Well, when we left off, I seemed to be coming down with a bit of a cough. The day after I posted that blog, I woke up with no voice at all. I ended up not having a voice for about a week. It was incredibly frustrating in the beginning, seeing how my job description requires me to be able to speak. All of my students and the teachers were very patient with me, but I was impatient with myself. I kept trying to speak, and that just made me lose my voice even more. Eventually I came to realize that it was God telling me to shut up and listen. Now, I know I talk a lot, but I never realized how much until I was unable to do so. It was a very humbling week, to say the least. (Especially during our school's sports day, where I had no voice, but had to cheer my team on... we won, by the way... GO RED TEAM!)
"Let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance" — Proverbs 1:5
I got to "attend" a wedding over the phone/through Skype a couple of weeks ago, which was a very interesting experience! I'm so glad I got to listen to the ceremony for my friends Megan and Louie. After seeing them and being able to talk to a lot of my other friends at the reception, it made me miss everyone so much. I remembered from last time I was here that the times when I missed home the most was whenever there was an event back home where lots of people from my church were gathered together. But I was thankful for the ability to be a part of the wedding in some way. Technology is truly amazing.
A week and a half ago, our fall break began at school. My host family and my intern sisters and I all went up north to a cabin the Iverson's own in the mountains, right by the Japanese Alps. It was absolutely beautiful. Coming from Virginia, it's been pretty depressing going into fall and not being able to see trees changing colors in this "forest of steel," as one of the other interns put it. It was absolutely amazing leaving the city, going into the mountains, and seeing the beautiful fall colors everywhere.
We basically spent five days in solitude, sitting around reading books and working on puzzles. During that time, I really felt like God was speaking to me and was working in my heart. I read through "A Voice in the Wind" and "An Echo in the Darkness," both by Francine Rivers, while I was in the cabin. Both books made me look at a lot of things in a new perspective and think about things I'd never thought of before, while also hitting me at such a personal level. Those books, combined with the scripture I was reading through at the time, really grabbed me and gave me a sense of peace about a lot of things that had been weighing on my heart for such a long time.
|The Iverson's Cabin|
To add to all of the things racing through my mind that God was teaching me that week, we came home and had another seminary class that weekend. It's like I was a parched plant in the middle of a desert, and all of the sudden a typhoon came, nourishing me and giving me what I needed, but then there was so much that it just swept me away. God has been blessing me so abundantly with the food that I need, but there's so much of it now that I'm having a hard time swallowing and balancing it all out! It's kind of hilarious. I feel so at peace, but at the same time I'm trying to understand everything I'm learning. It's hard to do that though, because there are so many things that I'm learning and it's making it hard to focus on one thing and figure out what He's telling me about that, and then move on to the next lesson.
While we were in the mountains, we listened to a sermon by Tim Keller about our heavenly Father. He talked about how we're never satisfied with our "home" here on earth, how we always seem to be looking for that thing or place that makes us feel at home. Then during our intern girls' Bible study, this topic was brought up again. It's such a good reminder for me that my home is not on this earth, but it is in Heaven, where I will spend an eternity with Him. Hallelujah!
This week I went with some of my friends on a fun little escapade to Tokyo. We went to the Imperial Palace, but apparently you aren't allowed to see it... so... oh well. It was a lot of fun, though! After that, I took everyone to one of my favorite places in Japan - a city called "Tsukishima" that lies in Tokyo prefecture. We all got dinner together and then I took everyone to a place by the river where you can see party boats float by, and Sky Tree in the distance.
I can't remember if I've said this before in one of my previous blogs, but every Sunday, I try not to plan anything a part from going to church. My reasoning behind this is that every week, without fail, something random happens that ends up taking most of the day. It's always fun going into Sunday without a clue what's going to happen. Sometimes it could be something sad like my host family's dog dying, but most of the time it's something fun and spontaneous. This past Sunday I got to spend time with friends in the afternoon, attended a young adults' worship service in the evening, and went directly from that over to a singing and dance show at Honda Chapel. It was such a fun day, full of God's blessings!
I keep seeing online that people are writing one thing a day that they're thankful for in November, leading up to Thanksgiving. I like this idea a lot, but I just want to say one thing that I am have been so beyond thankful for recently - my intern sisters. I'm so amazed that God has blessed me with such wonderful new friends who I already feel so close to and look forward to spending the entire day with. I wake up excited every morning, because I get to work, learn, and live with my best friends. I am so encouraged by these girls, and I'm thankful for the relationships we have because of our relationship with our common Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!
"But he replied to the man who told him, 'Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?' And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, 'Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.'" - Matthew 12:48-50
"So we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another." - Romans 12:5
|Emily, Mary Beth, and Me|
In closing, I ask that you would llease be praying for me, that I would seek my Father's wisdom and guidance about the things He's teaching me, and that I would apply them to my life in a manner pleasing to Him. At this moment, I'm sitting in an apartment in Tsukishima (same place in the pictures above of the party boat,) and I have a lot of time to myself. I'm looking forward to the things I may learn while I'm here, and I pray that I would grow in this time alone. Because there is always something to do with the team here, it's basically impossible to be alone. I pray I would see this time as a gift that God has given me to better understand Him and my purpose here in this country. Also, please be praying as we start back at school tomorrow. I'm very excited to get back to seeing the students throughout the week again! I've missed them a lot. Pray for us as we all adjust back into school life.
"Delight yourself in the LORD, and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD; trust in Him, and He will act. He will bring forth your righteousness as the light and your justice as the noonday. Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices!" - Psalm 37:4-7
THIS IS BOB-SCOTT, BY THE WAY! My 7th grade class' plant.