Yesterday, it finally happened. I have lived in all parts of the world, in America, in Europe, and in Africa, but I have never lived in the Orient. When I was invited to do this, I couldn't believe it! I went to an Outreach meeting one Monday evening like I usually do to learn about missionaries all over the world, and they began talking about Japan. Tim and Jeff went to Japan for four months last year to study at Ibaraki Christian College and to learn from and help the missionaries. I like to hear about missions, but I am not a missionary. Mr. Acton was a missionary.
Mr. Acton was the most spiritual man I ever met. He taught me so much more than French. His weekend Bible classes taught me that I have a father in Heaven who loves me and wants me to be good. He taught me what Islam was when I saw a woman being beaten with a whip. He loved the Arabs and was brave for wanting to give them the love of God. I thought of him as a spiritual giant, someone I could never reach. When Tim told me I could be a missionary too, I thought of Mr. Acton and told him, "But I am not good enough." I knew I couldn't be what Mr. Acton was. However, Tim said, "you don't have to be good enough. You just have to want to, to care."
There is no doubt I care. I love God more than anything in the world. I understand that others need to know him. I want everyone to go to Heaven. People around me are scared to travel. They tell me that they will never leave America, and I may be American, but I have been overseas most of my life. Going overseas doesn't scare me. There are those saying to me about language, "If they want to talk to me, they will just have to speak English." I want to speak to them. I'm not going to wait for them to learn to speak English. French and Spanish are fun. I want to study Japanese.
My grades were good enough to not only enter the program to go as an exchange student, but I got a scholarship! People from church want to give me money. They want a missionary, and I appreciate it because otherwise, the scholarship wouldn't take care of it alone. I am not good enough, but people want me to be a missionary.
The Japanese classes preparing us to go were fun. The girl from Hawaii taught us how to greet people and be polite in Japanese. I had heard some of it already because my dad studied Japanese and used to say "thank you" and "hello" in Japanese sometimes. Darla is going to Japan too, my friend from Sonlight Company, the acting troupe I am part of that puts on plays with Christian messages and travels to schools, churches, and other organizations in a five state area putting on plays. Darla really loves missions! We have attended a lot of meetings about missions together. There is another girl named Debbie going with us. I know her older brother. When I first came to Oklahoma Christian College, he was part of an older group of students who tried to help me. They invited me to eat with them, showed me around, and helped me understand a lot about Oklahoma Christian. Another guy from Sonlight Company decided to come too, Jonathan. When he became part of Sonlight Company, I was so impressed by his humble attitude. He used to smoke pot, but he got away from it, and now he is a Bible major studying to become a preacher. A tall, skinny, really bright guy who is studying to be a Medical Technician is part of our group named Randy. My crazy friend, Larry, has been coming to the group too. Everyone has to love Larry. I met him because he was part of a group of guys who kept making prank phone calls to me that were really funny. He is a preacher's son from Altus and a really nice, laid back guy full of jokes. Tim was with us at the meetings too. He acts like he is the Daddy of the group because he has done this before. He looks like the Riffle Man from the TV show. We were all going to Japan.
The school took good care of us. They got our plane tickets, passports, and visas for us. Someone made a mistake on my passport. They misspelled my name. We all met at the school before we left. A group of professor met us. We all went into a big room in the student center and stood in a circle holding hands. I couldn't believe the president of the school and all these important professors prayed for us. After that, we went to the airport.
We flew from Oklahoma City to Dallas, changed planes, and then went on to Los Angeles. In Los Angeles, we had to get off and wait. We had a lay over, and we were all so tired! Debbie, Darla, and I were cold and wanted to lay down and sleep somewhere. We left the guys and went looking for a quiet part of the airport. We found a place where the sun was shinning through the window and laid down on the carpet in the sun where it was warmer and went to sleep. Eventually, it was time to get on the plane for Japan.
We went on a huge Boeing 747 from Japan Airlines. I have flown many times, but it was the largest plane I had ever been on! The Japanese know how to do things! They gave us house shoes, toothbrushes and tooth paste, combs, etc. There weren't that many other people on the plane. I was really happy when Randy showed me that you could push the arms of the chairs up and lie down across the seats! The trip was so long! We flew for 24 hours!
We arrived at Haneda in Tokyo, picked our bags up, and went through customs. On the other side of customs, an American professor from Ibaraki Christian College, Professor Batton, was waiting for us. I was so tired! We all loaded in his van and drove toward Ibaraki. There were super highways going through Tokyo. It was dark outside, and all I saw were lights in a distance. It took a couple of hours to get to Ibaraki. Jim explained to us that for the first night, we would be staying in the homes of the missionaries, and he would take us to our apartments the next day.
We arrived at Ibaraki Christian College. As we drove down the dirt road, he pointed out a huge white building on the right saying it was the college. It was build right after WW2 with American money. There were more building along the road, but i didn't know what they all were. He said the missionary's houses were behind the school. There was a whole neighborhood of American style houses behind the school. As we stopped at each house, one of the students got out taking their luggage. The missionaries came out greeting them. My friends were all leaving one, by one, into the missionaries' houses, and I was left in the van. Jim finally took me to a house. He explained to me that the missionaries had already gone to sleep, but that I was supposed to just go in and make myself at home. There was a Japanese futon in the middle of the living room floor in front of the couch waiting for me. It was beautiful! The comforter on the top was satin! Jim left. I was in the dark room alone.
I got myself ready for bed and crawled into the futon. I had come so far!! My parents were thousands and thousands of miles away!! I was alone in some stranger's house that I didn't know. My friends were all somewhere else I didn't know. I began praying to God. The tears came. How could I go so far away from my parents? I had been overseas before, but never without my parents! I had never felt so alone! I didn't even have the chance to meet the people in whose house I was supposed to sleep. I didn't know where Professor Batton, went. I told God how much I needed him asking him to be with me and decided I must be crazy! I was overseas without my parents! I cried myself to sleep.
Today, Professor Batton will be showing us to our apartments. I am going to make it. God is with me because I am doing the right thing, but I am still a long way from my parents...Japan is going to be interesting, and the missionaries are nice.