Thursday, June 25, 2009

Last Week of Project....Part 1

this will be short because it's past 4 am and i need to go to sleep soon, but wanted to give a quick update:

yesterday (thursday) was our last day on campus. it was really good but really, really sad to say goodbye.

today (friday) we leave Tokyo to go on our end-of-project retreat somewhere else in Japan (gen and heather won't tell us where because it's a surprise) but we won't have internet until we get back to the States so i wanted to let everyone know that and that i will give a full account of our last week in Tokyo when i return to the States for de-briefing.

matta ne!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Week 4: Perseverence and Team Unity

forgive the lateness of this post- i had a very nice pattern of writing twice a week all of Project, but this week was pretty busy...i really hope i don't forget anything. time moves at a very odd pace when you're overseas, and my memory is bad enough without wonky time relativity.

this week the focus was on perseverence and team unity.

monday we had English lunch at Gakugei- lunch was a good time, and afterward we got to spend some time with sumire, nemo, yuka and heidi and talk just about life and how God's been working in our lives and sneak in some gospel so that was good, but afterward when jess and i went out to do some random evangelism, every girl we approached turned us down. we literally got turned down by about 9 girls. it was hard, but each time we got rejected we brushed it off and moved on to another cafeteria, but after the 3rd cafeteria and no girls wanting to talk to us, we were a bit discouraged. interestingly enough, we had prayed earlier for perseverence and humility...God has a funny way of answering prayers really quickly sometimes. needless to say, we both felt like we needed some time in prayer and reflection, so we went and sat on a bench near a cute little pond on campus and talked and prayed, and then it was time to go. talking to God always makes me feel better though, so by the time we met up with the boys i was much more encouraged. monday was also jess' birthday, so i'm sure it was hard for her to have a frustrating day of campus. but monday night we all surprised her with a cake and flowers so that was a lot of fun. amy and i had to go to 3 different places to find a cake big enough for 17 people though- it's so hard to find any big cakes in japan! everything is tiny. eventually found one though :)

tuesday we had prayer/worship morning, then went to Tsuda for English lunch. a new girl came which was exciting, and after lunch amy,traci and emily came to campus so that was way exciting because i'd never been on the same campus with amy or traci before. heather and i had been a bit disappointed b/c we were hoping a girl named Mai would come to lunch, but she didn't, but it was so cool because all 6 of us girls were standing near the front of the school when guess who runs up- Mai! it was really awesome. so emily and heather went to get coffee with her, traci and jess went to do some random evangelism and amy and i went to a cafeteria to do the same. we ended up asking a girl named Yurie if we could talk with her and then her friend Yoko came and sat down so we got to talk to both of them for about 40 minutes until we had to leave but we made plans to meet up again tomorrow so hopefully they will show up. tuesday for team training we were given cards and told to put them under categories of Always Valued, Often Valued, Sometimes Valued and Seldom Valued in regards to a team or group setting, and we were required to put at least 2 in every category. i discovered my Always Valued were accountablity, conflict resolution, shared goals, valuing differences and healthy working relationships. it was cool b/c we got to see how everyone operates and what they value so we can better serve them and their needs. tuesday night for Girls Night we went to mcdonald's to get some food and then had Bible study over Psalm 119.

