Sunday, November 28, 2010


November 18-21 all the STINTers took a roadtrip with 5 of the JCCC staff to Kyoto and Osaka, otherwise known as the Kansai area. it was really awesome to get out of Tokyo for a little bit, even 4 days. i had never been anywhere else in Japan, so it was also really exciting to go to 2 of Japan's most famous and beautiful cities. it was a perfect time to go, since the leaves were at the peak of their autumn hues. Kyoto's about 6-7 hours from Tokyo, so most of Thursday was spent in the car. we did stop at "the best Starbucks in the world" - it had a view of the ocean, mountains, a river and Mt. Fuji. it was really gorgeous. if only clouds hadn't covered Mt. Fuji... view of the mountains from Starbucks
first team picture of the trip

once we got to Kyoto, our first stop was the Rokuon-ji Temple, or the Golden Pavilion. it was absolutely gorgeous, but also extremely sobering knowing that even the most beautiful things of this world are, in the end, still of this world, and constructed to worship false gods. it makes me sad that shrines and temples characterize Japan, that the country is known for images such as this one: just like i desire to change Hollywood's reputation, i want to change Japan's. i don't want people to see Japan as a country of apathy, of pointless religious traditions, of shrines and temples to false gods, i want people to see Japan and say, "That country is on fire for Jesus." the temple closed at 5 pm, so we then met up with one of the Kyoto staff and prayer walked on a university they go to often, then went to the place we'd be staying and had dinner. there are currently only 2 Kyoto staff and 1 STINTer, and they are all Korean. please pray for more workers in Kyoto, especially for Japanese staff to commit to working in Kyoto- apparently there are over 1 million college students in Kyoto who need to hear the Gospel! friday morning we went to Arashiyama, a famous mountain in Kyoto across the Oi River. we only had about 30 minutes to take pictures and get souveniers, but it was still gorgeous. Arashiyama
Arashiyama Bridge
me and michelle on Arashiyama Bridge

After Arashiyama, we were off to Osaka. as soon as we arrived, we split up into 3 groups to go to 3 different campuses and do outreach with the Osaka STINTers and staff. it was really cool to see what the Lord is doing on the different Osaka universities and encourage the Osaka CCC. that night we went to their weekly meeting, Acts, and got to meet the students and have a great time of worship, prayer and fellowship. Saturday was our training/sightseeing day- after some training on effective ways of sharing the Gospel, we went to Osaka Castle, famous for its formidable defenses. we decided to take a picture scaling the castle wall. we then got yelled at by an old Japanese man and had to run away. but it was so worth it.

after Osaka Castle, we went to the Osaka Expo/Park to have fellowship time with the Osaka STINTers and staff. then we went to Dotonbori Street, famous for shopping, restaurants, a giant crab & the “running man." we ate foods famous in Osaka, including takoyaki and okonomiyaki and bought some souvenirs (it is Japanese custom to bring back edible gifts for friends whenever you travel- seriously).
the Tokyo & Osaka STINTers on a bridge famous for guys picking up girls, with the Running Man in the background.

Sunday we went to church and headed home to Tokyo shortly after! it was a crazy whirlwind of a trip, and i wish we'd been able to spend more time sightseeing, but it was so wonderful to how the Lord is working in other cities, to be encouraged and to encourage the other STINTers and staff, and visit some beautiful places!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

A Kimi Brown Thanksgiving

so this year is my first year to not have Thanksgiving either with my family in Dallas or my surrogate family in Los Angeles. when i went to USC, i never went home for Thanksgiving, but have had Thanksgiving dinner and spend the night at my friend Sean's house for the past 4 years. it really became a tradition- his house truly became my home away from home while i was at SC, and his mom even introduced me as her surrogate daughter. it was always so wonderful to be surrounded by good home cooking and tons of family members (especially because my own family is pretty small). this year, as i am in Tokyo, i knew it would be different, and possibly very challenging.

but it was actually surprisingly wonderful. of course, Japan doesn't celebrate Thanksgiving so we still had a day of campus ministry before we could celebrate the holiday. and it was SUCH an encouraging day. i met up with a girl named Sehee, a first year Christian Korean student i had met at English Club a few weeks ago. we had only talked briefly -our conversation was literally
me: "i like your cross necklace"
Sehee: "thanks! i'm a Christian"
me: "really?? me too!!!"

and then we exchanged phone numbers and that was about it. so i knew very little about her and wanted to know more, so on a whim i texted her and asked if she wanted to meet for lunch and she immediately responded with Yes! it was such an amazing time, because i got to hear a lot of her life and share a good deal of my testimony with her, and encourage her to find a church and accountability. in many ways she's where i was until only a few years ago, feeling like if she doesn't read her Bible or go to church she is a "bad Christian" -- i told her that is not the way God intends for us to live our lives, He wants us to desire to know him so much that we eagerly seek his Word and church community, so that worship/learning more about God is an exciting opportunity, not a chore. i was able to explain what the body of Christ truly is, how we cannot grow unless we allow others to come into our lives and share our struggles and burdens, and how important community is to growth in our relationship with God. we were not created to be alone. then she told me, "i can see why God brought you to Japan, and i know God brought you here today to share this with me." it was possibly the most encouraging thing i've heard so far in Japan. the other encouraging thing- i'm basically going to start being her discipler; she wants to meet up every week and study the Bible and learn how to share the Gospel. i cannot express how excited i am to see how God uses her at Waseda University. after meeting with her, lyndsey and i met with Yumi, a girl i'd met a few weeks ago but hadn't seen in awhile. couldn't spend too much time with her, but it was wonderful to grow our friendship, introduce her to lydnsey and hopefully we'll be able to meet again soon.

