Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Spring Breaking

at the end of March, we held a spring break trip to the other side of the island- Waikaloa. the Matsuis had a friend with a huge house they were willing to let us use for a few days.

while we had several students signed up to go, only 2 (Autumn and Devin) ended up coming. but it was still a great time- we spent 4 days training our students on how to do evangelism and be leaders in the morning, and we spent our afternoons going to different beaches and hanging out with the students. i got to lead the seminar on evangelism, and other STINTers and staff (Kent and Erin) led other seminars on how to organize an outreach, how to lead a Bible study, and how to do discipleship.

Autumn had never been to a Cru event- in fact, her first time at a Cru meeting was only 2 days before our Spring Break trip, but she signed up anyway! it was really exciting to see her grow in her faith and become a part of Cru. after the trip, she and Devin organized a Worldwide Day of Prayer event in the UH Hilo Campus Center Plaza. it was so cool to see them stepping up and taking ownership of the movement.

here are a few pictures from Spring Break in Waikaloa:
sunset from the balcony of our house
hanging out at the beach 
Autumn and Devin with shave ice in Kona


cults are a pretty big problem in Japan, not just for Japanese people, but for those organizations (like Cru) who could be perceived as a cult to the untrained eye. many cults do similar things to Christian organizations, but they aren't teaching the truth, thus at first glance, they are difficult to distinguish.

while i had become fairly used to this problem in Japan, i did not expect it in Hawaii, much less at our university. unfortunately there is a strong and thriving cult at UH Hilo called "180" and are affiliated with a church called the International Church of Christ, where they believe you must be baptized in THEIR church in order to be saved. they are very active and go up to random people on campus and talk to them and invite them to their Bible studies. unfortunately....we do the same, so it can be confusing to people. they somehow got an article about them in the school newspaper, and after that i had more than few people ask if Cru was the group in the paper. thankfully, since they asked, i was able to explain the difference; however, it was frustrating that people associated our groups with each other. this group also has a history of "poaching"- they would go to other group's meetings, talk to students and try to get them to join 180.

in fact, after Cru started to become more established on campus, they came to one of our meetings. thankfully there were only 3 of them, and there were enough STINTers to keep them occupied and away from our students after the meeting. not sure if it was Kent's message pretty pointedly directed at them, or if they just realized that we knew who they were and were not to be messed with...either way, they never came back. we saw them on campus at least a few times a week, and were friendly (they're friendly too, just have hidden agendas) but yeah, while they remained a concern for the rest of the year, we never really had any other problems with them. even though having them at our meeting put us on edge, it was also kind of flattering to know that they felt we were legit enough/enough of a presence on campus to check out.

Friday, May 25, 2012

1,000 Cranes for Japan

this looks familiar.

it's because my STINT team last year did this as well.

this year, since it was the 1 year anniversary of the Japan triple disaster of earthquake, tsunami and nuclear meltdown, we wanted to do something to remind the Japanese people that we still love them and are thinking/praying for them. so we set up tables and posters in the UH Hilo campus center plaza the entire week before the March 11th anniversary, bought out the craft store in origami paper, and encouraged students to join us in making 1,000 origami cranes to send to Japan. The event also instigated several spiritual conversations with people making cranes with us, since many students would sit down and make not just one, but ten or twenty cranes. We were able to ship these cranes to the Tokyo JCCC, and they brought them to Tohoku when they sent a relief team up there in March.

students making cranes with us in the plaza

the finished 1,000 cranes
a student's note to Japan- "Smile, let the whole world know that today, you're much stronger than you were yesterday"
Underneath, another crane reads "We are praying for Japan" in Japanese

Thursday, May 24, 2012


last semester, Cru was a newly established club with one Bible study on Tuesday nights. after we arrived, we decided we wanted to start taking steps to grow the movement. we added two more Bible studies, an all-women's one led by Christine, Amanda and a student named Morgan, as well as a lunch time one led by Nikki and Albert. we also started up a weekly fellowship meeting- we started out in a small meeting room and had only about 4 students coming regularly, less than half the number of STINTers, and we didn't have a set meeting day or time. then we moved into a huge lecture hall and set an official day and time- wednesdays at 4 pm. we put together a worship band- Kylan on bass, Kent on guitar/vocals, and one of students Matt on keyboard. we created a mission statement collaborated with Matt to print up "Cru cards" with our information on the back, as well as getting flyers printed and posted around campus. and we gave a name to our weekly meetings- "Ignite," a name we felt encompassed the nature of our island (we live on the largest active volcano in the world) as well as what we wanted God to do at UH Hilo- ignite the students' passion for Him and spread His name like wildfire across the campus.

and since then, that's what's been happening. slowly, mind you, but we're getting there. our movement has grown into several committed students and many more coming more often than not. there have been a few times where our Ignite meetings have had over 20 students attending. our Bible studies, while still not huge, have at least a few students attending every week. and the name of Cru is starting to get out there. we've had several events where we've had a table or two in the Campus Center Plaza with our huge CRU banner across the front, and having Cru cards has been a wonderful way to inform people about us.

