It's a new week! Wonder what kind of opportunities the Lord has for us this week! We appreciate prayers for Ken as he leaves on July 1st for a short family/business trip for two weeks. Our summer intern, Amanda Blain, has written a newsletter and we thought you might like to enjoy it too!~~
This week has been filled with one adventure after another!
It began with a shopping trip - on bicycles! Most, if not all, bikes here have baskets on the handlebars, so Mrs. Mansell and I biked to the store, and to transport the items back to the house, we placed the grocery bags in the baskets and on the handlebars. It was the first time I had ever done anything like it, and I really enjoyed it! Biking is a very popular means of transportation here.
This week I did a little exploring of Teshio on my own! I didn't venture too far out, though. There is a "bookstore" on the street the Mansells live on and it's filled with all sorts of neat odds and ends! Office supplies, unique toys, craft supplies, and snacks leave little room for actual books! I've visited the store several times already and it seems like every time I go I find something else that I didn't see before! I also visited a local shop that is hardware on one side and pottery on the other. The prices were a bit expensive, but it was interesting to browse the aisles!
On another day, the Mansells had me go out to a couple stores on errands for them, and I made it back with the items they wanted... later that day I went out to the corner grocery market for a certain kind of onion - and came back with leeks. I'm experiencing that mistakes are a part of learning; thankfully, this one was a little mistake. =)
Another lesson I'm learning is the importance of personal spiritual growth and maturity on the mission field. Living in another culture brings out a part of you that sometimes you didn't know you had... sometimes it's a good thing; other times it's not. I'm very thankful that the Lord is gently pointing out areas in my life that need changing and re-directing to make me more prepared for the mission field and effective service for Him!
Today the Mansells took me to the Northernmost part of Japan, Cape Soya, and to one of its neighboring cities, Wakkanai [Wah'-kah-nigh]. (On the way, a police officer saw us by the side of the road taking pictures of the fields and mountains; he stopped and asked us for our ID! The Mansells said that was the first time an intern has had to do that... I guess I looked suspicious or something. :D Praise the Lord it was just a routine check and we were soon on our way. =) (after being able to give him a tract too!) On a clear day, you can see the Russian island of Sakhalin from Cape Soya, but today it was a little too hazy. The wind was incredible! At times, the force of the gusts was so strong that I needed to brace myself or else the wind would have knocked me down! Hokkaido is surrounded by 3 oceans: on the west by the Sea of Japan, on the east by the Pacific ocean, and on the north by the Sea of Okhotsk. Since I've been able to stand in two of the three, which has been neat.
At Wakkanai, we visited another missionary family for a little while and then stopped at a McDonald's for some ice cream! We also drove up a mountain to a lookout point were we could see the city and across Soya Bay to Cape Soya. On the way home, we stopped at a beach to take some pictures of the sunset; it was amazing!
Week 4 is when culture shock is supposed to hit. So far I've been doing well and would appreciate prayer that I would continue to adjust smoothly, especially this week. Also pray for continued personal and spiritual growth. I'm so thankful for this preparation time and practical experience on the mission field! Praise the Lord for the opportunities to be a witness in the schools through the English classes. This past week another student specifically asked me why I came to Teshio! I was able to answer simply in English, "I came to Teshio to tell people about Jesus" and Mr. Mansell explained more in Japanese. Praise the Lord that I'm beginning to venture out into the community. So far, the language barrier has been one of the biggest frustration about coming to another country. At first, the language sounds like garble until your ear begins to identify various sounds. You don't know what things are, you can't ask what they are, you can't read anything, and you can't understand what people are saying. Your language skills drop to less than a toddler's level of speech and understanding. It's humbling to realize you are totally dependent on others to communicate for you!
Thank you so much for your investment in my life through prayer this summer!
Kept for the Master's use,
Links to photos: