Sunday, August 12, 2012

And on the Seventh Day, we rested

Today is Sunday here in Japan. Since this is the 2nd weekend of the month, we worked on Saturday (2nd and 4th Saturdays are working Saturdays). But today, Sunday, we are resting. So I will restfully and relaxingly reflect on this past week.


Our very first impressions of ARI were very mysterious, as we arrived in the dark (11:00pm). Five and a half hours later, we were peacefully awoken by the morning light peaking up over the mountain ridge that sits outside our back porch. I suppose it woke the roosters up too because it is at 4:30am every morning that they begin to crow. As obnoxious as you may think that would be, it’s not. It is the sound of life on a farm!

First Day of Work!
We were told to relax our first day and not worry about doing much so that we could recover from the journey. This was pretty hard for Doug and I to do. In our minds, we had not been doing much for the past 35 hours, and we were very ready to be productive once again. But we kept ourselves busy by exploring and asking questions.

The Community

This year there are 30 participants in the ARI Rural Leaders Training Program. They are all established leaders in their communities and come from Brazil, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo, East Timor, Haiti, India, Indonesia, Japan, Liberia, Malawi, Malaysia, Myanmar, Papua New Guinea, The Philippines, Sri Lanka, and Uganda. In addition to the 30 participants, there are about 15 or so volunteers at the moment (including us!), mainly from the U.S. and Japan. Plus staff, there are ~60 people living/working/serving at ARI that we interact with each day.


So this past week we have been getting to know people in our community and settling into our daily schedule and work. I posted the daily schedule earlier, we follow that every week day. For the “Foodlife Work,” Doug is in the pig group and I am in the fish group. Foodlife is a term coined by the founder of ARI, Rev. Dr. Toshihiro Takami, to emphasize the idea that food and life cannot be separated. To live, one must have food, and food must live to become food to provide life, etc. So Foodlife Work (FLW) is a what we do before breakfast and dinner to sustain the cycle of Foodlife. This usually consists of feeding livestock, cleaning, working in the fields, and cooking.

For the morning and afternoon activities, Doug works on the farm (usually in the field but also includes livestock) and I work in the kitchen (prepare lunch in the morning, various activities in the afternoon). I believe the rest of the schedule is self-explanatory. But please, if you have any questions about our work, feel free to ask!

Community Event

Doug and I arrived just in time for the August “community event.” This is organized by different groups of people each month (this month it was organized by the participants) as a time to build and grow as a community. So on Thursday, we went to a park and played many field and team-building games. 
This was a wonderful way to be welcomed into the community!

Weekend Downtime

After getting back to work on Friday and Saturday morning, we were able to rest Saturday afternoon. 
We rode bikes and went down to the river with some others, barely got back in time to escape from the thunderstorm that moved in, and then rode bikes to the supermarket after dinner. 

Such a lovely day! This morning we went to a Catholic church with some of the participants. Even though we could not understand the Japanese that was spoken, we appreciated the time and space for worship and fellowship. Now we spend this Sunday afternoon cleaning our room, uploading photos, practicing our Japanese on the Rosetta Stone (arigatoh gozaimas, Patrick!), and sharing our experiences with you.

We can’t believe we’ve already been in Japan for a week. We have done so many wonderful things, learned so much, and met so many beautiful people in only a few days. Doug and I feel really blessed to be at ARI in such a welcoming, diverse, yet loving community. It is amazing to think that we get to live here for an entire year! We hope you will continue to follow us on our blog as we highlight our time here.


One quick update before we go, we heard a few days ago that we received funds ($2,000) from the Keller Grant that we applied for back in July (hooray) We also raised over $2,000 at our Sushi Sayonara, bringing our grand total up to $19,700! We are so close to reaching our goal of $20,000 and are just so humbled by all your love and support. We are forever grateful!

Fellow servants in Christ,

Doug and Jenny

P.S. We are starting a new page (tab) on our blog for miscellaneous yet fun facts we here in Japan, be on the look-out for that!

1 comment:

  1. It sounds like you guys are having a great time!! Thanks for the updates. Miss you guys!