Thursday, April 28, 2011

TO THE NORTH...

last week we found out that we would have the opportunity to go north to help the relief effort with New Hope Tokyo, our current church. they are partnering with a couple other churches and the whole project is called Hope Japan. Michelle, Kat, Lyndsey and Dave left for Kesennuma this morning, and tonight at midnight i, along with AJ, Mike, Ariel, and Esther (and Yusuke, a student friend of myself and Mike) will be leaving for Ishinomaki in Miyagi Prefecture. we will be a part of a team of 17 people total, and will be staying at an elementary school that has turned into an evacuation center, so we will actually be staying with the people we are serving, which is pretty exciting.

for the next 5 days, we will be cleaning, cooking, and serving the evacuees in whatever ways we can. Friday night we will be serving food for 400 people, Saturday for 350 people. we will not have internet access (or even showers...which might prove interesting) but i WILL have my phone so if you need or want to email me you can email my phone at kimiyo629@willcom.com.

i ask you to please remember me and my team over these next 5 days, as they will be very mentally, physically and emotionally challenging. these people are running out of hope, and our goal is to give them some through Christ's love.

PLEASE BE PRAYING FOR:
- safety to and from Miyagi (it's about a 6-10 hour drive because some of the roads are still blocked)
- spiritual protection
- for God to open the hearts of the people we meet, that we are able to share the Gospel with them
- that God would speak through us and we can communicate well, and that God would give us wisdom on what to say/ when to talk or when to listen
- i've had some sort of sinus infection thing for the past two or three weeks, and it's not getting any better. i've been waking up at around 5 am due to allergies, and it's not very restful. please pray for God's strength and healing so i can do God's work to the best of my abilities in Miyagi and as the school year begins

and one more: please also continue to pray for more guys to join our team next year! the deadline is TOMORROW!!!!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

HE IS RISEN!

Happy Easter from Tokyo!

STINTers, students and 1 of the New Hope pastors Easter Sunday

to be honest, i really missed my Easter traditions this year. every year my mom and i decorate our Easter tree, and the Easter bunny packs an awesome Easter basket, and we go to church and get donut holes while waiting in line because all the people who only come to church on Easter are filling up the sanctuary, and there's always the huge cross with Easter lilies and the stairs are filled with lilies and we sing Lift High the Cross and Christ the Lord is Risen Today and there's the brass and drums and then afterward a lunch of Reeses eggs and Cadbury Creme Eggs...

but Easter here was pretty sweet too. it's been a great way to share the Gospel with students- saying "what are you doing this weekend?" and then they ask me and i say "my church is having a big Easter celebration- do you know about Easter?" and then normally i get to just launch right into the Gospel. it's awesome. my mom sent me some Easter candy which was an awesome taste of home. i brought i bag of Dove chocolate eggs to church today and passed them out to everyone i knew.

speaking of church, i was able to bring Saori (friend from Waseda whom i shared the Gospel with back in January) to a big Easter concert at Tokyo Baptist Church Saturday night. it was really awesome- afterward we went to Starbucks w/ my friend Takako who is a pretty recent Christian and we were able to explain a lot about Christianity to Saori and share a lot about our own testimonies. and Sunday i met up with Noriko, a girl i haven't seen since Summer Project 2 years ago- we had lunch and she came to New Hope's Easter service and really enjoyed it! ALSO, Yusuke, a guy who helps out with the homeless church every Saturday but not a Christian, came to church both last week and on Sunday! he wants to start coming every week, and he sent me a message yesterday saying he'd started reading the Bible! praise God for all He's doing in the hearts of the Japanese!
Yusuke and me after church

i'll write more later, but for now here are a few more pictures from this past month:

Paddy (Waseda English Club) Hanami Party! "Hanami" means literally "flower watching" - in Japan it's extremely popular to have Hanami parties, basically picnics under sakura trees enjoying the park with Yumi and Saki, two new Paddy friends
sakura petals completely covered the lake in the park (sakura doesn't last too long)
Inokashira Park with one of our Student Impact students, Nozomi

PRAYER REQUEST:

WE STILL NEED ONE MORE GUY TO COME STINT IN TOKYO NEXT YEAR OR WE CAN'T SEND A TEAM! IF YOU ARE MALE OR KNOW OF ANY WHO MAY WANT TO STINT, EMAIL CAYLA.HATTER@USCM.ORG IMMEDIATELY!!!!

Monday, April 11, 2011

ANOTHER ONE MONTH ANNIVERSARY...

anniversaries are normally happy occasions. reason for celebration.

today is the one month anniversary of the Tohoku Earthquake/Tsunami.
and how does the earth celebrate that? by striking Fukushima with a 7.1 earthquake and several +4 aftershocks. not cool, planet earth.

what has changed in this past month? i can't even believe it's been a whole month since the first earthquake. the whole experience has been surreal. power outages, food shortages, evacuation, aftershocks every day, more earthquakes, rumor that Mt. Fuji is getting restless and is 300 years overdue to erupt...but every aftershock is a reminder of how unstable and broken our world really is, and every day i wake up is another day that God has blessed me with in order to bless others.

the disconcerting thing is how frequent the aftershocks are coming these days, and how used to them we're getting (we're actually having one as i type this...) Japan really is an adaptable country. they simply suck it up and move on. i was on the train today when the 7.1 earthquake hit- the train was already stopped, so after the 45 second tremor it waited maybe 2 minutes and then resumed its course. but the earth, or God, seems determined not to let anyone forget what happened on 3/11. at least in Japan. i pray that the world does not forget. and i ask you to please continue to intercede for Japan during this time with your prayers.

