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In northern Japan, McCurleys celebrate a new year's beginning

In northern Japan, McCurleys celebrate a new year's beginning

Jonathan McCurley is a General Board of Global Ministries (GBGM) missionary with The United Methodist Church. Along with his wife, Satomi, he serves in Tochigi prefecture, located in northern Japan. They minister at the Asian Rural Institute (ARI). Their latest blog shares the celebration of a new year at the ARI.

The flower viewing picnic and all the orientation has finished and now the fun and sweat begins!

This past Saturday we had the 41st Opening Ceremonies of the ARI Rural Leaders Training Program. It was a success. We had close to 100 guests join our community to celebrate the beginning of a new year. The new participants heard addresses from the chairman of a Tokyo rotary club and a Catholic Japanese Sister who encouraged them to see the opportunities to grow and learn while they are here. She reminded us that the problems we face as we train to be better leaders will lead us again and again to the realization that we need to trust in the Holy Spirit to accomplish our goals. Through our own power, it may seem impossible, but because we can always depend on God, we can make it through each obstacle we face.  What a great encouragement for us as we begin a new challenge!

Over the past 2 weeks through all of the community building activities and time spent getting to know one another, we have been able to meet many new brothers and sisters from around the world here at ARI. The variety is beautiful. One of the new participants from Nepal is extremely interested and excited about many things. Her creativity also shown through at the opening ceremonies as she sang her own introduction in Japanese. It was refreshing, and a reminder that the people we work with have many talents and skills to overcome the obstacles in their way.

Click here for the complete blog and photographs of the latest work and events in the McCurleys and their ministry.