mare taught me all the Japanese vocabulary for Spot-it so that we can play in Japanese sometime. I wrote it all down, but now I need to study! :) All of them are such a blessing to be around.
Tuesday and Friday morning we went to Seiko. We have been working on trying to remember names and faces more, and though it’s a challenge because there are so many students, being able to say hello to someone by name is such a great feeling. For class, the two of us previously wrote out introductions of ourselves based on the conversation stack that Cindy taught all of us at the beginning of the trip. This past week and the upcoming classes we are practicing introducing ourselves in English and then the students try to translate what we said. Nyla went this last week. On Friday we also began the classes with each person in the room saying their name and one of their dreams, which was a fun way to get to know all of them a little better! The most surprising answer was that one student said he wants to become a pastor! Cindy and Mr. Abe both tried to clarify that that is really what he meant, and the Japanese word he used specifically means a protestant pastor! We were pleasantly shocked since none of us knew of any students there that are Christians. It was a great reminder that the Lord is at work in so many ways we may not even realize.
For Friday Friendship and Prayer Night this week there was the three of us, Pamela and Joel’s family, Pamela’s parents who are visiting, Sensei, Yoshi, and Kiyora. We had a great time of talking, puzzles/games, and prayer in the prayer room. We have 3 more, one each week.
On Saturday, the Seiko baseball team had home games that we went to. During a rain delay between games we got to sit and talk with some of them and some of their moms too!
The baseball players are constantly in intense training, for example having to practice all this weekend with no sleep to gain mental strength. Talking to some of them at lunch, they said it’s so hard, but when asked if it’s worth it, they gave a resounding “Yes!” with glowing smiles. Cindy, Nyla, and I reflected on how that should be our attitude toward living life for God’s kingdom - no matter the hardship we have to go through, it’s all so worth it!
On the same note, here is the english version of the hymn we sang in chapel this week:
“We’ve a story to tell to the nations,
That shall turn their hearts to the right,
A story of truth and mercy,
A story of peace and light,
A story of peace and light.
For the darkness shall turn to dawning,
And the dawning to noonday bright;
And Christ’s great kingdom shall come on earth,
The kingdom of love and light.
We’ve a song to be sung to the nations,
That shall lift their hearts to the Lord,
A song that shall conquer evil
And shatter the spear and sword,
And shatter the spear and sword.
We’ve a message to give to the nations,
That the Lord who reigns up above
Has sent us His Son to save us
And show us that God is love,
And show us that God is love.
We’ve a Savior to show to the nations,
Who the path of sorrow has trod,
That all of the world’s great peoples
Might come to the truth of God,
Might come to the truth of God.”
This season for the two of us to learn, grow, love, and share the good news here in Japan is such blessing and we are so thankful for all of your prayers!
Please pray for the student who said he wants to be a pastor.
Please pray for encouragement and strengthened faith for all the Christians in Japan.
Please pray for students who face many hard things, including depression, which is common in Japan.
Please pray for our health and energy.
Please pray the Holy Spirit would guide us in everything we do and say.
Please pray for more people to know the truth and love of Jesus!