Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Fall has come again-- the school is in full swing, the nights are colder and the days shorter. The rice, which grew quite long over the summer, has been harvested and farmers are burning the milled husks in their fields, bringing the smells of fall on the chilly air. We started classes at the end of August, continuing our school years and doing our best to help young minds lean and grow.

A farmer harvesting the rice behind our house.

Caitlin spent most of the fall helping her students prepare for their annual Undōkai, or Sports Day, which took place last month. This is a very important event in the Japanese school year, and her students trained every day in the hot sun (which was still hanging on from summer) for almost two months. Activities included ball games, tug-of-war,  races and a dance with traditional Japanese drums.

Thomas has also been busy at KIUA with fall camp and school festival so far this fall. The fall camp, a three-day trip away with the middle and high school, was a great experience for the students. They participated in activities such as outdoor cooking, hiking around the mountains, crafts and sports.

More recently, Thomas has been preparing for school festival. He has been in charge of the School Festival Committee, responsible for making sure everything went smoothly in preparation and on the day of the festival, which took place this past Saturday. The day was a success, despite the rain, with all events going smoothly and good time had by all.

We have also enjoyed having a chance to visit some of the local tourist spots in the Kansai area. We returned to Nara to see the deer again, drank tea in Uji (a town famous for green tea production), and went to see the castle in Hikone, which is one of the few original castles left in Japan.

Enjoying tea in Uji.
Exploring the castle in Hikone.

We've made a big decision. This spring we will be moving back to America. With much prayer, we have felt that God's plan for Caitlin includes further education in early childhood development (ECE). As there are almost no English-language programs in Japan, we feel that God is moving us towards a time of living in the United States. While we are not looking forward to leaving Japan, we are looking forward to new opportunities in America and seeking friends and family that we have been away from.

What else has been going on?
  • Thomas was able to have many good conversations with parents of his students during parent-teacher conferences at KIUA. 
  • Caitlin was able to interact with some of the family members of her students during school open days (in which family members are invited to view classes). 

This month, please remember these prayer requests:
  • Praise God for a good fall semester so far, and pray that the rest of the semester will continue to go well. We are just over halfway done, and many of the students (and teachers) are quite tired. Pray for strength, energy and good attitudes for all of us.
  • Praise God for the opportunities we have had to interact with our students' mostly non-Christian families. Pray that God will use  this interactions to open them up to his love.
  • Pray for our interactions with our students. Pray that we can show them Christ and help them learn knowledge to last them their whole lives.
  • Pray for Caitlin's parents. They are moving to Okinawa next year to work at Okinawa Christian School and are moving out of the house they have lived in for 20 years.
  • Pray for the Tohoku area of Japan. Even three years after the tsunami, the damage is still there. Pray that people's hearts can be reached by the work that continues and that God will bring about change to help heal the land and the people.

Caitlin and Thomas

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