お久しぶりですね (ohisashiburi desu ne)

…in other words, long time no see! I wish I could say that I totally knew how to type that all out in Japanese and that I’ve mastered the language in the three months I’ve been here, but…I just knew how to say it and googled the Romaji to find the Japanese characters.

Speaking of–I can’t believe it’s already been almost three months! And it’s been a whopping five months since I’ve updated this thing at all. But from here on out, I’m going to post more frequently (hopefully at least once a week), so please, hold me to it! Last time I said I’d post about our home-hunting trip once I’d gotten back to the States…and here I am, four months after we found our place and three months after we actually moved. But I’ve harped on enough about how long it’s been since I’ve posted–let’s get to the good stuff.

I have so much to share with you all! It seems natural that I’d star at the beginning, but I decided I’m going to tell you about my new job first since I’ve alluded to it on Instagram and Facebook. In a nutshell, I’m volunteering four days of the week at a place called Heart & Soul Cafe. It’s located near Nagoya Station and is run by Christ Bible Institute (CBI).  Here’s a description of the cafe from CBI’s website–

CBI Japan is seeking to establish a “safe space” for young people in the downtown Nagoya area called “The Heart & Soul Cafe.” This will be a place where young people can come to receive tutoring, practice various languages with native speakers, have fun in a safe environment, get to know others, receive counseling and learn about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It will include an English school, multi-media, and educational resources aimed at improving the lives of young people in downtown Nagoya.

The church we attend, All Nations Fellowship, is technically not affiliated with CBI…but a lot of the leadership and members are either students or staff at CBI. One of our associate pastors also happens to be  the manager of the cafe. Long story short, Andrew and I found out that they needed help, so we volunteered. Unfortunately, Andrew’s work schedule makes it hard for him to volunteer behind the counter, but he’s been able to attend Friday night events they hold at the cafe.

So far I’ve only worked a few days due to a couple of closures, but it’s already been an awesome experience. Before we moved, Andrew and I found some outdated information online about Heart & Soul Cafe and were under the impression that it was more of a classroom where they happened to serve hot drinks. Not only did we find that it’s more than just a classroom, we found that the staff cares a lot about the quality of their drinks. That said, I’ve been learning a lot more about coffee making than I thought I would, and I’m grateful for it. But aside from the technical aspects of the cafe, I’ve met a lot of wonderful people who are serious about their work here, whether it’s volunteering at the cafe, studying at CBI, or other missions (and non-missions) work they’re involved with.

Some of my fellow volunteers and staff

Some of my fellow volunteers and staff

The view from the entrance

The view from the entrance

The view from behind the counter. That's Dr. Michael Oh (founder of CBI, among other things) at the table.

The view from behind the counter. That’s Dr. Michael Oh (founder of CBI, among other things) at the table.

One of the recurring events held at the cafe-- open mic night.

One of the recurring events held at the cafe– open mic night.

I’m so grateful for the opportunity I’ve been given to serve and learn in this capacity, and am looking forward to what God has in store for us through this ministry. That in mind, please pray for me that I wouldn’t get too comfortable and get myself stuck in a Christian bubble, and that I would make every effort to do His kingdom work in whatever way I can.

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