Tuesday, March 16, 2010

First Day in Seattle! Wooooot!

So we got to Seattle during the morning of Saturday. I was exhausted. It was about a 21 hour drive up to Seattle, Washington from Los Angeles but it was definitely an awesome drive up here and I got to know some of the people on my team better. So my team consists of 12 people who are all pretty amazing! We stayed at Trevor Smith's house, he is one of the two leaders of the trip the first night, which was also amazing because he has a really neat house and a lot of yardage. haha. I was feeling pretty excited when all 12 of us were together on Saturday as two from the group had flown so we hadn't been all together yet. On Saturday we pretty much just hung out with each other and explored parts of Seattle. We got to go to this neat lake/waterfall place and I got to take some pretty awesome pictures. We then went to this neat place called Triple X where they sell pretty awesome root beer floats.

On Sunday I was definitely encouraged by what God had take place. We started out by going to church at the place we would be staying at the rest of the week. The service was pretty cool as I got to hear a different style of service that I really had never had the chance to experience. They sang gospel music during worship which I thought was pretty awesome and they seemed to be really passionate and loving towards God. Then during the service that gave people the chance to tell every one about what God is doing in their life or in the life of a loved one. I was especially touched by a lady sitting behind me who was happy for her grandchild that she was holding and for her husband who was going to church for the first time and was fighting drug addiction. It's so awesome how God changes the lives of people who have been trying so hard to change their lives with their own strength but have failed. God's love is everlasting and never-ending! Anyway, later in the service the woman and her husband came down and the man accepted Jesus into his life. How exciting to see this within the first couple of hours of me being in Seattle. :) I then went to talk to the lady afterwards and got to hold the baby. It was an awesome baby... I'm pretty sure it looked just like I did when I was 3 months old. Haha.

After church we all went out to an ethiopian restaurant and I got to talk to the guy who would be leading us everywhere, Uncle Tom! He is such an amazing, funny, and Jesus loving guy. He starts a conversation with any person he sees with such ease and it seems that every person he meets enjoys his company so much. He is definitely a big encouragement on this trip for me and I'm guessing for the rest of the team as well. Right after we had eaten lunch we went straight to downtown Seattle and did an underground tour. There's a whole city under Seattle! haha. Well not a whole city but definitely parts where people use to live but had to cover up and build on top because of water floods. This was pretty cool except for the fact that I was getting really tired... haha. But I did get to see different parts of Seattle and take some more pictures.

Ok, so this next part is definitely something I found really encouraging and something I was looking really forward to doing. Well, I didn't know that we were going to be doing this exactly but I had the thought we would be doing this general idea. So we went on a scavenger hunt through downtown Seattle where we had a list of thing that we needed to get done. Well this is the same list that they used during the summer project but during the S.P. they had all day to complete it whereas we only had around 2 hours but I still thought it was a great experience! The stuff on the scavenger hunt list included: 1) Interview a homeless person. 2) Borrow a quarter from someone you do not know. 3) Retrieve a usable item from a dumpster. 4) Collect 10 aluminum cans and find out the current rate of redemption. 5) Record a negative "sense experience" for all 5 senses. 6) Interview an elderly person. 7) Find out the daily earnings of someone who begs for a living and the list goes on but I think you get the general idea. It was pretty awesome and so we all split up into 3 groups of 4. I had James, Pat and Cristen.

My group started off and went off to a park and walked towards two homeless people sitting together on a bench. After talking for a while I find out that one guy had lived in Turlock, my hometown, for about 10 years of his life. This is where he had been arrested for the third time and left for Colorado. He then went on to hitch rides towards California because said he found the homeless people in Colorado boring as all they did was wait for the library to open and then go inside and sit down inside until it closed. They would repeat this process everyday and he said he had met a man who said he had been doing that for 6 years. So he decided that he didn't want to be there anymore and went from Salt Lake City Utah to Reno to Sacramento to being stranded in some place in Oregon and ended up in Seattle Washington about two weeks ago. He had a lot of good stories to tell but I ended up talking to the other guy after a while.

