Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Here is a photo for all you craving visual images. From the back the people are:

Kaji, Andy, George, Esther,
Kahori, Pamela, Sachie, Ibuki, Shiho,
Cecilia, Wai Ling, Paula

To help you remember,
The people on the team are:
Andy, George, Esther, Shiho, Wai ling, Cecilia, Paula
The Japanese Christian Students are:
Kaji, Kahori, Sachie, Ibuki
And the Japanese Staff worker is:
Wednesday 28-11-07

So there were some major communication issues with letting Andy know there was a prayer meeting on – Cecilia didn’t give him the note, and then I messaged the phone, but George had it and didn’t realise that it was from me (despite the message saying “Prayer meeting, please bring laptop” :P) and so didn't even know to give it to Andy. So when I realised all of that, I had an hour to spare and ended up lying on Shiho’s bed while Esther and George made us dinner.

Dinner was really yum – fancy stir fry and rice. And then we washed up and had a quick team meeting about the week. It was here that everything changed because of all the things that are happening. Monday was just a ministry day at Gaidai, Tuesday was prayer meeting and team prayer and then team fun night. Wednesday we are at Nanzan – so because of Jody not being able to make Kaji’s discipleship, the boys were going to take care of that and come back to Gaidai for Frisbee club and then dinner and karaoke with them too. Then Thursday we have the day at Gaidai and then head over to Aichiu Med School for ESS club and Yakiniku dinner. Problems here because we usually ride to Gaidai, and the bus to get to Aichiu is in the other direction? Andy was in charge of how to sort that one out. Friday was just a day at Gaidai and then the Music Live at night, and Saturday is our personal retreat. – looking forward to all that?

Just before our meeting started, we got a text from Ibuki (which she had sent to all her Christian friends (Japanese and Aus alike) asking everyone to pray for Jody from 8:00 to 8:20 that night. What a great prayer warrior!! So excellent to know that when trouble strikes – the first thing Ibuki does is take it to God in prayer and encourages others to do so!! Praise God!

That night after our meeting we prayer for the campus and our outreach times and then we just kept praying – for Jody, for anything that sprang to mind. It was awesome to know that after a long week, and at the start of another one, we were united and talking to God together.

Monday on campus, I left home at 9 and rode there myself. It was a good ride, though I think I go slower with no other people :P then I did a quiet time and sorted out prayer stuff for Tuesday. Then the other girls turned up (boys were running late) and we prayed together and talked about what to do. Ester left for a quiet time and I went down to buy a pen.

Michael and I have been writing a story, (he’s in London, I’m in Japan, and we are writing a story about Brisbane – go figure) and he’s got to print out the form and story for us, but we both have to sign in. So I had to get the address so he can send it here so I can send it on to Australia. So I asked Shiho for the address and she pulls out a piece of paper but we can’t read the Kanji!

No good because I can’t get Michael to draw kanji, so I was like “great, I can use this as a ministry tool and ask someone to help me and then have a good conversation!” hooray! So I went down to buy a pen after chatting to the girls, praying that God would show me who would be good to talk to, and when I came out, I felt like “yep – go talk to her!” so I did.

Her name was Seiko and she was just sitting by herself eating and I came up and asked how to read the Kanji and she said she didn’t know, and just when I thought it was all over, she says, “lets go ask the people in the book store!” so we did!

The people in the book store didn't know how to read it either, but they pulled out the phone book and gave it a shot, got me the Post Code, which was handy ☺ then Seiko and I went back to where she was sitting and I asked her if she spoke English and would she like to chat? She said yes! Hooray!

I ended up talking to her for a good 40 mins or so, she was really surprised I would come to Japan just to talk to people, but it was cool. I gave her my number at the end, but she didn’t offer hers, so I hope she calls. It would be good to see her again.

After that I went and had lunch with Esther and Sachie (Christian) and Remi (not Christian yet). Sachie had gone to Universal Studios on the public holiday last Friday and had gotten everyone on the team “omiage” or souvenirs. We had a pretty good lunch and then just chilled for a while. Kahori, Shiho, Wai Ling and Mika were having lunch together and at the end, they did a Knowing God Personally booklet with Mika! Yay for spreading the gospel. (Kahori even skipped class to stay, she’s like; “this is more important than class”.) The Evangelism Team had a meeting and Andy and I talked through Romans 7 a bit.

That afternoon, Sawako (Christian) wanted us to talk to two of her friends who were not Christian, but wanting to make friends with foreigners. So we waited around for that, but when we met them, they were giggly Japanese girls who were too shy to speak Japanese, so it was a bit hard to talk to them. We ended up instigating a huge Scissors Paper Rock game and giving a serviette to the winner. ☺ weee fun!

After trying to fold the serviette into a plane (unsuccessfully) I changed it into a little origami book and gave it to one of the girls, who said she wanted to be a fantasy writer. Then we wrote a book. Andy and Shiho translated and the story went something like this (it was fantasy)

“Once apon a time, there were 2 girls. They went to uni and met new friends and laughed a lot. Then some crazy people came in with swords and started being crazy. Thankfully, one of the girls knew Karate and saved the day! Hooray! The End.”

