“Tadaima” is what someone says when they return home in Japan and my team and I returned home last Saturday! Many good things occurred in the last two weeks of my trip since the last time I updated, but I’ll share just a few things in this update.

The Oshima trip was a great time where God allowed my team and me to connect deeper with the students. Two of my teammates, Madi and Kim, were able to share their testimonies with the students and share how God has changed their lives. Some of our friends opened up to talk about their past with Madi and Kim after their sharings.

Both nights, everyone was able to have pair talks, one on one conversations. I was able to talk with one fourth year student, Daiki and one third year student, Amane. I got to talk with them about their experiences in Tokyo BEST, why they love it, how much they have grown since they were freshman, and how they want to impact the community in their final years of college. IMG_1378

This is a group picture of the students, staff, and my team that went on the Oshima trip this year!

At Oshima every year, there is a talent show and I had the blessing to be able to sing “For Good” from the musical Wicked with one of my friends, Kurumi. It was probably one of the highlights of Oshima for me. The lyrics are beautiful; here are some bits and pieces from the song: “I’ve heard it said that people come into our lives for a reason, bringing something we must learn.” The end of the chorus says: “Who can say if I’ve been changed for the better, but because I knew you, I have been changed for good.”

God did something very powerful to change her heart when we sang that song. As we were practicing together before Oshima, I told her I would probably cry when we sang because I thought the lyrics were so true; she had become a dear friend to me and changed me for the better. She told me many times that it was okay if I cried but she said that she wouldn’t. However, when we sang, my teammates told me that she was crying before I started singing my part. I think God helped her to realize what the lyrics really meant and allowed them to sink in, as the song is in English and Japanese is her first language. After we sang together, my teammates and I noticed that she was different, a good different. She was more joyful and even more caring towards my team as well as the other students. I can’t describe what God did in her heart, but He sure did something very powerful!


After the Oshima trip, our team was able to take the last few days of our trip to debrief together. We were able to reflect on the summer and take time to remember what God did in our friend’s lives and in our hearts as well as the students that God placed on our hearts. It was a sweet time to be together with one another before we all went our separate ways in America.

IMG_0102This is my team at debrief. We were missing our other team leader, Fitzy for this part of our trip. From left to right starting in the back: Roy, Madi, Aly, Elijah, myself, Allison, Kim, and our receiving staff member for the summer, Elsa!

In Matthew 22:34-40, Jesus talks about the two greatest commandments, to love God and to love people. God was so faithful as He gave me a big heart that loves these students. I thought that the summer was going to be about me learning how to love them, but God showed me how much He loves and cares for me by seeing how well my friends loved and served me so well all summer.

These are two of my friends, Kurumi on the left and Fumika on the right. These are two that I got to connect with over the summer and I was able to gift them with shirts from UCSD.

Prayer Requests:

  • You can continue to pray for my friends May and Nami as they continue their walks with the Lord in Japan.  Prayer that they would be in the Word, in prayer, and find a place where they can connect to and fellowship with other believers.


This is us together at the airport. From left to right: Nami, Kim, myself, and May
  • You can be continuing to pray for my friends in Japan. Prayer that God would help my team and me to keep in touch with them even though we are not physically in the same country. Prayer that God would bring some of them to visit America in the near future for them to experience American culture and for my team and I to reconnect and sow more seeds. You can pray that God would grow the seeds that God sowed in their hearts through us this summer.
  • You can be continuing to pray for my team and me as we continue to adjust back to life in America. You can be praying for physical recovery and for God to be at the forefront of our minds as we continue to reflect on what He did this summer.

Brothers and Sisters, thank you so much for all of your love, encouragement, prayers, and financial support. This could not have been done without God and all of you. God is so powerful to answer prayers and it is a blessing to have been prayed for by many different people over the course of the summer. If you want to see more pictures or hear more about what I was able to see God do, please let me know. Arigato gozaimasu!


What is my Identity in?

Hello again Brothers and Sisters!

This past Friday at our Shabe night, the discussion topic was identity. Some of the questions we discussed were what things we think make up our identity. Another question we discussed was “How do we discover our identity (by traveling, reflecting, by what people say about me, by comparing, etc.?”

