Thursday, February 11, 2010

New Year, New Life

Well, it has been too long since my last update and for that I apologize. In this update I want to share some highlights from the end of 2009 and some hopes for this year.

2009 New Life

On his 60th birthday one member of Oe church began his life anew. By being baptized in the company of other believers this man gave his life to Christ and joined the family of faith. That day a mother and her adult daughter became members of Oe Church, it was a day of celebration for all. A few weeks later another member of the church was baptized, while across town one of Luther's graduating seniors was also baptized. The church in Japan is small, but mighty. Many of the social organizations in Japan are run by churches and many private schools (good schools) are Christian. I am proud to be a part of God's work here, but more than that I am honored to be a witness to all that God is doing in this country. Please continue to pray for the Church here in Japan.

2010 New Year same students

The Fall section of the school year was a little difficult as student behavior worsened after summer vacation. At the beginning of the school year the students were reluctantly obedient at times and at least pretended to be interested in lessons prepared for them. During the middle of the year a couple of my classes became outright defiant. In one class students would be quiet for my Japanese partner teacher and immediately begin talking when I was giving instruction. In another students would simply say 'No' whenever I asked them to do something, or if I called upon them to pronounce a word they would speak as though their tongues had swollen making incoherent sounds. That tension that you feel in your neck and shoulders right now is what I felt every single time I stepped in front of these classes. Teachers who've been teaching at Luther longer than I have told me that the middle of the year is always the toughest for behavior management. Thankfully, one of the classes regained their manners and I have not had a problem from them since. Unfortunately, the assurance that student behavior would improve in this final stretch of the year has not proven true. One class has given up on trying to speak or understand English. Although behavior problems are disheartening I continue to pray for my students and more than that, for their teacher (myself). Please join me in praying for insight, endurance and patience for me as I face these students. Also pray for the students, they too are growing tired and seem to be burning out. Please pray that they would receive a boost of energy to press through this final stretch of the year.

2010 Hopes and Resolutions

The school year ends in just 4 weeks. It has been an exciting year and as I mentioned above a very trying year. I plan on teaching the same curriculum next year that I've been teaching this past year. My hope is that by teaching the same grade level and types of classes I will be able to build upon what I've learned this past year. I'm also hoping to love and be excited for my students next year even though I will miss many of my students from this past year. I along with another J3 teacher were in charge of the junior high English Speaking Society this past year. Unfortunately, in the end we only had one student who was interested in coming every week. So, I'm hoping to gather more student interest next year now that I know more students.

At the end of 2009 I felt convicted that I had not been praying enough for my host country, the church here or my students. So my New Year's resolution is to pray. I've been trying to set aside time, but haven't yet been as consistent as I would like to be with regular prayer times. I'm hoping that this lenten season will help me find a regular time for daily or at least weekly prayer and reflection.

Again, I apologize for taking so long to post this update. I will try to post again before the beginning of the next school year. Blessings to you this lenten season.