Good times good times. ☺ Soon after Andy, Cecilia and I left to go home. C and Andy were on dinner and I was there to make sure no one made any “purple” and I had prayer stuff to do anyway. Dinner was Nachos – which was pretty yum. There was a moment where we thought “humm not enough meat” and then “humm too much salsa,” and “humm not enough corn chips” (and I had the moment “humm not enough cheese”) but it was really good. A bit of a challenge with no oven (mum if you’ve got any recipes that don’t include ovens or rice please send them on – we need variety!) but we just microwaved everyone’s separately to melt the cheese and it worked out well.

Monday night was our last team building session – we worked through some conflict resolution stuff and then “value cards”, which talked about what we value most when working in a team. My values were just “get the job done” (no surprise there). George really values “inclusion” where everyone gets a say (something that none of our other team members valued). It was interesting to see where things fell for everyone and how we worked differently. Wai Ling said that because she’s worked in Australia, now “Direction and structure” aren’t high priorities, because we are all laid back. Heheh.

Tuesday I slept in. It’s hard to get up when it’s still dark and it’s staying darker longer these days. We left home at 9:00 to go to the prayer meeting (which this time was only down the road at Kamiyashiro Church (where we have the Immanuel meeting). We got there and then started to walk to the convince store to buy lunch, when Shiho dropped her contact lenes. So we all stopped and had a look, and then some of us went on to the store and came back and kept looking while others went on. We ended up finding it, but it was cracked (after the long fall to the ground) so Shiho couldn’t wear it.

Prayer was led by Joyce, who’s theme was to pray for the world. It was really cool prayer time. When ever I do extended prayer I think back to the first Mid Year Conference I went to, when the LINC campuses were in charge of prayer time. My first reaction there was “We are going to pray for 2 hours? Are you crazy?” but now I’m like “Prayer time? Awesome!”. I think praying is something that all Christians struggle with doing, and especially when you are leading other people to do it, it’s like “ahh they are going to hate me!”. I think it’s because we find it so easy to just shoot up a prayer in the middle of the day saying “oh, God, thanks for that, and btw I need help with this…”, but when it comes to concentrated prayer – we don’t know what we are going to say.

In any case, prayer is awesome! Hooray! We read through Psalm 18:1-19 and just went around the room and read a verse each – in whatever language you had available. It is so cool to know that God understands every word we say, no matter what language we say it in.

When we came back to home after having lunch, Andy and I finally had our prayer team meeting, and then started group prayer. Esther and George were late – off talking again - but they came. We had a really good time praying for different things for campus, students, each other – yay! Then Shiho and I did some shopping for our fabulous dinner and just chilled together.

It was very cool to talk to Shiho one on one – we talked a lot about being missionaries and music and Student Life. She is very open to the idea that she wants to become a missionary one day. We made scrambled eggs for dinner. I even toasted the bread so that we had toast! Hooray! We also had mushrooms and sausages (the sweet Japanese kind) and cheese! Yum! I’m having left over toast and cheese and tomato sauce for breakfast – weee!!

Then we went up to Wai Lings room and played a few more games of take two – they are addicted! And a game of Signs (which was confusing, but fun) and then settled down to watch Speed. Pretty funny movie, I was commenting the whole way through – so was George – I think because they get together at the end and I’m trying not to think about people being together because I just miss Steve.

Tuesday was our 2 year anniversary! Wee!! I had arranged for Wade to leave Steve’s present on the kitchen table for him, but Wade thought it was the 29th and hadn’t so I was really disappointed. But Steve got it in the end. The night before, he and Andy stayed up late making me a Video message, which Andy managed to get me to watch while at Prayer. He was supposed to be getting Jeremy Camp fro me to listen to and he says “oh I’ve got a video for you to watch first” and I was thinking it was some great video of MercyMe live or something that I’d be so jealous about and I’m like “I don't’ want to watch it!” and he says “just press play!” so I did and it was Steve!! Weee!!

I got to call him after Speed and we talked for an hour. ☺ It was really good to talk to him, though I knew he was staying up late and he was already tired from last night’s efforts :P. Yay hooray God is fantastic.

Now it’s Wednesday morning. We don’t have to leave until 10:00 and I’ve been typing this since a quarter past 7. I’m starving. I had a really strange dream about 2 brothers who got super powers, except I was one of the brothers. And we were escaping the police and my brother who could walk through walls, too me through to the homework room at Wishart (where we were hiding) and there were all these birds with golden feathers and blue tips and 2 beaks (one where it’s supposed to be and the other half way down the neck) it was strange. They were really intelligent birds though. I can’t remember my other powers, but we managed to transport ourselves back before Dad (not my dad someone else’s dad – probably the brothers dad (one of whom’s body I was inhabiting) realised we were gone. It was a great dream – running from the police, getting super powers… being a boy… I dunno where that comes in but meh! Time to go write the last part of the story that I need to write and then eat breakfast and then get onto emails!
Sunday 25-11-07

So yesterday, I got ready to go up for our team meeting at 11:00 at about 10:50 and climbing down from the loft, I see Cecilia madly grabbing stuff and running to the shower. Honestly that girl is quite disorganised. Everyone else was relitivley on time and we just chatted until C made it.