One of my team members, Fitzy (it’s his nickname), was in my discussion group and we were both able to share part of our testimonies. I was able to share how in high school, I put my identity in my accomplishments in school and basketball. When God took these things away from me, I realized how much I turned those things into idols. I shared about how by reflecting I saw that if I put my identity in things of this world that easily change, then I can easily lose myself.

After that, we read Psalm 139:11-14. “If I say, ‘Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night, even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light to you. For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.” We were able to have a good discussion about what these verses mean and how they affected the writer, David.

Both Fitzy and I talked about how David realized how much God loves Him and how God’s love for us does not change because God never changes. God also knows us, all the good things and the bad things about us (our dark side), but yet His love for us does not change. The two of us were also able to explain that if our identity is found in God and His love for us, then our identity will never change. Even as the world changes and people’s opinions of us change, God stays constant. One of the students, Ryoko, noted how God knows David’s dark side and loves him despite this. Another student Kei also said how he resonated with what I shared and how he has found his identity in soccer, school, and his accomplishments. He said that things like those can fade away but it is cool that you can always believe in God and come back to that when things change.

Kei then asked Fitzy and I if we ever doubt God’s love for us. Even though we should not have to doubt God’s love for us because it is unchanging, we said that we do because it’s true. We were able to share how both of us have experienced doubting God but we also explained how God’s love will never change so we can trust in His love. Kei is a fourth year student so he will be graduating from Chuo University soon. Because of this, he said that as you become an adult, it becomes harder to escape from the mistakes that you may make. But, he said it is interesting that you can put your identity in something that doesn’t change, like our identity in God.

That discussion was really good and brought me back to the Gospel in that God does know all of my sin, imperfections, and how often I doubt His sovereignty and love for me. But, yet in His grace, He has not only given me salvation but loves me with an unconditional love that will never change. It was a definite reminder of how gracious God was to point out how I made idols out of things and placed my identity in them instead of putting my identity in our unchanging, faithful God. God has been gracious to grow me since then and to remember the importance of finding my identity in Christ.


This is our Shabe group from last week! From left to right in a circle: Asuka, Kei, Allison hopped in the picture, Yoshi, Fitzy, Ryoko, and myself.


  • Praise God for what He is doing in Japan in times like the one I just shared about. I have heard many other stories from my other teammates about how God is working to reach our Japanese friends. Praise God that He continues to graciously use us as His vessels to plant seeds when He could easily do His work without us.

Prayer Requests:

  • Continued prayer for my friends Nami and May as they continue to adjust to being in Japan as new Christians. Pray that they would continue to read the Word and be in prayer and find other believers that they can be accountable to and find fellowship with.


These are my friends Nami and May, respectively in the center and on the left is one of my team leaders, Kim, who is on staff at UCSD. God graciously brought all of us together and allowed Kim and I to witness God radically change Nami and May’s lives because of the Gospel this past year.
  • Continued prayer for the hearts of these students. Pray that God would continue to work through my team and me to plant seeds and reach these students. The questions that they ask and comments that they make show that God has planted seeds and some of them seem very interested in God and who He is. Pray that God would continue to draw students to Himself and that He would be glorified.
  • Continued prayer for Oshima camp this upcoming weekend. Pray that God would powerfully work through discussions, pair talks, and activities to reveal Himself to the students.
  • Continued prayer for my team to get physical and spiritual rest this week before Oshima camp. Prayer that we would continue to love and serve one another and be unified as a team.
  • Continued prayer for me to trust God in the work He is doing for the people of Japan and for me to trust that He is powerful to save those whom He wills to save.

Thank you again for reading, encouraging, and praying! You are all such a blessing from the Lord! Have a great rest of your week!


Servant’s Heart

Greetings again Brothers and Sisters! Thank you for your continued prayer and love for my team and me as God continues to use us as ambassadors for His name in Japan.

One of the values of the Tokyo BEST community is to help the students to grow in servant-leadership. Last Monday, my team and I were able to hear from four upperclassmen about how they have been able to grow in this area since they first joined Tokyo BEST. They discussed how servant-leadership is having a heart attitude to serve and love others in Tokyo BEST and to lead and be an example by serving. One of the staff said that we should evaluate our own lives and look at our heart attitudes when we serve. Another point that he made was that we should look at those who are younger than us and see if those people are also desiring to care and love others by serving them.