things to pray for:
- wisdom and discernment for the prime minister, government officials and the executives of TEPCO
- organization, manpower and open doors for the relief organizations such as Crash Japan, World Vision, Samaritan's Purse, The Red Cross, etc.
- open doors for Naoyoshi Sato & the 6-7 other Christians we know of working in the Fukushima nuclear plants to share the Gospel with their co-workers, and for safety/protection for all of them from radiation
- the families of the over 13,000 dead due to the tsunami and the over 15,000 still missing
- for God to provide for the over 150,000 people now homeless
- strength, safety and energy for the rescuers
- for God to raise up the Christians in Fukushima and Miyagi and use them in mighty ways, that everyone who sees them would see the glory of God
- for safety and spiritual protection for the JCCC teams currently serving in Sendai (we're calling them Love in Action teams)
- for God to soften the hearts of the Japanese and open their eyes to see their need for a Savior and a kingdom that cannot be shaken
- FOR REVIVAL TO COME TO JAPAN!!!!

ways to help:

- www.crashjapan.com
- www.churcheshelpingchurches.com
- https://give.ccci.org --> there is a special Japan Emergency Fund: all support will go to ways to help the Tohoku area

Monday, April 4, 2011

CHANGING...

as you know (if you've read my previous blog posts or my newsletter) we recently had our annual "Change" Student Conference. the goal? change. plain and simple. a place for God to change our hearts and equip us to go out and change Japan (and the rest of the world. why not?)

here is a video i made of some photos and footage from Change- enjoy!
video

the next few weeks we are planning for the start of the new school year (April 18th for Hitotsubashi, May 6th for Waseda U.) and there will definitely be some changes. but i'm looking forward to what the Lord has in store for us this next semester.

my goals for the new school year:
- go to Sendai/the Tohoku region and help with the relief effort at least once
- start Bible study with Kanae and Yui
- challenge one of our students to start discipling Kanae
- get another disciple
- get involved in New Hope's (my church's) dance ministry
- become an official member of Paddy (Waseda English club)
- start taking capoeira classes (for those who don't know what capoeira is, check it out, it's awesome! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z8xxgFpK-NM)
- find a taiko club (Japanese traditional drums) at Waseda or Hitotsubashi, and if they have one, join it!
- draw more
- actually study Japanese some every day/ speak Japanese more in conversation
- make surrendering to God a daily action
- more time reading, less time on Facebook

Sunday, April 3, 2011

RETURN TO TOKYO!!!

WE'RE BACK WE'RE BACK WE'RE BACK WE'RE BACK!!!

can you tell i'm excited?

tuesday we still had no idea when we would be back. so we spent the day not worrying and had a team day at a theme park called Kyoto Studio Park where everything was set in the Edo period and samurai and ninjas walked around and it was awesome!
here are some pictures:


wednesday our leaders told us that potentially we would be able to return to Tokyo Friday, but it was not yet finalized.
thursday we got the news that we would be able to return to Tokyo the following day. it was so exciting.

speaking of exciting, thursday lyndsey and i had the opportunity to go to Nara and hang out with our friend from Waseda, Kanae. Nara is her hometown and is only about an hour from Kyoto. we haven't seen her since January so it was so awesome to finally hang out with her again. in January she mentioned that she would like to do Bible study with us, so i asked her again if that was still something she'd like to do. she said yes and also wants to start coming to church with us! she even wants to bring her friend Yui along too! it was so encouraging! she showed us around and took us to Nara's famous temple, where there are literally hundreds of deer just hanging out all around the area. we got to feed them and IT WAS AWESOME. here are some pictures:




Kyoto was fun, but we all really missed Tokyo. and our apartments. and our beds. friday was our first night to sleep in our beds in 3 weeks because of Change Conference and then the 2 weeks of evacuation. it's really nice to be home.

but in Kyoto, we were able to escape some of the earthquake/tsunami aftermath. it's a lot more real here. and from the news, things aren't getting that much better. we're hoping to be able to go to Sendai to help within the next couple weeks. unfortunately, a lot of the relief organizations themselves aren't even sure how to go about relief efforts due to the magnitude of the situation. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE KEEP PRAYING FOR JAPAN. prayer has power. if Jesus Christ is in us, He promises us that we have HIS power- his power to heal, to work miracles. when you pray, are you praying THAT your prayers MIGHT make a difference, or are you praying KNOWING your prayers DO make a difference?

as of now, 11,800 people are dead in the Tohoku region, and over 15,000 are still missing THREE WEEKS AFTER THE EARTHQUAKE/TSUNAMI. over 200,000 have lost their homes. you've seen the pictures on the news. the destruction is unbelievable. only God can rebuild this nation. only God can give them hope.

but you can make a difference. your prayers matter. if you are looking for a place to give, please go to
www.crashjapan.com
http://churcheshelpingchurches.org
www.worldvision.org

i've even conveniently linked them for you so you don't have to go through the effort of copying it into your browser.

Student Impact has challenged its students and staff to pray for Japan at 2:46 pm (Japan Time) every day. i challenge you to do the same. set an alarm on your phone. write it on your hand. but PLEASE PRAY.

even if it's 2:46 pm YOUR time, all prayers have power. if you want to pray at 2:46 pm Japan time, that would be 10:46 pm PST, 12:46 am Central time and 1:46 am EST.

"The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth." ~ Psalm 145:18
"'Have faith in God,' Jesus answered. 'I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, "Go, throw yourself into the sea," and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours." ~ Mark 11:22-24