At team time we worked through conflict resolution and what to do when we feel conflict or hurt and how to respond and stuff. Pretty standard and easy to get through. We wrapped up at about 1 and had free time until 5:00 Karaoke! Because we were going to the same place that we were at on Friday and there was a kimono place near by, Cecilia and I trained in earlier than everyone else and went to check it out.

The street we went to find Kimono in had heaps of shops and second hand kimono places. The first place we went to had a kimono that I liked for about 6800Yen (68$) but it was about the same colour as one I already have, so I was hesitant about getting it. We kept looking and eventually found a yellow one which will go nicely. It was only 6800 yen too so that’s a bargin for Kimono. ☺ hooray! I also found a Yuchikake, which is worn at a wedding ceremony and is the outer robe (worn over the white kimono) which is brightly coloured and has cranes all over it.

It was only 8500Yen ($85) which was amazing considering the work that goes into them. I love it so much and I’m so glad I got it. It weighs at least 3 kilos, so I’m going to have to squeeze it into my bags somewhere to get it home, but it’s beautiful. It’s different to a normal kimono because it has longer sleeves and a padded hem to make it fall in a certain way.

After grabbing that Cecilia and I headed back to the station and caught a train the 3 min ride to Sakae again and met everyone for Karaoke. Kahori, Yuhei and a girl called Misaki (I think) were there and later on Ibuki and Kaji joined us. The Karaoke room was pretty cool, it had black lights to make everything fluro and white and the walls were a brown/tan colour to start with, but when the lights changed, you could see they were painted in colours to have the most insane bright forest scenery on the walls.

We sang like crazy until 7:00 when we headed out before everything got too expensive, and walked down the street to Denny’s for dinner. For dinner I shared a salad with Shiho and then we had some “homuraisu” which is like rice with tomato sauce and egg. George, who found the only Ramen dish on the menu to have, also got me some giyousa, which were delicious.

On the way to the train station after dinner, Andy told me that he’d been coming round the corner on his bike on the way here, and had crashed into another guy who was coming the other way. He said he had smashed up the basket on his bike and broken his light – which I had only just put on his bike that morning! I gave him a talking to about breaking things and not deserving to get new ones and it’s funny that I did.

We left the train station on our bikes and I was trying to avoid the bumps by cutting close to the sides of the footpath when I misjudged a turn and I smashed straight into someone’s brick garden wall. Not only did I break my light – it shattered into quite a few pieces. At least Andy’s is still usable, mine is gone for good. Ops! I came out of it with only a scrape on my hand (which doesn’t even hurt (except when people shake it :P)) and aside from the chains on my bike being off their tracks (soon fixed in the light of the 7/11 Store) everything was alright.

I made it home in time to have a chat to Steve before he went to bed. I’d kept him up by not being home and he was pretty tired – sounds like Schoolies was pretty mad this year and there was a lot of work to do, but I’m really glad everyone went and it sounds like despite misgivings, things went well and everyone enjoyed being there! Yay!

This morning I slept in (I don’t know where Cecilia has stashed her phone, but oh well – maybe I need to get a cheep alarm clock from the 100Yen store) a bit and then got up and got ready for church. Ibuki was giving us a lift this morning so we didn't have to leave until 9:15, and then George was late, so we didn't leave until 9:20, even so we made good time and were ready at the station for Ibuki. We ended up being pretty early to church.

Same faces there this week, thankfully we were less of an item this week. I chatted with the same small people and made more origami during the sermon. Jody has put out his back and can’t move, so that’s not good and it meant that the English sermon was interpreted by a Japanese guy who had a lot of pauses and “Hang on, I’m lost” phrases interested. It was generally about Ephesians 3:16 – 17 which was good to get into.

One of the guys at the church said that he saw me at the Christian book store the other day getting the bible ☺ hehehe. I also talked a bit to the guitar music guys and another guy called Macenzi… is that how you spell it? He’s from Canada and is only in grade 12, his parents are Missionaries, and that’s why he’s in Japan.

Something interesting though, at Karaoke, Ibuki didn't sing at all. Didn’t put in songs, didn’t take a mike to sing along – nothing! But then, she was singing at church this morning! I was like, why? And she said that she wanted to serve at church, so she asked the pastor, and he said “we need singers – can you serve there?” and she said yes, because it was serving God.

I wonder if I would have the same reaction, or weather I would say, I think I can serve God better somewhere else.

Jody wasn’t at church because he was putting a towel away and threw his back out of joint. Lois (his wife) said he can’t move, but he’d be seeing the chiropractor tomorrow, so hopefully he will be better in no time.

After church we had lunch again – curry rice – and then Ibuki was staying for a bible study, but we decided to go home so she gave us a lift to the station.

Coming back on the train took about an hr, including the bike ride – which would have been at least 5 mins shorter with out the waiting for the slower people. Patience God – give me patience!! Then we just split up for some hanging out time until dinner!