after campus, we rushed home to begin preparations for our Thanksgiving dinner party. i wish i could have been with my friends and family back in the states (i did in fact have to change the music when Michael Buble's "Home" came on, but other than that i was fine), but it was really cool to celebrate Thanksgiving with good friends in a different country. we had a potluck dinner of chicken cor don bleu, chicken/stuffing/veggie casserole, mashed potatoes, rolls, kabocha soup (Japanese pumpkin), minestrone soup, daikon (Japanese vegetable) and pumpkin pie. the pumpkin pie was an adventure. since Japan doesn't do Thanksgiving, finding pumpkin pie ingredients is rather difficult. i spent about 2 hours online looking up international food stores, then it took about 2 hours to go to 2 different stores, but in the end, the quest was successful and i felt very accomplished. pie tins in Japan are about 1/3 the size of American pie pans, so i ended up having to make 3 pies, and bake them in our microwave/oven thing, but in the end it all worked out and turned out nicely. we ate lots of food, had great fellowship with all the PSW STINTers, 2 of the JCCC staff, and 2 students from the States, and watched A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving. fun fellowshipping
my pride and joy

Friday felt like it should be a holiday, but we had another day of campus. it seemed like everyone had a really hard time getting there, to the point that it felt like spiritual attack. michelle had a migraine, esther took a day off, ariel got stopped by the police, mike was late, henry was late, david was on a trip with ICU high school ministry...needless to say, we were praying hard against spiritual attack and that the Lord would show us what he wanted us to do. lyndsey and i met with Kanae, who accept Christ a couple weeks ago, and Yui, who has not yet accepted but is interested in studying the Bible. we were really nervous about how the meeting would go because they had invited a friend, so we couldn't really talk much about the Gospel because the friend wasn't too interested. but we ended up spending the whole day with them (4 hours) and still got to talk about some deep things that related to our faith, but also just grow our relationships with them so that was cool. we're going to start Bible study with them next Friday, and they want to come to church with us! so that was exciting.

today was wonderful. got to sleep in for the first time in awhile, then went to Cam's house for Thanksgiving dinner #2. it was huge- Cam and Kristen (his wife) have 4 children, then there were 9 STINTers (ariel couldn't make it), 6 JCCC staff, 2 more kids, 1 baby and a Christian teacher of one of Cam's kids. it was so cool to be in a house that looked like an American house (not a Japanese apartment), surrounded by wonderful American people and American food. if i couldn't be with my family or Sean's, there's no one else i'd rather be with than the people i was with tonight. i felt like my heart was just full of warm fuzzies the whole night.

STINTers, minus Mike and Ariel, plus Baby Selah, one of the JCCC Staff's daughters

food, glorious food!

in other news, tomorrow morning (my time) USC plays Notre Dame. unfortunately i won't be watching it because i will be at a Japanese tea ceremony with my roommate from junior year, but i'm really stoked about the tea ceremony (and i can watch the game online later). after that, my life gets exponentially more busy. JCCC will be having 4 different Christmas Outreach parties this month, 2 of which i will be extremely involved in, the other 2 i really just need to go to and support if they need it.

- for Kanae: her growth as a new believer
- for Yui: that the Lord would grow her desire to learn about Him and she would accept Christ
- for Sehee: that the Lord would show her how to really live her life for Him
- for me: for focus, discipline and time to get everything done this week i need to do
- most importantly, that i would rely on God's strength and not get too focused on details and the little things that i take my focus off God and his work

Sunday, November 14, 2010


i apologize.
i've been slacking on updates. i definitely need more discipline. but i work best under pressure i suppose. tomorrow we leave for a roadtrip to Kyoto and Osaka to visit other Student Impact ministries for a few days, so i figured i should probably finish this post before then. which means i probably won't sleep much tonight. not sure if i could anyway- it suddenly decided to become winter here, and i'm definitely not prepared for the cold. i still have yet to buy a thick comforter, thick curtains and gasoline for our space heater. as cold as it is, i know i need to stop being a wimp because it's only going to get worse from here. somehow i lost both a winter hat and 1 glove today though, which made for a very unfortunate, cold bike ride home. but enough weather woes. on to the update!

these past couple weeks have been pretty awesome in terms of ministry. every day at least 1-2 people are hearing the Gospel, and many of them have never met a Christian or heard of Jesus, so we're getting to sow a lot of seeds. i've gotten to really start establishing relationships/friendships with the people i met in October, and everyone on our team has already grown noticeably in terms of boldness and confidence in sharing the Gospel with students and jumping on every opportunity we can to share. a lot of us have been sick lately though. i was sick for about a week, which was a bit frustrating. but it's a chance to just rely on God even more for strength, energy and focus. and it made me realize that even if i'm not physically well, God can still use me. Thursday Lyndsey and i met with Yuki and Kaori again- we had been praying we'd be able to share the Gospel but we ended up not having much time with them, so that was a bit frustrating but the encouraging thing is that every time we meet with them, they are always the ones to ask to meet up again. so hopefully next week we can share the Gospel with them.

