【October 2017 No.394】Tohoku Area Youth Attend SMJ Camp in New York

This year’s SMJ (Special Ministries to the Japanese) Discovery Camp was held July 23-Aug. 4, 2017 at Camp Quinipet in Shelter Island, New York. There were 9 campers from Japan and 17 local campers, as well as 2 counselors from Japan (myself and Miss Kishi Hikari), and 5 counselors from the US. I feel very blessed to have been given the opportunity to participate in the SMJ Discovery Camp on its 40th anniversary, and in the last year of the joint project to bring students from the Tohoku area to the US to participate in the camp.

 

I came to understand the importance of Discovery Camp through the testimony of Sean Jang, one of the counselors, who shared how the friendships forged in the camp helped him to see God’s faithfulness in his life. Through his words, and through speaking with Director Iyoda Akio and the other counselors, I came to see the rich history of Discovery Camp. It is a place where campers are able to come to a knowledge of Jesus and His word in a safe and fun environment. It is a place where campers make friends who are like family to them.

 

A number of campers this year had never been to church or touched a Bible in their lives but were able to get a Bible and learn about Jesus. It warmed my heart to see our youngest campers enthusiastically reading and discussing the Bible. I was glad to see that the students from Japan were able to discuss the Bible and Christianity freely during the Bible study sessions.

 

I was also glad that they were able to get a better understanding of Christian community through their interactions with the believers in the US. This was the case not only for the Christian campers but also the members of the Japanese-American United Church (JAUC). I am grateful for their hospitality and love for the campers. I am particularly grateful to Imado Chizuko, a fellow counselor who worked hard to make sure that we had a smooth arrival and stay in New York.

 

It was very hard for all nine campers from Japan to say goodbye to their friends in the US. In the two weeks there, they had had a lot of fun together. On a typical day there was morning chapel followed by Bible study, art, sports, and games. The youth also went charter boat fishing and blueberry picking. It was satisfying to watch everyone having a good time while eating smores, dancing, and singing at the campfires. I also enjoyed the talent shows where everyone showcased different talents and worked well together.

 

After the camp, many of the campers kindly came to join us as we went sightseeing around New York. I am particularly grateful to the three younger counselors (Jonathan Tanigaki, Sean Jang, and Kobayashi Shuhei), who were like big brothers to our students. We laughed, chatted, ate, and danced our way through New York. Personally, I am very grateful to my co-leader Kishi Hikari. I learned a lot from her love and compassion for the campers and am grateful to have shared many heartfelt talks and laughs with her.

 

I am grateful to the Special Ministries to the Japanese, the JAUC, the Union Japanese Church of Westchester, the Kyodan, and the Mission Schools Council. I am also grateful to my school, Iai Joshi Gakuin, for allowing me this opportunity and for all its administrative help as well as to Director Akio, for his generosity and wise leadership. Praise God for His tangible providence, goodness, and faithfulness! May He continue to bless Discovery Camp, its leaders, and participants in the years to come.

  —Zi Ning Wee, from Singapore,

educational missionary, Iai Gakuin, Hokkaido

SMJ(Special Ministry to Japanese)米国 日本人特別牧会主催

第40回ディスカバリーキャンプに参加して 日本側引率者 遺愛女子高等学校 ツィー・ニン・ウィー(宣教師)

 

2017年7月22日~8月8日にか けてニューヨークにあるキャンプクイニペットで開催されたディスカバリーキャンプに9名の中高生と共に参加しました。この企画は4年前にSMJから被 災地の学生を招待したい旨の申し出を受け、東日本大震災救援対策本部と宣教協力学校協議会の後援により実現し、今年で3年目になりますが、救援対策本部の後援は今年で最後となります。日本か らは岸ひかりさん(千葉本町教会)が私と同じ日本側リーダーとして参加しました。

ニューヨーク周辺の日本語教会を通じて現地の学生の参加もあり、参加 者総数は26名。キャンプのリーダーは伊与田昭夫先生(ヒックスビ ル合同メソジスト教会伝道師)が務め、日米合同教会を中心として3名のカウンセラーが参加しました。

2週間のキャンプ中は朝礼拝に始まり、午前、午後と聖書を学んだり、スポーツをしたりグループ活動等盛りだくさんでし た。夜には2回キャンプファイアーを行いました。初めて聖書に触れる参加者もいまし たが、違和感なく過ごせるような配慮がなされ、時間と共に深い友情で結ばれ一つの家族になったかのように感じられました。(実は今年の9名中3名は昨年の参加者で、すべて自費でも参加したいとの強い意向を示されたのでした。)そしてこの深い交わりは神様への信 頼に繋がるのだとの思いを強くしました。

最後の二日間はニューヨークの街を観る時間が与えられました。3名のカウンセラーだけでなく仲良くなったキャンプ仲間も同行してくれた ため、私たちは安全に、楽しく、時に笑い合いながら見聞を広げることができました。

このような貴重な機会を与えてくれたSMJ, 日米合同教会、ユニオン日本語教会、宣教協力学校協議会、そして日本基督教団に心から感謝しています。

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