Tuesday, March 22, 2011



these are lyrics of a song sung by New Hope Oahu Church in Hawaii a week after the earthquake/tsunami, and they really struck me as i listened to them yesterday during my Day with the Lord.

it's been a week since we were evacuated to Kyoto. we still don't know when we can go back to Tokyo.

we are in an interesting situation. we HAVE been affected by the earthquake and tsunami in many ways- emotionally and physically. we experienced the quake, we have been sent away from our homes, we don't know when we can get back. we have been taken from everything we knew, our friends, our ministry, our students. our hearts break every day for the Japanese suffering in Miyagi prefecture. we've lived here in Japan for several months now, and this is not just our job but our LIVES. our very existence. everything we do from when we rise to when we sleep is based around our ministry, around how we can serve the Japanese. we feel what they feel. but we are also foreigners. even though i'm half-Japanese, and i feel that these are my people, i am still American. we cannot fully understand this tragedy. we cannot fully empathize. we felt the quake, but we still have electricity, we still have food and water, we still have homes in Tokyo. over 400,000 people have lost their homes. over 9,700 are dead, over 13,000 are still missing. we can never truly understand.

but we are still here. so what are we to do? in Sendai? in Tokyo? in Kyoto?

not gonna lie, it has been frustrating not knowing when we can go back to Tokyo; however, it hasn't been as bad as i would have expected. perhaps Japan is mellowing me, or i'm at last learning to accept that i have no control over anything and i have to just let God handle things. it is difficult though. we are forced to sit here in Kyoto and attempt to decipher what we should believe from the news, anxiously checking different news sites and talking with people still in Tokyo to try and formulate what is really going on. i think the most frustrating thing is that we KNOW that Tokyo is safe, and yet until we get the ok from CCC in the States, we have no choice but to stay here. something exciting in all this- we found out that not only are 5 Christian men working on the nuclear reactors, but Naoyoshi Sato, the man heading up the new cooling projects, is also a Christian. please pray for these brothers- that God would give them wisdom, strength, and opportunity to share the Truth with their fellow workers. please also pray that God would place more Christians in Sendai and Miyagi prefecture to help with the relief effort. we have signed up with CrashJapan ( www.crashjapan.com ) to go serve as a team in Sendai as soon as we get back to Tokyo. CCC is actually looking to partner with CrashJapan in the future and send teams to Sendai regularly, as this is going to be a long and arduous process of rebuilding.

so what have we been doing this week in Kyoto?

last Friday we did laundry, explored, got groceries, and had a pretty chill day. we had a prayer meeting for Japan, Naoyoshi Sato, the 5 of the workers at the nuclear plants are also Christians, and the reactor situation. Saturday morning we went to the Fushimi Inari Shrine, famous for its 10,000 torii (shrine gates) that create a 4 km trail/hike. it's also in Memoirs of a Geisha.

