‘For behold, the winter is past,
The rain is over and gone.
‘The flowers have already appeared in the land;
The time has arrived for pruning the vines,
And the voice of the turtledove has been heard in our land.
‘The fig tree has ripened its figs,
And the vines in blossom have given forth their fragrance.
Arise, my darling, my beautiful one,
And come along!’
Song of Soloman 2:11-13 (NASB)
April has come and we are yearning for these words spoke by Solomon so many years ago to be true here. But winter still shows its face from time to time so we continue to look forward to warmer days and of course the beautiful cherry blossoms that come with Japanese springs. And, of course, in Japan the Spring is the beginning of the new school year and thus ARI has come to life again with the sounds and sights of people from countries throughout the Americas, Europe, Africa, Asia and the Pacific.
Over the past couple of weeks, 28 students, 5 new volunteers and a new staff member have all arrived. Our community has more than doubled; and as we wait for the last few people to arrive, we are beginning orientation to the school, starting new construction projects and preparing the farm so that we can plant the seeds that will grow our food this year.
|Jonathan and Satomi McCurley|
At the same time Lent continues, and we now also are preparing at ARI and at the local churches to look again at the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We will also have a foot washing service at ARI on Thursday, which will bring back an image that is very powerful for us at ARI. The thrust of our training is to form servant leaders that will go back to serve and support their own communities to grow, change and thrive. What better image of a servant leader than that of Jesus on bended knee washing the feet of his followers? We ask that you support us through prayer as we seek to learn servant leadership, not only this coming Thursday, but also throughout this year. Pray that this Holy Week would form the foundation of humility and learning for the entire training this year at ARI. Pray also that we would be able to support each member of this community at ARI and Nasushiobara Church throughout the coming year, sharing the love of Christ, helping each person here to taste and see that the Lord is good, that His Salvation is sweet and that through Christ who gives us strength, we can do all things.
May you be blessed this season as we remember that Christ has risen and our salvation has come!
Thanks for all the support!