Better get going, Cecilia forgot to put the washing on and now it looks like she’s forgotten to hang it out too :P I’m going to do that and then head up to Wai Ling’s for some chill time until Andy turns up (which I hope he does, because I’d like to work through prayer stuff with him!).

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Saturday 24-11-07

Well that was Wednesday and now I’ve got quite a few days to catch up on. Thankfully today we aren’t doing anything till 10:30, so I’ve got a while. ☺

On Thursday, we didn’t leave home till 10:30 because we were going for lunch at Aichiu Medical School. We managed to get there at by 12 for Lunch (rode to the train station (Kamiyashiro), trained to Fujigaoka, and then took a bus from there to the Hospitial which is right beside the university. Wai Ling and Shiho left earlier to try to bank the money for our apartments, but Wai Ling forgot her passport, they didn't’ want money from gaijin and Shiho didn’t have anything to prove she was from Japan (except her passport which si not proof because it has no address on it :P). Oh Well.

We had lunch with the students who are involved in the English Club, which was pretty fun. I was a bit worried because on Gaidai, we have to be subtle about going in and walking around in big groups, but at Aichiu we just waltzed in together looking like a big group of gaijin. Jody (who meet us there) said that because we were invited (for lunch and ESS) it meant that we had a reason to be on campus, where as at Gaidai, we aren’t strictly invited on.

So after lunch we had a quick team meeting – tyring to come up with themes for the “Friendship Party”. It turns out the Christmas party isn’t done by us – but it’s done by the Immanuel people. So we only have to organise a “Friendship party” and then the “Farewell Party”. I’m not on the outreach team, so I don’t have to organise much there. After that the Newsletter team (which I am on) had a meeting, just talking about what we want in the newsletter. Wai Ling also wants us to do a video to advertise megumi for next year, but none of us know anything about viedo editing. :P Pretty much we’ve decided that since someone in Melbourne is lined up to do that, we will just get raw footage and he can go wild with it. I don’t think it’s something we need to be focused on though.

Then we just hung out for a bit before going to ESS. Aichiu is pretty much one main building with a few others just next to a hospital. Everyone goes through their classes together for the whole 6 years, so they are pretty tight. The ESS club was really open, lots of good conversations there. Jody does a good job of leading it. We talked about stress and what makes us stressed and how we get relaxed. Ibuki mentioned that she really likes to go to the onsen (yay!) so we were thinking of going today, but more on that later. After ESS, we drove to Immanuel Meeting, which is the Nagoya version of a Tuesday Night Social.

Ibuki is ususally the only one that goes, but after ESS, six of the other students wanted to come too! (Masato, Chisato, Mayu, Midori, Nobu and Shu-Chan) Pretty exciting. In the car there, I was with Shu-chan and Nobu, I asked if they had ever been to church before and what they thought of church. Nobu said he had never been but thought it was a serious place where everyone prayed and no one smiled.

When we got there, there was worship time (3 songs) and then we jumped into the message by Jung (Korean student life missionary) who talked about like and love and how guys and girls think differently. We divided up into groups of 4 and talked about it and shouted out answers to questions. It was really fun, if a bit long. There was so much Japanese though! Jody, Shiho and Pamela were all translating for the English speakers in their groups, but I wasn’t sitting near them and I was getting most of it anyway. Still it was really tyring. Sometimes I just tunned out and then I was like “what was that joke?”

After that, we did a Mission Megumi introduction. Earlier in the day Shoubu (who had been to Austraila with the J-team last year (strongly bonded with Andy) had called and asked for a strange fact about each of us. They put these up on the powerpoint and the students had to guess which one of us matched the fact.

Andy: I have been to ten countries – this confused a lot of people who stood in front of Wai Ling

George: I have the oldest father in the group (his dad is 75!!) – again, most people were in front of Wai Ling.

Cecilia: I work in an ice cream store – pretty evenly spaced, though some people thought it might be a trick question and stood in front of me, incase the donut shop sold ice cream.

Shiho: I fainted at work at was taken to hospital in an ambulance – evenly spaced again, though I didn’t get many people except the students I’d talked to about my scars. :D

Esther: I don't travel to uni any more - again got things confused, She's graduated, so she doenst' go to uni any more - Wai Ling does becuase she's at worker!!

Wai Ling: I am an only child – Wai Ling and I were the only ones left at this stage, and we were pretty well split, except that all the people who had already talked to me were infront of her and everyone else was infront of me :D

Paula: I had my appendix out on Christmas Day – I was the last one, so there was no real challenge here :P

Then there were advertisements for upcoming events and we all went downstairs to have dinner.

The church is actually on our way to Kamiyashiro Station! It is a little building which has a fluro light cross out the front. When you go in – shoes off and slippers on. Then we headed upstairs to a small room where the main meeting took place – when you get into the room, it’s slippers off to sit on the mats on the floor. The room is set up with music and sound equipment, but is pretty small. I doubt you could put many chairs so it’s good we were sitting on the floor. When you come downstairs for dinner, there is a kitchen and then a room to eat in. There was a bookshelf against one wall, and we put low tables out on the floor to eat off. Everyone helped washing up, Seiji took the lead here – I think he sets a good example of leading the men in the movement to be like Christ as opposed to being like Japanese males.