after that the KCCC stinters (kat, esther and dave) left to go to Korea (their parents were worried about them staying in Japan). it was tough seeing them go but hopefully they'll be back in a couple weeks. that evening we went to the Hanatoro Festival (flowers and lanterns)- it was in a huge park/shrine and had lots of food, flowers and lanterns.
Sunday we took the train to Osaka to go to church at Suita Bible Gospel Church (some of the Osaka CCC stinters and students go there). we had lunch at the church and then did some sightseeing in Osaka. we went to Umera and rode the gigantic ferris wheel on top of a building (and had a dance party on the ferris wheel). it was pretty cool.
Monday we had a STINT meeting and brainstormed some ways we could serve and do ministry here in Kyoto. the rest of the day we did admin stuff, answered emails, caught up with supporters, etc. Tuesday we actually went to Kyoto University and was our first real "campus day" since school ended at the end of January. God really blessed us with a great day- we were all a little nervous since we haven't done random outreach in a long time, but all of us had encouraging stories to tell at the end of the day. myself, lyndsey and michelle found a table of 4 girls and they allowed us to sit with them and we had almost a 2 hour conversation with them and got to share some of Gospel! we got their contact info and will hopefully be able to hang out with them before we leave! please pray for more opportunities to talk with Yukari, Kaori, Sumire and Mariko!
after campus we spent the evening walking around and exploring Kyoto. we got to meet some high school students who were raising money for Sendai outside the train station and talk with them for a bit. Wednesday was our monthly Day With The Lord- i spent the morning listening to a sermon, writing in my journal and skyping with my dad for his birthday. after that i explored and found a shrine that has a 3 legged gate (all other gates have 2 legs) - it is supposed to represent the creation god Amenonakumishi, "God in the Glorious Center of Heaven" who has 3 parts, or is made up of 3 gods? it's a little unclear, as different people say different things. i found a rock to sit on and read some Bible, prayed a lot, and then actually stood in front of the gate for awhile and read the Bible out loud. figured that since the Word of God has power, it wouldn't hurt to speak some Truth in that place.
then i went to a cafe mike, lyndsey and aj had found- it was so cute! and the guy who runs it, Hiro, is super nice. i got the most delicious chocolate cake and chai, journaled and read 1 Timothy.
i actually went back to the cafe today just to get more chai and cake and read some from Captivating.

please continue to pray that we can find ways to serve here in Kyoto and that God would open doors for us to do ministry (as well as give us patience to stay in Kyoto until we're allowed to go back to Tokyo). please pray for Naoyoshi Sato and the other workers at the nuclear reactor plants, and that God would provide those in Miyagi/Sendai with heat, electricity, food, water and shelter. also please continue to pray for the Japanese- that their hearts would be softened and opened by this tragedy and that they would realize their need for a Savior.

if you would like to donate or even come to serve in Sendai, please go to www.crashjapan.com

"I will give them a heart to know me, that I AM the Lord. They will be My people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me with all their heart." - Jeremiah 24:7

Lord may You bring revival to this country!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Some Pictures From the Past Few Weeks...

The Staff and Graduating Students of Student Impact:

Pictures from Change Conference:
Worship was so moving even the band was on their knees
students praying with each other
Holy Spirit sign dance team!
CCC Staff and STINTers in our Soran Bushi (traditional Japanese dance) outfits!
New Friends!

Thursday, March 17, 2011


one week ago today, the earthquake that rocked a nation struck without warning.
one week ago today, we were all living "ordinary" lives.
one week ago today, the world seemed normal.
today, that world no longer exists.
today, we live not knowing what might happen at any moment.
but today, we live completely surrendered to God's will. we must. we have no other choice but to trust. to hope. to fight on.

so much has happened in the past week....i'm not even sure how to make it concise enough for one blog post, but i'll do my best:

Saturday we had an emergency prayer meeting for Japan at the Student Center- students, staff and stinters. we were worried our huge annual student conference- CHANGE- would be cancelled due to the earthquake/tsunamis. in fact, the entire family of our Tokyo director lives in Sendai, and he desperately wanted to go help his family, but ended up decided to continue with the conference, knowing that it was needed even more during this chaotic time. however, due to more predicted earthquakes and radiation scares, many parents refused to let their children come to Tokyo/ transportation was too difficult so we had about 30 less students at the conference than had registered. Sunday, our church held a service even though the building had been damaged by the earthquake. during worship, they played the songs Everlasting God, How Great is Our God, and You are God- from the first line of Everlasting God, my eyes filled with tears...

Everlasting God:
Strength will rise as we wait upon the Lord/We will wait upon the Lord/We will wait upon the Lord/Our God, You reign forever/ Our hope, our Strong Deliverer/You are the everlasting God/The everlasting God/You do not faint You won't grow weary
You're the defender of the weak/You comfort those in need/You lift us up on wings like eagles...

i looked around and saw and saw a room filled with Japanese Christians, singing of hope, love, and of a God greater than earthquakes, greater than tsunamis, and greater than our fears. needless to say, it was a moving moment, and i cried all during worship. our pastor reminded us that while we are such frail beings, the Truth tells us we have no need to fear, because we are held in the hands of the Almighty God of the Universe. Hebrews 12:25-29 reminds us that we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and to that hope and truth we must cling to during times such as this.

