Sunday, February 26, 2012

A 14-Hour Korea Adventure

in commemoration of this blog post, i'm listening to BigBang, a Korean pop boy band that has a lot of songs in Japanese. they're pretty catchy. (


our flight from Thailand to Hawaii had a 14-hour layover in Korea. we left Thailand at midnight and arrived in Korea around 7:30 am. we went through customs and exchanged our money, and it was about 8:30 am by that point. something a little difficult was that Japan was freezing cold, then Thailand was super warm and humid, and Korea was even colder than Japan. it was in the 20s when arrived. oof. anyway.

when i went on my 2nd Summer Project with Cru, kylan and amy were also on my team. there were also 2 people named kyle pash and jessica jury, who ended up getting married and moving to Korea to teach english. so they met us at the airport and we got to spend the whole day with them! we had breakfast together, then they took us sightseeing around Seoul- we went to a temple, the Imperial Palace, and ate bibimbap- a traditional Korean dish. then we got to get coffee with my old teammate from last year, Dave, who is now interning at a church in Seoul. it was SO GOOD seeing him! it's the first time i've seen him since leaving Japan last year in June. when i saw him walking toward us in the train station, i just took off running to him, movie-style. seeing him and introducing him to my new team was one of those "wow, you're not on my team anymore" moments. it was weird. but so good to see him. it was such a short time of catching up, but so fun too. after that we took the train back to the airport, got some souvenirs, made a Korean box (seriously- there was this Korean Culture place in the airport where you could make a box for free), got Burger King and got on our flight to Hawaii.

hurray! i'm finally caught up to posts about my first few weeks in Hawaii coming soon!

for now, some pictures from Korea:
Imperial Palace traditional handstand picture lunch! DAVE!!!! ahhh it was so good to see him! last picture with the Pashes in the train station

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Tuk Tuk Drift 2- The Return to Thailand

i left Japan on January 15th, 2011 at 11:15 am for Cru's annual STINT Midyear Conference in Thailand. i arrived in Thailand about 6:30 pm after sleeping almost the entire flight. if leaving for Thailand was stressful, arriving was just as stressful- i was supposed to be on a shuttle to our hotel at 5:30 pm, but our plane was late and customs took forever. then i had no idea where to meet the shuttle, and wandered all over the airport before talking to some people who were super not helpful, then finally talking to some other people who gave me the number for the Holiday Inn in Cha'am and they told me where to go. i definitely thought the shuttle had left without me by this point. but i finally found the meeting point and even had time to get some Subway before we left. on the bus, i ended up sitting next to a couple guys i'd met at the DFW airport on the way to Briefing in August- they were a part of a 4 guy Epic team in East Asia. we had fun catching up all the way to Cha'am. they were all super sweet and ended up "adopting me" until my team arrived at the hotel. from left- brandon, simon, (me) chris, andrew after checking in and showering, i went back to the lobby to wait for my team until they arrived- got to see some friends from last year while i was waiting, like my friend Joel and a couple other teams i'd met last year. i ended up dozing off on the couch and was awakened about 1 am to see Katie and the rest of my team around me. it was such a sweet reunion- i could hardly believe i was finally seeing them again for the first time since AUGUST. it was pretty exciting to say the least, but we didn't catch up too much since we were all exhausted. the next morning we all had breakfast together and we got to see sam, a KCCC STINTer who was STINTing in Osaka. he's so fun- it was great seeing him. after breakfast i gave everyone Japanese headbands that said "Fighting Spirit" in kanji. we all wore them to the first meeting and made a grand entrance. it was kind of awesome. after the meeting we got our first team picture since briefing. matt mikalatos, one of our speakers Midyear, joined in our picture because he secretly wishes he were on our team. at the main session i got to see cassie, a girl from USC STINTing in EA, and jared, a guy from USC STINTing in north africa. it was so fun seeing them after so long. after every main session, we got to have quiet time on the beach. after 4 extremely busy, stressful, emotional, tense months, it was kind of awesome to just be able to sit and chill with God on the beach. after quiet time, we had "men's and women's time," where we talked about resting (definitely what i needed to hear) after that we had lunch and free time. we had a team meeting as well. then we had a meeting about finances where i almost fell asleep, then main session with candice, one of my favorite Cru speakers. she's so wise but also entertaining. after main meeting we had dinner with our region- PSW (Pacific Southwest). i sat with michelle (my old teammate from last year now STINTing in EA) and a couple guys from Cal Poly SLO named zach and james - it was fun catching up with michelle and also meeting new people.

