In a world that is so interconnected, we can meet "face to face" online from the far reaches of the globe; we can fly nearly anywhere within one day. And buying or selling something from distant places is nothing unusual.
What is required to be "global" in today's work world? Perhaps the most important ability for global business is English. As the third most common first language (behind Mandarin & Spanish), there are 330-360 million native speakers around the world. Estimates of those who speak English as a second language vary greatly, from 470 million to over one billion people! It is the most commonly used language in the world.
Genesis International College hosted our first "Global Professional Seminar" on March 23 & 24. Beginning with a nice boxed dinner, participants were able to network with each other. We then had a guest speaker -- one night was a Japanese man who shared lessons he learned while working in the US, and the other night was our GIC VP for Academics, John Jung, sharing lessons learned as a foreigner working in Japan. And finally, Genesis team member Marcia Esaki and I each spoke one night, offering practical lessons for working in a global business environment.
Nine students participated in our "GPS" event including a lawyer, junior high English teacher, engineer, and men and women in other various business endeavors.
Guest speaker Hiroyuki Teranishi (a member of my church) addresses the GPS participants on "lessons learned in the US."
A Space of Our Own
For the past two years, GIC has been paying just $300 each month to share office space with Mustard Seed Christian Church. A large space, we've been able to claim a spot each day, and store a few basics in a cubby. They have been a true blessing to our ministry, as we work to establish it in Osaka. However, MSCC will be moving to a new location on June 1. We are welcome to continue our arrangement with them, but the time seems right to establish our own space, where we have options for educational activities as well.
A Christian businessman (seen in the far left of the GPS photo above) owns a nine-story building across the street from the Osaka stock exchange. Two churches and several other Christian ministries are among his tenants. He is offering a large office at a 50% discount, but expecting our rent to increase as our ministry grows. Not only would it be a wonderful work space, but it is large enough to have small classes as well. The timing is providential as we are also looking to start an English school (not the college, yet) as early as October. Additionally, this office is just a 7 minute walk from my apartment.
Please pray that God will direct in these next days as we need to sign a lease by the end of this month in order to make appropriate arrangements for a June 1 occupancy.
Likely new office space for Genesis International College, complete with an "interesting, but must change" pastel wall!
May 11-15 Part vacation, and part ministry trip, I will be in Sydney Australia where, in addition to exploring a bit of Down Under's largest city, I will be speaking at a missions conference of "Student Outreach to the World" (SOW), an MTW university ministry on a number of Sydney campuses.
I've been invited to attend the Honolulu Bible Conference. With Japanese-Americans making up the largest minority culture in Hawaii, interest in missionary work in Japan is greater in Hawaii than in other states. At the conference, I'll be able to share the vision God has given us for GIC and hopefully recruit potential new missionaries to our team.
June 14-23 From Hawaii, I will fly home to Iowa to spend time with my mother.
Prayer Points Praise God for a successful GPS event in March, and for the connections we made.
Praise God for the Dantzler family who were able to visit Osaka during the GPS event. They are officially applying to serve with MTW. Laurence will join our staff as a chef (enabling us to operate a cafe outreach ministry) and as a business faculty. Candace will be mom to their five children, and may help with English education part-time.
Pray for our team as we are making active work of establishing an English school (pre-cursor to the college). Much research and planning is required.
Continue to pray for a new GIC president. We now have three potential candidates. I anticipate two of them will likely visit Osaka in the Fall.
Everyone knows that raw fish, or sushi, is a common food in Japan. But did you know that other Japanese delicacies include raw egg (for dipping other foods), raw horse (I tried a little recently), and raw chicken? Raw vegetables, however, are not commonly consumed in Japan. To each his own!
Arriving on Christmas day, Tim Bentson makes four new missionaries to join the Genesis team in 2016, more than doubling the size of our Osaka presence! Praise God for bringing laborers into the harvest!
A native of Tacoma, WA, Tim previously served 2.5 years with MTW in Chiba. As he was there when I first visited Japan with my church's gospel choir, he likes to claim credit for recruiting me to Japan.
Tim will be serving with the Genesis team for two years, fulfilling his internship requirement for future ordination. He will be working with a very small PCJ church in south Osaka, teaching a little English with a new church-plant in neighboring Nara, and working with Genesis English events. Upon completing his two years here, he will return to the States to finish his final year of seminary, and then rejoin our team long-term as a church-planter.
Please pray for him as he readjusts to life in Japan (he's been away more than six years), as he settles into his own apartment next week, and as he gets into his ministry activities.
Genesis Cafe Reinvented
We have had two events at our new venue! (As mentioned in the December update, Genesis Cafe lost our previous location due to the coffee shop closing.) We've been very happy with our new location. Swissotel is a very classy place, and the students have really enjoyed it. Additionally, the acoustics are so much better than our former location -- it's easy to actually hear our students! We are eager to build upon the relationships we have formed, and we anticipate that hotel employees will soon be attending the event as well.
Thank you for your prayers and financial partnership in bringing the hope of the gospel to the people of Japan!
Prayer Points Praise God for growing our Genesis team to seven adults! Pray that God will continue to draw the faculty, staff and church planters needed to launch our college and to plant new churches in Osaka. Several prospective missionaries will be visiting our team in March! Following the 2011 earthquake, MTW Japan began to pray for 70 new missionaries (based on Luke 10) -- for 35 foreign missionaries and 35 new Japanese pastors or missionaries. We are amazed, six years later, at God's response to those prayers. I don't know the actual numbers, but we have seen significant growth among foreign missionaries, and decent growth among Japanese pastors. Soli Deo Gloria!
Pray specifically for a permanent college president. There are currently two men interested, but neither is feeling particularly called just yet.
Pray for Tim Bentson as he adjusts to life in Japan, settles into his own apartment next week, and gets into his various ministries.
Pray for a new event coming up March 23-24: an "English Business Seminar" for business people to network, hear from a Christian speaker on business issues, and to improve their English.
Culture Corner Valentine's Day is a big deal in Japan, but it's not the same as in America! Here, women are supposed to buy chocolates for the men in their lives, including their male colleagues! Men have NO expectations! But just one month later, on White Day, it's the men's turn to buy chocolates for the women! At least we know how much to spend and who to spend it on after Valentines' Day!