Monday we arrived at the train station about 7:30 am to find that they were regulating the amount of people going into the station. it took us over an hour to get from the stairs leading into the station to the actual train platform. line around the block
the conference ended up starting about an hour and a half late due to transportation issues. it was held at the Yoyogi Youth Olympic Center (Yoyogi= a city within Tokyo prefecture). the theme of the conference was Fishers of Men/Make Love the Goal, and the image on all the flyers had ironically been the famous Tsunami painting. but it actually worked- tsunamis are powerful, and tsunamis can change the world. the conference is designed to show students how God can change them, and how they can change Japan. during the first meeting, they showed a video of pictures from other countries that all had encouraging messages for Japan or said simply Pray for Japan. it was so moving i once again started crying. i think it was just the realization that the world was finally taking an interest in Japan, that all over the world, millions of Christians were praying for a country that had never before seen so much attention. also it was just moving.Tuesday the students had classes and workshops all day- i filmed a couple of them, but they were in Japanese so i couldn't understand what was going on. that night we had a huge prayer session for Japan that was so amazingly powerful- i will never forget it. an auditorium filled with people on their knees, desperately crying out to God. i was on my knees sobbing, but had to dry my tears because at the end of the meeting, our dance team performed a dance to Joyful, Joyful from Sister Act 2.

Wednesday was the radiation scare. the US and Japanese news were releasing differing things, and everyone was confused and nervous. Wednesday afternoon, our team leaders sat us down and told us we, the STINTers, were being evacuated to Kyoto on Friday. KCCC was being sent to Korea. and all the Japanese staff were being advised to leave Tokyo for a week or so. maybe it was a combination of exhaustion, pent up anxiety and a long week, but i started sobbing (4 days in a row is a record for me- God really broke me this week). i was just so disappointed and frustrated. Wednesday was supposed to be our huge day of outreach, where all the students would go into the city and share the Gospel, and hopes were high, but due to the radiation scare it got cancelled. and now we were being evacuated, even though Tokyo is over 200 km away from the nuclear reactors and is in no danger. but after the meeting i skyped with my mom and she reminded me that this is STILL God's plan, that God still sees the big picture, and that His plans are still better than mine. that night our Tokyo director, Yoshitaka, gave a great message on how our job here in Japan is not to share the 4 Spiritual Laws, not to increase the number of students in Student Impact, but to LOVE. to take every opportunity to love the Japanese. Thursday morning we said our goodbyes and headed back to Mitaka, planning on having a day and a half or so to prepare for Kyoto. but as soon as we arrived, our leaders told us the plan had changed and we would be leaving in just a couple hours, so we had to run home and furiously pack. but we made it.

and now we're in Kyoto. i'm still not happy we're here, but i know it's God's plan right now. and i know He's got something for us. we're being forced to "be still and know that He is God" (Psalm 46:10) but i know it will be for the best. we're safe from any radiation, and hopefully will be able to return to Tokyo soon. in other Japan news, almost 7,000 have been reported dead and over 10,000 people are still missing - PLEASE KEEP PRAYING FOR JAPAN!

May the Lord save this nation.

