Sunday, March 28, 2010

Let's get started

Well, I've spent this past week settling in and getting busy in Karuizawa.  Things have come along nicely at the camp since I left in December.  Two young men from Canada have continued the renovations on Cabin #5 for the past couple of months, and boy has it improved.  All the existing walls and floor were re-framed and the cabin has been wired, insulated, and is ready for drywall. When finished, it will be a beautiful cabin.

The two young men are Josh and Florian.  They have been working here at the camp since mid January and just left on Friday to start their journey back home.  I enjoyed working with and hanging out with them this past week.  Despite working all day during the week, we found the time to do some hiking, visit the onsen a few times, share some meals, and even make a record setting, enormous birthday card for Marg Scott, who has done a wonderful job cooking for us.

My priority for now is to make preparations for cabin 14 to be framed by the same team I worked with last fall on the meeting room.  They will be here in mid-April so I've been busy clearing the site, starting on the concrete foundation, and getting all the materials gathered so that we can start framing as soon as they arrive.  The picture to the right is what is left of the old cabin 14.  It has been sitting exposed like this for a few years and so the frame is now rotted and no good, so I'm tearing it down and starting from scratch.  

To see more pictures, check out my web album.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Week Number One

Well, it's been one week now since I got here.  I spent the first few days in Tokyo recovering from a little jet lag and doing some orientation and then went to a prayer conference Sunday night and Monday along with many other TEAM Japan'ers.  Finally made it up to Karuizawa on Tuesday and spent a couple of days getting settled in to my wonderful new apartment and preparing for the next big project at the camp.  Found out that my Certificate of Eligibility for my visa has been approved, so now I'm back in Tokyo and will try to get that tomorrow.  I may have to be off of Japanese soil to get the actual visa, which means a nice little trip to Guam, but there is a possibility I'll be able to get it here.  We'll find out tomorrow I guess. 

Still working out some glitches with the internet in my apartment in Karuizawa, so be patient with email responses and blog updates.  I'll hopefully be able to catch a bus to take me back up there tomorrow night after I get my CoE.

It feels good to be back in Japan, and I'm ready to get to work.

These are a few pictures I took on a walk through the park in Tokyo.  Spring is coming!  I just started a web album that I'll continue to upload more pictures to here.

bird watchers at the park

I'm Baaaack

I guess you could say I've caught the itch, I've become and addict.  I just can't pass up on an opportunity to serve the Lord through building.  Whether that mean giving up Saturday mornings to work with Habitat for Humanity in Bloomington, skipping school to do hurricane relief work on the Gulf Coast, spending spring break building homes for Habitat in Georgia, or moving to a foreign country for a year to renovate a Christian camp, it doesn't matter, I just can't bring myself to pass any opportunity up.

Some would look at all the time and effort that I've put into these kinds of trips or this type of volunteer work, and view it as a major sacrifice.  I don't view it that way at all, in fact, it's just the opposite from my point of view.  I view it as a privilege, and almost even feel selfish for doing it.  No, I don't do this kind of work out of selfish motives, my own personal agenda is not my purpose.  But I do find time and time again that nothing brings me more fulfillment, more meaning, more of a sense of purpose, or more joy as when I am able to use the gifts God has given me to serve Him. 

"For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it"  Matthew 10:39    What may look like a sacrifice, or a giving up of one's life, is actually a means of finding a life you never could have found otherwise. 

That is why I feel so blessed to be able to spend this next year in Japan renovating a missionary camp.  As most of you know, I spent 3 months last fall doing carpentry at the TEAM missionary camp in Karuizawa, and was then asked to return to fill in a position that had opened up.  I've accepted and I'm starting, well, right now.  I'm in Tokyo right now as I write this letter and will head up to the camp tomorrow morning.  I'll be here in Japan for one year and by the end will hopefully have finished all the major renovation projects.