Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Merry Month of May

KIU Academy is now in full swing! My classes are going well, and I am slowly but surely getting the hang of planning and grading (making the switch from learning the concepts behind teaching to putting them into practice on a full-time basis). Not to mention getting used to lesson planning and grading on a regular basis. KIU Academy is an exciting ministry to be a part of, and I strive to carry our missional vision out in my classroom.

Adjusting to life in Kyotanabe is proving to be both a joy and a challenge. I have moved into my Japanese-style apartment, and have found a grocery store on my way to work where I do most of my shopping. It's very convenient to live so close to work and have easy access to all the necessities! I love Japanese culture, food and the people; all of them have been a blessing in my time here so far. However, some of the differences between the US and Japan are still hard to get used to, especially not being able to read labels.

What else has been going on?
  • I have enjoyed getting to know my fellow teachers and my students, and I'm beginning to feel like a part of the community. The students have settled down from the excitement of beginning a new school year, and now the challenge is to keep them motivated. 
  • I got engaged on May 17! My fantastic fiance, Caitlin Essenburg (see sidebar), graduated from Redeemer University College this spring with a degree in social work and theology. She will be spending the next year living with her parents in Tokyo while she serves with CRASH Japan, a Christian earthquake relief organization ministering to those affected by the May 11 triple disaster. We plan to get married in the summer of 2013, after which she will join me in Kyotonabe. 
  • May has come and gone and preparations are in full swing for Sports Day on June 23rd and the TOEFL Test (Test of English as a Foreign Language) on June 26th. Please keep my students in your prayers as they will be very busy this next month. 
This month, please keep these prayer requests in mind:
  • Praise God for the kindness of my fellow teachers a successful first month at KIU Academy! Pray that I will be able to reach my students and be a positive influence in their lives. 
  • Pray that I will continue to adjust to life in Japan and to full-time teaching. 
  • Praise God for my engagement! Pray that wedding plans will go smoothly and that our long-distance engagement doesn't add complications. 

Starting things off in April

Hello friends and family,

Greetings from Kyotanabe, Japan! It has been really busy here with classes starting up, so I have waited till now to post this. God blessed me with a ticket and a visa so that I was able to make it in time before the school year started!

Things have been going well. I have moved into my new apartment and have started to get acquainted with the city. Teaching is challenging, but I have been enjoying it.

Right when I got here I suffered from hay fever. In Japan, many people have to deal with allergies around this time of year. Another unfortunate health problem I have had to deal with is that of my back deciding to spasm. I had to go to the local clinic to receive electroshock therapy in order for my muscles to relax. I also got stretches that will allow my back to relax after sitting and working on lesson plans for long periods, and am doing much better.

I also had the opportunity to go and listen to Akira Sato, a pastor from Fukushima, the area with the nuclear reactor that was hit by the earthquake and tsunami. His church was within the evacuation zone, meaning none of the members of his church are able to return home. Please remember to keep those affected by the earthquake and tsunami in your prayers, since the disaster still affects many of the Japanese people.

Thank you all for your prayer and support and if you ever want to drop me a line, I would be more than happy to hear from you!