The other guy was from some place in Texas, near the Mexican-American border. He said that he had just spent about over a year in prison in Mexico for a crime that wasn't even his fault. He had been showing a couple around Mexico who no ability whatsoever to speak spanish. Apparently, these two had murdered someone a week prior and while they were at his house the cops busted in and arrested all three of them. The cops took everything he had including his boat, which he seemed to really love. So after getting out of prison he headed up north and ended up in Alaska. He had an english major from some University on the east coast but decided he didn't want to be a teacher so he didn't really know what to do. He did tell us though that he had written sermons for a pastor in his younger years and was familiar with the teachings of the Bible. But he didn't agree with what was taught in the homeless shelters because they usually just stated stuff like "if you weren't such a drug addict you wouldn't be where you were today..." or stuff like that. I'm not really sure if they say stuff like that to some degree or if he just wasn't listening all the way but I definitely felt heart-broken for him. After some talking it was time to head back to the bus. (Oh also, we travel everywhere in a prison bus which is pretty amazing) We then got to share stories with the other teams and it was pretty awesome to see how God was working within our group. Ahhhh! This has definitely been a very exciting few days and I am excited to see where God leads my team and I for the rest of the week.

If you would like, you could pray for my team and I in a couple of ways:
1) That our hearts would be broken for the homeless and for anyone we come across during our big adventure in Seattle (Matthew 25:31-46)
2) That the team would be unified and place unity in Christ. (Ephesians 4)
3) For the people we meet, that God would soften their hearts and be present in that conversation. That the whole conversation would be about him and for his glory. (Philippians 2:1-4)

Thank you and we appreciate the prayers very much.

James 1:2-6
Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he ask, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Pre-Seattle (God is SO GOOD!)

So I haven't written on this blog in a while but I decided to write another post becomes of certain events. This spring break (one week from now) I will be going on a mission's trip to Seattle with Campus Crusade for Christ. We will be working with the homeless and the youth of Seattle within a five day period. I'm pretty excited about going to Seattle and getting to share Jesus Christ to people. I wasn't sure how I was going to be with Homeless people because I was beginning very tired of the same homeless people come up to me and say that they have ran out of gas and need to get to Chicago to see their family. One person in particular has been telling me this since the beginning of my freshman year. I lost some of the heart I had for homeless people and had began to ignore them as they asked me for money. I realized this a couple of weeks ago and asked God to give me a heart for the homeless. This reminded me of the same "Give Me Your Eyes" by Brandon Heath. Such a good song! I just hoped that God would give me the same love, grace and mercy that he showed towards me.

God definitely answered this prayer this past friday night. I was walking to my friend's apartment at around 9:00 pm which is about a 10 min walk. During my walk, a homeless lady sitting at a bus stop was calling to me. My first thought was to just continue walking and go on with my life. But I then heard something in my head, pretty sure it was God, telling me to turn back. So I walked back and the lady asked me if I would sit with her. I sat down on the bus stop bench with her and she asked if she could use my phone to make a phone call. I let her use my phone and she made a phone call to somebody. After she was done with the phone call she went on to tell me that her name was Cynthia. She said that her long was hurting her a lot and that she had been waiting for the bus for a while. We went on to talk about Christianity and she stated that she was a believer and asked what I believed. So I told her my beliefs and she seemed to be very encouraged by this and asked if I could pray for her. She said that very someone like her, it is a dream if someone could take her out of this cold. There are so many people out there who are in this cold and would love to be in the warmth. She said to help someone like her one needs to bring her into a place that is filled with warmth... or something like that. I don't remember the conversation 100% so forgive me if it seems slightly vague. But anyway, this was so encouraging for me and I haven't been this excited to pray for someone in a while to be honest. During the prayer I just felt God giving me the words that He wanted me to speak to Cynthia.

She seemed to have much more energy and more life after the prayer and we began to talk so more. I told her that I was going to Seattle in a week to minister to homeless and the youth. She then gave me some advice on speaking to the homeless and repeated the statement about the warmth and coldness. I thought this was really relevant to what I was going to do because those who don't know Jesus are currently in darkness and can be in very cold places within their lives. But once someone excepts Jesus they feel the life and light that comes from Jesus Christ. They are rescued from the darkness, from the cold, and are surround by his light and his warmth!

This is definitely what I needed to have happen to me before I went off to Seattle. God has an amazing way of teaching me something and just enabling me to have a heart for every type of person. So I waited for Cynthia until the bus came and she went on her way. God is so good!!! Right? :)


Matthew 25:40-45
And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?'

