Okay, as is likely made evident by the fact that I’m still here, my trip to Japan fell through this summer. I’m pretty okay with that though, as it’s given me the opportunity to get caught up on my studies without running myself ragged, and it’s also given opened up a fairly exciting possibility to go for six months after I graduate next year. Things are still very much up in the air, and at the moment I don’t even have a budget yet, but I’ll keep updating anyone who’s interested as I find out more.
I’m not sure where to start here. Things have been moving at an absolutely frantic pace all month, and they’re showing now signs of slowing down. It’s looking like I’ll have something roughly resembling full support for GRIT this year, or at least be pretty darn close. I’m currently working on an interesting option that may net me a new camera to replace my broken one, in addition to getting me the opportunity to do some filming while I’m in Japan. I’m also working on a shoot this weekend, and I’ll be running the switcher at Grace this Sunday. No pressure. I’ll post here as soon as I find out whether my wacky “shoot a documentary in Japan” thing will work or not. This place may be getting a lot more active soon. Until then!
I had to break the bank in a very literal sense today to pay for my clutch. The thing had been on order for a week with NAPA and hadn’t even shipped yet so I figured I’d cut my losses and swallow the extra $70 in cost because seriously, I need a car. It left me with a fifty dollar hole that I HAVE to pay back, and I’m not sure when my first check from the new job is coming in.
Such is life right now. I may have found a bit more funding for my next trip to Japan, from my parents lawyer of all people. That being said, things are still far from smooth. Not knowing how you’re going to pay the bills next month is freaking scary. I know it will work out. God always works it out. That being said, constantly being on the brink of disaster is exhausting. I’m a constant recipient of the grace of others, which is extremely humbling for somebody who tries his best to be self-sufficient. I suppose it’s all about teaching me what grace is, how little I’m capable of doing on my own, and how much greater God is than I could ever be.
I just wish there were easier ways to learn.
I know I’ve said it before, but I know that all of the hardships and gargantuan screw ups that make up my life are solely for the purpose of magnifying God by displaying his ability to sort out the mess that I make of things. I have to remember that my life is not about myself, and that it never will be. The more I reflect on that, the more peace I feel. Things will never be easy though, especially with the path that’s been put in front of me. Bring it.
I’ve been hit with a number of setbacks and difficulties recently that have complicated my plans to go to Japan again this summer a great deal. The prospect of leaving for the summer and then coming back and having to start anew with finding a job and getting the coming semester sorted out is terrifying. I was planning on saving as much as possible and attempting to pay for as much of the trip as necessary but that is looking less and less feasible in light of the things that have been happening. Although it pays enough for me to float along, my current work study job doesn’t leave much room in the way of savings. In addition to that, I’ve been hit with some major expenses that essentially came out of nowhere. I also need to get an eye exam sometime in the next week. I was sitting in the front row in class a few days ago and I had a great deal of trouble reading words on the projector. Not cool at all. There’s another $150 gone if I end up needing glasses. As things stand right now, I plan on using the next couple of days to write up a presentation that I can show at some local churches and try to find a bit of funding there. I’ve also thought about trying to reach an arrangement with a local christian magazine (run by a local church incidentally) to write a weekly column for them on my trip to japan, a slice of life sort of article. That my not pan out at all, but I think it’s worth a shot. For now, I have to just keep on trucking and do as much as I possibly can to make this happen.
I’m likely beating a dead horse here, but I hate cars. I really, really hate them. That may sound odd coming from such an unabashed gearhead, but I mean it. I’m essentially swearing off cars as a hobby from here out. It’s not so much the object itself that frustrates me as it is the attitude around it. As a society, we depend on our cars. We pour massive amounts of money for payments, insurance and maintenance into them. We lust after the latest and greatest models. We build cars worth millions of dollars and drive them in circles for hours at a time (it’s televised). After my car broke for the umpteenth time yesterday, I realized how stupid all of this was. I’m tired of cars. Mine has cost me $1,200 in maintenance alone in the last six months. JUST. MAINTENANCE. I was driving home from school last night when the friggin’ thing broke again. It’s going to cost me another $300 to fix it this time.
As an aspiring missionary, that’s just more money that I can’t put toward going back to Japan. At this point I may have to forgo it completely simply because the money isn’t there. I can probably make something work out, but it isn’t going to be fun. The money hasn’t exactly been rolling in anyway. I’m going to try to do a presentation at my parents church and get some support that way, but that’s a few weeks off at best and I don’t know if they’ll even let me speak considering the fact that they don’t even know me.
