Ministry School Camp in Fukuoka

At the end of February, we planned another Ministry School camp; this time, we met in the Fukuoka church. The plan was to meet on Friday morning and spend the weekend together. However, since I have some spare time now that school is over, I decided to fly to Fukuoka on Wednesday.

After my arrival, I went to Ohori Park and spent my afternoon at Starbucks (it had been raining all day, so I fled to the Café). I worked on the Valentine’s Day blog and studied for a bit.

In the evening, I went to church, where all the Fukuoka members greeted me. After the service, we exchanged what touched us the most, and then we all ate dinner together.

On Thursday, Zion (who also arrived in Fukuoka on Wednesday), Shinri, Naoki (two Fukuoka members), and I went to a university to evangelise. We went to the art department, as Shinri knew that all the graduates had their graduation art projects exhibited there. It was a ten-floor building, and we started at the very top and slowly made our way down. Every floor had 4-6 rooms, each exhibiting around four projects. In every room, one or two students were overseeing the room. Every time we entered the room, we asked the students which project was theirs, and then we tried to talk to them about the art and started introducing our church. Shinri was especially good at conversing with the students as he is also an artist. He could capture the student’s excitement and exchange Instagram and his business card with them. After two floors, Zion and Naoki had to leave after two floors, as they had other appointments, while Shinri and I stayed back and went through all the remaining floors. Seeing all the things the students had come up with was quite exciting. There were paintings, sketches, children’s books, games, and many more. All the students were tremendously creative and so excited to tell us about what they had created and share their future plans in art.

After we went through the floors, talked to everyone we could, and invited them to church, Shinri and I returned to the train station to return to central Fukuoka. On the train, we talked about our testimonies, families, and many other things.

At the Hakata Station (the central station of Fukuoka), Shinri took me to an elevator area where his art is currently displayed on the glass walls. That was cool to see, and his excitement while sharing his art was touching.

Then we continued. Shinri was going to meet his friend, and I went to meet Saki, a Fukuoka member I had just met the day before. We first enjoyed a coffee together while planning what to do later. We decided to go to an arcade. When visiting Japan, one should go to an arcade at least once. We each tried our luck at the claw machines but gave up quickly as these can get addictive, and we didn’t want to waste our money. Then we went upstairs, where video games could be played, but we only played one round of Mario Kart. Then we finally went to the top floor to take a Purikura.

Purikura is a famous photo booth in Japan that makes your eyes look big; your face shape is almost alien, and very shimmery makeup is added to finalise the doll’s look. We took one set of pictures to decorate before they were printed and sent to our email address.

After a fun afternoon, we returned to church because Christian, Naomi, and Anna arrived that day, and the church prepared a big welcoming feast. We spent a long time eating, talking and enjoying each other’s company before returning to our homes for the weekend.

The following day, the Ministry school finally began. The remaining members from the Tokyo and Miyazaki churches had arrived, and thus, we were complete. Naomi started to talk about the Book of Revelation and Eschatology. Anna was so kind to translate everything for me. Usually, I don’t have a translator during the Japanese part. Still, since Naomi mainly talks about the books we had to read as homework and usually distributes a Handout, which she translates to English for me, I could always follow at least the main points. But the Eschatology was something different! There was also no Handout (we received it two weeks later in the Ministry school when she finished the topic so that I could read over everything again at home). So, I was happy to have Anna as a translator. Christian then talked about becoming self-motivated. As future church or life group leaders, we must be self-motivated, as we cannot always rely on others to help us get the motivation we need to take care of our sheep. Then, we all had our lunch, and Naomi shared a quick message about evangelism and how to approach people when evangelising. Then we did quick practice, where we all put a random object into a bag; Naomi then announced all the objects and each of us had to use an object to make a quick one to two-minute message sharing the gospel. After this practice, we split into groups and evangelised and invited people to church.

When we returned, we shared what we had experienced, ate dinner together, and then Friday prayer night started. After the prayer night, we stayed a little while to keep talking and sharing, and then it was time to return home.

On Saturday, Christian shared about the good habits a leader should have and how to become a more creative leader. Naomi added to that by talking about teamwork, and then we split up again into groups. All of the groups had a topic we had to discuss over lunch. My team went to a curry place, and we were supposed to talk about church ministries such as life group, welcome team, and food preparation.

We then moved on to a café before heading back to the church, where all the groups presented what they had discussed, and we shared some ideas on improving in those areas.

Then Christian talked about growing your influence on the people around you. Then, we ate dinner together, and everyone shared what they had learned.

On Sunday, we had church service as usual. The morning service was at 11:00, lunch was at 15:00, and another service was at 15:00. After the evening service, we all went to a restaurant together to end the weekend. We all shared again what blessed us the most this weekend, and we also had to say goodbye to some members who were already leaving that night.

We then returned to the church again, where seemingly no one wanted to leave again.

One of the Fukuoka members even started brewing hand-drip coffee for us all to enjoy while we talked and played around. Late at night, we finally said our goodbyes and left the church. However, Asuka (the member in whose apartment I stayed), Llyza, Anna, and I decided to go to an Onsen instead of going home to end this weekend on a perfect note.