Wednesday, June 06, 2007

The beginning...

Welcome Back!
Hello everyone! This is Joanna. I've just returned from SIJ 2007 Orientation.
I have been crazy busy (three trips to the airport) but have enjoyed every moment. If you are here for pictures of Ariel (ahem, Ryan) then I have to apologize. I was unofficially the staff rep for SENDAI'S team because Ogawasan could not make it to the Orientation.
I learned so much from the Sendai team and from this year's SIJ team(minus CA who are coming mid-June). I had a ton of fun... here are some of the things I learned and some of the people I met.
The SIJ Program forming the Japanese flag... can you see it?I love sharing my life and the lessons God has taught me...
but I need to practice pubic speaking. With a small group it feels more "friend-like" but as soon as I get in front of a larger audience I get really nervous.
I love sharing from what God has taught me about serving others. I feel like I am learning so much about seeing the needs of others and meeting those needs... taking intiative and not waiting to be asked to do things. I only cried once... it was a big one but it was on a subject that is very near and dear to my heart, the Japanese staff.
It was great to see God touching my heart and by His grace, theirs as well. I prayed that I would learn more about serving than I could ever teach. Service is a passion of mine.
I used Philippians 2:3-11 and 1 Samuel 14:6-7 (What does it look like to serve someone heart and soul?) I like meeting new people. People bring me so much joy. Everyone's uniqueness and intricacy is a delight in my life.
Trevor Babcock (SENDAI) is a riot. He is one of the craziest people I know. Sendai's team was so full of life, laughter and spirit. God definitely had His hand in putting this team together.
Hannah Dorrell... one of my favorite people. Hannah has so much joy and beauty to share; when I am in her presence, even if we are goofing off, I still feel encouraged and refreshed by her presence.I first met Hannah 15 months ago at the Staff Conference. She and I instantly bonded and her lively family reminded me so much of mine. I insta-bonded with her and her younger siblings who I wished had been mine... younger siblings are great. I went and visited Hannah during Golden Week (a week of vacation for no reason) May 2006 and we've been friends ever since. It's been so much fun to watch her grow this past year or so.
She is an artist, a dreamer, a sister and a friend. She's a blessing.Hannah during morning bible study. Luke Chatelain (SENDAI)
Luke again... but this time he is wearing the "punishment" for being late.Jason (SENDAI) The one thing about this wig and it being the punishment for late-comers was that odd enough, the lively and crazy SENDAI team often was late but perhaps, not because they couldn't keep time but because the wig was too much fun.
Here Hannah shows us her stylish wig mullet and Trevor shows us his... unfortunately real mullet.

At the end of the time... Sendai hailed me as their leader and praised me for being ridiculous with them... who could keep up though? I am seriously out of the joke loop in America. (has anyone heard of the "awkard turtle"?) But they were nice to me and only called me old once... ha ha! Jeremiah, this picture is for you! Mark insisted that because I was being "glorified" I had to use my "glorified body" pose. I don't think I will ever live that one down. :( ha ha!Another lesson I learned was that when Mark gets an idea... just go with it.

