Friday, January 21, 2011


tomorrow we leave for our Asia STINT Midyear Conference in sunny, lovely, wonderful THAILAND.

i can't even express how excited i am. not only for warm weather, beach, riding elephants, ziplining through rainforest and holding baby tigers, but to hang out with STINTers from all over Asia for a week, hear their stories, encourage one another and let God grow our vision for Asia. our conference is from January 22-28th, then the 28th- february 4th the Tokyo team will be helping at an orphanage in Chang Mai, then spending a couple days in Bangkok and Pataya, riding elephants and enjoying some much needed R&R. please be praying for our safety and for God to really grow us and speak to us these next 2 weeks.

i can't believe we're leaving tomorrow. because that means i've come to almost the halfway point of my STINT year. and that's just weird. i've been here 4 months already? everything seems so normal, yet still enjoyable. perhaps i'm still in the "honeymoon phase"? or perhaps i adjust to things easily. either way, this year has seemed to go by very quickly.

i've already begun to think about coming back for another year. it's just that ministry here in Japan is such a slow process, and i've met so many amazing people that i want to continue to grow relationships with and share more about God's love with them. also, with 4 re-STINTers on our team, i've realized the importance of having semi-experienced people on the team. i would be completely lost without the knowledge and wisdom of our re-STINTers Ariel, Lyndsey, Mike and AJ. it also seems like every time i come to Japan then go back to the States, i feel like my work is unfinished here. that there is still so much to do. like the song goes, "Greater things are yet to come, greater things are still to be done in this city...." of course, the song is talking about God, not me, but i know God has awesome plans for Tokyo and Japan, and if He lets me, i want to be a part of it in any way i can. please be praying for wisdom and discernment for my plans next year- i need to decide by the end of February whether i will re-STINT, as well as if i decide to go to Dallas Theological Seminary in the fall (i deferred a year to come to Japan). or God might have something totally different in mind for me. only He knows at this point.

so. january. we didn't really know what to expect with ministry because january is basically Study Month for the students because their finals are at the end of january- beginning of february. and college students ACTUALLY STUDY in Japan. weird, right? our finals week at USC was the time that i actually hung out with people who i hadn't seen all semester. (i did study some too, i swear) anyway, we were a bit worried that not many students would be able to meet with us this month because of all their papers and exams; however, in the past two weeks i've been able to meet up with students almost constantly. there were a couple times where i had no appointments, but even during those times i was still able to meet some new students which was awesome.

