<body><script type="text/javascript"> function setAttributeOnload(object, attribute, val) { if(window.addEventListener) { window.addEventListener('load', function(){ object[attribute] = val; }, false); } else { window.attachEvent('onload', function(){ object[attribute] = val; }); } } </script> <div id="navbar-iframe-container"></div> <script type="text/javascript" src="https://apis.google.com/js/plusone.js"></script> <script type="text/javascript"> gapi.load("gapi.iframes:gapi.iframes.style.bubble", function() { if (gapi.iframes && gapi.iframes.getContext) { gapi.iframes.getContext().openChild({ url: 'https://www.blogger.com/navbar.g?targetBlogID\x3d5742108\x26blogName\x3dDiscount+Bananas\x26publishMode\x3dPUBLISH_MODE_BLOGSPOT\x26navbarType\x3dBLUE\x26layoutType\x3dCLASSIC\x26searchRoot\x3dhttp://soonercary.blogspot.com/search\x26blogLocale\x3den_US\x26v\x3d2\x26homepageUrl\x3dhttp://soonercary.blogspot.com/\x26vt\x3d-4225892882570869465', where: document.getElementById("navbar-iframe-container"), id: "navbar-iframe" }); } }); </script>

Nobody said you *had* to suffer

I am writing this on my laptop, connected to wireless, sitting under air conditioning, sipping tea and looking out the window at Tokyo. Believe me, we are fully aware that right now we have things really good. I suppose nobody said you had to suffer when you do missions abroad, but I do think about my friend who is in the backcountry bush of Kenya right now, facing probably some of the most difficult conditions of his life for the sake of helping people and showing the love of God. Please pray for us, of course, but give an extra measure of intercession for those who must endure very trying physical conditions for the sake of God.

So, in a materialistic way, things are great for us here in Tokyo. They are also very positive spiritually. We have each scheduled a full slate of readers, and these sessions began yesterday. We work each day from 10:00am until 9:00pm, which are long days of course, but they pass quickly because the work is rewarding and every person who comes in brings an hour's worth of great conversation, whether it is in fluent English or one labored word at a time. The first days of reading sessions are largely spent getting to know our readers - their lives, their families, their stories, and anything else they are willing to talk about. We also introduce ourselves. Conversations are generally surface at this point, but as the relationships grow, so will the level of openness.

Japan has proven to be somewhat of an unexpected challenge when it comes to our job of teaching conversational English. Japan is full of English, especially Tokyo. English is everywhere. Not only that, the people here all spend many years studying English in school - usually about 6 or 7 years each. So, the infusion of English in the surroundings and the long and intense study of the language would lead one to believe that English would almost be second nature to many people, as it is in many other parts of the world. However, English as a conversational, spoken language is actually somewhat difficult to come by in many who have been students of the language. Therefore, our job of working with non-native English speakers is more difficult than in many other areas of the world. In Ukraine, for example, I worked with many very conversationally fluent speakers who were probably less familiar with the mechanics of the language than many Japanese, but were much better at communicating using it. Just yet another example that intense academic work in a subject area does not necessarily translate into practical usage.

There have been touching moments. Yesterday the women of the church cooked us a large, very delicious lunch and spent about two hours with us in a time of introductions and sharing. All of us in the room took turns answering about five questions about ourselves. One young, shy woman who sat at the end of the table had carefully written down every one of her answers in the small amount of English she knew. She confessed that she was not a Christian but that she had recently begun learning about the God and the Bible and came to the church three times per week to study the Bible with the local Christians. Her softspoken, unassuming, absolute sincerity and sense of wonder at the story of God is something that all should witness.

Japanese culture is very indirect, in that they work very hard to not show distress or disagreement but always work to accommodate. Sometimes you can see through this, though. One of my readers is a young mother who brings her toddler with her to our sessions. (I actually have several young mothers who bring their children, so I have the room with all of the toys.) In telling me about her family she revealed that her husband is an insurance salesman who works very late and then goes out drinking with his "clients." I consider her to be one of probably several million "married single mothers" in Japan, whose workaholic culture keeps many professionals enslaved. However, she couches this situation in terms of her "having lots of good personal time" after she puts her son to bed. "So it is good." Sorry, but your eyes tell a different story.

So, the stories are just beginning to take shape, and as we continue through the weeks some will no doubt become clearer and deeper. We have been praying for many months now for God to be preparing hearts for this time, including our own. So we will see what God is going to do.

Stay tuned!


Photos:


« Home | Next »
| Next »
| Next »
| Next »
| Next »
| Next »
| Next »
| Next »
| Next »
| Next »

Blogger Wes and Ellen - 6:53 AM

Cary,

I LOVE reading about what you and your team are up to. Don't sweat it about the not sweating it in Tokyo. Keep up the great work, revealing Christ to your readers.

-Wes    



» Post a Comment