Dinner was rice and soupy stuff, I was at a table with Chisato from ESS and a guy called Yuhei, from I don’t know where. Esther and Shiho were next to me. I noticed that Yuhei had a WDJD braclet on and I asked what it meant – “Why did Jesus die?”. After that Chisato asked what it was and I said it was an English question, and she asked if we have the answer! I prompted Yuhei to have a go at explaining it, which he did. Gospel presentation number 1! High five for Jesus! He ended by hitting home the line that once you are saved you have no fear of death.

Then I asked Chisato what she thought of church. This was her first time at one, and she said that before hand she thought it was boring and praying and no smiles, but now she saw it was interesting. Shiho commented that she felt the same way, so I was like “Tell us about how you feel now and why you feel differently?” so Shiho shared her testimony with Chisato – Gospel presentation number 2 – High five for Jesus! It was really good. Later on Wai Ling and Esther got into some more good conversation with Chisato, and I know she took home a gospel tract, so yay!

I was really spaced out by the time we left – at 11:00. We walked down to Kamiyashiro and then rode home, Wai Ling’s bike light bulb was still not fixed – ops! But we got home safely.

Friday morning I didn’t set an alarm. It was a public holiday, so we didn’t need to get up to go anywhere. I was still sleeping (dreaming about our team being in a band, a musical and then someone’s dad being taken hostage by someone else…) at 10:30 when Cecilia was in the shower and Wai Ling rang the doorbell to be let in. My head was all stuffed up from over sleep, but it was good.

We had an early ish lunch at about 11:45 of pasta and then headed down to the station to take a train into town for shopping. *sigh* I don’t really like shopping, but I knew I had to do some. When we got in to Sakae, we did a bit of a group split again. :P I got a few things from the 100Yen shop for home and then Andy and I went over to the Christian bookstore to see if they had any good CD’s. We both ended up getting English/Japanese New Testaments (he had given his away Thursday night to Masato who wanted to read the bible more). It was only $17.85, which was really good price and the Japanese had all furigana (pronunciation) above the Kanji – which is really good for me! Also the Japanese is “wakari yasui” – easy to understand. Hooray!

I kept looking in stores for kimono’s on sale, but no luck. We asked a information chick, but apparently there is a second hand area, but it would be a train trip away, so we didn’t bother go there. Maybe another day I’ll be able to go. I also looked around for a cool trench coat for Steve, but no luck there either. Pretty much my looking is go in, walk walk walk, walk out. :D Andy and I were sick of shopping by then so we found a macca’s and had some food and then started to do our quiet times, but then Andy wanted to leave instead of sit around in maccas, so we did :P. We were on our way to find a place for dinner (because we are organised (no one else on the team is)) when we ran into Masayoshi (Japanese Missionary) and Shubo. They were on their way to an Electric Store, and considering Andy was looking for an Electric dictionary, we went with them. It was about a 20 min walk and then in the store Andy spent 40 mins looking at dictionaries. I was REALLY bored. I hate that kind of indecisive shopping, though I can understand he wanted to get a good one and he had a budget to consider and what not. :P I looked around at games, thinking of getting one for Steve, but they didn't’ have bio shock and though the Japanese games looked cool, it might not be as fun to play them because they would just be in Japanese :P. I also looked at headphones, because the ones I have seem to not be working :P too bad I have 3 other sets at home, but I didn’t get any anyway.

After hurrying the dictionary buying along slightly, they went to buy the Black one and it came up 4000Yen more expensive than the price tag. We asked about it, they said the silver is the inexpensive, but then they agreed that didn’t make sense, so they made a phone call to their superiors and it was ok, then they discounted it even further because of the wait, so it only ended up costing $210 (21000Yen) instead of $280 (28000Yen). Pretty handy. ☺

Then we headed back to have dinner with the team. It was George’s birthday so we had ramen – yum! There was a “Ramen Street” in one of the buildings with all these different ramen stores, we took a few photos there later ☺ After dinner we headed home and made it back by 8:00. Then we sang George a Happy Birthday Song and asked him to make a speech (in the doorway of Esther and Shiho’s place :P). He started off in a traditional birthday speech way “Thanks for being here, and the ramen…” and then he said; “Well I have your attention, what do I want to say? I think we should pray more.”

It was a really good point, he said we have been putting it off and finding it hard to get into and our excuses have been tiredness and fatigue and busyness, but really, we have been getting enough sleep now, and we are settled in. We all have room buddies we can share with, and encourage each other, so lets pray!

After that, the boys headed home and the girls went to their rooms. Cecilia and Shiho had hit the shops hard and so C showed me her buys – some really nice shoes. After that, she and I went upstairs to hang out with Wai Ling, and we ended up watching a movie about a famous Geisha – it was pretty funny translating all the emotional looks. I left about half way and had a shower and did a quiet time before going to bed at about 11:30.