tuesday our morning meeting speaker was krista mikalatos (matt mikalatos' wife) who talked about Ephesians 2 and 4 and unity in the Spirit. during my quiet time, i realized that even though my goal for 2012 was to rest more, i really had no idea how to rest at all. after quiet time we had another speaker named dan higgins who talked about religion vs. the gospel message. then i had a one-on-one lunch time with our coach, laura, where i got to vent out everything from this past year and she gave me some practical ways to process the past few months, learn how to rest and move forward so i could start well in hawaii. i then went and had some alone time on the beach until snack time. then we had our main session meeting and team dinner, where i got to share my life story with the team. wednesday was our day off, so we got to sleep in some and hang out on the beach. a bunch of us got together and played boys vs. girls "flamingo football" - where the boys tie their feet together so they have to hop around. in theory it would be a handicap, but since we were playing on the beach, and it wasn't a ton of running room anyway, and most of the boys had played football at some point before, the girls still lost. which was a bummer, but it was still fun playing and i got to meet a lot of people.
thursday we had our main session meeting with krista mikalatos, who talked about how every person is worth sharing the gospel with and how Jesus promises us that we will do even greater works that He did. after that we had quiet time, and i wrote this down, not hearing it audibly from God, but the words just flowed through my pen:

"look to the ocean and see its vast expanse. I AM greater. look at the sand, too innumerable to count. I AM greater. now look how the waves cover the sand and crash over them and change their shape. so I AM for your sins, your mistakes, your cares and worries. but I AM even more powerful than the waves. now look to the sky. it is the same wherever you go in the world. so I AM. wherever I call you, I AM with you. surely I AM with you always, even to the end of the ages. you must always be ready to go where I call you. but do not fear, for I have great plans for you. rest now in My presence, and learn to wait. put down your yoke, and pick up mine. I love you with an everlasting love, and you are Mine. My greatest gift to you is rest. cease from striving and be with Me. I AM greater than your schedule, greater than your plans; seek My peace, and you shall be glorified. seek My heart, and you shall be sanctified. seek My presence, and you shall be satisfied. seek ye first My kingdom, and My righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you. surrender and receive." after quiet time, matt mikalatos talked about Matthew 13 and what does the soil look like in your culture. that afternoon, we had our second team time where we talked about what it looks like to have a safe STINT environment. then i had a counseling appointment with one of the counselors just to process more of this past year. after that was our main session meeting, where we got to share about Japan/Hawaii on stage, then there was a talk from andy, the national director in EA. afterwards, they had fancy buffet dinner for us at the hotel, and a bunch of us tried to have a dance party for the 2nd year in a row that ended up failing b/c the hotel worker turned the music off on us. sigh. thai people just don't like dance parties apparently. friday's morning session was led by matt mikalatos who went through the book of John and how much God loves us. then we had regional time with the PSW region. that afternoon i played beach volleyball with some of the EA people for the afternoon, and then katie, david, james and i played cards until it was time for meeting. our last evening meeting was mostly worship and prayer, super sweet. then my team, michelle's team and another guy named chris (who is from dallas and STINTing with Athletes in Action in EA) went to the night market for a bit. afterward katie, david, james, albert, kylan and i went to the beach to see if we could see the phosphorescent algae like last year. it definitely wasn't as bright as last year but we could still see it.

