Tuesday, July 3, 2012

A Jumbled June

June in Kyotanabe has brought with it true Japanese summer weather: rain, heat, and bugs. It has also brought other Japanese traditions with it, like Sports Day.

Sports Day (Undoukai) is a major event in the Japanese school year. The students are divided into teams, each led by a teacher, who then complete in various athletic events. At KIUA, our Sports Day included the entirety of the middle and high school. We all took the bus and some vans (one of them broke down) to the local gym where we spent the day competing in events such as tug of war, relays, beach flag and dodgeball. I was the teacher/"supervisor" of the Black team (see photo). It was a great day of connecting with my students, encouraging them to not give up and cheering them on. And to top it all off, we won!

We won!

What else has been happening?
  • I took the bullet train up to Tokyo two weeks ago and got to spend the weekend getting to know Caitlin's family (see photo) a little bit better.
  • With the help of my gracious Japanese friends, I finally got the internet in my apartment and automatic bill paying set up.
  • I administered one part of the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) to my EFL students on June 26th. All of the high school and middle school ESL students at KIUA are required to take this test, unless they have received a high score previously. This is n important test for my students, as the results determine what English class they will be placed in and affect future college entry scores.
  • I am now preparing for the end of the semester. My exams are on July 11th. All of them!

Meet my fiance's family (from left to right): Kim, Michael, and Anneke.

Please remember these requests in your prayers:
  • Praise God for a good experience connecting with my students during Sports Day! Pray that I will be able to connect with and serve my more challenging students.
  • Praise God that I have almost made it through my first semester at KIUA! Pray for energy for me and concentration for my students as we face exams and near summer vacation (July 16-September 5).
  • Pray for safe travels for staff and students over the summer vacation, including my trip to northern Japan (in the tsunami-affected region) with Caitlin's family. 
Thank you for your support of God's work in Japan!