That same night, we took out the trash at the house I am staying at for the summer. The trashcans were very dirty and one of the fourth year students, Chiba, offered to help me clean the trashcans. I honestly didn’t want to help clean them because they were gross and it was a task I didn’t desire to do. But Chiba, who doesn’t live at the house, offered to help me and his heart attitude to want to serve and help me to do “the dirty work” really struck me.

That experience reminded me of John 13 when Jesus washed the disciple’s feet. Even though that was a task usually saved for those who were household slaves, Jesus humbly desired to serve His disciples and wash their feet. Jesus, who was God incarnate, was willing to do what the disciples likely did not want to do. Even more than washing the disciple’s feet, Jesus underwent mocking and pain from those who wanted to crucify Him and humbly gave Himself so that He could save us from our sins and death.

Chiba’s heart to want to serve not only me but also my other housemates, knowing that it was not an easy or highly sought after task to complete, touched me. It made me realize that a lot of times, my heart attitude in serving is not purely because I want to love and serve others. Many times it is out of selfishness and for pride, in hopes that people will praise me and thank me for what I have done. However, this is not how it should be. It should be out of a heart that truly desires to love and serve because God first loved and served us. May God mold my heart to serve and love others not for my own selfish desires but to do so because God has abundantly loved and served me.


This is a picture from our Shaberanaito (Sharing Night) on Friday and this was my discussion group. From Left to Right: Chiba, Ayumi, myself, Naotaka, and Riko


  • God continues to teach and humble me and continues to teach my teammates.
  • My friend Nami, whom God brought to San Diego to study abroad this past year, is staying in our area until this Friday. It has been a joy to be able to reconnect with her and see her as she also interacts with students. You can pray that God would be able to use her to plant seeds in these students as well as in the hearts of her friends and family as well as her transition back to life in Japan.

Prayer Requests:

  • Continued prayer for student’s tests. Students have finals until the end of the semester which is next Wednesday. Continue to pray that they would study hard and that our team would be an encouragement to them.
  • Continued prayer for my team for both physical and spiritual rest as well as team unity.
  • Next week, our team along with students and staff from Tokyo BEST will be traveling to the island of Oshima, a ferry ride away from the mainland. I have heard that it is a time to bond with students as we will be spending 4 days all together. We will be having group discussions and pair talks (which are one on one times). Pray that God would use my team and me to continue to plant seeds and deeply connect with students.
  • You can also pray that I would continue to trust in God’s sovereignty and goodness for the salvation of these students. You can pray that I would remember that the blessing to be used by God to be able to plant seeds, even if I may never see the fruit, is a miracle and a true joy.


This is a group picture of my team, Tokyo BEST staff, and students after we were able to go to Karaoke last weekend!

Thank you so much all for all of your prayers and encouragement. It is such a blessing to have brothers and sisters in Christ like you that are able to support my team and me as we continue to do God’s work in Japan. Lots of love!


Half Way Reflection

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.

Prayer Requests:

  • 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!


The Dark Side

Greetings Brothers and Sisters! Thank you so much for your continued encouragement, words of affirmation, and faithful prayers for my team and I!

In my weekly BEST talk group, we have been discussing the topic of “Dark Side.” “The dark side is something that is a natural result of human development and is present in everyone. It is a part of us that we are unaware of to some degree, lurking in the shadows of our personality. The development of our dark side has been a lifetime in the making and is not exclusively a negative force in our lives.” (This description is from our BEST talk group material.)

We were able to take a test to see what our dark sides are and it has been a very eye-opening experience for me. It has been very humbling to come face to face with my dark side and realize that the dark side is a part of me. In my head I know the truth that I am a sinful person and even though I have God’s forgiveness, I will continue to sin in the flesh. But, it has been very good to be reminded how much I fall short and for myself from the dark side test, realizing how much I desire to be in control of everything when I can simply trust and rest in God’s sovereignty.