saturday morning i woke up early to see the sunrise on the beach and see off the East Asia teams- michelle's team, jared's team, cassie's team and the SLO team were leaving early, so i said goodbye to them. it was really sad to realize that i didn't know the next time i would see michelle again, unless we both join staff. sam was also there seeing off the other KCCC STINTers, so afterward we went and had breakfast together (twice- in two different locations...we were hungry). then we went and finished packing, then got massages on the beach. it was amazing. then headed back to the hotel and took shuttles to the Bangkok Airport, where we had about a 6 hour wait...definitely reminiscent of last year, where our team spent 12 hours in the airport before our flight.

Midyear was kind of bittersweet- not as restful as i had wished, but a good start for learning how to rest. it was great to finally be reunited with my team, and really fun to see people again from last year and meet new people, but there was definitely a heaviness knowing that it was probably my last Midyear Conference, and after i left Thailand, i would be entering into a completely new phase of life, a new phase of ministry in a completely new location- i wasn't going back to Japan. but before we would go to Hawaii, we would have a 14 hour layover in Korea...that adventure, next! in order to combine Japan and Hawaii, we started calling ourselves Pacific Islands STINT

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Missing and Not Missing...Japan that is.


- all my friends
- Japanese food
- how safe it is in Japan
- Odori Samurai/ yosakoi dancing
- the cleanliness
- futsal
- Paddy English Club
- Paddy FC
- Student Impact
- Change Conference
- sakura
- Waseda University
- choco pan (chocolate bread)
- Sweets Paradise (all you can eat sweets buffet)
- seeing Mt. Fuji at sunset every day
- Jpop (i really do)
- karaoke
- adorable coffee shops
- stores stay open a lot later
- how cute/pretty everything is
- being cool because i'm american


- sorting trash
- the exchange rate/ how expensive everything is
- being illiterate
- understanding only 1/2 of conversations
- wearing 5 layers of clothing to bed because of the cold
- constantly feeling the need to dress cute
- my tiny room/ apartment
- paper thin walls
- never being sure if people were saying what they really meant
- allergies that come with sakura season
- Japanese phones
- feeling like a stupid foreigner

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Saying Sayonara, Part I

not gonna lie, i've been avoiding writing this blogpost. because writing it means that i have to come face-to-face with the reality that i did say "sayonara" to Japan, that i did actually leave, and that i don't know when i'm going back.

my past year and a half in Japan was the most amazing, challenging, growing, breaking, wonderful, unforgettable time i've ever had. i met some amazing people and saw God do some amazing things. and 2 weeks ago i had to say goodbye, not knowing when i would be able to return. but i want to share all that happened my last month in Japan, even though it makes me miss Japan so much. i've never missed a place or people so much, so it is definitely a testament to how much God grew my heart for Japan and Japanese people. it's hard to believe that 4 years ago i argued with my friend Gen, not wanting to go to Japan. i thank God that He used Gen to push me to go on my first short mission trip to Japan, which led to my 2nd mission trip, which led to 1 1/2 years of STINT in Tokyo with Cru. ok, here's a recap of the last 2 weeks of December:

