Sunday, November 18, 2012

Remembering the Past, Thankful For the Present

Recently a lot of people here have been asking me how this time in Japan compares to my last time here. Well, this time is very different from the last. In good ways? In bad ways? Definitely good. Very good. Now, my previous time here wasn't bad, but since I've returned I've realized just how different I was last time I was here and how much I've grown since then.

Since being back, I've heard from quite a few people about how much I've matured since I left Japan. I was kind of shocked the first time I heard this, because I had only been in America a little over a year before I came back here. How much could I have changed in a year? Thinking back on the past year, I've realized how much God was teaching me in America through my anger, bitterness, and lack of contentment. (I wrote about this in my first update being back here in Japan.)

Last time I was here, I was just out of high school and experiencing life away from everything I knew for the first time. I was very immature. I had a hard time with my relationships with the other interns a lot of the time, and that made things very difficult for me. This time, I have been so blessed with fellow interns whom I feel so close to already, and am able to get along with so unbelievably well!

I must admit, when I first found out I would be living with so many girls, I was not thrilled. I'm so used to living with guys because of having four brothers, so I was really worried about having to work and live with these girls. Plus my experiences from last time made me very skeptical that we would all be able to get along. But despite my doubting spirit, God decided to bless me with wonderful housemates/coworkers/sisters in Christ that I get to spend everyday with! With these girls, I get to grow closer to the Lord and learn more about Him and His love for me. Our Bible study together is so rich. I am so thankful to be surrounded by such godly women who have been blessed with wisdom in different ways and who encourage and inspire me so much.

Along with the great relationships I have with the interns, another reason this time seems so much better is because of how easy it was to get back into the routine of things at CCSI. Lesson planning was so familiar that is was a breeze when I got here, and I already knew all of the students, so I didn't have that awkward first couple months of transitioning and getting to know everyone. I love my job. Why wouldn't I when I get to teach such wonderful students and when I get to work with my best friends and family in Christ?

Last time, I spent most of my time sightseeing and doing touristy things with the other interns. This time I am so happy to be building up relationships with the students and people at church. I've been helping with a lot of church, school, and team events, which I absolutely love doing! Last Sunday I was a judge for a fashion show for the kids of the church I attend here, and all of them were dressed up as Bible characters. This past Friday I was able to observe a children's English class I will be helping take over for a couple of weeks after the current teacher leaves Japan. This weekend I will be helping with a face-painting booth for a kids' festival. The weekend after that, we will be having our school's Living Nativity and coffee house. There is so much work to be done for that!

One other thing that gives me so much joy this time around is being able to understand a good deal of Japanese. It's so exciting to learn new things everyday and to communicate with the people here. Now, I'm not very good at speaking Japanese. I have the mindset that I need to say something perfectly or not say anything at all. So, I don't speak in Japanese very much. I'm trying to do better, though! The best way to learn is to try, succeed or fail, and learn from my mistakes.

I'm trying to keep this “short” because of my knack for writing novels every time I do an update. These are just some things I've been thinking about recently. With Thanksgiving coming up this week, I've been thinking about how thankful I am for the chance I have to be back in this country - to work with the people I do, to make so many new friends and build on old friendships, to practice Japanese everyday, and to learn more about this culture and the people who live here. I am thankful for His blessings, which come in such abundance!

There is so much God has taught me recently, and I am so eager to write about it. But I'm going to save writing about it for another time, because that will definitely be long one!

Adding to my list of things I am thankful for, I want to let you know how thankful I am for you. Words cannot express how overjoyed I am to be surrounded by such a wonderful friends and family! Though distance separates us, your love and prayers are heard, felt, and answered across the land and sea, touching my heart and comforting me in all I do for and because of Him.

God bless you!
Oh, how abundant is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you and worked for those who take refuge in you, in the sight of the children of mankind!” - Psalm 31:19

Something to put a smile on your face. :)


Trip to Asakusa

 Power Rangers at a school festival

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