wednesday room 305 cooked us a scrumptious breakfast of ham, english muffins, and eggs. we had English lunch at Hitotsubashi, and at first we were kind of nervous because we were trying to get people to come with us to lunch and weren't finding anyone. emily was at Hitotsubashi for the day, and she and i got rejected by so many girls we stopped counting. we had literally given up and were heading to lunch when we saw joe and asked if there were a lot people there yet and he said they were all Christians who had been there before and i was just like "oh no--emily we've got to do something!" so it kind of put a fire under us and we resumed trying to find a girl to invite. we saw 2 girls heading toward the cafeteria so we made a beeline for them to cut them off at the pass but they ran away so we were disappointed but then a girl walked up and i just went up to her and asked her if she spoke english and she did a bit and we invited her to lunch and she said yes and it was very exciting. turns out she'd been taking a class on Bible history and had lots of questions so emily immediately began a conversation with her on Bible stuff, and when we got to the lunch room Ngoc had come back and i was so excited! i was afraid i'd scared her off last week, especially since i hadn't heard from her in a week, but she was so much more receptive and we got to go through the whole gospel together and she kept saying things like "so then what happened? what happens next?" and it was so encouraging. i gave her a New Testament and encouraged her to write down any questions she had. i firmly believe God is working in her heart and i'm so excited to see what happens. after lunch we left Hitotsubashi to go to Gakugei b/c the boys had sports outreach time, and so emily and i went to the cafeteria and proceeded to have an incredibly tedious hour conversation with 2 girls who spoke very little english but we ended up talking a lot about spiritual things and their stances and what we believe and whatnot, but it was an exhausting conversation. when we got back from campus though we had a big bouquet of flowers and a decorated card that said "to the precious princesses of Rain Palace Room 408" on the front and on the inside was an invitation to a formal dinner on friday, signed "The Men." so that was exciting. then wednesday night for family night we went to shabu shabu for dinner (plates of really thin meat that you cook yourself in big pans of boiling sauce) and then to karaoke, which, not gonna lie, was pretty amazing.

thursday i switched campuses and went to Gaidai which was a lot of fun- it was a nice change of scenery, and since it is mostly a foreign studies school everyone we talked to knew a lot of english so that was a really blessed change. we had lunch w/ some girls emily had already made friends with and then yukiko (JCCC staff), emily and i set up Soularium and had some girls answer the questions as a survey, which was really cool to hear their answers but we didn't get to share the gospel- hopefully emily will be able to stay in contact with them, or pass them on to JCCC staff. thursday night we had practice for our Thriller dance performance that we will perform at our American Sayonara party on wednesday, then i went to dinner w/ gen, heather and jeremy, in which we all proceeded to eat way more than we should have.

friday was an interesting day. as a way to both help each other out and for each of us personally to act a bit differently than normal, we each got "incumberances" that we weren't allowed to tell anyone (though if people guessed they were allowed to help us out) and we had to stay in that state until we got back from campus at 4 pm. mine was based on Philippians 2:1-5 and my incumberance was that i was not allowed to speak unless spoken to (unless it hindered evangelism in which case it could but put on hold for a bit). it was really hard. but it also made me realize how much i talk just to talk instead of simply actively listening to people, or talking to people instead of talking to God. so that was cool. interestingly enough, jess had the exact same one, except she also could use big gestures or noises (she does that a lot)- i noticed pretty quickly that she was also much more quiet than usual but didn't confirm we had the same one until after English lunch when we needed to go out and share the gospel together. since neither of us could talk unless spoken to, we couldn't talk to each other, so we resorted to writing notes when needed and otherwise just going along with whatever the other person was doing. we did get to have a good conversation with 2 girls in spite of everything, and hopefully they will come to the American party. kylan ended up figuring out our incumberance by the time we met up to walk to the train station so he helped us out by directing lots of questions toward us which was nice. friday night was our creative date night with the boys and it was amazing- they all dressed up and escorted us with roses to Mitaka where they had cooked dinner for us and provided entertainment (including a poem and skits of "What Project Would Be Like Without Girls"). it was pretty awesome.

saturday we all spent the day at Disney Sea together- we left at 7:30 am and stayed at the park til closing at 10 pm. we were exhausted by the end of the day but it was so worth it. sunday morning i woke up not feeling well though so i spent most of the day resting until Sunday night meeting in Mitaka.

and now we are on our last week of project. i'm trying not to even think about the idea of going home, but it's hard. today was our last day at Gakugei and it made my heart very heavy, mostly because of the amazing girls i've met there who are so close to accepting Christ. but as my mother said, i've done all i can do- all i can do now is give it to God and let him work. which actually takes away all the pressure and responsibility, which is kind of awesome.

