So how do you know when spring is here? Do you learn from the ground hog? Does it have to get above a certain temperature? In Japan I’ve heard of at least 3 different ways. One way has to do with Mount Fuji. For those that can see Mt. Fuji. When they see a certain portion of the mountain without snow cover they know that Spring has come. I’ve also heard that there is Haru ichiban, or the first strong wind of Spring. Finally here in Tochigi, I heard that when there are more warm days in the week than cold days, then Spring is really here.
Jonathan being from Florida, and Satomi being from Okinawa, we have never really paid so much attention to the weather when we think about the seaons of the year, but here at ARI the weather is always on our minds!!!!
And…. we are proud to announce to the world that Spring is finally here in Tochigi. For the two of us it is exciting because that means that Summer are around the corner again.
With Spring, comes two very special things for us. One is that Easter is around the corner. Soon we will be celebrating the hope and future of our faith. Easter reminds us that Jesus did have victory over sin and death and that victory will one day be ours as well! At Nasushiobara Church this will be a special Easter for us as well. Our pastor that was with us for the past two years has moved on and we have a new pastor from yesterday. With new hopes, ideas and plans join with us in praying that Nasushiobara Church can continue to grow and deeply touch our community. Just around the corner two different factories have closed recently and word on the street is that the unemployment office has lines out the doors. We hope that we can give light and find ways to support our community at this Easter.
Spring also signals the beginning of the school year in Japan and here at ARI we have accepted new participants from 15 countries into our training program, new volunteers have joined us and this year we welcomed one new staff member to campus. We are also eagerly awaiting the completion of our chapel on campus along with some other buildings that are still under construction. And all these new things means many opportunities await us!
With everyone on campus again the energy has shot up, noise is everywhere and the life of Spring has put people into hopeful and excited spirits. ARI English is once again alive and everyone is practicing their Japanese self introduction which will be shared in 5 days at our Opening Ceremonies. Let the games begin!
We ask that you join us in prayer for the start of the new year. Pray that all of our participants are able settle in well and begin their training. Pray for open hearts for the whole community. Pray that God would give us and the other staff a clear vision of what we are to do and the ability to see where God is at work in this coming school year. Finally pray that we can share in word and deed the hope we have in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, that the Kingdom of God will come more fully to us here in Tochigi, Japan.
Enjoy the Photos Below!
Making Rice Cakes for the New Year! Satomi is quite the professional!
This year we all made Miso together. Miso as in Miso soup. We’ll show you what to do here! Start by soaking your black soy beans for about a day and then boil until soft.
Take em in a bowl and start pounding them (Mixer’s also work)
Once it is in a white paste you throw balls of the soy beans into a big bucket with some barley and salt and let it ferment for about 6 months! Mix it up and let it sit for another few months. Voila you have your very own Miso!!!!!
This winter a new camp was started. English Bible Camp. It was a great opportunity to introduce the Bible to Japanese people who had never read it themselves and to think about what God says about sustainable living.
English Bible Camp 2014!
One event we did this winter was World Cafe. We gathered in groups and each answered three questions about ARI and the training. We then brought all the ideas together and made presentations. Of course we all had our coffee and snacks to keep us thinking!
Along with the Chapel construction, this winter we have been building a new biogas tank. We will use it for training on how to create and use a Bio Gas system. On top of that we can heat up water and even maybe do a little cooking! Using what others call a waste to create something new and beneficial. Very ARI.
See ya Next time!