Happy 2023! I'm hoping that this new year brings love, joy, and peace in the Lord. 2022 was an extra special year for our family, with the addition of our precious new baby daughter, Noa. She is now three months old and has been a real joy to our family. She is a very healthy and cheerful girl and we loved playing with her during this winter break.
During this new year's season, I was reminded of the need for the gospel in Japan. During new years, most Americans would spend time with friends and family, playing games, watching a movie, or praying at church. While Americans may be used to seeing the New Years countdown and some fireworks, Japanese TV shows everyone lined up at temples to pray for good fortunes. This shows what a huge need Japan has for Christ and that the population is still less than 1% Christian. Please pray for a great spiritual revival to take place in this country that we love.
So what kind of difference can just one new disciple make? Recently, I got to hear the testimony of our Japanese pastor. He was the youngest son of a large family. He was saved by missionaries at a church camp when he was in middle school. Since then, God has used this man to start a church in Tokyo, and for the last 15+ years he and his wife have lived in Okinawa serving as a pastor on Sundays and a principal of a Christian preschool during the week. You never know what God will do with a person's life after they surrender their life to Him. This is one of the exciting parts of serving at a Christian school when you see students coming to faith, growing in their faith, and eventually sharing the Gospel. Please pray for the staff at OCSI to do their very best to share the gospel and for students to listen and accept God's Grace.
Please pray for Megan goes back to work this week. Pray for her transition back into her role as the head of school, and the start of Noa going to Japanese day care.
Welcome Noa Pearl Roe
October was a big month for the us as we got to welcome Noa Pearl into the world on October 1st! Leading up to her birth, we prayed and prayed hoping for a healthy baby, and we got it! Noa is a big, healthy and beautiful girl. She sleeps well, eats well, and doesn't fuss. She is already smiling and interacting with all of us. We couldn't be any happier, and we feel so very blessed. Thank you for all of your prayers! We can not wait to show her off to everyone next time we come to visit!
Middle School Camp
This month, the Middle schoolers at OCSI had their school camp. Naomi and Eliya both attended this year and were even put in the same cabin. This year's camp was held at a camp ground with beautiful nature in the woods. The students got to experience outdoor games, adventures, and activities. There were chapel services everyday with live worship music, and messages all tying in with the theme of Wonder.
The chapel program is going very well at OCSI. Andy continues to minister to all of the students at OCSI through chapels and counseling. Pre K just finished learning about creation. Kindergardeners are learning about what faith is by reading through the life of Abraham. Elementary students are reading the story of Ester, and learning to have courage when obeying God. Secondary students just finished a series on what it means to be a disciple of Jesus.
Thank you so much for all of your prayers and support! Praise the Lord for Megan and baby Noa's continued health. Megan is currently a week past her due date, and we are waiting patiently for the right time. We are thankful that Megan was able to get the school year started off well before starting maternity leave. She led two weeks of staff orientation before the school year started and was able to start the two weeks of school as well!
We have been so blessed to have a great community around us who has thrown us a couple of baby showers! It has been 11 years since we have had a kid, so we didn't have any baby supplies.
School got off to a great start this year! Eliya made it all the way to middle school, Naomi started 8th grade, and Mia started 10th grade. They all continue to be hardworking at school and have a lot of fun with friends and sports! Eliya's team won a soccer tournament and now represents Okinawa and gets to go to a regional tournament in Miyazaki! Naomi turned 14 this month! We are all super excited to watch her grow up spiritually and become a woman of God. She still continues to passionately work hard at soccer as well. Mia joined the school worship team this year and was the lead guitarist. She did an amazing job on her first chapel. Andy has started his weekly chapels for all of the students, pre-k to seniors. His mentor programs are up and going, and he is currently going through all of the classes organizing service projects for them.
We are all very grateful for all of your prayers and support and will keep you up to date on baby Noa!