it has been so encouraging to see God growing our movement and see where it started to where it is now. i am confident that God is going to work in amazing ways through Cru next year, especially because Katie and Nikki have decided to intern here again starting in the fall.
Cru banner on campus during our 1,000 Cranes event 

"Ignite," our weekly meeting
while Cru hasn't ignited into wildfire yet, the sparks are there and God is fanning the flames! (and yes, i realize how cheesy that's past midnight. that's what happens when i write this late)

A Little Taste of Japan

at our Valentine's Day party, i met a Japanese girl named Risa who had become a friend of Katie's. we talked for awhile and she mentioned that she and some Japanese friends were performing Soran Bushi for UH Hilo's International Nights. Soran Bushi is a dance i know very well- i've performed it twice in Japan, even acted as "director" for our Change Conference performance of Soran Bushi last March. she invited me to their practice, and i got to dance it with 15 other Japanese students! it was so fun meeting all of them and dancing Soran Bushi again. suddenly i had 15 new Japanese friends just from this one practice.

it was like a little taste of Japan, and such a blessing! most of them i became good friends throughout the year, and one of them, Taku, became one of our closest friends- his host family took him to the church we went to, so we often saw him there and had spiritual conversations with him.

here are a couple pictures from International Nights:
America representation- hip hop (the girl in the center became one of our closest friends) 
Japan representation- Soran Bushi performance
Samoa's performance- the guy on the far left became a regular Cru attender

Monday, May 21, 2012

All You Need is Love

our "Love collage" 
the day before Valentine's Day, the girls hosted an all-girls Valentine's party at The Shire (the house that is the home to me, Nikki, Christine, Amy and Amanda). the goal was to strengthen our friendship with some of the girls we knew and hopefully get a chance to share the gospel.  we came up with the theme: “What is Love?” and had a cookie decorating station, snacks, and we decorated the house with hearts and streamers (which remain hung up in our living room to this day).  our most theme-oriented activity was the painting station, where you could paint your answer to the question: “What is Love?” the goal was to use this as a way to get into spiritual conversations with the girls. i was able to share some of my testimony with a couple girls and explain more about Cru and why i work for them, but not explain the full Gospel.  the Valentine’s Day party did start some relational foundation work that was important for us to build for the future.  we got to have our friends over to our home for the first time.  we spent an evening making something together, and doing something unique.  the girls who came enjoyed the evening, and many of the girls who came are still connected to our ministry a few months later.

pics from the party: 
after celebrating with students on the 13th, on Valentine’s Day itself we celebrated as a team.  we all dressed up and the men hosted dinner at their apartment, cooking up French onion soup, salad, lasagna, garlic bread, and cookies for dessert.  as a special treat, they took some time before the meal to tell each one of the ladies what they had appreciated about us this year.  it was super sweet and a really fun way for us all to enjoy Valentine's Day together. 

pictures from Valentine's Day: 
we love-bombed the boys' door
our classy STINT team after Valentine's Day dinner

The University of Hawaii at Hilo

not gonna lie, stepping onto UH Hilo for the first time was weird. i had never done campus ministry in the States before, so walking onto campus didn't really feel like "campus." also, with a population of only about 4,000 students, it was WAY smaller than Waseda, our main university in Tokyo of 40,000 students.  but even though it did not really feel like I was walking to campus to do ministry, i was still nervous. i had become used to ministry in Japan. but it forced me to rely on God and pray hard, and it actually turned out to be a great day! i had lunch with 2 students and then got into a long conversation with 2 more in the plaza. actually, the 2 i met in the plaza (Shelby and Jerry) invited me to hang out with them that night! i couldn't but it was really exciting and i made plans with them for later in the week. that night i went to my first UH Hilo Cru Bible study. there i met Morgan, Lehua, Colton, Brody, Shane, Melody, Matt, Jessica, Ira, and Devin. it was really awesome to meet some of our students and start getting to know them.

the next day we checked out "Free Lunch" literally a free lunch put on by BCM (Baptist Collegiate Ministries) at their ministry house, and got to meet some of the other members.

thursday i met a guy named jeremy in the cafeteria- at the time, i had no idea that he would later become such an important person in all our lives. after i met jeremy, nikki, christine and i sat with two girls named Kau'i and Ariel. they were super friendly and nice and invited us to come to their hula practice. after they left, we were joined by a girl named Kristen who became a friend of ours quickly as well. that night i went to Ken's House of Pancakes with Shelby and her friends- Ken's is the only 24 hour restaurant in Hilo, and serves everything. they also have certain items labeled "Sumo" which means they are absolutely massive- when they bring out the item, they ring a gong and everyone yells "Sumo!" it's kind of awesome.

friday we had our Day with the Lord, and that was the end of my first week of ministry in Hawaii!
UH Hilo! 
Red, White & Blue Pancakes at Ken's

My new friend Shelby and her boyfriend Nicco at Ken's

More to come in my next post!