Blog Archive




Design, Design, Design,
The design work has continued and is staring to come to life. Before coming to ARI I had my first real-life internship in which I got to see actual results, but I feel so blessed to have this unexpected experience here. To design spaces and create ideas that are actually built and put to use leaves me in awe. To have this first experience here and to feel as if I have an intended purpose at ARI helps me to know that God is with me. There are still challenges and disagreements with community members about the designs, but beauty lies in this as well with the simple thought that this is one of the steps that a designer goes through.

Some signs I worked on for the ARI Shop.

Chasing Chickens & Fish Guts!
So it finally happened, the moment where I realized that ARI had indeed changed me. When working in the chicken section in the mornings the animals are taken care of, the floor is turned, etc.. Next the team moves down to the mixing room to work on new feed. One of the steps in this process is cooking dead, bloody fish guts.

As most of you might know, I hate fish. I hate the smell, I hate the way they look, not to mention I am allergic and cannot eat them. I gagged when I first started this task of starting the fire, pouring the guts into the pot, and washing the blood out of the boxes. I couldn’t do it. Well, let me tell you, my Nana is very proud. I now start the fire, pour the guts, play with the fish heads (did you know they have tongues?), and wash the bloody boxes, sometimes splashing myself with it in the process.

There has been a change.

Also the teenage chickens have been somehow mixing with the adults, which leads to many chases around the chicken pens. Joys.
Yes, they let me drive, but don’t worry I know I am supposed to be on the other side of the road.

One of the farm jobs is to go to the local town and pick up ‘kitchen garbage’. A true illustration of ARI’s sustainable life is using other people’s leftovers. We pick up at local okara and tofu shops, a fish market, and at a local school. Using local resources is a large training for the participants and it is helpful for us and for our earth.

New Piglets & JOCV Volunteer Training
We just gained ten new adorable additions to our family They are a little timid to come out of their heated box with cold though.

We also held another JOCV training program with six young adults who are getting ready to set out for various places in Africa and Southeast Asia. It has been nice to have more people around for a bit.

Skiing & Snow on Campus
Another time to play in the snow! We had our community event of ski-nature-walking this month. It was a fun day with important team building and nature-loving time.

Campus looks so beautiful..until it gets muddy.

Nervous about participants
Coming to ARI in September I had it made. Participants were already here and settled into ARI. They could already speak enough English to communicate and were actually the ones teaching me. After several talks with the staff I am starting to realize that being here for the coming of participants in late March will be a whole new experience. Some will be coming from extremely small towns with no electricity and with absolutely never have spoken English. As I was told in my curriculum overview the other day, as a volunteer I am expected to be a partner with the staff. I am not only here to spread my love and helping hands, but to also help guide new participants as they find there groove. It is a bit overwhelming to think about and makes me nervous about so many new culture shocks, and making sure that I don’t offend or make anyone feel inferior because they are leaders in their home communities.

Please keep me in your thoughts.

“I and Thou”

by Martin Buber
What, then, do we experience of Thou?
Just nothing. For we do not experience it.
What, then, do we know of Thou?
Just everything. For we know nothing isolated about it any more.

The Thou meets me through grace—it is not found by seeking. But my speaking of the primary word to it is an act of my being, is indeed the act of my being.

The primary work I-Thou can be spoken only with the whole being. Concentration and fusion into the whole being can never take place through my agency, nor can it ever take place without me. I become through my relation to the Thou; as I become I, I say Thou.
All real living is meeting.

Meeting the Presiding Bishop & Milking A Cow
This month I had the wonderful opportunity to stay at KEEP, a retreat center founded by an Episcopal missionary, and to meet with many people from the Episcopal Church. The food was amazing, the architecture was beautiful, and the cows were cute, I even got to milk one.

This time was very special because it was a gathering to unite and to reinforce our purpose for being in Japan: To build relationships. Talking with the Presiding Bishop and my boss really brought up my spirits and put me to peace by reminding me of that purpose. We are building wonderful relationships between two countries that haven’t always gotten along, as well as sharing and gaining unique experiences of God in this.

Thank you for sharing this experience with me.
With peace & love,