While we were in Japan, we spent a lot of time with some great kiddos! Wherever we went involving children, we got really excited because it’s always so fun to hang out with them!! There were two days when we helped teach an English class for kids. There was a day when we went to a church and helped out with their kids outreach. Then another when we went to a preschool we went to last year, and played with the kids and taught a lesson! Those days were so much fun!! They were fun because we were hanging out with kids, but it was also fun because it gave us a reason to just be silly!!
We played Ninja, almost everywhere we went with kids, so when these boys got ‘out’ they started a game of their own. We also played red-light/green-light a lot. We also got a lot of kid holding/playing/running/jumping around time!
Last year I learned a lot of people have never heard of God or Jesus, so for the kids who heard about Jesus at these events, whether through praying for a snack or hearing a Bible story, it is probably one of the only times they hear about Jesus. Knowing this made spending time with these kids that much greater. All of the kids we met were SOOOOO energetic! I forgot how energetic kids can be some times since the kids I usually spend the most time with are really calm! These kids on the other hand were so energetic, which was nice. They were also so wonderfully precious! Spending time with them, and loving on them, and seeing them be loved on was such a blessing. Also they were so joyful and bouncy, there was never a dull moment!!
Before we left for Japan, Joyce, the Chi Alpha Japan director, emailed us and said they had a student named Kanako who really wanted to go with us to Disney Sea in Tokyo (basically an adult focused version of Disneyland), and we all decided to go (naturally). So when we got there we met Kanako at a Bible study. Before we got to the Bible study we were told a little bit about her.
She is at one of the undergraduate campuses in Tokyo, and got the chance to study at UC Davis for one month. While she was in California, her host family were Chi Alpha people!! So she got to spend a lot of time with the Chi Alpha there, and she fell in love with everyone! Before she left California her host family contacted Joyce and they told her about her, and what campus she was at. When Joyce heard she was at one of their campuses she got SO excited!! So when Kanako got back to Japan they quickly got in contact with one another, and she became part of the Japan Chi Alpha. While we were in Japan we spent a lot of time with her, and the best part about it all was making a new friend, and getting to know Kanako.
It was so wonderful getting to know her! There were a few days when we would hang out with her and just sit and not do anything super exciting, but spending time with her in any way was always a blessing! She got really close to one of the girls on the team while we were there and to see how their relationship blossomed was really quite beautiful! It also made me realize how much she loved feeling part of a friendship.
Before we left for Japan we learned that Japanese people want to have a sense of belonging when they go places and that is the best way to reach them. Japanese people want to have feel like they are part of a community, a group of people, and for Kanako her group of people and community is Chi Alpha. She isn’t the only one either. So many Japanese college students have found a sense of belonging in Chi Alpha. It is a place where they can be completely themselves and have it be perfectly okay. This is also a place, where many people have grown in their relationship with God, or just felt His love in a way they probably would not have otherwise.
It was a wonderful blessing to get to know Kanako and the other students we met. It was so hard to say goodbye, but I trust and believe it was more of a ‘see you soon friend’ rather than a goodbye.