on December 13th, i learned i would have to leave Japan, and that i had one more month to finish up everything i thought i had 7 more months to do. i barely had time to process it at all, but my way of processing became making lists of everything i had to do and all the people i had to see. that next week, i met with several students, learned a new dance with Odori Samurai, planned Student Impact's Christmas event, met up with my friend brandon who was visiting, and skyped into several team meetings prepping us for Hawaii. i got very little sleep that week. at the end of that week, i realized i hadn't gone to bed before 3:30 am in at least 3 weeks. the week of Christmas was busy, but fun. on the 20th, Paddy held their annual Christmas party, where we all dressed up and went to a nice restaurant and exchanged presents. we also had a "Rock-Paper-Scissors" tournament. no joke. and guess what? i won! it was kind of awesome. i learned that Japanese people always do scissors first. not sure why. but i won like 7 rounds of rock-paper-scissors just with rock. anyway, i won 5 free gift certificates to Sweets Paradise, an all-you-can-eat desserts buffet. it made my day. i love Sweets Paradise, and it was one of the places i wanted to go before i left Japan so it was perfect. on the 21st i went to Waseda and met a student for lunch, then went to my last futsal practice with my futsal team Diente FC. it was sad. when i told the guys it was my last practice one of them said "awww now we don't have any girls!" at least they appreciated that i was a girl... afterward i went to Odori Samurai practice to prepare for our festival in Itoh (a couple hours from Tokyo by the beach). the 22nd was our festival- we all met in Itoh and went to our ryokkan (traditional Japanese-style hotel), changed and warmed up by the beach. it was really cold. they actually had huge heaters set up near the stage to keep us warm before we performed. it was really fun to perform though, and afterward there was a huge fireworks show and we danced with at least a couple hundred other yosakoi dancers from other places in Japan. afterward, we went back to the hotel and changed, then we had an all night party. it was an experience. i've never been to an all-night Japanese party before. we had trivia games, tons of snacks and drinks, and many, many performances that had been prepared by members of Odori Samurai. most of them i didn't understand, but it was still fun to watch. the problem was that the later the hours got, the more tired we all became and the less they could speak english and the less i could speak japanese. but it was still pretty entertaining. i stayed up until about 5 am and then fell asleep- got about 2 hours of sleep before breakfast. i could have skipped it, but wanted to be awake for breakfast because ryokkans do really traditional Japanese breakfasts and while they are a bit strange (no Poptarts, sadly) i didn't know when i might have another one. after breakfast we all played on the beach a bit and then headed home.
that afternoon i had coffee with my friend Nagisa and got to share my testimony with her which was cool, then i came home and slept a lot. December 24th i went to New Hope Church's Christmas Eve service, which was good but lonely without a team. that night i did some last minute Christmas shopping and then had KFC and Christmas cake with my roommate Anita, and we watched Elf. Christmas Day i spent with my boss and his family and got to skype with my family.
the 26th i took a day off, and the 27th i met with my friend Sara for the last time and then met with another girl named Miriam after that. the next day i had lunch with a girl from ICU High School named Nobuko, then had some catch up time with my friend Tomo from church. the next day i had coffee with my friend Aya, then coffee again with my friend Kaori and got to share the Gospel and my testimony with her. so sweet. the next day i got coffee with two friends, Tamami and Takako- it was actually my first time to meet up with Takako since meeting her in May. that evening i went over to Cam's house with my roommate and a few other people and we celebrated an early New Year's together. it was my last time to hang out with his family before i left Japan. December 31st i went to homeless church, then got lunch with my friend Mai for the last time, then had New Year's Eve dinner with my roomies. after that i went to my friend Takehiro's house and several Paddy members got together for a New Year's Eve party. we made sukiyaki and udon, watched the Japanese New Year's Eve program, and played video games until midnight. after midnight we went to a shrine and did "Hatsumoude" or the "first going to the shrine of the New Year." ironically, i knew more about the custom than the Japanese students. growing up, they are never taught why they observe the traditions that they do, they just do them. Wikipedia provided all my Japanese New Year knowledge. even though we arrived at the shrine around 12:45 am, there was already a HUGE line of people. while we waited in line, i was able to share with some of the students why i was in Japan, why i believed God brought me there and my heart for the Japanese people. it was pretty sweet. once we arrived at the shrine, we threw in 5 yen, rang bells (to announce our presence to the god), clapped our hands twice (to wake up the god if he's asleep) and prayed. i prayed that every person at the shrine would learn about the true God, the one who is always awake, the one whom we do not need to ring bells or clap our hands to wake up, the one who always hears our prayers. after we finished at the shrine, we went back to Takehiro's house and played video games until the first train at 4:15 am. i scurried back home as fast as i could to collect my roommates so we could go watch "Hatsuhinode," the first sunrise of the new year. we biked to Gaidai University and climbed a hill to see the sunrise- it took awhile and was super cold, but we finally saw it. apparently we were lucky, because most of my friends were unable to see it in other places in Tokyo. once we got back home, i slept the rest of the day.

last two weeks of Japan in the next blog post...

