It's 2015 now, in fact. And I found myself realizing that after such a whirlwind of summer and this past semester, I never finished blogging about Japan. And it's worth writing about, at least in my opinion, even if it IS midnight.
The first day on campus, we asked our students to each write letters to themselves about their fears and expectations for project. Looking back, I showed a surprising amount of foresight when I wrote:
"Mistakes are ok. Maybe that's part of what God wants you to learn this summer. Maybe it's also to help your students learn it too. Maybe a lot of what God is having you learn is so you can help show it to others. You don't have to be the perfect leader; you won't be...Dare to dream, but also dare to fail."
And I did. And I wasn't. I made so many mistakes and failed so many times. But I think through all of it, I began to learn that mistakes are not the end of the world. That God is bigger than our fears and failures. That He is Sovereign. I learned the freedom to fail, that mistakes actually help people relate to you, and that it IS ok to not be ok, and to let others into that. That God can and will use us, not just in spite of our weaknesses but sometimes even because of them.
In terms of ministry, we saw SIX Japanese students accept Christ (in fact, one accepted Christ our first day on campus - the same day I led my team to the wrong campus... #GodUsingMyMistakes). We got to see the Lord raise up student leaders and grow the Kyoto ministry. And God grew each of our students and developed their hearts for Japan, so much that a few of them are even thinking about STINTing in Japan! All in all, while it was by far the most growing, stretching, challenging, exhausting summer of my life...it was also one of the most rewarding and blessed times.
Thank you for your love, prayers and support that got me through this past summer!
And now, a look back at some of the highlights...
Goodbye Party with all our Japanese friends
Team Karaoke - this picture showed the intensity of karaoke night
American Sports Day Outreach Event
Team Adventure Day to Toei Studio Park
Ninja Staff Team - by far still one of my favorite pictures
While in Tokyo, I took my team to a small restaurant I used to go to on occasion when I was on STINT. The owner was still there and still remembered me after 2 years!
A look back on EJSP2014 - memories and how we saw the Lord work
Each a piece of the puzzle that makes up Epic Japan Summer Project 2014
Epic Japan Summer Project 2014. I love you all forever.
The Road goes ever on and on,
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say... ~J.R.R. Tolkien