I had another dream about our team being a band last night. I think the Friday night Live is on my mind too much – when I woke up I had both of my songs stuck in my head. What to do!? I got up about 7:30 I guess, which was good. Now It’s nearly 10 and I’ve caught up on daily stuff! Hooray!

I don’t know what to do with our prayer time next Tuesday – probably pray through our bible verse and I also want us to try do conversational prayer, so that we get into the practice of praying wherever we are.

My throat is a lot better now, though I’m still sniffly. It’s been going round and breathing in recycled air from the heater is probably not helping :P I only turn it on in the morning to heat up the room and then we switch ours off.

Today we have a team meeting at 10:45 and then lunch at about 1. After that we are free until 5, when we are going to Karoke until 7. Then we have dinner and then coming home – and I get to talk to STEVE!! HOORAY!!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Hip hip hooray I’m in Japan!

Hello everyone from Nagoya!

After so much time planning it’s hard to believe the time has finally come and I’m here! The plane flight over on Singapore Air was long, and when I met up with the team in Singapore Airport, I was ready to collapse with exhaustion already. We all arrived in Nagoya at around 8:30am Nagoya time (9:30am in the sunny town of Brisbane) and managed to successfully navigate our way through customs with only one small problem of Andy leaving his passport on the plane. Luckily they managed to find it no worries and Jody, our Staff missionary contact helped pile all of our luggage into his tarago and take us away.

That first day we met the Nagoya area director, Sejii and his wife, as well as Jody’s wife and the pastor of the local church where the Christian students of Gaidai University attend. I can’t vouch for the intelligence of the conversation that day, as 7 of us had only just stepped off some very long plane flights with very little sleep, but it was a warm welcome from everyone who was happy to have us here.

Our apartments are the size of a standard living room in Australia… maybe a bit smaller. The entrance way (about 1m across by a 1.5 long) has a stove on the right and a door to the left which opens to a bathroom with just enough room to stand in, and be right next to the bath and toilet. When you sit on the toilet, there is about … 15 or 20 centimeters in front of your knees before the door. That’s how small it is… and I’m a short person. I imagine those with longer legs have much more difficulty in there!

Continuing forward in the room, you have one room which is about 6m by 3.5 with a bed, a TV, fridge, a small table and a ladder, which takes you to the “loft” which is some planks of wood stretched across the ceiling. When sitting in the “loft” it’s probably only a meter away from the roof and about 2 meters wide.

In the apartment I share with Cecilia, the loft is my home. I’ve dragged my luggage up and placed it all along the wall and then my futon rolls out next to it. Don’t worry I won’t be rolling out and falling 2 meters to the floor, there are handy steal bars preventing that. The boys share an apartment that is in a different building about 5 mins bike ride away. Wai Ling, our missionary has her own room which we use for group meetings and ministry time. All the cooking for our meals is done in the other 2 apartments (mine and Cecilia’s and Shiho and Esthers) where we also cram in (around luggage, the ladder and beds) to eat dinner every night. When this happens Andy and I have found a great way of making more space by climbing up to the loft, pulling the ladder up after us and then jumping down. After our dinner Andy hoists me up on his shoulders and I climb up to the loft and pass the ladder back down. It’s worth it for the extra room we get when the ladder is not in our way.

Anyway, I hope I’ve given you a good idea of how things are here, I don’t want to make this too long or I’ll loose you before I get on to the important stuff!

Every day we bike 40mins to uni. On our second day we met the young Japanese Christian students who are part of the movement here. It was so cool to meet these baby Christians (as they described themselves!) who just wanted to learn and be encouraged by us. They were such an encouragement to us, sharing their faith and their hearts for their friends who don’t know Jesus yet.

Together we went on a prayer walk around Gaidai University, and then headed over the Aichiu Medical University where we also prayed.

Our first day on Campus was Monday and we were just finding our feet for most of it. Jody had messaged his student contacts, telling them we would be on campus to have lunch, but many of them replied saying they couldn’t make it. Because of this, Jody wasn’t expecting many people at all, but then Kahori (one of the Christian students) turned up with two of her friends! Following that Kaji (another Japanese Christian student) arrived with Kenji (a student who accepted Christ around 5 months ago, but had family circumstances which prevented him from following through with his decision) and from then on more and more friends of friends just arrived.

We had some great talks with the students, just getting to know them and making friends. Praise God for good contact! Jody explained that getting to know the students as friends and building trust relationships works much better as an effective ministry tool than the gungho method, so just having lunch and talking about the differences between Australia and Japan was fantastic!

I had better head to bed now, it’s been a long week and I hope I haven’t lost you with the length of this email – so much has happened!!

Please pray for our team, for unity and strength. Pray that we will be filled with the holy spirit and that God will protect us from sickness so we can work to the best of our ability.

Please pray for the Christian students who are sharing their faith with their friends! Pray that God continues to encourage them in their work.

Also pray for the students we are meeting who are open and interested in the gospel. Pray that their hearts would be softened to receive God’s word and they would come to know Jesus as their Lord and Saviour.

