Sunday, February 19, 2012

Beginning of a Journey Together

The motto of the Asian Rural Institute is, "That we may live together." We've titled our blog, "That we may serve together" to expand our mission to serving those whom we will, in fact, be living with, but also to serving those back home. Our mission is much larger than two Arkansans living in Japan for a year, it's about God and God's mission in the world, and we invite you to take on an active role in that mission.

Hello friends!

Our names are Doug and Jenny Knight. We will be serving as Episcopal missionaries in Japan. Our service will be for one year, starting in August. But we won’t be going alone. We’ll need the prayers, emails, and financial support of our entire diocese back home in Arkansas.

What is YASC?
The Young Adult Service Corps (YASC) is a foreign mission program within The Episcopal Church. They bring young adults into the life of the worldwide Anglican Communion and into the daily work of a local community of a foreign country. YASC is mainly a placement and support program that prepares and assists young Episcopal missionaries as they serve abroad.

Tochigi Prefecture, Japan

Our Placement
We will be serving with a program in Japan called the Asian Rural Institute (ARI). On a farm in Tochigi, Japan ARI operates an international educational program where rural leaders are trained in sustainable agriculture. They run a 9-month program for leaders who then return home to share their knowledge and experience with their rural communities. We will be at ARI for one year working as staff to help maintain the farm and engage in the community. You can find out more about the program at Asian Rural Institute.

Our friend, Nicole Groome of the Diocese of Virginia is currently serving at ARI through the YASC program. Check out the blog that she is keeping to share her experience with everyone supporting her:

Nicole in the rice fields!
Why we feel called to serve with YASC
We like their approach to mission work. They see mission as making connections and sharing the love of God—between people, between countries, and between cultures. It is a mutually advantageous experience that seeks to bring people into closer communion with one another. Since we have been together, Doug and I have always talked of traveling abroad and serving others. The opportunity to do this within the context of The Episcopal Church is a dream come true for us and we look forward to making those connections and bringing our friends and family into closer communion with our future friends and family in Japan.

How We Got Interested
We participated in an Episcopal young adult event called Gather Around the Table back in December 2010. It was there that we heard about a program called the Young Adult Service Corps. At the time, we were juniors in college but very interested in possibly serving with the program after we graduated in 2012. We contacted the program and their advice to us was to go ahead and apply for the YASC program so that we could continue discerning our call. We attended a discernment weekend with the other applicants to find out more about the YASC program and for the program to find out more about us.  With our intention of service still a year out, we did not continue with the placement process but instead continued our discernment into the coming year. By the time applications opened up for this coming program year, Doug and I felt very strongly about serving as foreign missionaries with the YASC program.

We attended a discernment weekend for the second time in the beginning of February to meet all the new applicants and further discern our call. It was a week later that we found out we would be serving with the program in Japan at the Asian Rural Institute (ARI)! We were ecstatic!

Thank you for checking out our blog and reading what we are all about! We welcome any help or input you might have! Check out the Give Your Support page to learn how!

Your fellow servants in Christ,

Doug and Jenny