i'm really sad we only have a few more days on campus, but i'm also so excited to see how God is going to work this week. please pray for our spiritual protection, health and energy :) oh and sorry this post was ridiculously long.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

God's Strength > coffee

i did it.

i went an entire week with no caffeine of any kind. this is a much bigger deal than you may think- i have been addicted to coffee/caffeine for about 6 years. the only times i didn't drink coffee were if i was sick, and then it didn't matter b/c i was sleeping all the time anyway. the past few years i've had, on average, at least about 4 shots of espresso per day. i had been challenged to not drink coffee before, but i did not have the faith that God would wake me up for class or keep me awake to write a paper during the school year. but this is all just a testament to the amazing power of God, because no one and nothing else would have been able to give me the energy and strength needed for this past week. because this past week was really draining, physically and spiritually, and the combination of less sleep, more spiritual conversations, challenges and responsibilities, and no caffeine really took its tole. i would go to campus every day feeling tired, out of it and unfocused, but God blessed me with energy and strength and words to speak and a clear mind every time i needed it. it was so awesome. and even when jess and i were having a conversation about how unmotivated and tired we were, God gave us grace and handed us 2 girls to talk to- they just sat down next to us while we were complaining about our tiredness! it was such a good reminder that it's not about us, how we're feeling, where we are, or anything like that- it's about God, and his power and plan for us.

my theme verse for the week: Isaiah 40:30-31

"even youth grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall, but those who wait upon the Lord shall have their strength renewed. they will soar on wings like eagles, they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint."

as for my goals for the week:
1. my ministry goal was to share the gospel with 15 people- God actually granted me even more opportunities that that! it was pretty awesome b/c i was so worried about being goal-oriented but He just kind of made things happen on their own
2. personal goals: succeeded with coffee, but being constant in prayer was hard. i'm starting to think a lot more before i talk though so i am being more careful that my words are uplifting and beneficial
3. still praying that God would establish Student Impact as an official club at Hitotsubashi

friday we had English Lunch at Gakugei, and i got to chat with the girls i'd shared the gospel with on monday, but we didn't address anything spiritual, which was actually good b/c i want to build their friendship too and don't want them to think i'm pushy or anything. friday was the first day i didn't have a single spiritual conversation though, which bothered me at first because i felt unproductive or like i wasted the day or something, which totally wasn't true. i got to help out by being a part of English Lunch, which not only helped the JCCC staff but also i was able to talk with the girls again (Nemo and Ran) and then jess and i found a couple freshman girls who were really sweet and we found out one of them was going to a gospel concert both jess and i had been invited to, so we planned to meet her there. friday after we got back from campus we only had a little time before we needed to head to Mitaka for the Student Impact Annual Discover Friends Party. we helped them set up and prayed for the students who would be coming. the party was so much fun- we taught the ice breaker (a name game called Samurai) that everyone really enjoyed, then we had dinner, then jess gave her testimony with kylan translating (all the japanese were very impressed with him and his amazing japanese skills), then some of the students performed a dance, then we did a thing called Solarium- we broke into groups and laid out a bunch of different photographs and asked the students to pick which ones represented their lives and why, what they wished to have in their lives and why, which one represented their idea of God, and if they could have a relationship with God what picture would represent it. it was so cool to hear their answers and see them open up and talk about deeper things in their lives (because japanese totally don't do that). i had Nemo, Ran, and 2 other girls from Gakugei and they all are SO CLOSE to trusting their lives to God! they just aren't quite there and i don't know what's holding them back so i'm praying desperately that they can surrender whatever it is and accept Christ's love. joe and i got to explain a lot of how God has been working in our lives though and share the gospel through our stories, which was cool. i gave Ran a New Testament and so i really hope she reads some and understands.

