December Goals

1 12 2009

So this evening I was reflecting on how fast November went and how I didn’t feel near as homesick as I had in October. What changed? I added a blog a day as a challenge and tried to keep up with my Japanese during that month. Two very big goals.

Possibly a little too big. I had a really hard time keeping up with both. The Japanese book was above my head and sometimes took more time than I had available in my usually free days. I know I stayed up way to late often because of trying to do so. On the other hand, I also felt less homesick which is huge.

I realized I need some new goals for December. In part to keep me focused on what the Lord has before me and in part just to push myself to grow. In thinking about the coming month and what is coming I’ve decided to stick with two goals:

Study Japanese everyday. I’ve seen great improvements in the last month and I want to continue to improve in December. Also, I want to have book 2 finished before I go home (right now I have a test and one section of a lesson left to do. Is this do-able? I’m not entirely sure, but I really want to be able to take book 3 home with me and work on it super leisurely.

Sleep enough. I don’t want to arrive home burnt out and barely rested. That would likely mean I would get sick too, which would be a terrible way to spend the holiday.

Study Japanese everyday and sleep enough. Can I do it? I hope so.

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Blessings today

22 11 2009

This morning I woke up about half an hour before my alarm went off (supposed to go off at 4:30 am). I had gone to bed late enough last night that even my alarm time was too early. I wasn’t able to go back to sleep and didn’t have a good attitude about the whole thing.

But the day turned out well. I was able to get ready early and talk to my dad on his lunch break. We had a really good conversation. My walk to the train station in the snow wasn’t terrible. I wasn’t freezing (I now have enough layers for being outside in the snow).

I made all my connecting trains in all the new cities and stations. The train ride was long, but I had some good time with the Lord and very much enjoyed looking out the window at the beautiful countryside. Snow was falling as we rode past and it just seemed magical.

The best part though, was when I was able to speak Japanese to the lady next to me on the train enough to ask where the bathroom was. She pointed me in the right direction and away I went. When I returned, she tried to share some snacks with me, but I already had the same thing in my bag. Instead I shared a random snack I found at the station with her. She smiled and talked to me more, which I didn’t quite understand, but she was so sweet!





Shuffle

9 11 2009

Last weekend I put my iPod on shuffle while on the train to visit a friend. Right before getting off, I found this song:

“I know some things that might bring your life stress.
And you’re concerned about what’s coming next,
Feeling so worried ’cause your whole life’s a mess.
I want to tell you, you can make it through all this.
He’ll never fail you, that’s what he promised us
And even when things don’t seem to make sense
That’s the time when you hang on now you just trust.”
(He is All by KJ-52)

I was amazed, because it was like the Lord was speaking to me though these lyrics. I was having a tough time with the idea of being so far away from family, friends and my church for a whole year. I wasn’t sure if I even wanted to be here anymore. But more than that, I didn’t want to let homesickness/fear get in the way of trusting the Lord. He directed my steps. He has me right where he wants me for his purposes.

In hearing those words, I was reminded that it may be hard, but he will be with me through it all. He is my strength. In the tough “just send me home now” moments and in the “I love this I could stay here for 5 years no problem” moments, he’s with me. He’ll provide what I need. Whether it’s deep friendships or encouragement in him. He’ll provide.

He already has. I just have to look back in my journal in the time since I got here to see that he is moving in me. He has provided me with encouragement through several friends here. My Japanese is improving. He has given me a church, which was beyond my expectations.

It doesn’t matter how I feel. “He’ll never fail you, that’s what he promised us.” I just have to hang on to the things I know when I feel unsure about what is going on around me or what I can handle and he will get me through.

So when I feel like I’m in over my head and I can’t make it for however long the Lord wants me here, “That’s the time when you hang on now you just trust.” He’ll pull me through the tough times.

Links:
Hear the song

See the lyrics

And a new photo:
Temple
A temple that the Lord used to remind me how great he is. To read more, click the photo.