Friday. ohhh Friday was such a glorious day. Lyndsey and i met with Yui and Kanae, whom we'd met the very first day at Waseda. we had not been able to meet with them since, so it had been a month since we'd last seen them and we weren't really expecting much- we had prayed we'd be able to share the Gospel if it was God's will, but we weren't counting on it. but God had other ideas. we ended up being able to share a good deal of our testimonies, our vision of God, and the full Gospel with both girls. they were both really interested and it was the smoothest, easiest Gospel presentation we've ever done. in our Japanese booklets there is a drawing of 2 circles- the left circle shows you as the center and Christ outside the circle, and the right circle shows Christ as the center of your life and you underneath. both girls said their lives looked like the left circle but they wanted to be in the right one. then Yui had to go to work, but we kept talking to Kanae. we made sure to go over everything really carefully and told her if she wanted, she could receive Christ right then and asked if that was what she wanted-- and she said yes! she prayed to receive Christ! i cannot even express how wonderful it was. statistically it takes a Japanese person about 5-7 years to accept the Gospel from the first time they've heard it, so this is SUCH a miracle! second, she's the first student to accept Christ in the 6 weeks i've been here (even though God's blessed us with many opportunities to share the Gospel so far, it's mostly been planting seeds) and thirdly, she's the first student i've ever personally seen accept the Gospel- that is, whom i've shared with and they've accepted it! please pray for Kanae- for protection from the enemy and that God would reveal himself to her in very real ways this week. also please pray for Yui- she is very interested in learning more about the Bible (once again, a huge rarity in Japan) so please pray for the Bible study Lyndsey and i are starting with the 2 girls and that Yui would also accept Christ into her life soon.

Saturday was also pretty legit. i woke up at 5 am to go to a huge park called Yoyogi Park with Mike and AJ. you might be asking yourself, what on earth is worth waking up that early? i shall tell you. a homeless church. every Saturday at 7 am a pastor from Tokyo Baptist Church preaches a sermon in the park for the homeless who live around there. we heard about it from some YWAM people who help out, and we decided to check it out. it was so wonderful. we stuff about 120 food bags for the homeless and distributed them. we sang hymns with them and prayed with them, and 7 people raised their hands to say they wanted to receive Christ. and we broke into small groups and i had the opportunity of meeting 3 of the most lovely, gentle women i've ever met. i was able to speak with the oldest for awhile (through a translator). she was so sweet and adorable- i just wanted to give her a hug. one of the most heart-wrenching moments had to do with yennies. let me explain yennies. yennies are 1 yen coins (yen + penny = yenny). Japanese coins have different weights- the heaviest are the most valuable. yennies weigh almost nothing, and they feel and look like fake money. they're rather worthless. but after all the rest of the homeless had left, this tiny, adorable old Japanese woman slipped a yennie into the pastor's hand and quietly went her own way. it pierced my heart that i thought of these things as so worthless, and yet to this woman, it was everything she had, and she gave it to the church. let's just say it was really convicting.

the gorgeous trees in Yoyogi Park- you can see a couple of the homeless in the background

Sunday morning i went to Roppongi and watched the USC vs. Arizona game at Legends Sports Bar with the Tokyo USC Alumni Club- it was amazing to be able to watch a game with USC fans/alums on a real tv for the first time since i've been here. it's been so lame to have to watch the games on my computer attempting in vain to hold in my squeals and cheers so as not to wake up my roommates. i got totally lost trying to find the bar though- thankfully a nice American guy saw me struggling to understand the directions of a Japanese police officer, came up and said "sweetie are you looking for Legends?" (i guess my ridiculous USC attire gave it away) and pointed me in the right direction. ironically he turned out to be a Bruin. guess they aren't so bad sometimes. finally made it and had a blast- USC won, so that helped make the experience enjoyable.

Tuesday was our first day at Hitotsubashi University, having finally been given the green light to do ministry there with one of the JCCC staff. it was so wonderful to be back on that campus. we had English lunch, met some new students, and prayer walked for awhile. i'm so excited to see what God does at that university. today Lyndsey and i were able to give Kanae a Japanese Bible and Yui a "Manga Messiah" - the life of Jesus told in the style of a Japanese comic book. we were also able to share the Gospel with 2 girls we met randomly, which was encouraging. now i really should try and sleep a couple hours before we leave for Kyoto!

Prayer walking at Hitotsubashi University...

- energy/strength
- full health recovery
- for Kanae, Yui, Yuki, Kaori and all the other students we've met so far
- safety as we travel to and from Kyoto and Osaka this weekend

"All things are possible for those who believe." ~ Mark 9:23