saturday gen and heather (with jeremy's help) cooked a brunch of grilled cheese and tomato soup for all of us, so that was really nice to sleep in after a long week and then have food waiting when we woke up. that afternoon most people went to harajuku but i got to meet up with my friend Manami who i'd met last summer at Dokkyo University for 1 day- we only spent a few hours together but kept up occasionally on facebook over the year, and she wanted to meet up with me while i was here so considering how saturday was a free day i figured it would be a good time. we met in shibuya (praise be to God for her finding me- there were so many people i knew i'd never find her!) and we went to a store so i could get a journal, then got some ice cream and sat and talked about our lives for awhile, then went to starbucks and continued the conversation. it was so good! i really didn't know much about her at all and was a bit worried we wouldn't be able to talk about very many things, much less about God, but we just shared so much about our lives and i was able to share so many things God has been teaching me, and got to explain a lot about the gospel to her and it was just so cool. and she's coming to our Goodbye party! so yay. saturday night i went running (a lot longer than i'd wanted b/c i got kind of lost...) and then took it easy and finished up a lot of things i'd been putting off.

sunday amy and i woke up early and went to a gospel concert with some professional gospel singers we'd been invited to, and it was pretty awesome (even though half of the songs were in japanese). it was also just really encouraging to see so many Christians and visitors there to hear the gospel- it just reminded me of a verse that says:

Do not be afraid, but speak and do not be silent; for I am with you, and no one will lay a hand on you to harm you, for there are many in this city who are my people.” (Acts 18:9-10).

after we got back i took a nap, then we had team meetings. this week our focus is perseverence and team unity. we even get to switch campuses one day this week. i'm pretty stoked.

and now it's bedtime b/c it's past 2 am. and even though i can now technically drink caffeine, i'm going to try to do without it as much as possible.

please pray for Hitomi, Ran, Nemo, Shunire, Ngoc, Hikaru, Manami and all the other students we've talked to and shared with- that God would continue to work in their hearts and give us more opportunities to witness. :)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Week 3: Challenge Week

so sunday night at team meeting, gen and heather announced that this week would be a bit more challenging (or a lot) than usual (hence the title). not only would we be starting our days an hour earlier every day, but we needed to set 3 goals for ourselves:
1. a ministry goal for ourselves: mine was to try and share the gospel with 15 people this week
2. a personal goal: mine are
- to rely on only God's strength this week, so i am giving up caffeine in all forms (coffee, tea, everything) and relying on God to give me energy
- to pray continually
- to let no unwholesome word come out of my mouth but only what is uplifting to others
3. an "exceedingly more" - a goal we ourselves cannot accomplish but must have the faith that God will if we ask, so mine is that God would establish Student Impact (Campus Crusade) at Hitotsubashi University as a legitimate club

it's been challenging. but awesome. God's been so faithful and amazing already. i have never actually gone off all caffeine since i started drinking it 6 years ago, unless i was sick and it didn't matter- so this is really difficult for me-- i've been trying not to seem tired or complain, but it's hard. every day i've been going onto campus feeling out of it and tired and unfocused but God is so good and has blessed me with energy and words to say when i get into conversations, and good people to be with me and support me.

monday: went to Gakugei. had English Lunch and it was awesome for 2 reasons:
1. we got to meet and talk with a girl who had become a Christian the day before! her name is heidi and she's so sweet and was just eating up everything we talked about pertaining to God and the work He's done in our lives- it was so cool to see her excitement and wonder
2. i was having a horribly difficult time talking with these 3 girls, then randomly in the middle of a silence one girl (Ran- pronounced "rahn") pointed to my hand and asked what was written on it and i told her "oh that's one of my favorite Bible verses (it was philippians 4:13 - "i can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" ) and i showed it to them in my Japanese/English Bible and that just sparked a great spiritual conversation and i ended up being able to share the Gospel with all of them. it was so awesome. then we got shanghaied into going to a gospel concert on campus put on by a Korean Christian club and we wanted to go sharing more but jess and i just shrugged and went along and it was actually a ton of fun and really encouraging. monday night Jesus and i went to the park and listened to a guy play japanese flute by the pond and it was so tranquil just to sit on a rock and listen to the music and stare at the reflection of the trees in the water. then we did laundry.