Saying Sayonara, Part II

continuing from "Saying Sayonara, Part I." i'll try to keep this as brief as i can and only put in the important events, but so much happened...ahhh ok.

January 3rd i went to Disney Sea (it's like Disneyland, but it's better) with 3 of my friends from Paddy- Ayumu, Masa and Saori. we spent 13 hours at Disney Sea, going on rides, watching shows, taking pictures, and eating chocolate popcorn and cranberry popcorn and other strange types. at the end of the day, they surprised me with a Disney Sea 10th anniversary glass cup with my name engraved in it! it was so sweet, and they were really sneaky because i still have no idea when they had it made. i felt so loved though. Thursday i had lunch with my friend Beth, a girl who visited Odori Samurai one time but is actually in the other yosakoi dance group at Waseda University. she's Japanese but lived in the States for a few years so she speaks perfect English. it was fun getting to know her and i'm hoping we can continue the relationship even though i'm not in Japan. that evening Student Impact had a Sports Night where we played basketball and volleyball- it was really fun and awesome to get to see a lot of the students one last time before i left. Friday i went to the Ghibli Museum ( one last time with 3 of my friends from Paddy- ironically, they had never been to the museum before, and it was like my 4th time. but i love the Ghibli Museum. i was able to share with them why i believe God has a plan for me in Hawaii, which was cool. that night i had dinner with my roommate Christina and a Japanese girl from USC who's now living in Tokyo. it was really fun to all hang out as USC grads and connect Mari (the Japanese girl) to Christina.

Saturday, January 7th, was my last time to go to homeless ministry in Yoyogi Park. i gave little presents to the homeless women who always come to my small group (i rarely know what we're talking about but they are super sweet). that day there was also a team from YWAM Kona who were visiting Tokyo for a few weeks- it was so cool to meet Christians who live on my island in Hawaii even before i'd gone to Hawaii. such a blessing from God. after homeless church i met up with my friend Iphie one last time. it was so great meeting with her- she's come such a long way. last year we would meet up and talk about Christianity but she was never fully interested, now she's become a Christian and just got baptized, is in a small group and plugged in to her church. so cool to see. i spent the rest of the afternoon getting souvenirs for people back home, then that night i went to Odori Samurai's New Year's party. it was fun seeing everyone again for the first time in 2012, and having one last opportunity for some good long conversations with Samurai. i even got to share some of the Gospel with a couple of the girls. the next day was my last day at New Hope Tokyo Fellowship Church. i really love that church, so it was really sad that it was my last time. some of the Student Impact students who attend the church took me out to lunch at a Chinese restaurant before the service. it was really fun hanging out with them. 2 of the pastors prayed for me after the service, and some of my team that went with me to Tohoku to volunteer took me out to coffee. also, speaking of Tohoku, while we were there, we went to a church and met the Japanese pastor. he lost everything, but still had a radiating, infectious joy, and guess what? he happened to be at New Hope Tokyo on my last day! it was so cool to see him again. that evening i went to my last Student Impact dance practice. we didn't actually dance- we just went out to dinner at a restaurant that has kind of become tradition for our group. it was fun hanging out with everyone one last time, and they gave me presents- a handmade picture frame and a huge heart-shaped card that everyone signed. it was sad to say goodbye to them- they've been such a huge part of my time in Japan.

read about my last week in Japan in Saying Sayonara, Part III...

Saying Sayonara, Part III

continuing from Saying Sayonara, Part II...