At times it seems as though I exist only so God can repeatedly toss me off of a proverbial cliff and catch me at the last minute, just to display his glory. It happened with my funding situation last year, and it’s looking like it’s going to happen again. Constantly being a billboard for grace is a stressful way to live. It may look like a grand adventure from the outside but from where I sit it’s an extremely bumpy ride. It feels like my entire life has been just that, a wild display of disasters and miracles designed to reveal His grace and glory. Now I’ve been tossed again. Time to buckle up. I don’t have much more than hope at this point. Bring it on.
It’s been a big weekend for me. I turned 24 today, which is an odd thing in and of itself. I’m officially in my mid twenties now, what happened? It seems like I was nineteen a couple of days ago. The only constant is change though, and I’ve been going through that a lot lately. My plan to live a cushy lucrative and comfortable life (read: boring) was recently turned on its head by a two month trip to Japan. Now I’m planning on spending at least a year there once I graduate. It might happen sooner rather than later if I can get my student loans paid off soon enough. I might just choose to go into full-time missions for a year rather than doing the part-time thing that I was previously planning. We’ll see what happens. I chose to go back to Japan next summer recently, and I just got approved for that today. That should give me a better idea of my options in the immediate future. As for the rest of this weekend, I have a shoot tomorrow for a project that is going to determine some absurd amount of my final grade in one of my classes, in addition to my sister’s not-birthday pre-birthday party, erm…thing. We’re celebrating her birthday a month early, I’m not entirely sure of how that works. The poor kid got gyped pretty badly with being born two days before Christmas, but I can’t say I blame my parents for doing it this way. After that, I have to be up absurdly early on Sunday for membership classes at my church and then I’m going out to lunch with my friends for MY birthday. Good times. I’ll post later on how that shoot went, hopefully my instincts are right and Victor is actually a reasonably good actor.
School starts for me this tuesday. I was more than slightly annoyed when I got the summons commanding me to show up for jury duty the exact same day, in fact I was downright mad. Well, this morning I learned just what the summons was for. I’m one of 900 prospective jurors selected for the trial of Lemaricus Davidson. For those of you who don’t know anything about that, he is one of four men who commited the absolutely heinous murders of Channon Christian and Christopher Newsom. I won’t go into all of that here, since I really don’t feel like knowing more about the murders than I already do (it was horrible, and I wish I could forget everything I know about it). With any luck, I won’t get picked for that, but I’m not too sure what I’ll do if I am. I have mixed feeling about this whole thing, and in all honesty I’m not even going to pretend to know what God’s purpose in putting me through this is.
Okay, so I’m back from Japan. Technically, I’ve been back for a month, but things have been a bit crazy, and I haven’t been able to get together with everyone I’ve wanted to catch up with yet. This note will have to do for now. I’m actually beginning to get annoyed with the general reaction to my return. Although there have been exceptions, most of the responses were something along the lines of “You finally got to live your dream, I’m so happy for you etc etc.” Let’s get something straight here, this wasn’t a vacation, or a sightseeing trip. This has nothing to do with me at all. I’ve gotten to the point in my walk that I can no longer live for myself, and the whole point of this trip was to see if long term missions work was a possibility for me, which I now realize that it very well could be. For the longest time, I thought myself to be utterly unsuitable/incompatible with formal ministry of any kind. Having been involved with it for two months now (it was pretty much my life for two months) I now realize that there are as many forms of ministry as there are Christ followers. We need not fit any predetermined mold to be effective, even if you’re as odd a specimen as I am.
Having said that, I have every intention of going back to Japan, perhaps as soon as next summer (I’m still praying for some direction on that one). The missionary in charge of the GRIT program does short films as a ministry, among other things. There seems to be a spot I can fill in the Kumamoto team, and so after I graduate college (this is a bit down the road as I’ll need a four year degree) I plan on trying to get a work visa to teach English or do something similar. At that point, I’ll move to Japan for a year or so and use my off time to work with Norman with his ministry. If that works out, perhaps I’ll look at doing something more long term. To sum it up, I’m going to graduate and leave the country to work in a field totally unrelated to my major, and I’m going do to what I’m majoring in for free. Yeah, it’s a bit nuts, but I’ve definitely been caught up in something way bigger than myself. It’s going to be an extremely rough and scary ride, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Okay, simply put, this is my blog. A big shocker, I’m sure. For the time being this space is going to be where I chronicle my two month trip to Japan as a missionary in the GRIT program. Once that’s done, it’s going to take on a more all purpose use as I whine and rant talk about my day to day adventures as a student paying his way through college at age 23. If that sounds awesome, that’s because it is. I’m also going to be setting up a flickr account where I’m going attempt to upload the utterly staggering quantity of photos I’ll probably be taking. I can’t guaruntee that I’ll be on facebook or dA all that often for a while, but at the very least I’ll try to update this space and the flickr account on a semi-regular basis. As I leave in less than three days, I probably won’t be making aditional posts until I’m in Japan. Until then!