I thought I would share the link to the test with you if you are interested in taking the test yourself: http://barnabasministry.com/form-odsl.html


  • My team and I along with some of the Tokyo staff were able to get away to Shizuoka from Monday to Wednesday. It was a good time to grow closer together as a team and take an extended time to be alone with God. I feel very refreshed after spending time away for a little while. Now I am back in Tokyo ready to love the students more and trust the Lord more for the rest of the summer.
  • This past weekend, I went with one of my teammates, Kim, two of the Tokyo staff members, and a few students to watch some of the Tokyo BEST boys play in a soccer tournament. It was a great blessing to be able to support them during their games and join them in the excitement when they won the tournament and won new uniforms to use for the next time they play together. It was a good chance for me to see how well all of them worked together so well considering it was the first time that group played soccer together. It was a beautiful scene of the loving community that has been built here in Tokyo BEST and so special to be apart of the joy that they all had in being able to play a sport they love together.


Prayer Requests:

  • Continued prayer for humility for myself and to deeply trust God and in His sovereignty and goodness. Prayer that I would trust in God for the salvation of these students and that I would continue to build relationships with students and truly love them.
  • Continued prayer for the hearts of the students. Prayer that God would continue to break up the hard soil in the hearts of the students so that seeds can be planted. For students that are more receptive, prayer that the seeds would be able to grow and that they would be able to better understand the parts of the Gospel and God’s love for them in the Lord’s perfect timing.
  • Continued prayer for team unity. Prayer that our team would be able to love and serve each other and be able to show the Japanese students the love of Christ by how we love and encourage to one another.
  • Continued prayer over the university investigation. Prayer that God would be glorified and magnified through it.

Thank you so much again for all the support and prayers over the past weeks. If you have any questions feel free to let me know. Have a wonderful weekend!



Thoughts from Sendai

Konichiwa (Hello) Brothers and Sisters!

Hope that this new post finds you well! Thank you again for your faithfulness in praying for and encouraging me as I continue to be taught and molded by God. We are in our second full week of being here in Japan and God continues to be a faithful God in teaching me.

This past weekend, my team and I traveled with 12 students from the Tokyo BEST club to Sendai which is about 6 hours north by car. We were able to join with some of the students of the Sendai BEST club, a sister club of the Tokyo club. 19679181_813341975494139_225704545808978573_o

These are three students from the Sendai BEST club that I was able to meet and talk with this weekend. From Left to Right: Kazuya, Norihiro, myself, and Masa.

Our group was able to visit the area of Ishinomaki on Saturday, which is the area that was greatly affected by the 9.0 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami that hit on March 11, 2011.

In the morning, we were able to visit the Abe family that survived the earthquake and tsunami. They shared their experience with us: what happened on that day, the aftermath, and what they were able to learn from it. Some students from the Sendai BEST club were also able to share what they experienced more than 6 years ago when most of them were just middle school students. After they shared, some of the students from the Tokyo BEST club were able to share their thoughts regarding what the students shared and also what they experienced on that day.


This picture above was taken on Saturday after the Abe Family invited us into their home and shared their story and experiences with us. This group includes the family (Abe san’s son in the front center, his wife and mother are behind him to the right), my team, Tokyo BEST students, and Sendai BEST students.

It was very humbling to hear what these people went through and what they were able to learn and take away from their experience. God taught me this weekend that I so often do not thank Him enough for what seem to me as little blessings, such as gas, electricity, clean water, and food. Some students shared that they went without some of these things for several days to a couple of weeks.

The students also shared how they felt that they were going to die and they didn’t know whether they were going to survive what was going on. When they shared that, the verse that was brought to my mind was James 4:14- “yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.” Our days are numbered and only God knows how many days that is. So, we must be thankful for each new day of life that God graciously gives us and make it a point that the day be centered around Him being glorified.


  • The one thing I requested of God before this trip was that He would humble me and that I would grow in my heart a willingness to have my pride crushed and be reminded that I do not know everything. God has been very faithful in humbling me and He continues to do so for me so thank you for your prayers!
  • I am continuing to meet with students and connect with them. It is a blessing to be able to invest in their lives and get to know who they are and the experiences they have had.
  • The Sendai trip this weekend was a huge blessing. My team and I were able to spend time with a smaller group of students and connect with them. We were able to be taught so many things by God and to bond with the students that came.