tuesday: went to Tsuda. had an amazing English lunch because of many reasons, one being that Hitomi came! and jess and i got to lead a sort of Bible discussion and we chose Luke 12:22-27 as our basis for discussion so that was cool to do that and get good question/answer from the girls at lunch, and then afterward Hitomi and a girl named Kei stuck around for another 1 1/2 hours and talked about the Bible and we got to share the Gospel and gave Hitomi a Bible and she's in theory going to read some of John and come back next week with questions! it's so awesome!
after English lunch, jess went sharing with anita and heather and i met up with emily, and we were just standing there talking and heather noticed these 3 girls sitting at a table staring at us and she asked if we knew them and we said no but they kept looking at us so she starts walking over and they beckon us over and we do introductions and all the sudden we're in a conversation with them and were able to invite them to Student Impact's Discover Friends party which is Friday (technically today b/c it's about 2 am as of now) and one girl Mai is really excited about it. so it was a good day. tuesday night for Girls' Night we just had a chill night and then went out and bought stuff to make the boys breakfast wednesday morning

wednesday: wednesday morning we got up really early and made french toast and sausage for the boys for breakfast (each apartment rotates cooking every wednesday) -- it got so ridiculously hot and smoky in the room, but the food turned out well and the boys enjoyed it i think. and they made us each posters with acronyms of our names- it was so cute! mine:
K araoke enthusiast
I ntercessory heart
M ovie star in the making
I nnovative evangelist
Y outhful energy
O h-so-good hugger

so after breakfast my team went to Hitotsubashi. English lunch was also pretty sweet- met up with Hikaru (girl i met in the bathroom last week and had like a 3 minute conversation with and she wanted to meet up again) and when we got there Ngoc (Vietnamese girl) was there as well, and we met another girl named Yuki so God totally answered my prayer for girls at the lunch, so we set up a table of girls and just started talking. i was a bit frustrated b/c it seemed like i wasn't able to turn the conversation spiritual at all, but at one point there was just this shift and i started talking to Hikaru about what God has shown me in my life and how i know He has a plan for my life and she says "oh yes i totally agree with you" and i was just like "wait- what?" and so we started talking and i wasn't able to go through Jesus' resurrection really but she wants to meet up again and talk so praise God. then she had to leave so i joined the conversation jess was having and it was spiritual so i just kind of jumped in and it was one of the hardest conversations i've ever had b/c Ngoc was asking great (but really hard) questions to answer even in america, but the language barrier and cultural/spiritual barrier was really hard to overcome. she does want to meet us again though so hopefully something will change. afterward i went and had a quiet time and then met up with jess. wednesday night for family night we had ice cream sundaes and most of us played mafia while the others played settlers.

thursday: the most unproductive (in my mind) day on campus. got to talk to some girls and invite them to the party but then they had to leave, then i was talking about how i was feeling so out of it and unfocused when 2 girls just sit down next to us which was cool b/c it was just a reminder that it's not what we do or how we're feeling, it's God. so we got to talk to them for awhile and i felt like i should start talking about the Gospel but i felt like it was really awkward and difficult, but they seemed interested (possibly just out of politeness) but hopefully we can see them again. it's in God's hands now. then i went and had disciple time with heather and then quiet time. then when we got back from campus amy and i went on a dinner date and had some good food and conversation, then went and got eclairs from a bakery and talked for awhile, then i was going to be productive (like write this blog) when heather came in and asked if we wanted to go on an adventure w/ gen, tim and jeremy so we said sure and we went to the Rainbow Bridge- a pretty touristy area but it had a lot of cool picture opportunities and we found a beach where you could see the bridge and it was a lot of fun. but i'm totally worn out and need sleep. tonight (Friday) is the Discover Friends party and we have to help out a lot, but i know God will give me energy and strength if i have the faith He will.

please be praying for Hitomi, Ran, Nemo, Ngoc, Hikaru, Mai, Tomoko, all the other people we've met and invited to the party, and for jess' friend Arisa who she met with tonight and had an awesome conversation with! may the Lord bless you and keep you always, now and forever-

