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）