Welcome CCW!!!

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Hello everyone! The Rainy Season has started in our part of Japan and you know what that means right??? NO NEED TO WATER!

This also means that summer is here and we are finally moving out of the 50’s Fahrenheit!  :)

This coming Wednesday, the first mission team from Florida will be coming to ARI. This is a trip that has been almost 4 years in the making and both we at ARI and the team itself is very excited about their coming.

CCW is a United Methodist Campus Ministry based in Jacksonville that “exists to reach college-aged young adults on the campuses of Northeast Florida and prepare them to be leaders and laborers for the cities of the world.”

We have had the opportunity to visit with people from the ministry a couple of times while back in the US and now are excited for them to be coming to be with us!

We ask for your prayers for the 4 young adults and campus minister who will be coming. Pray for safe travels and for open hearts for the people they work along side and share the gospel with in word and in deed.

Also, remember that you can also come. Come by yourself or bring a team to share your gifts with the people of ARI and Nasushiobara and see what God is doing here.

So who’s next??? :)

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Thinking…

One of the participants said to Jonathan this morning as we were out in the field,

“Jonathan please explain to me about the weather in Japan. It was rainy the other day and then the next day it is sunny. I think the crops are going to sprout and then there’s nothing but dust. I don’t understand.”

He said this with a very matter of fact sense in his voice, in what seemed to be a very “Cameroonian” way. Jonathan responded to him and said yes, that is Japan. Remember Japan has 4 different seasons and we’re changing from one to another right now…

Growing up we never really thought about the weather and how it is connected to the food that sustains us. If it rained that meant we couldn’t play outside or go to the beach, but we could still eat warm meals at home. But in reality the weather has a lot to do with our lives. Beyond making us feel comfortable or uncomfortable, the weather patterns determine the amount of food we have and whether what is growing produces good or bad fruit. The thing is that we in the US and Japan are just blessed enough to always have access to food so we usually  don’t think about how the weather actually affects our food.

For many of the people around the world, they care much about the weather and what effects it has on their lives. Recently we heard in a UN report that the climate change happening is and will have it’s worse effects on the parts of the world that probably can handle it the least. Many countries in Africa and Asia are facing increased droughts and more terrible storms. Of course these are also happening in Europe and the Americas, but the effects on your average European is going to be very different from your average African. For these people what is happening with the weather matters a lot, in fact it could be a matter of life or death.

These are the types of things that we are getting to think of daily. These conversations mean that the Rural Leaders Training Program is in full swing at ARI. Opening Ceremonies happened almost a month ago and now the participants are in their work groups and the training is taking off. Every year we are thankful for a new opportunity to meet people who so often have vibrant and exciting faith and visions for their community. Many of them have been touched by God and want to touch others with the same love and grace they have experienced. To be able to walk with them on that journey as they learn, grow and receive a new deepened vision is a blessing.

What have you learned lately? The world is a wide and varied place, what has God called you to be a part of in this world? How is the Kingdom of God becoming more of a reality in your community, in your own life? I ask that you pray and ask these questions along with us!

As always, by the grace of God, we are supported in our work by brothers and sisters around the world. If you feel God calling you to support ministry in Japan through us, we encourage you to go over to the Advance page and give online. You can go here, and remember our advance number is 3021131.  You can also see our About the McCurley’s page for more info about us and giving by checks.

May the Grace and Peace of Christ be with you and your own community!

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Who’s the winner???? A new favorite game at ARI where a sheet is held in between two people and when it is dropped they have to say the name of the other. Sometimes though the winner is who can pull the strongest!

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As Every year, we headed to Sekine’s Fish farm the last Tuesday of April and learned about aquaculture and enjoyed fishing. Good thing about a fish farm, you’re almost ensured to get a catch! Satomi beat Jon this year 2 to 1!

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The forty second class of ARI. Amazing that God has brought us this far. Pray for us that this year will also be a blessing!

