Summer is a good time to get a fresh perspective on the world around you. For us as a community, we take it as a time to explore, connect and learn about activities that surround our mission here in Japan and home. This summer, different groups of international students, currently studying at TCU, embarked on various missions. Some went on summer mission trips around Japan, some in Nicaragua, others visited their home countries, and some visited alumni in their respective countries. The following entries are chapel presentations made by the students who visited Nepal and The Philippines during the 2017 summer vacation. They share about what they learnt from the alumni, those who have walked the TCU journey and are putting into practice what they learnt and gained in TCU and Japan during their time here.
Nepal – presented by Mandira Dangol
This summer we went to my home country, Nepal and had the pleasure of visiting Richan and Baileyna Karmacharya, and their five-year-old daughter named Sameka. Richan and Baileyna graduated from TCU in 2010 and 2011, respectively, were married in Japan, and then returned to serve in Nepal.
After the 2015 earthquake, TCU as a school supported them in prayer and financially. When we met them, they expressed gratitude for this support and continued relationship with TCU. Currently, Richan is teaching Japanese at a language school and also through private lessons. Baileyna teaches English at a middle-school. They both use these opportunities to share the gospel.
Seven months ago, the Karmacharyas began a house church in the centre of the city Bhaktapur. The city is filled with temples and the majority of the people are orthodox Hindus. The Karmacharyas shared that most churches are on the outskirts of the city because it is too difficult to start a church in the centre of the city. But they felt a calling to reach the Newar people who live in the area. They started a house church seven months ago with about ten people gathering to worship in Richan’s parents’ house. Since then it has grown and even two boys from non-Christian families have joined their Sunday school. When the Karmacharyas went to ask their families whether the boys could attend church, the mothers not only encouraged them to attend but also gave them the free choice to become Christians.
It is encouraging to see God’s work in growing the church, but now they need a larger space to worship. It is difficult to find a place because of religious opposition but they still show commitment to serving the Lord.
The Philippines – presented by Lauren Magaso
Philemon Mendoza, one of the pioneering alumni of the Act-es program and his family visited Japan last spring. Many of us here got an opportunity to listen to the message he shared in the chapel. But, beyond that, Kadama and I had the opportunity to spend some time with the family when we went to the Samurai Village, a trip which was facilitated by Yanagisawa sensei. We got to know more about the ministry that Philemon and his wife MayAnne were doing in the Philippines. We were moved by their warmth, kindness, and passion that they had for God and serving Him. They extended an invitation that we can visit their home and church anytime and our quick response was “say no more, see you this summer!”
It was quite a memorable experience as we got to travel together with our friends, Ann, Yu, Nem, Kyle, Minori and Nozomu and Mitsuki. We were warmly welcomed at Villa Carolina Bible Christian Church where Philemon serves as resident pastor. The message he preached on that Sunday was about faith that perseveres. The reading was taken from Hebrews 11:1-3 and altogether the message reminded us as a youth how important it is to retain our faith.
Talk about perfect timing. The Sunday of the 20th of August was a day of recognizing the youth and we got to join in this experience. We were handed gifts and we got to share a special meal of banana root karekare, adobo and senorita bananas which was just perfect for us as a people trying out new things. The fellowship time was wonderful, we got to learn some Filipino chants and play games and do a Bible quiz.
It was an encouragement to see the work that Philemon is doing; how he is reaching out to people; sharing the word of God; and how many people look up to him for guidance. I personally feel inspired to walk through this TCU journey diligently, graduate and use this knowledge that I am attaining to help others get to know more about the kingdom of God and at the same time, be able to defend my faith.