Finally, we had a small accident when Andy slammed the car door shut on George’s finger, so please pray for healing of his finger. It’s not broken, but it is still quite painful. Pray that God would heal George’s hand so that he can enjoy his time working in Japan.

Thank you!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Saturday 17-11-07

Well, disaster has struck and we have no internet. Well we do now (when I’m posting this) but right now – when I’m typing this – no internet. *Sigh* this is slightly frustrating, but such is life.

Today is Saturday. The long long long plane flight of Thursday and Friday are over (yay!) and we are almost officially settled in our apartments. Flight one left at 2:45 from Brisbane and I arrived at 8:30 Singapore time (10:30pm in Bris) in Singapore. Then I waited about an hour and a half (used the free internet at the airport) until Wai Ling, Cecilia and Shiho turned up from Melbourne. Then we waited another half hour for the Sydney crew, Andy, George and Esther, to arrive. Then all of us waited (Andy and I had a sleep (about half an hrs worth)) for our 1:05 (Singapore time, 3:05am Australia time) flight to Nagoya. We arrived in Nagoya at 8:30 Japan time (9:30am Aus time). And on the flight I probably had about 2.5 hrs of dozing sleep.

Needless to say everyone else had about the same. We were all very tired and not talkative. Except maybe Andy, who was over the moon to be in Japan again for the first time in 6 years.

I sorta wish people had heeded my warnings about flying badly and not functioning on less than 6 hours sleep. It was a struggle to be polite and interested in the new people we met on that first day. I feel like there must have been a better way of doing it – all of us meeting in a Australian city seemed to be the obvious solution (would have provided at least much shorter plane flights and wait over times) but that was the way we did it.

Jody picked us up from the airport and took us to our apartments, we loaded our stuff into the one which was open (Cecilia’s and mine) and then went for a drive and lunch with Pastor Wayne, Lois (Jody’s wife), Pamela (a staff worker), Seiji (Nagoya staff leader) and his wife. After lunch, which was some delicious katsu don, we headed back to our apartments and opened the other two. Then Jody ran us through some things, discovered the internet didn’t work, realised part of the bike pump was missing, and noticed that we needed extra beds for the night (the guys apartment isn’t available until Sunday, so the girls are all jammed in together and the boys are in Wai-Ling’s apartment until then).

After a harrowing experience, we finally sorted out shopping and came back to our places for some sleep and rest before dinner.

Monday 19-11-07

Yay! Internet!! You’ve no idea how much I’ve been hanging out for it! Also, I think the chance to sit down and type and generally catch up has been fantastic. A lot of the things we are supposed to do have been pushed back continually because of things running over time and sleepiness etc. it’s awful. It means that we don’t have personal time at all – everything is just go go go and then sleep. And then when you wake up it’s go go go again. *sigh* thankfully today we have done a bit more catch up! Hooray!

Where was i? Saturday we sorted out bikes and took a ride to Nishin Church – which is just across the road from Gaidai – our main university. The bikes we have are all borrowed from people, some have gears, some don’t, some have baskets, some don’t. I chose a black one and when we got the tires pumped we were good to go. Andy took the lead and I followed up with the girls and George bringing up the rear. It took us about 40 mins to get there that first day – there is an up hill (very slight gradient) the whole way with a few big ones in the middle.

When we got to Nishin, Pamela (a Staff worker) and the Christian students from Gaidai and Aichiu Medical School were also there. It was great to meet them and share with each other. From the church we walked to Gaidai and spent a bit of time walking through the campus and praying for the buildings and what happens in each one. 3 of them have nicknames – the Atrium is known as “Jody’s Office” because that’s where he does a lot of his CE’s and bible studies. It’s a cafeteria like place that a lot of guys hang out at.

The next building was “Haori’s office”. Haori is a student leader who became Christian in Canada. She is fairly new at sharing her faith but is a great encouragement because she is always bringing new friends to meet the Christian ones. We stopped and prayed at “the Benches” which are right in front of the Admin (who we are not thinking of as the enemy but as people with a job to do) which is where Student Impact (as they are known here) have a fun communal lunch on Fridays where you can bring any friends.

The last building we couldn’t go near because the grade 12 students were taking entrance exams for next year in them. (All the mothers and fathers were waiting around outside looking worried – it was scary! We prayed for them too). That building was called “Pamela’s Office” because it’s where Pamela does a lot of her bible studies and CE’s with the girls.

After this we split up and the guys rode bikes to Aichiu Medical School and Ibuki (the only known Christian on campus there) drove the girls in 2 lots in her car. When we got there we prayed for the campus and the students who study there. About half are studying to be doctors and half nurses.

We rode back home in the freezing Nagoya wind and dark sky. 4 of the 7 bikes had working lights – one didn’t have one and the other 2 had blown bulbs. We got back alright, but Ester and George got lost. Because Esther had the key to the girls apartment, Cecilia and I couldn’t get in to get the food to cook, so we played cards and wasted time waiting for George and Esther to be found. Andy waited at the Pharmacy for them, just in case they found their way back there and Wailing and Shiho walked around the local streets.

