We hope everyone is well. Fall is upon us and it is so nice to see the hot season of the year come to an end. Praise the Lord we are back at school. There have been no delays, due to typhoons like last year, or COVID. We are not starting online, and we are blessed to be in-person and enjoying being with the students. The children are so happy to be back. For us, this is an interesting school year, we have a child in Elementary (Eliya, 5th), Middle (Naomi, 7th), and High school (Mia, 9th).
Chapel is back in the cafeteria! Last year to follow social distancing rules, we had chapels in each classroom. Having a bigger group of students with more space we are able to sing songs worshiping our God and learn about the love of God together! Currently Pre-K and Kinder are learning about Creation. Elementary is learning about the judges and hopefully in October the sports and clubs will be starting back as well. Andy has been speaking from the book of Hebrews 11-12 over the last two month at the Higashi ku church in Sapporo.
Friendship Friday, OCSI has a tradition of having Friendship Friday every year at the beginning of the year to welcome the new students. The students spend the last two hours of the day playing group games like tug of war, water ballon dodgeball, and volleyball. We then eat some ice cream together and give presents to the new students to welcome them to OCSI. It is an exciting event, and very encouraging to see all of the students welcome the new students.
Thank you for continuing to pray for the ministry here at OCSI and for our family this school year.
Summer always goes by so fast, and we were so disappointed we were not able to make it back to the US to see everyone. This last month we were able to take a trip up to Honshu and hike Mt. Fuji. This is something we have always wanted to do and this year our girls were all old enough to make the trek. It was such a great time, and quite the challenge for all of us. We had perfect weather.
Japan and especially Okinawa are having another spike in Covid cases. We are having record breaking numbers here in Okinawa. Today we had over 600 new cases. The girls are still able to do sports, but the government is encouraging everyone to limit their activities (not going to out to eat, shopping malls, parties, etc). We are really hoping and praying the government doesn't close the schools. Thank you so much for all of your love and support!
Some prayer requests:
*Praise God, despite Covid and a sluggish economy, our expected student numbers are still up!
*Pray for the borders to open so we can get some more teachers, as we are still understaffed.
*Covid cases are at a record high in Okinawa, pray that our community is able to remain safe, and pray that our school year is not hindered by the government's orders. As of now, we are still planning to have chapel service for all students!
*Last year I wasn't able to teach the parent's Bible class at OCSI due to the restrictions, as of now it looks like Megan and I are good to go! Pray that nothing will prevent this from happening.
* Pray for Andy, he has to teach AP Computer Science on top of teaching all of the chapels (PK-12). He is receiving training for 5 days next week. The training is online, but is based in New York. Japan time 9 PM to 4AM. It might be a rough week :)
*Please continue to lift up our student body to the Lord, we want to see many lives changed for Christ.
*Andy continues to speak at the Higashi-ku church and is speaking this Sunday on Faith; pray for wisdom and clarity of speech.
*There are some major school improvements projects underway, most noticeably painting of the entire school. Pray the construction company will be finished by the start of the school year.
Below is our OCSI Annual Report, Check it out!
Thank you for all of your prayers and support, It has been a crazy end to a crazy year of school this year. The day before our high school graduation, the government of Okinawa told the all of the schools in the prefecture to shut down for two weeks. So, we had to move forward the day of school by three days. Also pushing our kinder promotion, 5th grade promotion, and 8th grade promotion up three days. It was quite stressful for everyone involved, but we are so grateful to God for getting through last week, and for allowing us to get in our 175 days consecutively with no interruptions. May was an incredibly busy month with lots happening and here are a few highlights.
Can’t believe we are into the month of May. Things in Okinawa continue to roll right along. We are still praising God we are almost finished with the school year and we have still not had to close school due to COVID. Andy is finishing up his three year rotation with the elementary students. Three years ago we started in Genesis and are now we are finishing up the epistles. We are praising God because we are able to start having small concerts and gatherings at school. God is good, and we are grateful for all of your prayers!
Merry Christmas and Happy New Years
We pray that you and your family had a wonderful Christmas and a happy New years. This last Christmas holiday was extra special for our family. We had the chance to visit Sapporo, a place we called home for 8 years (from 2007 to 2015). We saw many friends, enjoyed the snow, and worshiped with our church family there.
1st semester down one to go...