- so i was hanging out w/ my friend Claudine in the SILS (School of International Liberal Studies) lounge, and a friend of hers (Miko) came over to say hi, met me, then immediately pulled me over to her table and introduced me to 3 of her friends (Yuuri, Natalie and Manami). since then, i've been able to hang out with those 4 girls on 3 separate occasions, and get into some great conversations about God and worldviews with them.
- shared the gospel with Jane and Tao through The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, Jane became a Christian, and since then has already brought 2 friends to church
- got to share the Gospel in two different ways with Iphie
- had 2 amazing conversations with Misaki, a girl from Hitotsubashi, about good vs. evil, absolute truth, our need for God and God's love for all of us
- January 14th was Mitsuyori, a combined East and West Student Impact meeting that happens once a month, where all our students from all over Tokyo come together for prayer, worship and fellowship. it was so cool to see all of our students come together and see how God's working in this city
- January 16th i hung out with my language partner Manami for 5 hours! and.....she came to church with me! i've been trying to bring her to church since i arrived in Japan and so i was so excited that she came with me!
- January 18th i was able to meet with Mai, a girl i met on Summer Project -- we met for coffee, caught up on life, and i got to share with her why i'm in Japan and how God called me here. we're going to meet up again when i get back from Thailand
- January 20th was crazy but awesome. met with Aya for lunch and she brought a new friend for us to meet, Saiko, who is really into dance and musicals and wants to come to Holy Spirit! so does Aya actually! praise God! that afternoon i hung out with Miko, Natalie, Yuuri and Manami and talked about their views of God/gods. and the effect our views of a Creator have on our lives and purpose in life.
- Saori: so i met Saori at a Paddy (Waseda English Club) meeting. when i introduced myself to her, she was like "so i had noticed you earlier and i like your character." that was kind of awesome to hear. so we started talking and it was just really fun, so we planned to meet and hang out again on the 20th. since i lost my cell phone almost 2 weeks ago, i've had to schedule almost all my appointments through Facebook- i never thought i'd say this, but i am so thankful for Facebook. without it, i wouldn't have been able to meet up with so many students in the past couple weeks. anyway, we'd been messaging where/ when we'd meet. right before i left for campus yesterday, she messaged me saying "let's meet at the Shinjuku station south exit at 6 pm." in my rush i forgot to respond and confirm. so i get to Shinjuku at 6 and wait an hour. she doesn't show up. i don't have a phone, so i'm thinking "God, what should i do?" so i saw a girl near me and asked if she spoke English. she said yes. i asked if she had an iphone. she said yes. i explained my situation of how i could only contact my friend through Facebook, so this random stranger let me use her iphone- i send Saori a message saying "hey i'm here where are you?" but before i could wait for a reply the girl had to leave (and take her phone of course). so i waited some more. then i saw someone else with an iphone and asked them the same thing. she had replied saying "oh i thought you weren't going since you didn't reply. i will leave now and get there at 8," but before i could reply the person had to leave and take their phone so i couldn't reply (again...) so i waited some more. then i asked someone else with an iphone if i could use it. (i got very good at saying in Japanese: "excuse me, my friend is coming here but i do not have a cell phone, do you have an iphone? do you have Facebook? may i message my friend?" it all sounded really awkward but they understood, and the awkwardness probably made them feel sorry for me...) she had sent another message saying "are you not there anymore?" i replied as fast as i could saying "no i am i am!" then i returned the phone and waited some more. then unexpectedly 2 Student Impact students saw me and came over to wait with me, which was very nice of them. it got to be about 8:40 pm, and they'd waited with me about 20-30 minutes, and i said "i think i'm going to go home- i give up. i can't do anything else." JUST THEN, i heard "KIMI!" and Saori was there! THEN we hung out at Starbucks and i was able to share exactly why i was in Japan, what Student Impact does and why, the whole gospel, and my whole testimony. she's not only interested in learning more about Student Impact, she wants to come to Free (our gospel choir)! it was such an encouraging, amazing time- i think perhaps God was teaching me a) patience, b) how to pray desperately for 2 1/2 hours and c) that just in case i was getting too comfortable relying on Facebook, i would be reminded of my need for relying on God.
- today myself, Kat and Esther had lunch with Iphie and were able to share a lot about God as our Father, and we got to talk a lot about our views of homosexuality, sin, and sex, and bring a ton of the gospel and our testimonies into the conversation. after that, Michelle, Lyndsey and i had coffee with Jane and her friend Puppet, and Michelle was able to go through the gospel in great detail with Puppet.

God has blessed us so much this month! please be praying for all these students- for their hearts to be opened and for us to not lose contact with them while they are on Spring Break for 2 months!


Sunday, January 9, 2011


so in my last post i said how last night we had dinner at Ariel's with two students, Jane and Tao, and how both seemed so close to accepting Christ. last night myself, Lyndsey, Ariel and Mike prayed for Jane and Tao after they left, that Jane would be touched by her experience at church today.

well, Jane went to church today with another student, Jean,
and guess what?


her facebook status read: "Spiritual Birthday!!! Reborn!!! I become a CHRISTIAN today!!!==>Jan. 9 !!! Isn't Jan.9 like Jane ???! haha:D have a blessed night everyone!!!"

all i have to say is PRAISE GOD.