Friday, March 11, 2011


the hours between 2:46 pm (Japan Time) and 1:46 am (the approximate time i went to sleep) were 11 of the scariest, confused, and nervous hours of my life.

i had never been in a natural disaster before.

natural disasters don't happen around me. they happen in far away countries. oh wait. i'm IN a far away country now. i'm in a country smack dab in the Pacific Ring of Fire, in a city sitting atop 3 grinding tectonic plates. not very comforting.

i had come home from our student center intending on taking a nap before our dance team sleepover (this no caffeine thing is killing me). i had just settled into bed when i felt the first rumblings. we've experienced small tremors here and there since i arrived in Japan, so i assumed this one would stop after a few seconds and i could resume my nap. but it didn't stop. it kept growing. and growing. and growing. i was alone in my apartment on the top floor of the building. i had never done an earthquake drill in school (Texas doesn't have earthquakes!) and had no idea what to do. i grabbed my phone as it rattled off my desk and tried calling my roommates (both from Cali) but they wouldn't pick up. about this time i started getting really scared. the shaking kept getting worse, and amidst the sounds of things crashing to the ground in the apartment, i crouched between my bed and desk and prayed that God would make it stop. i seriously thought the building might collapse. it was only about 5 minutes, but it felt like an eternity. the shaking finally began to subside, but over the next 11 hours we were still feeling aftershocks. in fact, as impossible as it is for me to believe, i'm feeling an aftershock as i type this. at least, i hope it's an aftershock and not a foreshock of another earthquake. they classified the 3 earthquakes that happened before the big one as "foreshocks" even though those themselves were each above 6. the earthquake that hit at 2:46 pm was an 8.9. if it had hit any closer to the mainland, it would have destroyed us. but it did plenty of damage, along with the tsunamis it caused to ravage the coasts. the Japanese media are saying the death toll is at least 1,000 by this point, and is expected to rise. 3 out of the 4 main Tokyo power plants lost power, leaving over 4,000,000 homes and buildings without electricity. thousands of Tokyo residents were stranded as all the trains were shut down. fires broke out in many areas, including Chiba and Odaiba (about an hour from Tokyo). Sendai was hit the hardest by both the quake and the tsunami. the Prime Minister has declared a state of nuclear emergency due to reactor failure.

never in my life did i think i would be a part of something like this. praise the Lord that myself, my team, our staff, and as far as i know all our students are safe. but i think of the 993 people out of those 1,000 who did not know Jesus. who died without a knowledge of eternal life. i pray that the Lord would use this disaster to wake up the Japanese, to open their eyes to the knowledge that their lives are finite, that they are not as secure as they believed, and that they have a very real need for a Savior. i remember a few months ago having a conversation with a teammate, saying that people in Japan are so comfortable that they see no need for God, that it might take some huge national catastrophe to wake them up. i wasn't praying for it, but it happened. may this give the world a new passion for mission in Japan. may this be used for God's glory.

"God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling." - Psalm 46:1-3

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


today is Ash Wednesday in the States, and the first day of Lent. it was yesterday here. today is thursday. and the second day of Lent.

Lent is a 40-day period starting on Ash Wednesday until Easter. The purpose is preparing the believer's heart for Holy Week and Easter through prayer, repentance, and self-denial or sacrifice. During Lent, it is common to give up one thing for 40 days that has a strong hold over you, something you are either addicted to or just something that would be difficult to live without, basically something that would be a sacrifice- as a reminder that Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice, that He gave up his LIFE for us, so that we may have eternal life. the point is to basically fast something that is keeping you from God, so that in the 40 days leading up to Easter we may cleanse ourselves and draw closer to God.

i've observed Lent for a number of years now, though growing up i wasn't too good at keeping my Lent fast of whatever it was i was fasting. the past 4 years i gave up all sweets (which was a challenge, let me tell you). of course, when Easter came, i dug right into my Easter candy that my mother would send me... i would have probably given up sweets again this year, but last year, i was rather convicted by a friend of mine- i had mentioned that i had given up sweets for the past 4 years, and he said, "oh so you don't have to give it up anymore!" i said "huh?" he said "well, you've done it the past 4 years, so you know you could do it again. it shouldn't have a hold over you anymore." ................................convicted.

while i still love sweets, and should probably eat less (but chocolate comes from a bean so it's technically a vegetable, right?) i knew in my heart that yes, i could give it up. it would be difficult but i knew i could do it.