This year we were indeed blessed by the Lord here in Okinawa. We are incredibly thankful that we were able to have zero covid cases at our school, and no cause to prevent us from going to school in person! Our number of students also has even increased since the pandemic. We were even able to have some school Christmas concerts this last month. Not to say we didn't have our challenges. We had to go through this first semester without being fully staffed, missing a few teachers and teachers assistants. Andy has taught algebra 2 and precalculus all semester (maybe for the rest of the year). Megan is teaching AP English. We both love teaching in the classroom, and even though it makes us a lot more busy, we enjoy getting to know the students more. Okinawa still has some guidelines for us to follow, we have to prevent large gatherings, so there are no large chapel services or sports.
This summer, like many of you, has been an unusual summer. Due to COVID restrictions, we were not able to travel for most of the summer or gather in large groups. We were able to take a small 3 day trip to Osaka at the beginning of the summer. We got to pet some deer, go to a theme park, and visit a few world heritage sites. It has been a little bit different, not bad necessarily, just different. We were able to spend lots of time together as a family. Also this summer, all three girls had an orthodontist appointment, and to our surprise, ALL THREE girls needed braces!
Time for School, well not yet...
We are so excited for school to start back up, AND to meet on campus. We were supposed to start on August 24th, however the Okinawa gov’t declared a state of emergency, preventing us from going to school. So the first day of school got moved back to the September 31st, HOWEVER a big typhoon is coming, so we have to cancel school on 8/31 and 9/1, So, Lord willing, we will have our first day of school on September 2nd!
Lots of schools are having to do online learning right now, but we are blessed to be in a position where we can come back to school. We do have to follow some social distancing guidelines to be as safe as possible. For example, checking temperatures, washing hands, spacing everyone as much as possible, not mixing classes as much as possible, and no large group gathering.
We had asked you to pray for our new teachers we had hired for the new school year. We have confirmation that immigration is working on their visas now, but the new teachers still are waiting. Please pray they are able to come soon, and pray for Andy while he is teaching High school math until they come.
-Successful start of the new school year
-New teachers able to arrive
-No new Covid outbreaks in Okinawa
-Pray for student hearts to turn to Christ
Thank you for all of your prayers and support. We have so much to be thankful for! God is so good. Praise the Lord...
-We made it through the school year.
- We were able to welcome the students back to school for the last three weeks of the school year.
- We were able to have our high school graduation, 8th grade promotion, 5th grade promotion, and kindergarten promotion. All of them were held outdoors with a limit in attendance to immediate family only. Nevertheless, the students were able to be honored on their special day.
- We are also able to continue with summer school as planned (6/22-7/10).
- Over the last month, churches have started opening up.
- A student in Eliya's 3rd grade class committed his life to Christ.
- Japan’s state of emergency was lifted, people can feel free to travel between prefectures, however Japan still has its travel ban enforced, not allowing anyone from most countries around the world in (including America) to enter the country.
Summer plans, We are planning on staying in Japan this year. Megan is going to do AP training online, Mia and Eliya will continue to do gymnastics, Naomi will continue to do soccer. We are planning on taking a three day trip to Osaka, and if time a trip to Hokkaido to visit our friends and church in Hokkaido.
Please pray for the new staff for next year, Immigration is still not processing visas; and it would be difficult to not have them to start the year.
Thank you for all of your continued prayers and support. I’m sure everyone’s life looks like it has slowed down a bit, and we are no different.
-Japan is still under a state of emergency until May 31. People are encouraged to stay home, and only go out for necessities. (Most places are still open)
-In Okinawa we just had our 7th straight day with ZERO new confirmed cases of Corona! Praise the Lord. We have had a total of 140 cases in Okinawa confirmed, many who have recovered.
-We continue to do online schooling at OSCI, but hope to go back before the school year is over.
-Churches continued to be online only, feels kind of sad not to be with people.
-Megan goes into school, however most of the staff is encouraged to work from home.
-Our family has spent a lot of time together at home. Considering the situations we feel pretty blessed. We miss being with people, but we are happy we can still enjoy nature and spend more time together.
-To make online learning for our students a little more exciting we have had virtual spirit week, where the students had the opportunity to show school spirits in a variety of ways like pajama day, talent day, mask day, etc. This coming week we will be doing virtual service week, where the students will have opportunities to serve, things like writing doctor’s letters, chalk drawing on their sidewalk to encourage their neighborhood, and take a walk and pick up trash in their neighborhood. We had to cancel service week this year because of the coronavirus, but we believe this will at least get the kids serving from home.
-Please pray for everyone who are planning on going to the states this summer. Many of our staff who are returning to the states are having a difficult time finding tickets to return.
-Please pray for new staff, Japan immigration is currently not processing any new visas, and Japan is currently not allowing anyone who are coming from most parts of the world including America and Canada.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.