He is working in this country, and it's such a blessing to be a part of it. this is why i'm here. this is my purpose.

the exciting thing is, you don't have to go to another country to share the Gospel and see the miracle of someone becoming a Christian. our mission field is wherever we are.

please be praying for Jane's spiritual growth, for protection from attacks of the enemy, and for her friend Tao that she too will come to know the Lord soon!

to quote Jane, "have a blessed night everyone!!!"

Saturday, January 8, 2011


thursday was our first day back on campus after winter break.

i woke up late, and with a horrible stomach ache, not a great way to start the morning. but i still made it to campus and ate lunch with the girl i'm pseudo-discipling, Sehee. it was good to reconnect with her after the break and encourage her- she's entering finals and is really stressed, so i challenged her not to let this be a time when she pushes God to the side, but a time where she would focus on God even more. so often, when we are really busy and stressed we allow our own "things we HAVE to do" take precedent over God; however, these are the times when we need God the MOST. we need to rely on HIS strength and give our anxieties and worries to Him.

after meeting with Sehee, i had about 1 1/2 hours to kill before my next appointment, so i called other team members to see what they were doing. everyone seemed to be meeting with people though, so i went to the international studies building (SILS) and sat on a bench outside the lounge (a huge room with tables that is a fabulous place to meet people). i got an text from my 2:30 appointment that she wanted to meet at Building 11 (all the buildings at Waseda U. are numbered); however, i had no idea which building was Building 11. i saw a Japanese girl sitting on the bench next to me, so i went over to her and asked if she spoke English. she said yes (which is always really exciting- most Japanese are really humble so they always say "no" even if they can) and so i asked her which was Building 11 and she said "this one." well, that was convenient. she asked if i was new, i explained what i was doing and we got into a good conversation. she was waiting for a friend who called her and pushed the meeting back til 2:30- i said "wow i'm meeting a friend at 2:30 too!" so she said "oh well do you want to get a snack and talk until then?" and i said "sure!" in my head thinking "OMG GOD YOU ARE AWESOME." it was so cool to make a new friend, and she has lots of friends in the dance clubs at Waseda so she's going to introduce me.

at 2:30 we parted ways and i met with Claudine, a girl from the Philippines i met at English club. she's Catholic, but we've never really had a chance to really sit down and talk, so it was great to just catch up with her and see what's going on in her life, and i was able to share with her a good deal of my testimony and what God's done in my life, and encourage her in that because she and i seem to be very similar. like me, she's also a perfectionist, but just hasn't quite learned how to surrender that to God, so i encouraged her to trust God and allow Him to take control of her life and situations. we were about to leave when she saw a friend of hers, so she introduced me to her friend Miko, who then dragged me over to introduce me to two of her friends, which was very exciting. i love meeting new students, especially students who want to introduce me to other students.

friday was equally awesome. i got two last minute appointments with students, so that's always exciting. i started off the day with a lunch appointment with Kaori. she, Michelle and i went to a restaurant off campus and had an awesome time catching up, but also getting to talk about Christmas and spiritual things. before Christmas i had given her a Christian manga called The Search, in Japanese manga style so it's interesting to Japanese, about a guy who goes in search of meaning and finds Jesus (it explains the Four Spiritual Laws as well), so we got to talk about that a bit and she said she was going to re-read it so we could discuss it further, so that was encouraging. after lunch Michelle and i met with Iphie, a Chinese student who we've been able to share the Gospel with on several occasions and has even gone to church a couple times. she took us to a cute cafe and we got into a fabulous conversation about non-profits and humanitarian organizations- her dream is to maybe start her own, so we were able to talk a lot about love and her heart for people. then Michelle had to leave, but Iphie and i started talking about Christmas and i was able share the Gospel again with her- she said she thought Christmas was a more romantic holiday than Valentine's so i shared about how i agreed because it's God showing His indescribable love for us through Jesus, that God's love is beyond any human love and how He just wants to share that with us. she and i are going to meet up again soon :)

