Why are YU in North America?③

Finally, I have finished the internship.  I’m currently staying in Hawaii. Hawaii is a special place for me as it is where I was led to church and met God. As soon as I arrived at the airport, I felt that I had come home.

From June 27th to August 13th, I attended the Free Methodist Retreat, the North American Holiness Retreat, and WIT24. Through various services and encounters, I felt that each participant loves God and is loved by God. At the Free Methodist Retreat, I was in the kid’s program and took care of kids. How cute are children! As I felt this from the bottom of my heart, I realized how difficult it is to raise children as a mother. At the Holiness Retreat, we sold EC goods, and the goods were more popular than we expected! Although I was busy with various services, I was able to sit in front of the Word and listen to a session with my brothers and sisters at WIT24. I was blessed to spend 3 nights and 4 days praising God with everyone.

God is the one who pulls us out of the mire, no matter how uncertain or despairing life may be. “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.” Isaiah 43:2

I am grateful that God is always by my side and understands me, whether I am happy or sad.

When the Pillar of the Lord Moves” Part 1 ~ Testimony of Hiyori Nishimura

On July 1st of last year, I received an email from the graduate school of the seminary in Manhattan where I had been enrolled for two years.

“The school will be closing at the end of next month (the end of August).”

At first, I couldn’t process the sudden and unexpected news. I just had a premonition that “God must be planning something again.” With less than two months from the announcement of the school’s closure to its actual shutdown, there was no time to leisurely ponder or make decisions. I found myself suddenly thrust into the ultimate test of faith, simply moving in the direction of God’s voice.

Soon, I received a list from the school of partner seminaries across the United States where I could transfer my earned credits. However, since my program was a Master’s in Counseling, not a Master’s in Theology, the number of partner schools offering a counseling master’s was limited compared to other theology students. In the end, my choices were narrowed down to two seminaries: one in Massachusetts and one in Kentucky. Typically, applying to graduate school involves months of procedures such as obtaining several recommendation letters from professors and pastors, writing essays based on themes provided by the school, and undergoing interviews. The thought of completing all these tasks within just a few weeks was overwhelming. I felt like giving up and flying back to Japan. Yet, I believed that God, who had invited me into such a fierce storm, must have a plan beyond my imagination. A concerned friend called me and encouraged me with a prayer, reminding me that “even when Christ and His disciples encountered a great storm on the Sea of Galilee, He rested on a pillow. God will provide you with rest even in the midst of this storm.” I prayed, “I will go through this storm with You, God. Please sustain and bless me as I do.”

I quickly contacted both of the seminaries I had narrowed down. Soon, I received a response from Asbury Theological Seminary in Kentucky. They understood my unusual situation and rapidly supported my application process. Asbury Theological Seminary is a small seminary in a rural town in Kentucky, rooted in the teachings of 18th-century theologian John Wesley, belonging to the evangelical Wesleyan-Holiness tradition. Honestly, until last year, I knew almost nothing about this seminary. In February of last year, there was a revival (referred to locally as an “Outpouring” with a sense of humility) at Asbury University, an affiliated college of this seminary, where the Holy Spirit worked powerfully, leading to a large-scale awakening of faith. I saw this news on social media and was very encouraged. I had been thinking of visiting someday, and now I found myself applying, much to my own surprise.

The application process with Asbury Theological Seminary went surprisingly smoothly. My mentors in ministry promptly sent recommendation letters despite their busy schedules, a young church member stayed up until nearly dawn to help edit my English essay, and I was supported by the prayers of many. From application to interview and acceptance notification, everything was completed in less than ten days. Thus, the path to Asbury Theological Seminary, where the Spirit is actively working, suddenly opened up.

However, due to student visa restrictions, it was not permitted for me to take online classes from Kentucky’s Asbury while living in NYC. I had to complete the entire enrollment and transfer process, including obtaining student residence documents, and move to Kentucky’s campus within less than a month before the new semester began in late August. If I couldn’t make it to the campus by the start of the fall semester in September, I would have to give up, return to Japan, and start preparing to study abroad all over again, which was a huge pressure. At that point, I also had no prospect of paying for tuition or dorm fees, and everything was unknown.

To be continued…

Event Info Useful for Returnees July, 2024

Event Info Useful for Returnees

July, 2024

◎Southern Kanto Small Groups (Japan)
Yokohama plus SG: Every Tuesday 20:00 (female only, online)
Japan Office SG: Every Thursday 19:00 (in person, Ochanomizu)
Hibarigaoka related SG: Every 2nd Saturday (in person)
Contact: smallgroup@jcfn.org

◎ANRK Kansai Returnee Women’s Small Group (Japan. online)
Basically 2nd & 4th Thursdays 20:30〜22:00 (Zoom)
About 3-6 people gather each time and encourage each other through updates, Bible study (M28), and prayer. If you are interested, please contact us!
If you are interested in joining, please contact JCFN Japan Office: nihon@jcfn.org

◎Tsu-Na-Gu (Japan, online)
Gathering for returnees in 20s in Chugoku area
Tuesday, July 9th, 23rd 20:00〜
In person: Tuesday, July 30th 19:00〜
Contact: JCFN Japan Office: nihon@jcfn.org

◎JCFN Japan Online Prayer Meeting V.OCHAHOP〜 (Japan, online)
Time: Saturday, July 13th 10:00〜11:00
facebook event page
Zoom link

◎Re-Conn: Returnee Cafe (Japan, Tokyo)
Time: Saturday, July 13th 14:30〜17:00
Location: Double O Cross Church (OO+) Kichijoji G Bldg B1 (東京都武蔵野市吉祥寺東町1-6-27)
More events such as Christmas party and Bible study are organized by Re-Conn. Please check the website for the details.

◎Konnect Kanagawa gathering (Japan, Kanagawa)
We’re gonna have a special guest,
Mr. Tsuguru Nakayama.
Date: July 13th
Time: door open at 4:30 pm
Place: Yokohama Calvary Chapel
Free entrance + offering
Let’s worship together in Yokohama!
We serve special shaved ice for fellowship after the worship!
Registration form

◎Inspa prayer meeting (Japan, online)
Sunday, July 14th, 20:00~20:30 (30 minutes only) (Every 3rd Sunday)
At Zoom (Meeting ID: 979 2868 4925 Passcode: 144507)
*Let’s remember and pray together about the returnee ministry, INSPA, and returnees in the Tokai area.
*The prayer meeting is open to those who have participated in INSPA before, or are from or reside in the Tokai area.
facebook group link
Instagram link
Contact: facebook or inspire-union@hotmail.co.jp.

◎GiFT・Chill (Japan, Tokyo)
Friday, July 19th 19:00-21:00
JCFN office
(Please bring your own meal and snack.)
Time of sharing, games, and praying together.
* Contact via DM on Instagram.

◎Tokyo Life Church Connect Group (Tokyo, Japan)
Time: Saturday, July 27th, Every 4th Sunday
Roberta Peabody (Leader): rpeabody@teamjapan.org
Homepage Link
6-8 returnees mostly from North America are gathering monthly.
Location: Whistle Cafe in Nishi Waseda
We value the time to freely discuss what we experienced abroad and how we feel after coming back to Japan.
If you want to continue practicing your English or want to talk about your experiences abroad, please join us.

◎Chugoku Kyushu group prayer meeting (Japan. online)
Saturday, July 27th 19:00〜20:30
Praise, prayer and sharing
Contact: JCFN Japan Office: nihon@jcfn.org

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