Esther and George had the only phone and ended up calling Jody to get them back home. They were back at 8:40pm. We were starving. Cecilia and I made a mixed up dinner of beef, capsicum and onion stir fired with udon noodles and soy sauce and while eating it at 9:15pm Wai Ling asked if I still wanted to run the hour and a half of prayer that we had planned. I clued her in on a little policy that keeps me sane during uni: “If it’s not done by bed time, it doesn’t’ really need to be done.”

10:00 is bed time and I just don’t function after that. Especially after a lot of long days with little sleep. (The first morning we used Cecilia’s phone for an alarm which was still on Aus time. Brisbane is only and hour behind, but what I failed to realise when I set the alarm for 8:00 intending for it to go off at 7:00 here, was that Melbourne is 2 hours behind, so when the alarm went off – it was 6:00am. And I didn’t realise until 20 to 7 :P)

Got to go cook dinner now, hopefully will get a chance to type more tonight – other wise I might get up early tomorrow morning :D


I’ve got as long as it takes Esther and Andy to wash up to type some more! Yay!!

On Sunday, We did the church split and I went with Esther and George to Parkside Church which is where Jody usually goes. We also had Andy with us this Sunday because after Church we had a soccer match and he wanted to play. It was a bike ride to the station, a train and then a bus to the church. We thought the bus was 9:50 but it was 9:10 so we had a rush departure at around 8:20am. When we got off the bus it turned out that the directions to the church Jody gave us were… wrong. So we walked around for a while and then eventually asked some local guy a few times and got there! Hooray!

Church was an experience and a half. Everything in Japanese – including songs. V. cool, but also not so filling. The sermon was in Japanese, but the English speakers (there are a few Americans and Canadians at the church) sat at the back and Jody translated for us. It was fairly cool, I sat on the side with Jody’s 4 children who were pretty much not interested in the sermon on keeping the Sabbath and the 10 commandments. I made them an origami emu (spreading the knowledge of Australian animals :D) but then they got even more distracted by making it dance and do the cancan and jump and flap… it was interesting.

I also made friends with a small girl called Rhianna and saved another small child from running on the road outside. It was fun. :D Ibuki, our Aichiu Med, School Student was there and it was funky to see her again.

The day was cloudy and started raining at one point and all of that combinded with the wind made for some very cold soccer playing. I went and kept warm in the office with Esther while the boys played (george in soccer shorts and a t-shirt). We had a good time playing cards with the kids and just talking.

It turns out Esther didn’t know about Student Life’s “relationship policey” about girlfriends and boyfriends not going on the same project and was pretty shocked when I told her. She’s really unsure about why she’s in Japan – she dosen’t have a storng interest in the place and can’t speak the language, so she really feels like she’s wondering how she fits and if God will use her. It was good to talk through that with her, and encourage her that God will use whatever he has!

A bit after that, the mums and wives of the soccer stars came in a bought us donuts which were yum yum yum! The Mister Donught people still have a piece of sticky tape closing each bag that says “Thanks, you beautiful people.” :D:D weee!!

When we got home that afternoon, jody moved the boys into their apartment, so that meant Wai Ling could move out of the girls and everyone got a lot more settled in. After dinner we had our first Team time (where Andy gave us the rules about not making Purple) which was great. It consisted of a bit of fairly bad guitar playing (on a guitar that had gone out of tune) and everyone having some good prayer time with God. Then we talked through some questions about how we are all feeling about project and where we are with God. Things we expect God or want God to do on the project was also discussed. Everyone is asking for guidance for the future (Andy even shared that he told Jody to pressure him about coming back full time) and I was one of those too. The final question was how do we want to be different after the project, and I miss read the question and thought it said “how do you want to be different on the project” and when it came to answering I still didn't have an answer.

I think that I just want God to work in me. I can’t imagine how he’s going to change me, and I don’t know what I want changed, but however God changes me, or doesn't change me will be good because it’s of God. So that’s what I’m hoping for. :D if that made sense.

And that was pretty much Sunday. So the trip until then is about that much. It’s been really fun, lots of crying and laughing, and learning. I feel like I’ve gotten very much into just listing the things we did instead of reflecting, but oh well, I don’t have time. I guess I’ll talk about Monday and other things later. :D I hope you are liking the updates!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

This will be my final letter from Australia because we leave tomorrow!! Now that my exams are done, preparation is in full swing and everyone on the team are busy getting things together for when we leave tomorrow. I can’t tell you how excited I am to be going back to Japan to share God’s word with Japanese students for 5 weeks! Hooray!

Wai Ling, our team missionary, has delegated jobs for all of us to do while on mission and I’ll be heading up the Prayer and Praise Team for the time we are in Japan. It will be a challenge for me to get my guitar skills in working order so I can effectively lead worship time!

Thanks again for wanting to support Megumi, I can’t describe how great it is to know I am going to do God’s work with so many faithful people wanting to encourage me!

Please pray for safe travel tomorrow and that when we get to Japan, the students will be ready to hear and receive the good news of Jesus!

Thank you for Supporting us!