friday night there was a welcome back party at Paddy, the Waseda English Club, so AJ, Ariel and i went together. it was wonderful to be able to see so many people again. i not only got to grow relationships with people i'd already met, i set up a lunch appointment for next week and made 3 new friends- Watabe, William and Saori! it was even cooler, because AJ and i had both been feeling really tired and kind of under the weather, and really didn't want to go, and both of us realized (separately) that there must be a reason we didn't want to go so badly, and that probably meant that we SHOULD go, so we did, and God gave us so many blessings!

today i slept in, which was lovely. then i decided to clean the stove, which looked like it hadn't been cleaned for a century, and i'm pretty sure it actually hasn't. have you ever cleaned a stove like that? there was black stuff in every nook and cranny. there was petrified grease and food behind, underneath, even inside the stove. i used up almost an entire roll of paper towels. i had to take the top off to clean the inside, and even then there was so much stuff that just wouldn't come off, no matter how long i soaked it in cleaner. i finally just had to give up and be content that it was at least cleaner than before. to some this may seem like a normal household chore, but after i was finished, God revealed to me the similarities between cleaning a disgusting stove and our hearts. we can sense when our hearts are dirty. so we get out our trusty cleaner and try to spray it down. but it doesn't work. we realize the dried grease and oil is tougher and deeper than we thought. so we start scrubbing. we scrub and scrub, and it helps, but there's still so much that won't come off. so what do we do? do we give up, and allow ourselves to be content with a half-finished job? or do we surrender our heart to Jesus and let HIM take over? if we look into our hearts, we realize that there is way more grime than we expected, and the deeper we go, the more there is, and the harder to clean. we can't do it by ourselves, no matter how hard we try. we have to let Jesus do it for us. He is the ONLY one who can make our hearts truly clean and pure. you know that wonderful feeling when you clean something really dirty and then you step back and it's all squeaky clean and shiny? that's how God wants our hearts to be, and that's the feeling we will feel if we let Jesus do the work for us. in the book/ Bible study Breaking Free by Beth Moore, she talks about how there are many ancient foundations for our chains, and we've got to allow God to break those so we can truly be free in Christ. lately, i've been praying a lot that the Lord would reveal to me anything that is preventing me from experiencing Him fully. i've also started praying more for humility, which is a scary prayer because, well, God doesn't really ever seem to hesitate to give humility when i ask for it. He knows i can always use more. but i like to be independent, i like to think i'm strong, that i can do things on my own. so often in a situation God will say, "kimi let Me help you" and i'll be like "God- i got it! i know what i'm doing!" and He'll sigh and love me and let me try to do it my way, and when the dust clears from the explosion of my mistakes He'll pick me up and say, "now will you trust Me?" i love God- He never says "I told you so." but seriously- have you ever done that with God? why do we have such a tendency to think we're right, that we know what we're doing, that we can clean our own hearts, when we really have no idea? if you think about it, that's kind of the underlying cause of every problem in the world. C.S. Lewis says in Mere Christianity that Pride is the ultimate sin, the sin that leads to all other sins. may God save us from our pride and humble us enough that we do HIS work and look for HIS guidance, which is completely perfect and will always lead us in triumphal procession!

in other news, tonight Ariel and Mike hosted me, Lyndsey and 2 Chinese students, Jane and Tao, both who are interested in learning more about God. Ariel made Chinese food and we had an awesome dinner and hang out time. again, tonight, i was feeling not that great and really not wanting to go out, and i was like, "why am i feeling like this? there's no reason!" so i was like "ok i'm going!" and i am SO glad i did! because on the way out the door, i decided to randomly grab The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe dvd and bring it. so after dinner we all watched it together. and when the movie was over, the next bus didn't come for another hour, so the girls were basically stuck hanging out with us til their bus came, so we then had an hour long conversation about how Aslan represents Jesus and got to really explain the gospel through the movie. it was so cool because we started out by asking what was their favorite part of the movie, and both said their favorite scene was when Aslan dies and then comes back to life! and we got to share that Jesus actually DID THAT! and i asked how would you feel if you were Edmund, and Tao said she'd feel undeserving, and so we got to share that we are all actually like Edmunds, and we are all undeserving, and that's the beauty of grace, because God's love saves us from death, God's love conquers death, and God's love allows us to live free of sin. and they got it! and it was so cool! and they are so close to accepting Christ! please be praying for their hearts!