Saturday, June 6, 2009

End of Week 2

hokay, so.

thursday was kind of a hard day for me at first. for the first time i was the only girl on our team to go to campus, because not only was jess not there (because she had to go to the doctor) but neither was heather (who had been coming with me so i wouldn't be the only girl) or any of the JCCC Staff, so i felt a bit like i was battling to repress feelings of apprehension all morning. but i got to meet up with one of the first girls jess and i had met- noriko- for a few minutes before her next class so that was exciting that she had gone out of her way to meet up with me and talk even if it was only for 15 minutes. after she left, i got some lunch and wandered around outside for awhile until kylan found me and decided to stick with me to have lunch (which was very nice of him b/c sometimes it's harder to get into conversations if it's a guy-girl pair and you find a table of all one gender) but it was cool because he found some freshman lacross guys jeremy and andrew had met earlier, so we sat with them. at first it was a bit difficult because they didn't speak much english so i felt a bit like the outsider b/c while kylan speaks amazing japanese, i do not, so at times the conversation was hard to follow, but then a guy sat next to me who spoke english pretty well so that was nice. then one of the guys asked me what was written on the back of my hand (i had Romans 12:12 written so i could remember it) and so kylan and i looked at each other and whipped out our japanese/english New Testaments and began sharing with the guys next to us- kylan was able to share some of his favorite verses and John 3:16, and i was able to get into a good spiritual conversation about religion and how Christianity is more than a religion- it's not just a set of rules to follow, it's a way of life, and a faith that God isn't just a mean judge but a God of love, compassion and grace. hopefully we'll be able to talk with them more in the coming weeks. they already love jeremy because of his lacross skills, so that's definitely helpful because lacross is huge at Hitotsubashi. after that conversation, we met up with Nosuke (JCCC staff) who was chillin' on a bench, and the boys left to go evangelize and i did a quiet time. then i wandered to the west cafeteria again, said hi to jeremy and joe, and saw a girl sitting by herself and decided to take my pudding cup over and ask to sit down. she said yes and we immediately began talking- her name is ngoc and she's vietnamese, is very good at english and loves to talk. she was really excited to practice her english because she said she never gets a chance since everyone speaks japanese. and she wants to come to English Lunch on wednesday! hurray for answered prayers! i left campus that day in good spirits. thursday night was a free night so i took it easy at the apartment and went to bed early.

friday we went to Gakugei and had English Lunch set up for us already- i love fridays because CCC is already an established club at Gakugei so not only do we have a solid weekly event to go to, people normally know what we're talking about when we mention CCC. it was so awesome because as we were getting lunch, josh invited a couple guys randomly and then they brought like 6 other people, so we walk into Engish lunch with all these students in tow that we've just met, and then even more showed up! and then i saw like 4 people that we'd met at monday's lunch who had come! and tomoko, a girl i'd talked to on monday for awhile, had brought 3 of HER friends so i got to meet and talk with all of them! and they want to come to the Discover friends party and lunch again on monday! and while we haven't gotten into deep spiritual conversations yet, evangelism in Japan must start relationally or else normally they won't really trust you, so the fact that God has opened up all these doors for relationships is fantastic. the average Japanese person takes about 5-7 years to become a Christian, and the majority of Japanese students have no interest in any sort of religion at all, so honestly, even the fact that we've gotten chances to talk about the gospel at ALL is a miracle. friday night we took it easy and split off- some watched a movie and some of us played a card game called Nerts.