Monday the 9th i had breakfast with Yusuke, and, crazy surprise- Ariel from my STINT team last year. he's back in Japan doing language school, and by awesome coincidence arrived in Japan only a few days before i left. while it was awesome seeing him, the coolest part of that breakfast was seeing/hearing Yusuke pray for breakfast. i remember back to when we first met him, and his spiritual journey as we shared the Gospel with him over and over, and saw his heart soften- i was there when he first came to church, when he asked to study the Bible with us, when he had his first Bible study, i suggested he join the Alpha Course at New Hope, and he called me the night he became a Christian and couldn't stop talking about it. seeing him pray for breakfast was just such a cool moment for both me and Ariel. he also told us he wanted to start a homeless ministry at New Hope. i cannot wait to see how God uses that kid. i feel like he could really grow into a strong Christian leader in Japan. after breakfast i went to lunch at my friend Sumire's apartment. it was the first time i've even gotten to see her since coming back to Japan, and unfortunately my last time til who knows how long. but it was really awesome catching up with her and getting to share why i know God's plans are best for me. after lunch with her, i had coffee with my friend Akisa. she shared with me that the day before, she told a boy that she liked him and he said he wanted to just be friends. after that, i was able to share with her my testimony and what God's shown me about love, and how God has someone amazing for her. that evening, Student Impact held a farewell party for me so that i could introduce some of the staff and Christian students to the students i'd met over the past year and a half. it was really last minute and i was afraid not many people could come, but many people did and it was an awesome time. i was able to share why i came to Japan with everyone, and a shortened version of the Gospel. my friend Megumi shared with everyone that i was the first person at Waseda University to approach her and talk to her, and i was her first friend at Waseda. my friend Nini shared that i was reason she started going to Paddy. i almost started crying- i had no idea about either of these things. another cool moment was when Cam, my boss, said that everyone would pray for me- i was really worried my non-Christian friends would be uncomfortable, but one of them actually prayed for me out loud! he said "even though i am not Christian, i want to pray for Kimiyo." it was crazy! even crazier- i haven't even seen this guy since my senior year of college, when we met at USC through a mutual friend! that night was the first time we've seen each other in Japan. so ridiculous. even better, later that evening i got to see one of our Student Impact students, actually a high school student, share the Gospel with one of my friends from Waseda University. i was able to share my testimony with the Paddy president and Nini. even better, that night Nini spent the night at our apartment because she missed her last train, and we were able to share the Gospel with her and give her a Bible! she told me that her friend had been studying the Bible, and it made her want to read it too! even if the only reason God had me leave Japan was that it provided these opportunities to share the Gospel with these students, it was worth it. it was still hard to leave, but because so many of my friends were able to hear the Gospel, it was still worth it.
Tuesday afternoon i went to Sweets Paradise with some of my friends from Paddy. Sweets Paradise is an all-you-can-eat-in-90 minutes desserts buffet, so basically, my favorite place in the world. afterward, i had coffee with my friend Blake and after that i had more coffee with my friend and former language partner, Manami. she's my longest Japanese friendship- i met her on my first Summer Project in 2008. we weren't able to hang out much this year because she was so busy, but it was great seeing her one last time. Wednesday was my last day going to ICU High School, so they had a bit of a farewell party for me as well, and i got to share with them as well why i came to Japan and how God loves them. after ICU High School, i went to Waseda and had kind of a come-and-go at the Waseda cafe, where i stayed there for the afternoon and friends came to hang out whenever they were free, the point being partly to say goodbye but also partly to introduce them to a couple of the JCCC staff. i was able to see like 9 of my friends in just a couple hours so that was great. that night i had my last Odori Samurai practice, where during my goodbye speech i was able to share a shortened version of the Gospel in Japanese. it was really sad to leave them. i sit here typing this in my Odori Samurai sweatpants and i hardly can believe i may never see them or dance with them again. Thursday was my last Paddy FC (soccer), and afterward Paddy hosted a farewell party for me. it was really sweet, and they bought me sushi because they knew i hadn't had any since coming back to Japan. Friday i had lunch with my friends yuki and shugo, and we were joined by my friend from Odori Samurai, Suzuka, who's currently studying abroad in DC but came back to Japan for the holidays. it was awesome hanging out with them one last time- Suzuka was one of my Samurai translators last year. after lunch, i had coffee with Kanae and Yui, the first 2 girls i ever met at Waseda, then i had coffee again with my friend May. after that, i went to my last Paddy meeting, and got to lead a topic discussion of "What do you do when the unexpected happens/ how do you respond?" it turned into a great spiritual conversation.
Saturday was my last Odori Samurai festival- we performed at a festival held at Tokyo Dome. it wasn't a major festival, but i was so excited to be able to perform one last time before i left. i highlighted my hair red for the occasion.
i got home that evening and spent the rest of the night furiously packing up my apartment. i stayed up all night, but was still rushing around in the morning before i had to leave. i definitely didn't leave my room or the apartment as clean as i wanted. we rushed to the bus stop and made it with only about one minute to spare (literally). some of the JCCC staff, Christina and Yusuke came to see me off which was really sweet. the whole past month had been such a whirlwind, it didn't really start to sink in that i was leaving until i was sitting on the bus waving goodbye.
that moment really sucked, not gonna lie. my heart hurt. i slept pretty much the entire 2 hour bus ride to the airport, got the airport and my friend Tomoki (the one who prayed for me at my farewell party) came to see me off. it was a really good thing he did too- i had planned on just bringing an extra bag to Thailand and paying the extra bag cost. turns out, Asia to Asia flights charge not by extra bags, but by extra kilograms...taking my extra bag was going to cost literally almost $1,000. seriously insane. so i had to ship my bag. unfortunately i didn't even have my shipping address for Hawaii yet, so Tomoki offered to take my bag and ship it for me once i got my address. praise God that he was there! the whole situation was really stressful though, made more so by the fact that my 2 bags together were still overweight, so i spent like 45 minutes taking stuff out, redistributing and reweighing. i'm still not actually sure if i actually made weight or if the lady just felt so sorry for me she said they were fine. either way, i barely made my flight. she had to go with me through security to get me to the gate on time. i made it with 5 minutes to spare. that whole day was the most stressful traveling day EVER, and i was already kind of an emotional wreck since i had to leave Japan. but i finally made it and slept the whole flight to Thailand.