what is the one thing i know would be the hardest thing for me to give up, the thing i've been addicted in some form or fashion to since junior year of high school?

i'm giving it up. for 40 whole days. i will not let a drop of coffee, a splash of espresso, or smidgen of tea leave touch my tongue (unless the tea is non-caffeinated). today is only day 2 and my head feels like it's in a foggy haze of...i don't even know because my brain can no longer formulate words. but the point isn't to be easy. the point is to put myself in a position where i absolutely MUST rely on God for energy, strength, focus, everything. i've become way to comfortable with just stopping at Starbucks or grabbing a latte from the combini (convenience store). i've become too used to quick fixes. and quick fixes never really last. and then you aren't satisfied so you just want more and more til you're so addicted you can't ever imagine living without it. which is where i've been the past 7 years, and i'm tired of it.

now i know when you fast something you're not supposed to proclaim it to the world, and i know that by putting it on my blog i am essentially giving the world the option of looking at it if they so desire. but i write all this not for anyone else, but because I want to remember this moment. because if you knew how addicted to caffeine i've been for 7 years (i'm sure some of you do already) then you would know how big of a deal this is, and how i'm going to need all the encouragement and support i can get because it is going to be one of the hardest things i've ever done. maybe this sounds melodramatic, but the facts are that caffeine is in fact classified as a drug, and one that is very addicting and a very difficult addiction to combat. i've had a pounding headache the past 2 days and seriously feel like i'm wading through a fog. i'm used to some form of caffeine at least 3 times a day- normally coffee in the morning, a latte in the afternoon and tea in the evening (which actually isn't as bad as it used to be in high school/college where i'd have maybe 4-5 shots of espresso a day). i'm also nervous because we're entering the busiest time of our entire year and i know we won't be getting much sleep. i know i can't do it alone. but i know i've got God on my side. and i know that His strength is better than any i could ever drink from a Starbucks cup.

as the Truth says,
"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." - Isaiah 40:30-31

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

It's MARCH?! Madness!

so.....apparently it's no longer february. that went fast. not quite sure what happened there.

to be honest, february was a weird month. i had just gotten used to the routine of ministry, i was chugging away like the little engine that could, i was sharing the Gospel more than i ever had in my life, meeting tons of new people, then we go to Thailand for two weeks and while it was amazing, it really screwed up my rhythm. i spent basically the whole first week back just re-adjusting and recovering, and while i did get to have some awesome appointments with students, i felt like i wasn't really that productive this past month. it was a slow month for ministry since almost all my contacts are now either not in Tokyo or working/searching for jobs 24/7. it's like staying at your university over the summer after freshman year of college- no one's really around.

positive side:
we had an amazing Valentine's party for our girls, i got to catch up on a ton of skype appointments, re-read the Chronicles of Narnia (i swear- every time i read those i get something new out of them....aaaah so good), watch 8 Ghibli movies in Japanese to practice my Japanese listening as well as become more knowledgable of Japanese pop culture (for the record, all of these are fantastic and you should watch them, but watch them in Japanese with English subtitles: Kiki's Delivery Service, My Neighbor Totoro, Ponyo, Ocean Waves, Castle in the Sky, Howl's Moving Castle, Tales from Earthsea and my FAVORITE, Whisper of the Heart), started putting my New Year's resolution of cooking into practice, and my friend Brandon from USC came to visit for a couple days. i was also still doing the homeless church ministry and Student Impact's dance ministry. we've been having prayer meetings every morning and planning a lot for our Student Conference coming up in 2 weeks as well as Shinkan- the start of the new school year, a crazy busy time when we're trying to have as many outreaches, parties and ways to meet new freshmen students as possible. you see, new freshmen are not yet attached to any club or activity that takes up their whole life, therefore they are wonderful because they have that Thing that eludes all other university students in Japan: TIME. that is, they have Time before they get plugged into a club that literally eats away every moment. so Shinkan is the most important, crazy, busy, rewarding time of the year in terms of ministry.
the guys gave us roses and made us heart pancakes for Valentine's Day! it was so sweet!
Valentine's Day party with some of our girls!