Trip to America
We were so blessed to have the opportunity to go back to America this summer for a small visit. It has been three years since we have been back, and that is way too long for our daughters to not see their grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins! While in the states our girls got to experience a few things for the first time including... catching and cleaning a fish, floating down a river, going on a dolphin cruise, boogie boarding, and so much more. We also had the opportunity to visit a few churches, and give some presentations about our work in Okinawa. This year it was great having our girls help hand out snacks and talk to people about Japan. With a limited amount of time, we were unfortunatly not able to visit all the churches we wanted to. We also didn’t have the time to visit the Team Expansion home office in Kentucky, but we were blessed to have Cory our field leader pay us a visit in Kansas City. If we didn't get to see you this time, we will be back next summer to show off our new baby!
Megan is now 8 months pregnant, and she is doing very well. After coming back from America, she had a doctor’s visit and praise the Lord everything looked great. Baby is healthy and growing, and mom is also healthy. The due date is just over a month away.
Update on school
Once again, we had a four week session of summer school for the students who were sticking around Okinawa this summer. We had many students join and had tons of fun, improved their math and English skills, and learned more about Jesus!
We have a huge praise... OCSI is fully staffed! This hasn’t happened in three years due to visa difficulties related to COVID. Because of this, Andy will get to return to focusing on his role as the school chaplain and counselor! This week is the start of new staff orientation, we have 12 new staff joining us this year. Please pray for the as they get work their way into the school. Please pray for Megan as she leads over the next few weeks while 9 months pregnant. Next week will be all staff orientation.
Megan will be able to take a few months maternity leave this fall, knowing she has a very supportive and helpful leadership team. Enrollment is still growing, and the school is bursting at the seams... we are looking forward to the opportunity to serve over 560 students and their families in the upcoming school year.
Andy is putting together a preaching calendar for the year for his chapels, if you have any good sermon series ideas, he would love to hear from you. Andy also does music for elementary chapel, if you have any good suggestions for music (especially with dances) please let him know; you can write him at email@example.com.
"Why do you look for the living among the dead? Jesus is not here; he has risen!" Luke 24:5-6
Happy Easter from our family to yours. Jesus is risen. The curtain is torn, the tomb is empty, death is defeated, our hope is set, Jesus is alive! Praise the Lord!
The Easter season is all about celebrating new life, and speaking of which, we have a big announcement regarding new life. Megan is expecting our 4th daughter! She is due in September and we are so excited to welcome another little one into this world. Our 3 girls couldn't be more excited either. Truly a blessing from God, please pray for mom and baby.
After 3 years of not being able to visit due to the Covid travel restrictions, the restrictions have been lifted, the time in quarantine have been significantly lessened, and we are making a trip this summer. We will be in the US from June 20 through July 8th. We will be in Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, and Florida. We hope to have the chance to see everyone when we get there.
Passing of a student:
This month was full of ups and a big down. We had one of our students at OCSI passed away due to an illness. She was friends with one of our daughters. It was very tragic for her classmates and especially her family. Andy spoke to the class about grief and loss and at the funeral Andy got to share, pray, and the OCSI students sang Amazing Grace (at the mother's request). It is so heart-wrenching but God is good and has been at work. Please pray for all of the people affected by the loss.
High school camp:
Last month we had High School camp, and once again due to covid restrictions change things a bit. Usually we would go for a 3 day camp to a camp facility, but this year we had to meet on campus and do different excursions. The students had the choice of doing park golf, bowling, ice skating, and so on. Every morning the students would meet at the school, and a chapel time and then go on their excursion, it is not as good as a camp experience, but it is better than nothing. This year the theme of the camp was "Jesus is". Many of the students responded to the gospel in a variety of ways, whether it was a recommittal their lives to Christ, or accepting Christ as their savior.
Kid city is always a highlight for our 1st and 2nd grade students. They get a glimpse of what is it like to play a variety of roles of society. Children had the opportunity to be in the role of a police officer, fire fighter, city worker, banker, store clerk, nurse, vet, and so on.
Upcoming Events & Prayer Requests:
Elementary camp is this week, we are able to go to a campground for a 3 day camp. Pray for hearts open to the gospel. Andy is one of the camp leaders. Next month the 5th grade students will be going to mainland Japan and Andy will be joining as a leader as well. The end of the school year is always a busy season. Please pray that we can finish the school year well!
We hope everyone is doing well this winter season. It sounds like it has been a rough winter for everyone in the US, Tokyo, and Sapporo. It is definitely not the case in Okinawa, It has been a very mild and enjoyable winter. In fact this year the sakura (cherry blossoms) came early. Okinawa is always the first in the country to get their sakura, but to see them in January seems a bit unusual.
