Hey guys. How's it going? It's been a while so I figured that I would give an update on the current happenings of my life. I've become way more involved in the community so my life has gotten busier.

This week has been pretty busy for me. It seems like there was something going on each day, on top of the office and farm work that I have going on. There was music class on Monday, worship band rehearsal on Tuesday, praise and worship night on Wednesday, and morning gathering (daily moment of sharing, almost like a presentation but not really) on Thursday, and then fishing on Friday. When I got to Saturday, I was completely exhausted, but pretty pleased with myself about how much I had been able to do this week. With how much we have going on here at ARI, it's really easy for time to just fly by. Actually, come May 15th, I will have been here for 6 months! Which is really crazy for me, because it feels like November 14th was just yesterday. Many things have changed since that time, like the people here, and the responsibilities that I've taken on since my first arrival. Allow me to update you on  those two things.

In terms of people, ARI is somewhat of a transitory place. Not including the staff, the people in the community here changes every year, and in some cases, even every month. ARI has 3 groups of people here; staff members, program participants, and volunteers. ARI is a vocational school, so you could think about the groups as teachers (staff), students (participants, in a way) and volunteers (other faculty members, kind of).

The group of participants changes every year, with the new group coming in April, and leaving in December. The newest group just arrived a little over a month ago, and they are a great group of people. This group is younger than previous years, and has a lot of energy. Its very exciting. I think this year will be very interesting given the age and differing views of the group.

Some of the participants, volunteers and staff after the opening ceremony. I'm on bottom right.

The volunteers change a bit more frequently. We all come from different organizations, with the exception of the Japanese volunteers, who aren't sent to ARI by an organization. Because we all come from different places, the times that we stay at ARI varies, ranging from 3 months to a year or more. Along with this, and the fact that we arrive at different times, the group of volunteers changes quite frequently. But that means I get to make a lot of friends in the process. The current group of volunteers is pretty awesome as well. We work well together and also have a lot of fun!

Some of the volunteers and out volunteer coordinator, Jonathan (far right), after our volunteer party.

When it comes to responsibilities, I've taken on a bit since I originally came here. For farm work, I recently started working with the goats, which involves feeding them, taking them out to graze, and milking them. Out of all the farm animals at ARI, I enjoy goats the most. They're so adorable! And milking them isn't as hard as I thought it would be. In the office, along with my work in Ecumenical Relations,  I also started working in the office of Admissions. Its pretty cool because I get to screen applicants to the program and their organizations and read about the amazing work that they do in their areas.

Me working with one of the goats. She got out of her cage and I was trying to get her back in.

On top of the work I do in the farm and office, I'm also pretty involved in the ARI community. Recently, two volunteers, King and Avery, along with myself, have started teaching English to the new program participants. We split into two groups, with King teaching basic English grammar, and Avery and I focusing more on conversation and day to day vocabulary. It is pretty challenging, to say the least. Just because you can speak a language, doesn't mean that you will be a whiz at teaching it. Even though we struggled at first, Avery and I have made some serious progress to improve our teaching skills. It also helps that King is very good at helping us plan lessons and identify learning needs. I think the students are definitely benefitting from it.

Along with English class, Avery and I started offering music classes to members of the community. It started with one of the participants asking us to teach them how to read music, and went on from there. Avery and I both have music background, me with several years of trumpet and her with flute and piano, so I'd say we are pretty qualified. We started offering weekly sessions on how to read music, and set up guitar and piano lessons for people in the community. Its going well so far and I'm really proud. This is actually my favorite project here. I think the participants will be pretty solid on their music reading ability by the time we are done with them.

Avery and I teaching music class

I've also started singing in my church choir, and playing trumpet in my church band and the ARI praise and worship band. Its pretty awesome, but needless to say, my hands are pretty full. But even though there is a lot going on, I wouldn't change a thing.

The team from the last praise and worship night, made up program participants and volunteers. King (on the far left) organized and led the event.

I think the biggest takeaway from my increased involvement in the community is that it gives me a sense of fulfillment. It's nice knowing that I'm contributing to others and helping them in whatever small ways I can. I think that it really helps to improve your self esteem, as well as allow you to connect better with others.

Yes, it is important to spend time on and with yourself, but there is a very special feeling about giving a bit of yourself to help others. For me personally, that is something that used to do but gave up when I got too busy. But I plan to continue doing this, because it feels good to truly serve others.

Again, thank you for reading. Thank you for your support, and God bless you. I'll be sure to update you again soon.

P.S.: I added a subscribe button (at the top of the page) to my blog, so feel free to click it, and you'll get email updates whenever I post! I also made a facebook page tracking my adventures, there's more photos there. Check it out! If you have facebook, Follow Me! The link is below.

Mission Trip Facebook Page


  1. Will - You are gaining a wide range of experience and through your writing I see the personal growth and leadership development. I am excited to see you this fall and learn more about your year of service in Japan. Keep up the exceptional work. God bless you.

    In Christ,


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