1 John 4:8
Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

18th Day on Campus

So on Thursday, Kimi, Andrew and I switched teams and went over to Gaidai University. So the day started off with me going with one of my roommates, Jack! I thought this would be a really cool experience, which it was, since I didn't get to go with Jack on Monday and now I have the chance too! We started off by going to the cafeteria to get some food because I was really hungry as I skipped breakfast that morning. Jack went to go get a table since he already knew what he wanted to eat. I, on the otherhand, had no idea what I wanted to get as they had different food then the other two universities I went to. I finally found something to eat and then walked over to Jack and sat with him. There wasn't any other table that had room for us so we began eating just the two of us. But I then realized that the people at the table next to us left and then a male student came and sat at the table. I then decided to go ask him if he would like to join our table which he agreed to.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

17th Day on Campus

So on Wednesday, Jess left from our team and Tim, Sammy and Emily came over to our team. The day started out with our usual team prayer in before heading off to campus which I found to be very helpful as I was beginning to feel really tired. Wednesday was our usual English lunch so we went straight there. Ryosuke and Mizuho, who both came to the Discover Friends Party that friday, said they were coming so I was just going to meet them there. They came and we began to talk for I think was an hour. I really do enjoy talking to these too and I got to ask them about the game we played on Friday. They really seemed to enjoy it and felt that it was great that we got to talk so deeply about our lives. They were really glad to get a chance to get a Bible and were really looking forward to reading it, I think.
Next we went off to Gakugei to have Men's sports time. Two weeks ago we had it at Hitotsubashi so now we are having it at Gakugei. We got there and started to look for some people to come play with us. We didn't have much luck but I did see Akihiro, who had come to the joyful cafe 3 times. But he said that he was going to play soccer with his friends and he was sorry he couldn't join us. Though when we got to the place we were going to play Ultimate Frisbee and Soccer we found them and decided to have a soccer game with them. It was pretty awesome and they seemed to have a good time. I think they might be coming to that again and also maybe to the joyful cafe. God has been so good on this trip and has done some amazing things!

16th Day on Campus

Alright so on Tuesday I went to Hitotsubashi University with my regular team.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

15th Day on Campus

So this week would be a little different in a way where we would be switching over to the other team for a day to be with people we haven't worked with. I was switching on Thursday but on Monday Jack and Kyle switched over to our team while Kylan and Jeremy went over to the other team. The day started out with an English lunch where I got to see Maki, Shuhei, and others but Koji wasn't able to make it. But it was still a lot of fun and I am really grateful for God putting them all into my life at Gakugei University! Jack seemed to have such a good time at lunch as well and he was even told that he has a "great" name! Haha! Hope I get to see all of these fun people again in my lifetime! Hopefully sooner rather than later!I then went over with Kyle and Jack to find some students to talk with but during this time I ran into Santa where I chose to talk to him by myself. We were talking for over an hour and was just a really good encouraging conversation though I wasn't able to talk a whole lot about God and the bible but I was able to have a deeper conversation then the week before! Santa is a really great guy to talk to and I was really glad that I ran into him last week!He then went off to class and then I just went the rest of the day with Gen. It was a really encouraging conversation because I was a bit discouraged because I had not gotten into a really deep conversation that day but it was alright and I was glad to have the chance to talk to Gen. 2.5 days left at Gakugei! :(

Monday, June 15, 2009

14th Day on Campus

So Friday was a really long day! But that only made it even more amazing! :) So it started out with the 25 min train ride to Kokubunji and then the 20 min walk to campus! The day started off with an hour before English lunch would begin. Andrew and I, we were both really tired at the time, went off to search for some people to come to the English lunch. To our surprise we found Jason, a southern baptist who was doing missionary work in Japan as an intern. He told us that his team had already been kicked out of three universities in Tokyo and we then told him about how our other campus team had been told not to come back to one of the universities they were going to. He then came to our English lunch and was able to tell one of the students about God and part of the Gospel which I thought was amazing because it was the same student had shared part of the Gospel with a week ago. I also got to meet a new student from Gakugei which was pretty sweet. He was nervous about not being able to communicate with us at first but he then began to open up and feel really comfortable. He then had to go to class so I decided to go off with Jeremy and we ended up just prayer walking a little bit and then met up with Yusuke and Kylan for more extended prayer before we had to leave. This friday was shorter than most as we only had three hours on campus.

So then there was the Discover Friends Party. This was an outreach event where we could invite some of the Japanese students who we had met in the past three weeks. Though most of the people I had met had sports practice, a part time job or a seminar... Ryosuke, Azuma and his friend. They were really excited to come and had a great time. I was also able to meet some of the other japanese students from the other campuses and they seemed to have had a great time also! Ryosuke seemed to have an a great time playing Soularium, which is a game where there are about 30-40 pictures and we ask a series of questions relating to life and God. It was an awesome game and I had a great time leading my group of seven. Azuma is already a christian at Hitotsubashi but the other two weren't but they ended up taking a Bible and said they wanted to meet with me next Wednesday! I'm definitely really excited about that and I can't wait to see them again! What a great ending to the week!