Friday, March 23, 2007

Another Amazing Day

Well, even though I am done at Bito, I still managed to spend much of my Thursday afternoon there. You see, I had an English department luncheon to attend, and I also arranged to meet up with a friend of mine who lives in the area in the evening. So from about 2pm until 6:30pm, I knew I would have time, and did not want to drive back home and then back to the same area. So I stayed at school and enjoyed the company of my students.

First, I played a little basketball with the boys. I didn't have shoes or anything and I was wearing nice clothes and I was out of practice (these are my excuses for losing 2 of 3 games). Then I talked with a couple of 7th grade girls... they loved it! One of them, it turns out, used to go to church but hasn't lately because she's been busy with club activities. So I encouraged her to go again, and bring the other girl (who admitted to believing "nothing" but also knowing there is a God). I am praying (and you can too) that Mizuki will start attending church again, and that Konomi would go with her. Oh, they want me to take them out for "Halloween" like I did for some other students last year. (Halloween = Harvest Carnival at Calvary Chapel Okinawa)... and so I'm praying that God would open the doors for me to get like a VAN and bringing a bunch of them! Pray with me, would you?

Then I played a little soccer with a couple of guys, then some handball and then some baseball. All that totalled about 45 minutes. AND... I just got an e-mail from a former student (who asked me in a previous e-mail if I was a Christian) saying that she went to a Christian pre-school and knows the Bible somewhat... she said she's Baptist... I don't know what that means, but I will find out soon! All this stuff is so exciting... that God has opened the doors for me to share with and encourage my students in this way!

Oh, my night last night ended on a wonderful note, too. I got to have dinner with Nate and Josh, a couple of good Christian brothers who are in the US military, stationed here. It was awesome to fellowship with them. Praise God for awesome times!!! Keep praying for me, y'all! Love you and love the Lord!


Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Goodbye, Bito!

Today was my last day of work at Bito JHS. I started there on November 22, 2005 - less than a month after I arrived in Okinawa without a home, job, or car. The school has been an amazing blessing to me. There were 671 students there this year, and I think by the end of the year, I knew about 600 of them by name. The reason? Well, as I told them this morning, it's because love begins when you name someone. I wanted to call them by name because I love them. Why do I love them? Because God made them each individually! Anyways, today was a shocker for the students, who were so surprised that I could speak their language! Imagine that, I kept this secret hidden from them for 16 months - that's a LONG time! Some were initially angry today, but not really... they all seemed so happy that they could say more to me than "hi" or "how are you?"

Here are a few pictures of me with students today. The one picture is me and Shino - she's a really sweet girl who always smiles and brings a smile to my face - she always told her friends that *I* was her best friend. It was funny. The other picture is of me and Yuki and Natsuna. Yuki went by the nickname "Aflac" (named after the duck from the insurance company), and Natsuna was probably either my best or second best student, as far as English ability goes. She did an incredible job at the Okinawa City English Story Contest back on January 30th. She told me I should never speak Japanese, because it doesn't suit me! She also insisted that we keep in touch.

Bito is such a wonderful school - I want to say more but I don't want to write too much. Maybe I'll post some more thoughts on my journal. Please join me in praying for the students of Bito.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Outreach in Motobu

On Sunday afternoon/evening, a group of 16 people from our church went up north to the town of Motobu, where a group of youngsters called Fire Typhoon performed some sweet punk-worship music for the youth. Their opening act was none other than Hakugaijin, who happens to be our assistant Pastor, Tim Newell. Anyways, after the whole session, one of the church leaders from up north invited everyone to her house for curry rice and ice cream! It was SO tasty! Here are a few pics of us. The man in the pic with Rob and I actually owns/runs all the ice cream stands on the road-sides in Okinawa! A great time was had by all, and I believe the youth of the north part of Okinawa were ministered to and encouraged. One lady gave a really encouraging testimony about how God changed her life. I even saw one of my students from Bito (my school in Okinawa City) up there!

Friday, March 9, 2007

My future student?

Well, as I mentioned in my prayer update letter, and as some of you know, I have accepted the position at Okinawa Shogaku High School. I'm so excited! The school actually has a preparatory junior high school affiliated with it, and one of the students is Halleluyah "The Professor" Konno. He's an awesome young guy who loves the Lord. I am excited to be at his school... and if I stay there for 3 years, I may be his teacher in the future!

Pray for him, and for me, as we see what God has in store for the school. I will try to post a picture of the school, or give you a link to its website, soon.

Monthly update

Here's the latest edition of my monthly prayer e-mail I send out. If you have the time, please read this and pray! Thanks and God bless you!

Dear Friends and Family,

With February being the shortest month of the year, I guess I tarried a little in getting anything out to you! Sorry for not writing something sooner. The fact of the matter is, I have been waiting on the Lord about something major, and did not want to post an update until I knew for sure what the answer was. Well, I am 99% sure I know the answer, and so I figure it's fairly safe to share it with you all. So here are some of the highlights of the past month:

· I went out job hunting on February 7th, dropping off my resume at several schools across the island (mostly in my area). When all was said and done, I felt really discouraged. It seemed no one was interested in my services. And I shaved off my beard just for this occasion, too! (Sounds trifling, but you'd be surprised how much men grow fond of their facial hair… am I right, guys?)

· Well God is good, because a week later I had a job interview. It was for a tech school on island, and they were looking for someone to head their International Communications Department! Sounds enticing and exciting, but I didn't get the job. That's cool, it wasn't what I was looking for, and I'm sure the Lord didn't want me there, because I didn't get the job. Still, this interview served to really pick up my spirits, which were dragging in the dirt after the previous Wednesday.

· Three days later, I got an e-mail for a job interview at a private high school. The interview took place on the 19th in the morning, and by the end of the week, they narrowed down their candidate search to, well, me I think! I had a 2nd interview on the 28th, and they hired me without any further questions, really! I did not commit to them in writing, because there were still some doubts. Is this job God's guidance, or my own selfish ambition?

· Yesterday I finally had peace in my heart about taking the job. So I begin in early April. Pray for me, as this will take a lot of effort, discipline, and time on my part! But I know that in my heart, God me to use the talents He has given me. And one of those is teaching. Another is loving people. This job will give me an incredible chance to do both.

· In other news, I have still been teaching the Word every other Sunday evening at the church I attend. In February, I taught on Joshua 20 (cities of refuge) and Judges 6 (the calling of Gideon). Praise God, I have people coming up to me afterwards almost every time, telling me of how the message really spoke to their hearts. Wow, God is good!

· On top of this, I have also been teaching Japanese at our church's Bible College. Also, on Saturday afternoons, I have been taking part in teaching a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) course. And lastly, Thursday nights I was teaching an English conversation class. Mercifully, that came to an end in February. Not that I didn't enjoy it, but it took time and energy out of an already full schedule. Pray for those students though, as they do not know Jesus. The new teacher is also a Christian, and I believe she is better equipped to teach the class than I was.

Please keep praying for me. Being overseas is never the easiest option, but it is the right one, I believe. I struggle with a lot of things, but am trying to remain faithful to the calling God has on my life. Thank you again always for your e-mails, prayer, and support. God bless you!