This month OCSI had many staff who were out sick. Megan and I had to cover for many teachers. I got to cover middle school Bible, high school Bible, digital tools, and even 2nd grade. When covering for other teachers, it makes an already busy schedule pretty hectic. A few times I thought maybe it would have been better to just cancel school, however, after seeing the students smile, hearing the students laugh and play at recess, after hearing them praise the Lord at chapel, I immediately thought it is well worth all of the craziness. Wouldn't you know it, after covering for many teachers, Megan and I were out sick and needed teachers to cover for us as well :) As of now, the staff at OCSI are all better and Okinawa has ended their quasi-state of emergency.
Over the last three years we have not been able to bring any teachers from overseas, and we had asked that you be praying for staff for the next school year. The borders are still closed, but praise the Lord, we have found teachers for next year within the country of Japan, and it looks like we are going to be fully staffed next year. This is huge, so thank you for your prayers!
OCSI had our annual Kite Day last week. It's a great time where the students get to fly kites, and we welcome the parents into the school so they can observe their children learning in the classrooms. We also had our homecoming game and festivities. It was a little bit later than usual, but better late than not at all. We had the boys homecoming basketball game vs Zion Christian school. The girls basketball team played again female staff/parents. Megan and I crowned a homecoming king and queen, and took a moment to honor all of the senior athletes. It was a special night, and the seniors were truly touched, and it was good to see them have this experience.
Here is OCSI's latest edition of OCSI Connections. Check it out!
Happy New Year!
We hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. As missionaries, we always have the goal to tell the gospel to as many people as possible, and as we reflect on the year, we are amazed at what God has done. We hear from all of the schools struggling around the world, with a severe drop in attendance or the difficulties that come with doing online school. Through this entire year, OCSI has been able to maintain in-person learning, with limited sports/clubs/activities. We have seen our student population grow to new highs. All 530 students are receiving the gospel every week through their classes and chapel. All students are in life groups where they are encouraged and have their emotional needs met. All students are at a place that is helping them grow and thrive. God is so good and we are grateful for all of your prayers!
Christmas concerts/Chapels/Christmas parties:
Christmas is always an exciting time of the year, particularly because of all of the school Christmas concerts/plays of all the students. We used to have a huge concert/performance, but in keeping with social distancing, we had individual grade concerts. Almost all the families came as their children proclaimed Christ’s love to the world.
Koto and Shakuhachi
This week we had a real treat to have some guys from Yokohama come and teach all of the students about a couple of Japanese traditional instruments, the koto and the shakuhachi. Our guest performed a few songs for the students and even set up several kotos for the students to play.
I got a message this month. One of the students that I mentored who graduated a few years back, has decided to get baptized and has start working part-time at the church he attends in Tokyo. He is responsible for organizing Sunday school and helping with translation. Praise the Lord!
Everything is in full swing now even though the school year started off while still in somewhat of a state of emergency. The state of emergency is now over and now students are participating in athletics, secondary chapel has started back, and students are also enjoying field trips. Eliya's class got to take a trip to go ice skating in Naha. Naomi's class got to go the beach during camp week. Mia's class got to take a trip to a World War 2 memorial.
This last month we also started back our life groups. Every teacher gets teamed up with a small group of students with the purpose of making sure the students are having their socio-emotional needs met and for discipleship. Megan has a group of 11th grade girls, Andy has a group of 6th grade boys. It is so easy for a student to fall through the cracks with a school so big, having life groups is a great way to ensure that doesn’t happen.
This month we started secondary chapels. Hebrews 11:6 tells us that without faith, it is impossible to please God. So we are taking a look at a few people from the faith hall of fame listed in Hebrews 11. This year we also have three different worship teams! Groups of students who lead their peers in worship.
Thank you for all of your prayers and support. We are excited to let you know COVID numbers are way down in Japan, and Japan’s borders are starting to open up! This is good news for a few reasons: One, we should be able to get some new teachers over, and two, we should be able to make it back to the US for six weeks during the summer.
Below is the OCSI quarterly report, check it out!
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!
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