we've also started a couple new projects- we want to start doing some sort of homeless ministry for the homeless people around Waseda University, our main campus. last friday we made a ton of spagetti and put it in 12 take out boxes and gave them out to homeless people in a huge park near campus, along with a book in Japanese about truth and God's love. we're hoping if we keep coming back they will start to recognize us and want to talk to us more. ideally we'd love to see it grow into something we can invite both Christian and non-Christian students to help with, as a way to connect our Christian and non-Christian contacts as well as give them opportunity to see God's love in action. the other vision project is Waseda Unity. some missionaries from YWAM also work at Waseda, and we've been talking with them about ways to unify the Christians on campus. they hosted a Waseda Unity Night, a time of prayer, worship and fellowship- it was so cool! 6 different ministries were represented, and it was awesome to see peoples' passion for revival at Waseda. apparently the kanji for Waseda mean something along the lines of "first harvest" in Japanese, which i don't think is a coincidence. also, KGK, a campus ministry that is found on a ton of universities in Japan, was STARTED at Waseda. God is moving at Waseda U. and we want to use Waseda Unity as a way to strengthen our influence on campus-- after all, it's not about CCC or YWAM or KGK or IHOP or any other ministry, it's about GOD and GOD's work and how can we best serve Him where He's already working. we've gotten to have a couple potluck dinner/hangouts at the YWAM house and talk a bit more about vision for more Unity things, that will hopefully take into effect soon. as a STINT team, we've also started working on starting up our own homeless ministry around Waseda University. last friday we made food and passed it out to homeless people who live in a big park near Waseda along with books about God's love and truth. hopefully they will start to recognize us and want to talk to us more in the future.
Waseda Unity Night worship time
one of the areas homeless people live in the park

i've been kind of frustrated lately though- i've been feeling really exhausted the past couple weeks, and i feel like this whole month i've just felt so lazy and unorganized and unmotivated and undisciplined. it's not a fun place to be if you've ever been there, especially when i'm here specifically for an intense 10 months of go go go ministry, where we've got to make every best use of our time or else we may miss an opportunity, where every missed opportunity could be a lost opportunity...it's easy to feel like you aren't doing enough, especially when not a lot is really happening and you wonder if it's because of something you're not doing.

last night we saw Voyage of the Dawn Treader as a team. while it did really frustrate me how much they deviated from the book, they did add a couple things that i really did love. one was the way they did the scene where Lucy says the spell to make her more beautiful, and she realizes it's not what she wanted and Aslan comes to her and tells her not to doubt her worth. it actually made me cry. i never cry in movies. seriously. but it really hit me- probably because i doubt my beauty and worth a lot. but lately God's just been showing me how much He loves me and how that's enough. that He thinks i'm beautiful because He made me. that He's equipped me exactly how i'm supposed to be equipped. and after all, we can do ALL things in Christ. i've been reading a book lately called Captivating that talks about how Satan was jealous of Eve and when he told her to eat the apple he created doubt- he made her doubt that she was good enough without the knowledge from the tree. since then, Satan's been tormenting women ever since with self-doubt and insecurity. unfortunately, he's good at it. he knows exactly the things to say to take away our confidence. but i've started to realize that the times i'm most insecure are the times i'm focusing more on myself than God. so my goal is to, simply put, focus on God more than myself.

i watched a video a week or two ago that made me cry 4 times (that's seriously a big deal): John Lynch at Biola University- he spoke exactly what i needed to hear apparently. i highly encourage you to watch it- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7azfoonNqpc

prayer requests:
- energy
- discipline/focus
- for our Student Conference that is coming up in 2 weeks -- we will be training 113 students on growing their relationship with God and sharing their faith, but we also have a few non-Christian students coming. please pray that their eyes would be opened to the Truth!
- for more of God's vision for what He wants us to do for the new semester