Christian life and Adversity

God has been teaching me to learn to stand on my own two feet and be open to new challenges. He’s said, “Look at all I’ve taught you, given you. Look at how I’ve stood by your side no matter what. What do you have to fear?” Mainly I’ve learned this through his Word – and in our church study of Joshua. (And I guess the similar lesson in just about any other story in the Bible). It is interesting how being a Christian in America (at least for me) became so easy that I never challenged myself. In Japan the Christians face bigger challenges like the conformist culture, and traditionalist values that force them to either take Christianity seriously or not at all. Many parents will not approve of their kids believing in God. My pastor’s wife’s mom passed away last month. She took me to visit her a few days before she passed away. She told me how for years and years she disapproved of her becoming a Christian, for dating and then marrying Pastor Kawasaki. She said how for years and years it was so difficult. Just 20 years ago, the grandma finally accepted the Lord and slowly began to change her mind about Christian life, and Pastor. At the end of her life, the Pastor was her favorite and when he came she smiled the most. The pastor’s wife, Chieko told me how she had taken care of her for the past 20 years. Wow. So not only did the mom disapprove of her biggest life decisions, but Chieko was willing to care for her for those years. Talk about difficult.

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Pottery festival and Tsutsuji (Evergreen Azaleas) flower viewing

Today I joined my co-worker Maki, her sister Emi on yet another adventure. This trip, I invited my friend Darryl in on the fun. What a fun day we had! First to the Pottery festival. The town is well-known for pottery, and this is the event that brings out all the shops together. We had ice cream (not pictured) and pizza. Look how they cooked it! We walked around and saw really unique pottery. Darryl found the city mascot, a fox. Then we took a bus to the top of a mountain to see the Tsutsuji flowers in bloom! Gorgeous, I tell you! We worked up an appetite and stopped at this family restaurant, an udon shop. I had kimchi udon for the first time. It was intense! They give you a massive mug of water and a bib – it is THAT intense (even for me). We had fun talking about each other’s cultures, the city, and each other’s hobbies. I can’t wait to hang out with them again sometime.

Hitachi Seaside Park (国営ひたち海浜公園)

It’s Golden Week!!!

Ever since I’ve come to Japan (Mito), there have been about 10 things every single person asks if I’ve done, or recommends I do. THIS is one of the last I have to cross off of my list – visiting the Hitachi Seaside Park during the Spring blossoming. WOW! Can I tell you just how incredible it was. The park is very wide. It sits right on the edge of the sea (seaside, get it?). And there are over a million of this blue flower planted in this area. During this time in spring, the flowers blossom and turn into a “sea”. Continue reading

“Daitai” and “Chanto” – Understanding Japanese work ethic

In my last post I discussed starting a part-time job at a restaurant and a presentation at town hall. The presentation went really well. The only difficulty was that although the audience was made up of Intermediate to Advanced English learners, my topic has some really complex English words. I knew this beforehand and I budgeted an extra 30 minutes longer than my practice speech so that I could speak slowly, articulate, and explain big words. (Think a lot of hand gesturing) They probably did not get all of it, but we were able to engage in a fascinating discussion about where the world is headed environmentally, and whether or not the current problems are too big to tackle. I ended up Continue reading

My job to love

This week’s post comes at a time of a lot of changes in my work and service at the church. It feels like a time when I need either to work a lot harder, or give up. That “do or die” time. God brought encouragement to me in this reminder (below). Feel free to download it! I made it so you can use it as a Facebook cover photo (if you want)! Right-click, save image as…to save it.billy

Korea for the weekend

Last summer I had lunch with my friend, Kristen, from high school. We are great friends who really got to know each other in basketball. It has been interesting to see her develop an interest in South Korea and she has studied abroad there and now lives there. We met last summer right before both of us were headed to live abroad. We talked about plans of visiting each other and…what do you know? Now we are doing it! This weekend I went to stay with her in Korea! I’d been in 6th grade, but boy does that feel like a long time ago. Most of my memories are from pictures! I woke up early Friday morning, grabbed the 2 hour bus, and was off to Korea. Continue reading

Presenting next month

I’m going to present at the city office next month! 1 1/2 hours on the business of sustainable design – my university research topic. Three times a week I study Japanese at the city office (I do believe I’d written on that previously) and last week they mentioned how there is an upcoming ‘World Culture Seminar’ and they are looking for presenters. Basically, the topic can be anything. So, I emailed that guy my spiel, and vuala! He said I’m in! So, I’m preparing now. Like I said I covered this topic extensively in my final semester during university. I am pretty passionate about the whole ‘eco’ thing, you could say. I come at it from a point, however, as a designer because the designer is the middle man – an effector for good or harm to the environment. I won’t get into all the dry details of my speech. Plus, I need to work on adjusting my audience to low-level English! The fun begins…

Also! I’ve gotten the opportunity to take up a side job – one of those working nights-only restaurant jobs. Super thankful for the opportunity to earn extra cash, and experience too! An answer to prayer! Anywho, the owner will give me a test run this Thursday so please pray that it goes well. I hope to work there a few nights a week. I’ll keep you updated on that. Peace!