saturday morning we got up at 3:30 am to go to the Tsukiji Fish Market- the largest fish market in the world. it's only good early in the morning b/c that's when all the fish are fresh off the boat. the 2 best stories of the day are about eels:
1st story: we were walking by these big containers of eels and one decided to slither out and fall to the ground- the fisherman picked it up and sliced it's throat and threw it back in the container, but it kept fighting and slithered out AGAIN. poor eel.
2nd story: a guy was tossing live eels from one container to another crate thing and i was video-ing on my camera, when he decides to toss one AT ME and onto the ground. i squealed and leaped like 3 feet backward because i was so startled, and then he and all the other fishermen around him started cracking up (as well as the team members i was with...). sigh. at least i made them laugh. they're all big and scary, so it's cool to make them smile or laugh. later we got some sushi right next to the market- freshest sushi around, and kylan, amy and i ate eel (ironically) at the best place i've ever been to in Japan- the guy talked like a muppet and was so funny and nice and gave us all sheets of paper with the restaurant name in calligraphy and took pictures with all of us and had us sign his guest book. and he made us pinky promise to come back. awesome.we got back at 9:30 am feeling like we'd already spent a whole day out, and so we took naps and then i spent the day resting and catching up on things.

now i have to go plan things with the Outreach team, and then we're going to church! i love sundays.

please continue to pray for team bonding, spiritual protection and that we can continue our new friendships with students, share the gospel, and lead even more students to Christ.

Thursday, June 4, 2009


this is our team after the commissioning at briefing

sunset from the roof of our apartment complex
(that i'm technically not supposed to go on, but it was totally worth it.)

most of the team at some cool fountains near the Imperial Palace

standing on poles outside of the Imperial Palace

one of the best days on campus- last monday my campus team went to Gakugei University and had planned to meet a few Japanese students for lunch- turns out they brought a ton more friends and it was just one big gathering of Japanese and American college students, eating and laughing together- it reminded me of how Jesus would hang out and have meals with those He was ministering to- hopefully we can make it a weekly gathering

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

2nd Week so far...

it's too early in the morning for eloquence, but after waking up early to send off Team 2 to their first day at International Christian University High School (or ICU High), i knew that if i went back to bed i wouldn't want to wake up again so it was better to keep awake somehow. what better way that a blog update?

monday Team 1 went to Gakugei University and it was awesome- friday josh, nosuke (one of the JCCC staff) and i had met 5 Japanese students in the cafeteria and they loved josh- they decided they wanted to have lunch and meet the rest of our team on monday, so monday pretty much as soon as we got near the cafeteria one of them found us and brought us over to some picnic tables to have lunch. we set our stuff down and then went to the convenience store to get some food. once we had gotten our food, we came back and there were even more Japanese students we hadn't met! it was awesome- just 2 huge tables of Americans and Japanese chilling and laughing and eating together. it was so much fun and hopefully we'll be able to make it a weekly gathering and develop stronger friendships. after lunch i went and had a quiet time and prayer walked until it was time to go. monday night was "date night with Jesus" in which Jesus and i got some exercise running up and down the stairs of the apartment complex, and then we did laundry.

tuesday was one of the best days i've had so far. me, jess and emily went to Tsuda (an all women's university)- the campus was gorgeous and we met up with anita and nicole (JCCC staff) and they brought us to a lunch they established- there were 4 Japanese girls (1 Christian) and we just had a good time talking about ourselves and our homes, etc. next week they are going to have a "Bible talk" and hopefully we'll be able to share some of our experiences with God and show the other girls Christ's love. after that nicole, emily and i went to the cafeteria to try and talk to girls. emily saw a girl sitting by herself and asked if we could talk with her and she said yes and we sat down and began conversation. her name is hitomi, and her english was amazing even though she's never been to america, and her sister was Christian! she said she wasn't but she enjoyed singing gospel music, so we began talking about singing and she wants to take us to karaoke so we can sing Disney songs together! it was such a great conversation and she seemed like someone we could really become good friends with. it was really encouraging. after that emily and i prayer walked and prayed for jess and anita who had a really good conversation with another girl who wants to meet up again. tuesday night was girls' night so we went to an italian restaurant and then played "hot seat" basically where you can ask any question to the person in the hot seat for 3 minutes. it was a lot of fun and a good bonding time. God began breaking me of some things and it was hard but really good and my spirit still feels renewed from it.

