What I learned at WIT21

Kaoru Okamoto (in Atlanta, Georgia)

“I was able to participate in WIT21 at this moment and at this place.”

This summer, I moved from NJ, where I was born and raised, to Atlanta, where my university is located. I was able to start my new life with the help of various church brothers and sisters that I was able to meet online before I arrived, and I am so grateful that I have been able to attend church since the first week. On the other hand, I am realizing for the first time how hard it is for a newcomer to join a new community in a new place and blend in. I was aware that I was observing the new Christian community with a critical eye as well as comparing it to the church in NJ, but I didn’t know how to change or pray for myself. I also wondered how much I could commit to serve at the new church, as I would only be here for three years until I graduated from college, and I was becoming timid about serving God.

Being able to participate in WIT21 at that time was truly God’s leading. The theme was “COME(UNITY),” which was perfect for my situation, and I was able to learn from Philippians 2:1-5. One of the most important things I learned was “Christian Leadership Qualities”. “We don’t need to be great leaders because we are only fulfilling God’s plan, we can’t handle it on our own and we don’t need to try to solve it. Let’s rely on God.”

I am the only college student in my church and the only Japanese student in my university, but there are many universities in Atlanta and many Japanese students. After WIT21, I have a stronger desire to connect with Japanese students, rather than passively looking for a community in Christ. My eyes have been opened to the fact that I don’t have to wait until I grow up to be a leader or an adult, but that God will provide me with wisdom and help when I act on what He shows me.

I’m currently making a praise video of “Spirit, Touch Your Church” with a Christian friend I met at WIT21 on a YouTube channel called BIG Praise House, and the lyrics “I want to care for others like Jesus cared for me ” lyrics go through my mind. I would appreciate it if you would remember and pray for me to be a humble servant in this way.

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