Wow it’s been a while! How is everyone doing? We are doing well here in Japan. The Rainy Season is slowly coming to an end and the summer is setting in. That means it will actually get into the 80’s! Of course since there are no air conditioners at ARI, the 80’s is pretty hot, but it’s manageable.
This is also the time where participants choose to focus on their own individual learning for a week. In general ARI’s curriculum is a community based approach. Therefore there is only one class in the morning and one in the afternoon. All the participants in the training program are required to join this session. Of course what you research and do outside of that depends on your own motivation and your own interests but in general we all do the same thing at the same time.
This was difficult to understand for us when we first arrived. But slowly we came to see that the ARI method is one that values and includes the entire community, thus the classes are that way.
But there is an understanding that people also need a time to deepen their own interests and area of work. So this week comes and people go off to various places. They visit with women and farmer groups, churches, farms, organizations working with the mentally or physically disabled. They create home made incubators, try food processing, making their own fertilizers. The whole point is to have a deeper understanding of a subject that they themselves are interested in.
We thought that we need this time in our life. Scheduling a time to learn, study or experience more about something that we need in our life. That’s what a spiritual retreat is in a way. A time for us to focus on God, listen to the Holy Spirit and engage deeply with scripture. After this time, we feel renewed, refreshed and more excited. Have you done that lately?
Please keep our participants in prayer as they seek to deepen their learning and our entire community in prayer as well. Pray that we can deepen not only our learning but our relationship with God and that this will refresh and reinvigorate us for the work that is ahead.