wednesday we went to Hitotsubashi- jess went to the doctor because she had a cyst on her tailbone and it was making her sick, but they fixed it all up and she's on the road to recovery, which is awesome because she's been really frustrated that she couldn't be on campus with us. she goes back to the doctor today but hopefully she can rejoin us soon. when we got to campus we went to the international dorm where kylan had set up an English lunch-- it was really encouraging because JCCC has tried English lunches before and they haven't done so well, but there was a good turnout of people (although they were all guys) and it was fun. afterward we prayed for the the campus and people we'd talked to and i prayed that God would bring a couple girls to the lunch next time. then we walked to the main part of campus and a campus circle was doing obstacle course races so josh joined in and they thought it was awesome. then we met up with some of the JCCC staff and yukiko and i went sharing. the first girl we went up to was a bit discouraging because i basically said "excuse me do you speak english" and she said "a little" and i said i was from America and visiting and wanting to meet Japanese students and would she mind if we sat and talked to her for a bit and her response was "um i am eating my lunch." i was like "oh....ok thank you" and we moved on. we then went to another part of the cafeteria and asked 2 girls to sit and talk and we asked them some questions and it was just really sad because they seemed to have no spark of life or excitement for anything and they had no goals or dreams and no sense of purpose in their lives. one of the girls had a Christian friend and so we began talking about Christianity a bit and i shared how i used to not have a specific goal either but i liked making plans but they would turn out completely different than i intended and i came to realize that God had a better plan for me than i could ever make and that He gives my life purpose, etc. and as i was speaking they became visibly closed off and the walls around them just shot up, to the point that by the end they weren't even talking at all anymore. so we decided that was our cue to leave, and it would have been discouraging but God reminded me that my job isn't to convert, it's to sow seeds, and even if all i did was plant the question in their minds of "do i have a purpose? what is my purpose?" that's a success. and one of the girls had never even met a Christian so it was cool to be the first. after that i was a bit drained and yukiko had to leave so i decided to go have quiet time and try and find the library. i went to the bathroom and was fixing my hair and there was a girl next to me painting her nails in the bathroom and taking a long time and i was just standing there like "she's taking a long time in i supposed to be talking to her?" so i shrugged and said "excuse me do you speak english?" and she said "yes!" and i was like oh-wow-cool..."um i'm from America visiting" and she asked for how long and i said 4 more weeks and i asked her where the library was and she said she'd show me so off we went and had maybe a 2 minute conversation- she was a freshman and wanted to study abroad in America and had been a few times to the states before and i told her i was with 15 other people as a part of an international student club going to different universities and meeting students and by that point we'd gotten to the library and she asks "do you have a cell phone" and i said no but i had an email address and get this- she asks me to meet with her again and talk! after literally maybe a 2-3 minute conversation! i don't even know what her major is (which is one of the first questions we ask). i tell her of course i'd love to talk more and i tell her about the English lunch next wednesday and she wants to come! God is so awesome. especially when He answers prayers in an hour. it was so cool. and really encouraging. AND THE BEST PART OF THE DAY: JOE LED SOMEONE TO CHRIST!!!!!!!! PRAISE THE LORD! please be praying for Yuuichi, that God protects him and his new faith and he would grow into a strong man of God.

last night we all (except jess, who was resting after the doctor) went to see Star Trek and it was so much fun- i really enjoyed it. when we got back though we found out that Team 2 had been kicked of ICU campus because the administration thinks Student Impact is a cult, so they may not be able to go back there, so please pray for ICU's students and that God would use this for his glory. the cool thing is though- that means Satan's scared of them. that's pretty exciting, because it means not only are they doing something right, it means he's scared of what they might do in the future. later last night heather had a crazy back pain that made her not be able to walk so we took care of her until she could start walking again.

crazy things are at work in Japan- please pray for not only our spiritual protection, but for the students who are already Christians and the ones whom God is working in to prepare their hearts for the Spirit. but we rejoice in God's beautiful and awesome plan that we have the privilege of being a part.