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On Maundy Thursday we got on our knees, washing one another’s feet as Jesus taught us. Almost all the community members joined us, including many of our members who do not follow Christ. Yet Jesus beckoned them to wash one another’s feet and they did. We look forward to seeing how Christ works in our community this year.

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One of Satomi’s jobs on campus is to run a small shop for daily needs. It opens every Tuesday and is called Sari Sari, the name of little kiosks in Tagalog. She must have had some good sales this day! :)

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Singing and Dancing! Fire, a guitar and off we go!

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We were eating Lunch and all of a sudden a group of 6 gathered around Jonathan for a picture. It’s a blessing to feel loved by people from all over the world!

Our chapel is under construction with a completion date of August 6th.  We are involved in part of the building with a local archiect and company doing the rest.  We brought parts of an old farm house from the area and are using that as the base for this beautiful place.

Our chapel is under construction with a completion date of August 6th. We are involved in part of the building with a local archiect and company doing the rest. We brought parts of an old farm house from the area and are using that as the base for this beautiful place.

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Spring is here!

 

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!

 

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Making Rice Cakes for the New Year!  Satomi is quite the professional!

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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.

 

 

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Take em in a bowl and start pounding them  (Mixer’s also work)

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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!!!!!

 

 

 

 

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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.

 

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English Bible Camp 2014!

 

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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!

 

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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!

 

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3 years from that eventful day

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(Credits: Japan American Society of Southern California)

On March 11th, 2011 at 2:46pm our world was literally shaken.  It is hard to believe that three years have passed since that day.  

 

Today at ARI we had a small event to remember what happened three years ago, the people who continue to struggle because of this disaster and to ask God’s guidance in their recovery and our work.  We also took the occasion to learn about the situation that we ourselves continue to face from the radioactive fallout and to think about how we should live.  

 

With those throughout Japan, we remember that many lost their lives and it could have easily been us.  We are thankful for our lives but also seek to live in a way that does not forget the dead and learns from the past.  Especially considering the ongoing work at the Fukushima powerplant, we are reminded that the disaster was also man made.  We have learned that our innovations can lead to disaster.  Does it mean we stop innovating? Probably not, but each of us should think about what innovation truly is and when it tinkers with what God has already created, we should ask if we are bringing disaster on ourselves.

 

A final thought.  Jonathan was talking with one of the young missionaries serving at ARI this year after the service.  The missionary said, “We’re screwed!  The end of the world is coming, but we’re the ones bringing it.  God promised to never flood the earth again, but we’re gonna destroy it ourselves.”  Although he is only 23 and was not in Japan when the disaster happened, he understands something beyond his years.  God asked us to rule over or take care of the earth.  But instead of that, it seems that we are tinkering with it in order for it to take care of us.  If we are unwilling to do the work God gave us to do, what will happen.  Only time will tell.  The innovation of science led to the nuclear bomb.  Nuclear power was supposed to be a non-violent positive use of this destructive power, but what has it led to?

 

Please join us in prayer for Japan and for all of us.  Pray that God will take away the tears and pray that we would follow His guidance and do the work he has given us to do.   Maranatha!

 

 

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2013, Christmas and Divine Appointments

Merry Christmas!!!

Here’s hoping you had a very Merry Christmas and that the new year coming around the corner looks promising!

