Friday, September 11, 2015
Thursday, June 18, 2015
Saturday, May 16, 2015
April 7, 2015
GIC: A Step Forward
GIC: A Step Forward
April 1 is the beginning of a new fiscal year in Japan, and the day that many new employees begin their new careers. Genesis International College welcomed our first employee as well! Yuma Tarui is a young man who has been a Christian for several years. He is eager to promote the ministry of GIC and to share the gospel with his countrymen. We are so thankful that Yuma has confidence in God's plans, even when we cannot see exactly what those plans are or how they line up with our own plans. You can pray for Yuma as he learns his new job, and as he assists me and our team of (mostly) foreigners to understand Japanese ways, etc.
In addition to our first employee, Genesis now has office space, sharing a space with Mustard Seed Christian Church, where our GIC team also worships on Sundays.
My first term of language school is finished, AND I PASSED -- but just barely. The school wanted me in "Introductory Japanese" but didn't have enough students, so they decided to put me in "J1." Although the second half of the term was definitely as struggle, I learned a decent bit about the Japanese language and am glad to have been in J1. And although I passed J1, I have chosen to repeat it during the next term, and feel very prepared for it.The school is changing the textbooks, so I will not be studying the exact same material. Additionally, part of Yuma's job will be helping me understand the class material each day. When everything is explained in Japanese, it can be quite confusing!
Language school has provided opportunities for ministry as well. Of my thirteen classmates this past term, only one of them was a Christian. Although communication was difficult with many of my classmates, we had good relationships and I was able to share some of my story of God's call on my life here in Japan. I also hosted an end of the term party at my apartment, where my classmates experienced "loaded nachos" for the first time, and then we had fun at a nearby karaoke club.
Mission Team Needed!
Would you or your church be able to bring a team to Osaka this summer? We need a team to help us promote and recruit students for a one-week English seminar that will be held in late July. Ideally, your team would come for about a week or more in June, or early July. Some of the activities you might do would include:
- Handing out flyers at train stations or other public places.
- Offering a free "English Assessment" test which would provide the opportunity to invite people to attend the seminar and to learn more about Genesis College.
- Host a couple of American-themed parties where attendees learn about the College and the seminar.
- Other ideas? We welcome them!
If you are interested or have questions about bringing a team to Osaka, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Praise God for Yuma Tarui, our first GIC employee! Pray that God will bless him through his work at GIC and use him in powerful ways to show people the God who loves us and offers us His grace.
- Praise God for the willingness of Mustard Seed Christian Church to allow us to share their office. However, MSCC has outgrown their rented building and started meeting for worship at the YMCA, but is still looking for an office to rent. Please pray that God provides them (and us) with a great office location near the YMCA that has room for all the activities, yet is affordable.
- Praise God for 170 people attending Easter worship at our new location! Many of these people are not yet Christians; please pray that God will draw their hearts to Him.
- Pray for my ability to learn Japanese, and that I will be brace enough to actually start using Japanese in stores, etc.
- Please pray for both my father, whose cancer has returned, and my sister Denise Pops, who has also been diagnosed with cancer. My father has started a regimen of intense chemotherapy locally as well as a new treatment only available at the Mayo Clinic. His doctor is very optimistic about his treatment. My sister will have a lumpectomy from her breast on April 9.
- As I type this, I have had a fever for about two days, spiking to a high of 102.9 one time. I appreciate your prayers as I have a lot on my calendar in the next two weeks.
It is currently "Hanami" season in Osaka. "Hana" means "flower," and "hanami" literally means "flower viewing," referring to the sakura, or cherry blossoms. The Japanese weather bureau closely tracks the weather to predict prime hanami across the nation. A popular hanami activity is to picnic under the sakura trees. The blossoms last just one to two weeks, depending on wind and rain. It is one of the most loved of Japanese traditions.
You can experience hanami in the States in Washington, D.C; Macon, GA; Brooklyn, NY; or Philadelphia, PA.
Thursday, January 29, 2015
It's happening. I'm in full-time language school, and it is what I expected -- difficult. Muzukashidesu!
Classes started January 13, and I am in the "J1" class, the lowest level. I assumed the first couple weeks would be really easy for me, since I have lived in Japan for nearly three years total, and took Japanese classes in Chiba -- even if I didn't really study very much there. But class was actually difficult the very first day!
Beginning at 9 a.m., and with ten minute breaks every hour, I have three hours of language class in which we practice basic sentences. I am the only westerner, with most of my classmates being from Taiwan or South Korea (the former with the kanji advantage and the latter with the advantage of a similar grammatical structure). Most days there is NO English spoken, which shouldn't surprise me, but it did! I often feel lost and at the bottom of the class.
The fourth hour of the day has been spent on learning hiragana and katakana, the Japanese native alphabets. As I know these quite well, and many of my classmates don't, I get to feel smart for this last hour each day. But as of today, all that changed, and the last hour is now focusing on kanji, the Chinese script that may prove to be the bane of my language study! However, I was reminded recently that it doesn't really matter what grade I get, or where I am ranked in the class, but that I become conversant in Japanese. I appreciate your prayers for God's grace in this difficult learning process.
West Coast Missions Conference
I will be flying to San Diego on Friday, January 30 for the West Coast Missions Conference sponsored by Mission to the World and Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Encinitas, CA. As I take on additional leadership responsibilities within Genesis College, the purpose of this trip is to recruit potential faculty, staff, and church planters for our team.
This will be a very short and very full weekend trip. Please pray that God will provide good connections at the conference, allow me to somewhat maintain my Japanese internal clock, and to keep up with my language school studies despite missing a day and a half of class.
- Praise God that I am finally in full-time language school! With a different teacher every day, each of them seem genuinely excited to be teaching beginning Japanese. I'm also enjoying my classmates.
- Pray that God will bless my efforts to comprehend this difficult language, that I will become somewhat conversant and able to build real friendships with Japanese people and to share the gospel with them.
- Pray that God will bless my relationships with my classmates and allow opportunities to be a light of the gospel among them as well.
- Praise God that He has connected me to several more people who are interested in learning about the gospel of HOPE.
- Pray for my weekend in San Diego (January 30 - February 1). Pray that God will connect me with potential GIC teammates and partners. Pray, too, that this crazy weekend will not be detrimental to my internal clock, and that it will not affect my language learning.
- Praise God that my small group has grown from four men to six. The five men I lead are all in very different places of spiritual maturity from seeking to committed. However, none of them are grounded in the Word or in any particular theology. Pray that God will draw all of us into closer communion with Himself.