the past year and a half has truly been the most unforgettable experience of my life. every day was filled with new friends, new challenges, new joys, new adventures. i have never been more stretched. i grew as a person and as a Christian. i learned more and more how to rely on God for EVERYTHING, because i had to. i learned how to share God's love with others through words and actions, i learned how to trust people, i learned patience, i learned how to have trust and joy in difficult circumstances. thank you to everyone who touched my life, and made my time in Japan such an amazing, wonderful memory. i pray with all my heart that God will allow me to return some day. God bless you all~

Saturday, February 4, 2012

The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom

i just saw this preview for the Academy Award Nominee for Best Documentary Short: The Tsunami and The Cherry Blossom

it made me burst into tears. first because of the terror and devastation that the people of Tohoku experienced, second because it reminded me of when i got to go to Tohoku and help with the relief and meet some of the survivors, and third because it made me miss Japan so much and reminded me why i want to be there so badly, so i can share God's love with the Japanese and help them rebuild their lives. it also made me cry because i still don't understand why it happened. it's impossible to answer that question. it's something i'm definitely asking God when i get to heaven.

here's actually a couple pictures i took of some cherry blossom trees in Tohoku about 1 month after the earthquake:

anyway, you should definitely watch the preview. and then the documentary. Japan still needs our prayers now more than ever.

keeping praying for Japan.