We finished the end of the training program at the beginning of December and had a wonderful Christmas with the community. After the candle light worship service on Christmas Eve, about 20 people, from ARI and our gospel choir, joined together to carol around the city. The next day we joined some other people to go caroling at a local hospital where one of the retired missionaries has been hospitalized for the past month. This turned into a big event.
  By a divine appointment, God brought us out of the elevator at the same time that a local pastor, whose father was in the hospital, was about to go buy lunch. The pastor joined us for caroling which was not done in the room of the missionary as we thought but in a lobby area. The nurses invited and wheeled in patients from around the 5th floor to hear us sing. As we sang, more and more people came. Finally at the end the local pastor gave a message that touched the hearts of so many people. Jesus was shared, people who were in pain heard words of hope, good news. At that time the missionary finally arrived. We believe that the time of caroling was not really for the missionary, but that God had other plans!
  Finally that evening about 40 of us gathered together in the Koinonia Hall at ARI to celebrate Christmas ARI style. After a wonderful dinner, we did the Christmas story. We acted it out, with chickens and pigs (like I said it is ARI style) and a star! Finally we did a gift exchange. All the gifts had to be handmade. As people opened their gifts, conversations began with laughter, joy and even some tears. Taking a little time to not just purchase something, but make it, with your heart put inside, really creates a wonderful experience. The Good news of Jesus Christ felt very real for us this Christmas, how about you?
  Now we move into the quiet time of our year. The training program and evaluation has finished, and the campus is quiet. Christmas festivities have come to an end, and there is not too much in the church calendar over the winter. It is a time to recuperate, reflect, and reimagine the work God has given us to do.
  We hope that at this moment, as one year ends and another begins, that you too can recuperate, reflect and reimagine the mission God has given you to do. Please join us in prayer about these things for both us here in Japan and for you yourself. Let us open our hearts to the divine appointments God may have in store for us, and may the Good News of Jesus Christ give your hearts the strength to accept all God has in store.

May the Peace of Christ and the joy of the Good News be with you now and into 2014!

 

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Here are all the actors from the Christmas pageant. We were also the audience!!!

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Minngos sang during the Harvest Thanksgiving Celebration and in December we had our last concert of 2013! Thanks for a great year!

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At the graduation party the staff did the Anpanman song, telling the grads to be strong, fly!!!!

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The dessert table, so beautiful! Merry Christmas!

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31 grads try to cut their cake together!!!!

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Thank you Ito family. They invited us in from the cold as we sang our carols Christmas Eve night. We got coffee and some nice mochi anko soup! Warms the body and the heart!

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We hope that Thanksgiving went well and that you are all ready to get back into the swing of things! 

Today we just wanted to remind you that you have a GREAT opportunity to DOUBLE your support! Especially if you were thinking of supporting us soon, we ask that you think about submitting it on
TODAY, Tuesday is giving day for GBGM and funds, up to $50,000 per project will be doubled on that day only if you give online. So….

Especially if you were already planning on giving towards our ministry (or any other ministry like ARI) then go to https://www.umcmission.org/Give-to-Mission/Search-for-Projects.

If you already know you want to support us, then go to the following link TODAY and give your hearts desire :) https://secure3.convio.net/gbgm/site/SPageNavigator/gbgm_donate.html?type=1001&project=3021131

Thank you!!!

As always, you can see what’s happening with us on our blog,

proverbs169.wordpress.com

Jonathan and Satomi McCurley

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Although Turkeys are hard to come by in Japan, we are thankful that we will get a small taste of Turkey this year! What are you thankful for???

We pray that this post finds you doing well and healthy!

Now, we want to ask you for your help!

Many of you already support us financially, but we wanted to let you know about a GREAT opportunity to DOUBLE your support! Especially if you were thinking of supporting us soon, we ask that you think about submitting it on
NEXT TUESDAY, DECEMBER 3rd.

Why?

December 3rd is giving day for GBGM and funds, up to $50,000 per project will be doubled on that day only if you give online. So….

Especially if you were already planning on giving towards our ministry (or any other ministry like ARI) then go to https://www.umcmission.org/Give-to-Mission/Search-for-Projects.

If you already know you want to support us, then go to the following link on NEXT TUESDAY and give your hearts desire :) https://secure3.convio.net/gbgm/site/SPageNavigator/gbgm_donate.html?type=1001&project=3021131

Thank you!!!

As always, you can see what’s happening with us on our blog,

proverbs169.wordpress.com

Jonathan and Satomi McCurley

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