Japanese Prayer Wall

Japanese Prayer Wall

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Times They Are A-Changin'

It’s that time again…moving time! 

Last week I received my official job placement.  The Japan Evangelical Lutheran Church pastors and higher-ups meet once a year to make decisions about where to place seminary graduates and new missionaries.  For the next two years I will teach English at Kyushu Gakuin in Kumamoto (that’s on the southern island of Japan).  I will teach English to kindergarten, junior high, and high school students at a private Lutheran school.  Religious schools in Japan are a bit different from the States though.  In America, generally students go to religious schools because their family is Christian, and the parents want those values instilled in their children.  In Japan, many students and staff working at the schools are not Christian, but they choose the schools based on their reputations for strong education programs.  The churches and Christian schools view this as an opportunity to introduce students to Christianity, and this is usually done through daily chapel services, religion classes, and staff members who are Christians.  I am looking forward to giving chapel speeches and openly share my faith as opportunities arise. In a country where less than 1 % is Christian, I am thankful that I can share my faith through my daily interactions with others in words and actions.

This is my last week of intensive Japanese language training, but I will continue studying Japanese once I arrive in Kumamoto.  I still have times when I get frustrated over not having the vocabulary to say what I really want to say, but I can also see that I have made significant progress in my language skills.  I hope and pray that I can continue improving my Japanese in the years ahead and use those skills to assist me in forming meaningful relationships.

Currently I’m having mixed feelings about moving.  On the one hand, it will be hard to leave the people and places that I’ve come to love in the Tokyo area.  On the other hand, I am definitely looking forward to meeting my new students, co-workers, church members, and friends.  This is my fourth move since June, and the moving process and transition time is not something that I enjoy.  Please keep me in your prayers during this time of transitions as one chapter ends and a new one begins.

Ally, Allyson, and Me on Placement Day

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