Well we've just finished our "challenge week" here in Tokyo: hard, but rewarding as well. Last Sunday our directors told us that this week would be more intense ministry-wise, and they weren't kidding. Monday through Friday both campus teams went to our campuses an hour earlier than normal so that we would have an extra hour each day doing ministry. Needless to say, this meant waking up an hour earlier as well, which is always hard to do ;). In general it was tiring being on campus that much longer, but it was a good opportunity to rely on His strength and make sure to find rest in Him. There were days on campus when I just had to take a break and find a solitary place to get refueled. On Friday night we also held a "Discover Friends" party that we put on with the JCCC staff and students for students that we'd met on campus. On top of that we had prayerfully made some personal goals that we were trusting the Lord to accomplish if it was his will.
For me, the first part of the week was pretty hard and at times it was easy to get discouraged. On Monday and Wednesday at Gaidai University I felt like there were a lot of conversations I had where the students just weren't interested in talking, and even just finding out what their hobbies were was hard to do. On Monday Kyle and and I even talked with someone who said he had been reading the Bible and liked the fact that "it says truth." Yet when he said he didn't really understand the main message of the Bible and we told him we could explain it if he wanted, he refused and left soon afterwards.
Tuesday we were at ICU high school again for our picnic outside, but the number of people that came was a little disappointing and almost no guys showed up, so I didn't really have anyone to talk to. It's definitely hard when these kinds of things happen, and you can definitely be praying against discouragement in the future. It's been a good reminder that God is in control and I just have to wait and trust him to do what he wants in HIS timing.
Thankfully the second part of the week was much more encouraging. On Thursday Sammy, Kyle and I got to sit with three students and have a conversation that was over an hour and a half long. They eventually said that were interested in what we believed, and from that we were able to share the gospel with them in depth. All three of them seemed to be listening and understanding what we were saying, and one especially looked like he was deep in thought. Pray that we will be able to meet with the three again and continue to pour into their lives.
Friday was also a good day on campus making contacts, but the highlight of the week was definitely our Discover Friends party that night. All week we had been letting students on campus know about the party but didn't know how many would actually show up. What was really encouraging for me was that a guy named Togo that I had met at ICU before we got kicked off still wanted to see me again and came to the party. It was really neat to realize that God had worked through me in the little time that we were on that campus and already provided a relationship with him. I was also really encouraged that a guy that I had just met earlier that day at Gaidai named Toshihiro also came even with only a few hours notice.
At the party we had a big icebreaker game and then ate dinner, after which one of my teammates, Jessica, gave her testimony in front of everyone. After the testimony some of the Student Impact students and staff did an interpretive dance and then we broke up into groups to have Soularium discussions. Soularium is an evangelistic tool that Campus Crusade uses that consists of about 50 photographs that you spread out in front of people and then ask a series of questions. Some of the questions were "which three pictures describe your life right now and why? ", "which three do you wish your life was like and why?", "which picture describes God to you?" and "if you had a personal relationship with God, which picture shows what you think it would be like?" I had Togo and Toshihiro in my group and it was great to see what they think about their lives and how they view God. The discussion went really well, and now I know more about where they're at spiritually. I'm really looking forward to meeting with them again soon - hopfully this week. Please be praying for God to soften their hearts and pray that in meeting with them I will be able to both show and explain God's love clearly.
We now have only seven and a half days left on our campuses in the next two weeks, which is a crazy thought! Please pray now for boldness in the relationships that we have been able to make up to now, and that God would be working in the hearts of those we've already met. I've just been really encouraged as I was looking through my notebook to email the students whose contact info I've gotten. I have a lot more contacts than I thought for people that I'll probably be able to meet with again, which is a blessing. Please continue to pray for strength, energy, and motivation to push hard until the end. I would also appreciate prayer for deep, restful and refreshing times with the Lord in the mornings, as I want to be doing ministry completely out of His strength. I'll leave it there for now. Thank you for your prayers, and God bless!
Dreams and Goals for 2015
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