is so wonderful!
I really do believe that this home-stay part of the PacRim trip is what makes it so so special. I have been completely immersed in Japanese life, culture, and language, and I really do think I'm learning! I am so blessed to have an amazing host family and second host family (Logan's house parents, Yasuko and Yoshihiro). Noriko-chan, my house sister, and Yuuki-chan, our friend, have been so welcoming and wonderful to me and Logan. And Noriko's family is just the best. Her mom is hilarious and so cute, and although she speaks hardly any English, we somehow manage to make some Janglish conversations. Nori's dad is so so smart, so he knows several really fancy English words, like constitution, atomic energy, etc. What Japanese person knows words like that? Only my otoosan. The Ibaraki Christian students have been so incredibly hospitable to us. I feel like an honored guest. And the days have just been so full of fun. Recently, we went to Tokyo Disneyland for a day while it was decorated for Halloween! So fun. And yesterday, we got to go to the most wonderful on-sen (public bath house) right on the ocean.
Today, we got to have a conversation with a Buddhist monk, and that was such a incredible experience to me. I've been struggling to find a way to communicate my religious beliefs in a culture and a mindset so different from mine, so it was really interesting to speak with a Buddhist monk about beliefs and practices.
As I mentioned in the last post, Japan has been both wonderful and discouraging and challenging for me. More than anything, I have come to realize that this world offers me nothing that I can't gain from my relationship with Jesus. I am on an amazing trip around the world to some of the most monumental sites in human history. I have also had some amazing opportunities to cross cultural boundaries by having conversations with people from China and Japan. But those are not the moments that stick out in my memory from this trip so far. They are not the moments that most completely blow me away. I am most humbled, amazed, captivated by the moments when I see God working in those around me or in myself. And the more I meet people who do not have the privilege of knowing Jesus, the more I feel the urgency for the knowledge of Him across the world. While I have clearly seen that people can live good lives without Jesus, I can't find anything in the world that compares to the joy and blessing of knowing Christ.
I hope that all is well for those at home. I miss your presence in my life!