Hello Brothers and Sisters!
I don’t think I can express enough how much all of your prayers and encouragement have meant to me as God continues to faithfully provide for my team and I!
I am at the half way point of the trip; so I have about four weeks left in Japan! It is crazy to think there is only four weeks left and I know it will pass by very quickly. In the last week or so, God has been gracious to encourage me with my relationships and conversations with students as well as helping me to trust in Him more.
This past weekend, my team and I went on a hike to the top of Mt. Takao with students. One of the students, Back (that is her nickname! :)), asked me why I wanted to come to Japan. When she asked me that question, my first response wanted to be to say, “I want to be a part of God’s work and share the Gospel with the students of Tokyo BEST.” I didn’t say that answer to her because it would have been too much for her to try to understand all at once. But, I think it hit me at that moment how many more things I am grateful for in addition to the blessing to be a part of what God is doing in Japan.
This is a picture of Back and I from our culture night the first week I arrived in Japan. A setter that came on this trip last year asked me to deliver a letter to her from him.
The students call us the Setters and most of them understand that we are here to experience the culture of Japan and be a part of the Tokyo BEST community for 8 weeks before we return home to America. When I put myself into the student’s shoes, it is basically like a group of foreigners is coming to my college campus with a desire to be included in my community of friends for a short amount of time before they go back home. Japan is also on a different school schedule than America so they still have classes and exams for the next few weeks. Yet, they have welcomed us with open arms and have loved us as if we have been a part of the community for longer than we have.
This is another picture from the culture night from a few weeks ago. From left to right: Myself, Riko, and Jun
I told Back how grateful I am that even though the students are so busy with school and their own lives, they want to spend time with me, someone they met only 4 weeks ago. Her response back to me was to thank me for wanting to come to Japan to spend my summer here and telling me how much the students love to have my team here. She also told me how much the students enjoy having us and how much they truly just want to be our friends. My heart was so warm after that conversation and God definitely used it to encourage me and affirm me in my calling to be here for the summer.
A few of my teammates, two students, and I were able to spend time together exploring the zoo this past weekend!
- These students make my heart very happy. I am so blessed to be around each one of them and the opportunity to be able to ask them about their lives and get to know them as friends. I am also so grateful that they are willing to sacrifice their time and energy to want to spend time with me.
- God has been continuing to help me to trust Him more and continuing to teach me so many things through the Word and these students.
- Please be praying for the students for the next two weeks. Most of them are starting to take their final exams for the semester. Most students have 7-8 tests and some may have up to 10 tests over the span of two weeks. Many have multiple tests on the same day. Pray that the students would be diligent to study and Ganbaru (Japanese for work hard, persevere) over the next two weeks and do the best they can on their exams. Prayer that our team would be able to encourage them during this time.
- Prayer that I would continue to deeply trust in God. As my heart continues to love these students more, pray that I would deeply trust in God’s sovereignty and goodness for their salvation. You can pray that God would continue to use my team and I to show them Christ’s love and prayerfully the Gospel.
- Continued prayer that my team and I would continue to find spiritual rest and renewal in the Word and in prayer. You can pray that we would continue to also get physical rest.
- Continued prayer for the salvation of these students. You can pray that God would continue to soften their hearts to the Gospel and give my team and I opportunities to be used by Him to communicate that to them as best as we can.
Thank you so much again for reading and keeping updated with how God has been powerfully working in Japan! Have a wonderful rest of your week!