It all started on Tuesday night. Men's time was absolutely amazing- the bonding that happened was something I hadn't really ever seen before, and Christ's love was so apparent. The time that was scheduled to go from 7-9 didn't end til 1130! If you know me, you know that 4 conscious hours of no eating is just not fun for me, so as soon as men's time ended, my roommates (Jeremy and Sammy) and I decided to go to McDonald's to try this thing called the Shaka Shaka Chicken... I'll probably explain some other time haha. But I'd gotten a message that Heather needed to talk to me so I did that first- she was sitting on the front porch and apparently Jess was worried that her cold that had lasted for more than a week was more than a cold but that it was an infection spreading from her spine and that she needed to see a doctor stat. So Heather and I talked for a little bit, trying to figure out what on earth we could do- we were SO unprepared for a situation like this! We called Scott and he told us calling Cam (the guy from JCCC in charge of taking care of us, basically) would be the best idea. But it was nearly midnight so we decided to wait til morning. Then I grabbed the roomies and went off to Mickey D's. After a fun, chill time there, we strolled back to the apartments, and saw Heather still sitting in front of the building but this time with a Japanese girl. We were confused so we went and asked what was up and here's apparently what happened:
Heather was sitting there, crying and feeling overwhelmed and also having her heart broken for the Japanese people, when a Japanese girl named Miki screeched to a halt on her bike in front of the building and said to Heather in broken English "what is wrong with you? You are cute and you are crying. It is not okay," and proceeded to get off her bike and sit next to her to comfort her! Turns out SHE'S A CHRISTIAN! AND her mother is an English teacher, so she called her mom at like 1230 am and had her translate their conversation! She even got Heather to sing "Amazing Grace" with her!
What a blessing!
So anyway the day I called Cam at 8, 9, and 10 in the morning, but couldn't get a hold of him until the third try because he was in a meeting. But when I finally got through to him, he was so helpful and as soon as the meeting was over, he headed over to an English-speaking doctor he was somewhat acquainted with to see if he could see Jess that day. Well, the doctor was going to be doing admin work that whole afternoon, but he decided to open up a slot at 3:30 for her! I immediately looked up directions so I could send Jess to Cam's so that he could show her to the doctor's office. Apparently, she got semi-lost at the second transfer, and people there kept on giving her differing wrong directions, but somehow she ended up on the right train and got to Cam's on time to get to the doctor! There, apparently the doctor was shocked at how she lasted so long with the pain that she was going through with the seriousness of the infection. He examined her, prescribed antibiotics and painkillers for her, and did a minor pseudo surgical procedure to drain the fluid that had accumulated- all for less than 10,000 yen (approx US$100)!! side: healthcare back home is sooo much more expensive than here! Her two follow up visits of further draining of fluids and such have cost her ~US$11 each! Now she's feeling infinitely better and praising God for it!
When the day was over and the campus teams arrived back in Koenji, Heather came into my apartment with an interesting look on her face. It looked like a smile, but with something behind it. So when she said, "Wanna hear something awesome??" I thought "Is she setting me up for bad news after this?" Turns out four years of friendship has gotten us to know each other pretty dang well- I was right! haha. But the "something awesome" was something so awesome I don't think anything could really trump it. She sat down and with an excited expression told me "Joe led someone to Christ today!!" I didn't even know how to react, I was so excited! You come on these trips and you know that God can do amazing things, and you come to hopefully see people come to Christ, but I know Japan- I know how hard it is to break through spiritually with people. And I guess that got my faith a little weak- I'd forgotten for a second that we were actually here to hopefully see people come to know our God! WOW. What great news! We could totally sense all of heaven rejoicing about it too.
Then came the bad news- JCCC (and with them, our Project's Team 2) had basically been kicked off of one of the campuses. They did some research on CCC, and because we are a staffed student organization, and staff trains students on ministry and evangelism, it is by their definition a cult, and therefore we are no longer allowed on their campus. They even got the names of students at that university who are involved with Student Impact and blacklisted them and threatened them with not being able to graduate if they didn't refrain from evangelistic/outreach activity! The saddest part is that it's a university that was founded on Christianity and even still calls itself a "Christian" university. Oh the hypocrisy of it all...
It really is a bummer that we got asked to leave. There are members of Team 2 who were pretty seriously crushed about it, because they had developed some great contacts and connections at that campus. So please pray that they would be encouraged and that God would show them how He is going to use this for their good and the good of the mission.
Update(6/14): Already though, blessings have come of it. First, four of team 2's members had been asked since the beginning of Project to leave their team about 5 times throughout the summer to go to ICU High School to minister to high schoolers. They would get to share their testimonies in a classrooms during "C-Week" (Christianity Week) because one of the teachers, who is a Christian, opened up his class to have them do that. Well, now that team 2 wouldn't get to go to ICU anymore, the entire team would get to go to the HS! It's been great, because on the testimony days in C-Week, the 4 team 2ers got to share their testimonies with like 120 freshmen and sophomores, and then the other 4 got to join them in leading discussion groups with the students. It's been a fantastic opportunity, since there were way too many students for just 4 of our members to handle.
Then that night, after family night (during which we went to see the Star Trek movie [so good!] in Shinjuku) we were standing at Nakano station, waiting to change trains onto the Chuo Local that would take us back to Koenji, and it was PACKED. The trains coming in were packed AND the entire platform was full of people so it was gonna be one of those typical Tokyo no-such-thing-as-personal-space experiences. Well, turns out, one of our students is extremely claustrophobic and was starting to freak out- legitimately having a panic attack and heavily hyperventilating! The train got there so I told everyone to just get on the train and I stayed with him. After prayer and sitting down, he calmed down a lot but still wasn't okay with getting on a packed train so we ended up taking a taxi back, and had a nice chat with the super friendly driver... but wow. Talk about attack- we knew the guy was claustrophobic, but we didn't know how bad it would get, and even he said he'd never freaked out like that before.
So anyway, with the whole last minute figuring out a doctor's appointment for Jess thing, the getting kicked off of ICU and having to figure out where the team would go for the rest of the week thing, and the panic attack thing, it was kind of an overwhelming day. To add to it, we had the awesome blessings of a sweet men's time, Miki encouraging Heather and Joe leading a guy to Christ! So putting it all together, I basically crashed. Heather pulled me aside after everyone went to their rooms and asked me how I was doing and after a few seconds of silence, all I could say was "Not good." I was tired, worn out, emotionally drained, and weak. I knew God liked it when I was in a weak place so that He could show me His strength, and it'd been a great couple of weeks of learning to be more and more flexible because I really don't have anything under my control (even when I try to). But it was just getting to me a bit too much. Do you ever have those times when you're just like, "God, I know You're doing a great work in me, and that's awesome and exciting and all... But can You slow down a little bit? This hurts..." I do. And that was one of those times. I don't blame God- I know He knows what He's doing. I just let myself lose sight of that. Thankfully talking to Heather was very therapeutic and God used it to comfort me, but I have to say it was a low point for me.
A lot's happening here. Your prayers and encouragement are working so much. God is doing amazing things and even when the enemy tries to get in there and mess things up, God wins. Woot. Keep the prayers coming!
And sorry about the length of this post :)