Akarin’s monthly report April and May
Just recently GRC23 was held with great blessings, and we were thankful.
This month we’d like to summarize April and May and also share the blessings from GRC23.
April was mainly a month of the new school semester and on-campus events, Additionally, the internship church which I chose for my senior year and began serving is in Asahi City, which is located on the northeastern side of the city from Inzai City where I live.
I was involved with the full-scale registration for GRC23, this kept me very busy with recruiting, sending emails, and other tasks.
Yet even in the midst of this, God supported me, encouraged me through my friends, and also through the prayers of the GRC committee, I was able to make it to the day of GRC without incident.
We started by recruiting small group coordinators and small group leaders, and while it was difficult to decide who would be the coordinators and leaders, we also started registration and had to assign the groups at the same time. The most difficult part was grouping people who didn’t know each other. The small group committee members were there to help us. After dividing group by age, they carefully taught us one by one who should be the leader and whether we should be in the same group or not, and the group was completed despite our impatience.
I was struggling dealing as needed with a string of cancellations a few days before GRC23, asking participants to serve as small group leaders and doing some last-minute work at the JCFN office.
On the day of the event, when a small group leader suddenly cancelled, I couldn’t help but think, “Oh, Lord!” I looked up at the sky. I hurriedly contacted a substitute and received a reply that he was willing to serve, I felt God’s work in action.
It was the first day of Golden Week and traffic was expected to be quite crowded, so we had to leave early. However, with good fellowship in the car and Mt. Fuji appearing before our eyes, we found ourselves arriving at the best time and were truly grateful.
As we arrived at the venue, surrounded by people we were meeting for the first time, we prepared to receive the participants, and as they gradually arrived, we began to realize that the event was finally about to begin.
There was one more service at this GRC23. That was to create a reflection video movie for each morning. For this purpose, I took pictures of the meeting and each activity.
The photos that the participants had daily themes and submitted photos taken during their small group time each day. Day 1-Celebrate, Day 2-Encouragement and Day 3 -Determination – looked really fun, and I had a lot of fun while editing them.
Such was the blessing I was given at GRC23 with the daily theme.
The theme for the 1st day was “Celebrate”. I’m very sorry to say this, but May 4th was my birthday, and I was so busy with GRC23 that started on the 3rd that I never thought I would be able to celebrate my birthday, but I received many congratulatory messages from friends on social networking sites, and on the day of the event, I was celebrated everywhere, and finally surprised by the planning committee. It was a truly celebratory.
The theme for the 2nd day was “Encouragement”. I basically walked around the venue as a photographer and edited the reflection movie after the evening meeting. At the meeting with the small group coordinators, I received very nice comments that the photo time for each small group was a good icebreaker and that they were looking forward to seeing the photos of other groups. In the fellowship, we also received positive feedback that the reflection movie was very good. Even though it was hard to edit, these comments as well as the photos were very encouraging.
The theme for the 3rd day was “Determination,” and GRC23 marked the end of my internship at JCFN. In the last testimony of Ms. Shiori, the chairperson of the executive committee, I felt that I had a moment of decision for myself just like in GRC23, where she was asked to be JCFN staff five years ago, decided, and now served as the chair of the GRC planning committee.
Through my past work, service, and GRC23, I want to fellowship with and work for returnee Christians even more than I did before my internship. I don’t know how the Lord will lead me in the future, but I’ll be able to follow the Lord and say, “Yes! I want to continue to be rooted in the work of returnee Christians.
Stimulus! Tweet by Maki Goto
Perhaps it is because many of the friends I met while studying abroad were Asian people who loved spicy food, but even now I have an irresistible craving for spicy food. Being able to get such wonderful food at convenience stores is a moment when I am glad to be in Japan.
I remember when I was studying abroad, I often drank a carbonated drink called “Mountain Dew” when I needed to feel refreshed from lack of sleep. The other day, when I was preparing for GRC23, I couldn’t get “Mountain Dew”, but I got something called “Energy Drink” at a pharmacy and boosted myself.
When I want to Boost myself spiritually, this is the most stimulating!
JCFN Associate Staff Introduction Part 4: Roberta Peabody
Hi from P-Chan
Hello! This month Shiori-san has asked me to write a brief self-introduction as an Associate Staff member.
My name is Roberta Peabody, I am a missionary with The Evangelical Alliance Mission since 1991. I have lived mostly in Tokyo for many years. I grew up in a very small town in Massachusetts that no one has ever heard of. I never dreamed as a child of serving the Lord, nor being a missionary but here I am!
God leads us in ways we rarely anticipate, but when we reflect back on the path, aren’t we glad we followed in obedience.
I visited Osaka, Japan when I was a college student just for a summer to teach English, even though I wasn’t so excited about the teaching part, I enjoyed getting to know the people. Even back then, the pastor’s daughter was a “returnee”. It was a hard summer as I knew no Japanese vocabulary other than words for “toilet”, “exit” and “thank-you”. I had only been a Christian for five years and I was so stressed out and overwhelmed in that summer. I do remember that my English class translator would pray with me when I was feeling the most homesick and I learned that God could understand her prayers in Japanese and mine in English, that was a huge spiritual lesson and encouraged my young faith.
When I came back to Japan as a full time missionary many years later (more on the in between years next time) I lived in Nagano prefecture and some of the first Japanese Christians I met were RETURNEES. Isn’t it amazing how God knits our pathways even when we are not paying attention.
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