- humility :)
- for Claudine and Sehee's growth in their relationships with God
- for my new friends Miko, Natalie, Watabe, William and Saori, that i will have the opportunity to meet with them more in the future
- for Iphie and Kaori's hearts to be open to the Gospel
- for Jane and Tao to allow Jesus to enter their hearts
- for the students as they enter into exams-- that they would not be stressed and that God would open their schedules and allow us time to meet together before we go to Thailand


Saturday, January 1, 2011

IT'S 2011????


not gonna lie, it was kind of weird to be celebrating 17 hours ahead of most of my friends. we had fun though- we all went out to dinner, then to Yokohama (about 1 1/2 hours away) for ice skating and fireworks. there is a huge ferris wheel at an amusement park called Cosmo World that has 60 spokes and so that's how they do the countdown, then there was a big fireworks show. me and my roommates all slept in today which was glorious, and i made chocolate chip muffins. tonight we're all going to watch a movie and have some relaxing time. it's so nice to finally have a few days of vacation after such a crazy month.

i can hardly believe it's already january though. that means i only have 6 months left in japan. it also means i only have about a month and a half to decide if i'm going to re-stint, or go to Dallas Theological Seminary. not that those are my only two options for next year, but the deadlines for both are in february. which is a little scary. please be praying God gives me discernment in my decision.

does anyone do New Year's Resolutions anymore? i've done it every year, and at the end of the year i'm always a bit discouraged because i definitely haven't followed all my resolutions. but this year, this year i feel will be different. of course, i say that every year too. but whether or not i keep all of the resolutions, i'm writing them in this blog as a way of motivation and accountability- please feel free to send me a facebook message, or an email, or a skype at any point and say "so kimi how ya doin with those resolutions?" so. here they are.

KIMI'S 2011 RESOLUTIONS: these are in no particular order

1. spend 30 minutes simply listening to God
2. daily 30+ minutes quiet time
3. learn how to have an attitude of continual prayer
4. do some form of exercise every day for at least 30 minutes
5. blog and journal more consistently
6. finish Hearing God by Dallas Willard
7. re-read Breaking Free
8. cut down on caffeine intake
9. eat more sushi and less McDonald's
10. finish my Bible verse wall in my room
11. budget my money better
12. choose patience and grace over frustration in every situation
13. focus more on God than myself
14. be more edifying and encouraging with my words and actions
15. eat more fruits and vegetables
16. make friends with the vegetable lady near our apartment, and the fruit seller near the Student Center
17. learn to make Japanese food (including sushi!)
18. learn how to say my testimony in Japanese
19. study Japanese for at lease 30 minutes every day
20. become familiar with more Japanese pop music and movies
21. watch Totoro and other Ghibli movies

and, for those of you who like pictures, here are some pictures from the past week:

Secret Santa STINT party- half pajamas/ half fancy

me, lyndsey, michelle and ariel with some students at church Christmas Eve Eve

Happy Birthday Jesus cake lyndsey made for Christmas

singing Christmas carols at the Yoyogi Park homeless church

praying with Tanaka-san, one of the homeless women

me, lyndsey and michelle in front of a traditional Japanese New Year arrangement

ice skating New Year's Eve

the ferris wheel on New Year's Eve

i wish you all a wonderful 2011! may it be filled with love, laughter and surprises!