japan Newsletter, Jan 2011 part 2

Hey guys, I am back.

Now, where was I? Oh, yes! Okinawan culture. Anyway, during my time in Tokyo, there was always a certain pace I had when I was speaking with people in Japanese. I guess I could equate it to the sound of a machine gun. Always very quick, few breaks in speaking, and all with very similar intonation. RATATATTTTATTTATATA. But here it is totally different. It is ironic that Okinawa is a small island surrounded by water, because Okinawan Japanese sounds a lot like waves to me. Slow, broken pace, with intonation going up and down. UP UP UP... UP DOWN DOWN ... DOWN UP UP... It really throws me off. And along with the pace of speech, the pace of life seems to follow a similar pattern. I very used to the go go go of Tokyo. My ministry, my time with friends, everything seemed very fast, always a ton of things to do and get done. At first it was a little challenging but at some point I came to like it. But here, things are ssssoooooooo sssslllloooooooowwwwwwwwww. It's kinda frustrating some times. I wanna be doing and running but we often are waiting and strolling. But, then again, the reason I came here was to grow. And patience is a quality that will be forced to grow here.

Oh, and please don't miss understand my description of Okinawa. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time here so far. The students and teachers here seem like really great people. The presence of the holy spirit is very strong here and very moving. I am very much looking forward to my schooling and ministry here. I have been begun to study and learn about 1,2,3 Peter lately. In 2 Peter 1, he speaks a lot about the knowledge of God and growth. "Grace and peace be yours through the knowledge of God and Jesus our Lord." (1:2) "His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness." (1:3) "... make every effort to add to your faith, goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self control; and to self control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you posses these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ." (1: 5-8)

It was very convicting for me. I realized how desperately I need to grow in my knowledge of God. That my grace and peace, everything I need for life and godliness comes through this knowledge. That I desire to serve Him in this country as effectively and productively as I possibly can. So I need to run after knowing more of him and growing to be like Jesus by grace.
I truly believe that this will occur in my time here and I am so excited to see how He will change me in this time. It is so exciting!!!

Anyway, I love you all and pray that you would be blessed and that you would grow in your knowledge of Him and through it grace and peace would be yours in abundance.

Much love through Him,
Alex ><>

Japan Newsletter, Jan 2011

Dear Friends,
It is good to be writing you all again. I have good news to report. My time in Toyko was wonderful. I was able to reconnect with many people during my time there, both christian friends and people I have ministered to in the past. I was able to see all of the shine kids from Setagaya again. I put on a little christmas program, during which I was able to share about Jesus and His love for them. Actually it was really cool. I remember asking why we celebrate christmas, and my youngest student, little Ayu, stood up and said "イエスのうまれたときです." (it's when Jesus was born). It is so beautiful the way God works and how he grows the seeds He has us plant. When I met the Shine kids, none had even heard of Jesus. I felt like crying. Please pray for the hearts of those children, that God would continue to grow the seeds planted and continue to draw them to himself. It doesn't matter if I am there or not. He is always faithful, and His love for them is sovereign. Praise Him.

Also, I was able to teach again at the church in Machida and Setagaya before I left. Jeremiah was away in kagoshima, scouting out the land for the church plant he has been lead to do there (Please pray for him in this. He is leaving later this year), and asked me to lead the bible study and give the message while he was gone. It was a powerful experience for me and I praise God for allowing me to do so. Hopefully, the message will be posted online pretty soon on the church's homepage. I will tell you when it is up.

I got some video from my time in Tokyo, but it is not much and it is kinda random. I will probably be able to put it up soon, but it is not very good. I am still in the learning process about when to film and when not to.

Anyway, on the 27th, I flew out to Okinawa! I am now settled into the dorm and orientation is on monday. Please pray for me. I know it is weird to say, however I am experiencing a pretty good amount of culture shock. The culture and atmosphere of this island is very different from what I have become used to in tokyo. The way people talk and relate to one another is something that will require a fair amount of adaptation. Luckily, the okinawan accent has not caused me too much trouble, but the way they think is alot different and the pace is strange to me as well. I'll have to explain later. We are going to be eating lunch soon and have to go.

Anway, I'll do a part 2 soon.

Much love,