It's been a while! So much has happened since I last posted an update on what's been going on at YWAM Brisbane. I went to Japan! You have probably seen a lot of photos from this outreach, so now I'm going to tell you all about it! Leading up to this big trip I was trying to get as prepared as I could with everything I felt God wanted me to do in this incredible country. I've known since November that I was supposed to go on outreach to Japan, it was just a matter of time before I was there! My main jobs were photography and worship leading. The latter was very new to me, so much time was going to be spent practicing the guitar! I learned a little bit last year for a missions trip, but I had not practiced at all, so I was basically learning all over again. Good times! I really felt called to lead worship while we were in Japan, so God gave me the motivation to practice daily and pray and ask for His anointing in worship. And let me just say that I am so glad I practiced.
It's 7 am and we're saying our goodbyes to our YWAM family for the next 7 weeks, about to board a 9 hour flight straight to Tokyo, Japan. I had already been to the airport the day before though because Emil, Isaac, and I hid in the trunk of the van and scared our school leader when she opened the trunk ha! That was while they took the team going to Malaysia to the airport. It ended with some Maccas though, so it was #worthit. I didn't think it would be hard to say goodbye because I was going to see everyone again in two months, but it was so hard! I was going to miss my friends so much. And so the journey to the world's biggest city began!
We arrived in Tokyo safely around 6 pm. I couldn't have asked for a better welcome into outreach: Half of the host family was waiting for us in the airport to take us back to their home where we would be staying for the next 4 weeks. The 9 year old boy Yoppy ran and jumped into my arms and gave me a huge hug. What a welcome! I have never met these people before. His mom, Tamae, and sister, Ryona, were also there and very welcoming too. We then proceeded to taking an hour train ride to our new home! During the train ride, Yoppy sneezed all over me, so I instantly felt like family ha! He is such a sweet boy. We made it to the house later that night pretty exhausted, but excited to meet the rest of the family. So let me share their names so you can have an idea of the wonderful family we stayed with. Guy and Tamae are our hosts, Guy is from North Carolina ('merica) and Tamae is from Japan. Guy is a former YWAMer who went to Japan on outreach and stayed there instead of graduating and has been there since! How cool is that?! Tamae is a very kind-hearted, hospitable mother who supports Guy so incredibly. Their relationship is very inspiring. Next is Yoppy who I've shared a little bit about already. He is a crazy boy! He has an endless amount of energy, but man, he has the sweetest heart I've ever seen. No matter how crazy he may get, he is still so nice and respectful, especially for a now 10 year old boy! Next is Ryona, she is 12. She is so creative! I was able to spend a lot of time with her and she's like a little sister to me! We spent time baking cakes, making origami, playing Mario Kart, walking the dog, etc. it was awesome. Ryona is very likable, she is friends with all the kids at school because she is very including. Next up is Kazuto! He is 14 and hilarious! Whether we were at school or home, he was constantly making me laugh. He would teach me funny words in Japanese and him, Emil, and I would spend hours cracking up in our room to these words! He is also so talented at sports. Whatever he plays, he is so good at. Especially soccer! We would go to the park every week and play soccer and everyone wanted him on their team. Last, but definitely not least, is Michiru. She is 15, and we related the first day because we both really like the Japanese 19 member boy band, Exile. Michiru is so talented! Whatever she picks up, she is good at. Especially art. She is incredible at drawing anime and can read a big anime book in one day. So that is the fantastic Bishop family! I felt to share a little about each one not only to give you an idea of what it was like, but because they took a HUGE part in me having an incredible outreach. By the end of our time in Tokyo I really felt like a part of their family. So now let me briefly tell you about what we did in Tokyo and Osaka.
For 4 weeks we spent almost every day in a school of 20 kids. They're ages went from 6-18. Some of the things we got to do included worship, ESL classes, geography classes, small groups, sports, etc. One of my favorite things was getting to lead worship. The first few times we played were pretty rough, but how else are you going learn and grow?! After a week or so I was feeling more confident in my playing and singing. What an incredible environment to learn how to lead worship and play different instruments! The kids didn't care how good you were or how well it went, they just wanted to play the instruments with you and worship! It was an incredible moment having the opportunity to watch these 20 kids worship the Lord with all their hearts. The rest of the time we got to play a lot of soccer and capture the flag in the beautiful, crisp winter weather. I enjoyed our time in Tokyo so much. It was hard and exhausting, but we saw a lot of breakthrough in the kids' lives during this time. Here's one of my team's video updates from our time in Tokyo:
Next up is Osaka! We were expecting this leg of the trip to be as busy as Tokyo but it was a totally different feel. The day we flew in we just hung out as a team, worshipped, and went to bed early! We stayed at a YWAM base that is there only to host outreach teams, so we were the only people in the house besides our wonderful host Sarah from South Korea, and a missionary named Grace who was in her 70's and from China. She was full of incredible stories about what God has done in her amazing life. The first few nights we spent around a dinner table hearing these stories from Grace. It was surprisingly restful to just get to sit and listen and get filled up with excitement for hat God has for us after the crazy last 4 weeks. Our team really needed that time. We were also allowed so much more time to spend with Jesus alone since we didn't have to be anywhere in the mornings. Our main job in Osaka was to go to different churches and share testimonies, dances, lead worship, and just be there to connect with the wonderful people of these churches. Bell, Emil, and I got the flu for about a week so we weren't able to go to a few of the church services which was hard, but we recovered quickly! It was a difficult time for me many because I don't like public speaking, and I was in a dance ha! I don't dance at all, so that was a very big stretch too. And that's what God had planned for me and it was awesome! I saw myself grow a lot while we were in Osaka. 7 1/2 weeks had flown by and we were on our way back to Brisbane!
We arrived earlier than the other teams so it was cool to get to know the new students that arrived while we were gone, then be able to be on base to welcome each team back. The other teams on my DTS went to India, Malaysia, Berlin, Australia, and Detroit. It was so exciting being back and getting to see everyone and hear all their stories and tell ours. Only a month left of the school! That last month consisted of lectures about Destiny/Purpose and Re-Entry. We also spent our weekends going on as many adventures as we could before it was all over. The picture above is from a small rainforest we went to inland of the Sunshine Coast. Destiny/Purpose week was one of the most impactful weeks of the whole DTS for me. God spoke so many things to me in this week. He told me what I was supposed to do after DTS which was a crazy experience. I now have a statement that shows my purpose in life along with a plan for when I go home.
So let's fast forward to graduation:
This right here is my new family. We spent day and night together for the last 7 months. They say that knowing someone for 7 months on a DTS is like knowing them for 7 years. I feel that. I made friendships that are so incredible and will stay strong for the rest of my life. No matter how far away in the world we all are, thanks to technology, we can consistently stay in contact which I am so thankful for. I love these people so much and I'll for sure miss them all!
As you may have seen, we went on a road trip around the whole east coast of Australia! Instead of sharing all about it, I'll give you one photo for each location we went to. It was an awesome trip and an awesome way to end my time in Australia, for now...
THE GREAT BARRIER REEF, CAIRNS, AUS
CRYSTAL CASCADES, CAIRNS, AUS
12 APOSTLES, AUS
EDEN BEACH, AUS
BLUE MOUNTAINS, AUS
FIGURE EIGHT POOLS, ROYAL NATIONAL PARK, AUS
Thank you for reading this last blog post of my YWAM DTS experience! It was an AMAZING time and I have loads more stories to share. Hopefully there will be another post soon about what's next for me! Thank you everyone for your prayers and support while I was in Australia! Peace!