Saturday, May 16, 2015

April 7, 2015

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.

Language School
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 brent.kooi@genesiscollege.jp.

Prayer Points
  • 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.
Culture Corner
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.