Mark got an idea to trick the students into thinking we were having a strict Japanese practice day, where they had to march in lines, wear their t-shirts a certain way, bow to the staff who are older than them, etc. We took a lot of Japanese rules but then intensified them. It was hilarious. We called it: LEVEL UP, UNITY DAY!
The funny thing about this is that before we met the students Mark and I were brainstorming and a group of middle aged men walked by, wearing the exact same track suit, walking in pairs in a line... Japan enjoys their order. :)
Jennifer, Mary and Aileen are the "Color Bearers" or the girls who handed out headbands with the Japanese flag on them.
"This is the unified spirit," Mark said. "Level up?" he asked. "Unity!" They responded. (See Keith and Kyle forming a BIG "U" and Mark forming a little "U"...i couldn't stop laughing.
Ridiculous? I know. If you don't get these two pictures... it's okay. I didn't really explain them that well.
Basically we just wanted to show the students that sometimes you are asked to do things in Japan they won't understand "why" and perhaps they may not even want to do it because in America we value our individuality. That is not the case in Japan. In Japan, the nail that sticks out the farthest, gets pounded in the hardest...
The midterm staff (plus Kanako and Ruth Ann) got to share some stories and answer questions. It was a lot of fun and kind of sad to see us all up there together. Mary, Keith and I came together but we will all leave at different times... sort of sad already to think about. BUT I still have a year so no crying yet. :)
Another thing I learned this Orientation was... sometimes jet lag... is just unbeatable.
I saw this in Tokyo... what a sweet reminder that even in the midst of buildings and people, God is still painting His beauty in our midst. I remember struggling with the thought of never seeing stars again when I left the countryside and travelled to Tokyo. I was sad to think it would be two years or so before I saw them again.
Now everytime I see the stars... even if it's one or two... I remember that this is my "rainbow" of promise from God that He is always with me and never leaving me. This sunset made me realize that His beauty is everywhere, in every country, culture and people.
Nagaisan is the head Japanese staff in Shizuoka. From the first time I met him in 2003 I have had a place in my heart for him and his family. They are amazing people. One of the things I like best about Nagaisan is his ability to balance teaching and seriousness....
with humor. He is a great man.
I enjoyed watching the students come together and read God's word together...
The students enjoyed getting to see Japanese culture take place...
and even be a part of it. This is Andrew... a guy from KU... but he looks SO Japanese here. (Don't you love his pants?)
Welcome to Tokyo, Ariel and Meaghan!!
Amongst all the team photos being taken at the end... Mary and I start thinking... "Can we still perform the old cheerleading stunts we used to do?"
"Well, maybe try it this way."
"Remember? You gotta get low? I think... like this?? Right??"
"Did I put my foot here? And get up like this?" "NOPE!! Oops, that was wrong."
"Oh well... maybe it's true... maybe we are too old?"
"No way, JOSE!" The girls of 303 still got it! You can't call us old. We're rocking the house.


Jomama said...

Awesome story of the last few days. You and Mary DO rock...I love it! Welcome to Japan, SIJers. You are now among the BEST!

emily said...

Jo-Can I just say that you are awesome!!?!? Love you girl!!

Jeremiah said...

YEEAAAHHH!!! You two can STILL ROCK the CHEERLEADER MOUNT!! That's what made me LOVE you two when I first met you guys in Tokyo. LET ME TELL YOU. I guess it's because the majority of Navigators from Irvine are introverted, especially Kyu Ho, the guys he disciples, and our other staff. Hahah. Anyways, when I saw you and Mary weren't afraid to look silly or embarass yourself, I TOTALLY respected that!

Oh oh!! I think you two even rubbed off on Jane. She used to RUN AWAY whenever Navigators played games. Well at our Regional Conference, each campus required a staff to come up and embarass themselves. All of UCI's staff BOLTED, but Jane actually ran up on stage!! Unbelievable huh? I actually saw Jane running, and I was laughing because I thought she was heading out the door!! To my surprise, she was volunteering!! (I think she got raw eggs thrown at her. hahah) Don't you love it? I love Jane. Even if she was still super shy, I'd love her, but I think it's way cool that she steps out of her comfort zone. =D

Oh! OH!! And Mark's activities with the SIJers are RIDICIOLOUS!!!!!! Ah-ahahahah!! I forget as SIJ director, Mark can do whatever activities he wants at Orientation. Ah-ahah!!! =D Love the pics Jo.

P.S. I think your glorified body (pre- and post-) is lovely. =)

Christy said...

AHH!! Oh my gosh! Looks like so much fun! the SIJ 07 is going to be rockin! Just like you two!

Mark is still crazy, too. love it!

Miss you and love you and can't wait to hear more!

Joanna Kay said...

Mom, thanks for the rockin' comment. I love you so.

Emily, I love the new profile picture. Are you getting ready for the beach? I am practicing my cheerleading moves for you and Shadley to show ya when I come home.

Jeremiah, aren't those cheerleading pictures ridiculous? I thought of you immediately when I took the glorified body picture. Isn't there a saying that "what happened in last year's SIJ stays in last year's SIJ?" ha ha! No way! I enjoyed that day with you... sitting in Mark's living room, just hanging out, not saying too much but enjoying the company. Can we do that soon? :) Shall we wait for Cole to move to Hawaii and rendezous there? hee hee hee! SIJ 2006 reunion in Hawaii.

Christy, refer to the last part of my Jeremiah comment. ha ha!
I miss you sweet friend. It seems like just yesterday you were sleeping in the room next to me... we should skype?! I miss you. I love you lots and lots. Thanks for sharing Meaghan and Ariel with me.

Kelli B said...

Jo - I love the photo of you and mary laughing so hard when you fell..nice! so funny.

dude, can you share all the names of the people in that first photo? I see my friend becky and actually recognize others, but want to know names. do you have time to do that?


Love what you share - thanks girl.

SEG said...

rock on witcha bad self jo. cheerleaders!