Prayer Requests:

  • Prayer that God would continue to teach me and that I would keep my focus on Him in all that I say, do and think. Pray that God would continue to teach me and give me peace.
  • Prayer that God would continue to help me connect with students and love them. This has been particularly saddening for me lately, realizing that as I am starting to love these students, I can see that they need Jesus and the Gospel but it is not that easy to share the Gospel with them. This is because the Gospel has concepts such as sin, grace, and salvation that are not a part of the Japanese vocabulary so it is hard for Japanese to understand these things. The Tokyo BEST club is also under investigation by Chuo University so we have to be careful about what we say so that our group is not perceived in a wrong light. Pray that I would trust in God’s sovereignty and His sovereignty over these student’s salvation and find rest in knowing that God knows all things even if I may not understand everything.
  • Continued prayer for team unity. Prayer that we would continue to support and encourage our teammates and not fall into the temptation of comparing ourselves to our teammates and how many students they are connecting with.
  • Prayer for the students of the Tokyo BEST club. Continued prayer that God would be softening their hearts and He would be giving us opportunities to share our testimonies and the Gospel with them. I have been able to see the work that God is doing in the hearts of these students, especially this weekend. Japanese people are usually more reserved and tend to keep their feelings and emotions inside. But this weekend, so many students from the Tokyo BEST club were willing to share their feelings with everyone, which is something that usually doesn’t occur. So, praise God that He is faithfully working in the hearts of these students!


These are some of the students from the Tokyo BEST club that came on the Sendai Trip. From Left to Right: Myself, Mayu, Riko, Nao, and Kurumi.

Thank you for faithfully keeping up with my updates and for praying for my team and I! It has been difficult as God is growing me and stretching me in different ways that I have not experienced before. But I pray that I would rest and trust in Him and His sovereignty and know that all of these difficulties are for a greater purpose that I may not understand now but that He knows is for my good. I am very encouraged by the relationships I have been able to form with students thus far and what God can do through them as the summer progresses. I am blessed to be able to see God working in the hearts of these students and be a part of what He is doing in Japan!




To Love God and To Love People

‘Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?’ And he said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.'” – Matthew 22:36-40

Greetings Brothers and Sisters,

Hope this new update finds you well! Thank you so much for your prayers and encouragement. God has been doing so many good things in the hearts of my team and I and continuing to grow us and prepare us for what He will call us to do in the upcoming weeks.

This passage spoken from Christ has been a good encouragement for me the past few days. I am praying that this summer would be an opportunity for me to grow in my love for God and for His people. Jesus calls us to love the Lord with all of who we are, in our hearts, in our thoughts, in our actions, and in our words. This is a tall order, for those of us still living in the sinful flesh. But grace be to our God that He has sent us the Holy Spirit to convict us and turn us to repentance in our sin and shortcomings. Jesus calls us to love other people with the love in which Christ loves us. This is another tall order for us, but it is something that I can always work on, since I can never be perfect at it.

Can you pray along with me for my team and I that we would ask Him for help to have our heart’s desires be to truly love Him and love other people and that we would grow in this love this summer?


  • We finally got to meet the students in BEST club at Chuo University this past Friday. They are a great group of students, all of whom are nonbelievers. But they are beautiful people, created in God’s image. They have been a breath of fresh air, loving and welcoming my team and I into their community and showing so much joy that we are here to spend the summer with them.
  • I have gotten to see and experience the Japanese culture and talk with some students about the differences between Japanese and American culture.
  • Some of my teammates from the UCSD campus and I were able to reconnect with two Japanese students that God brought to us this past school year, Mei and Honami. It was a beautiful time of fellowship and a unique blessing to be shown around Tokyo by locals.

Prayer Requests

  • For endurance and patience for myself, as the language barrier is difficult and as it can get tiring to focus on understanding Japanese conversations.
  • For my team and I to continue our pursuit in loving God and loving people. Prayer that we would not neglect our own personal spiritual growth amidst business of activities and that we would continue to see the work we do through Japanese eyes. Prayer that our love for these students would come from the Lord, because if we try and love these students on our own love, it will quickly run out.
  • For time with students, that they would ultimately see God and his love and see the hope and joy we have in our lives because of the Gospel.
  • For team unity, for our team bible study times and team unity times each week. Prayer that these times would be fruitful and a refreshing time of fellowship among our brothers and sisters that we are serving and laboring alongside of.

Thank you again for your prayers, for our God is a powerful God, for which nothing is too difficult. What a joy and blessing it is to know that brothers and sisters are praying for my team and I! Have a wonderful rest of your week!