Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Week 4 - "Team Unity!"

Ok so now pretend that i'm posting this on June 20th, 2009 and it is now the end of week 4 - a pretty eventful week! I honestly don't remember too much detail from this week but i do remember it was full of fun events!

On Tuesday night, we had men's time at an all-you-can-eat Japanese BBQ restaurant and then went back to the apartments where we discussed how to live as true men of God, pro-actively pursuing others in encouragement, edification, and love. It was a really inspiring talk and really touched on a lot of the things God has been teaching me recently.

Gen and Kylan bbq'ing!

On Wednesday night "family night", we went to dinner at an all-you-can-eat shabu shabu restaurant (so much meat for one week!, it was amazing) and then went out to a karaoke place! That was a super fun night.

Since the theme of the week was persevering together through team unity, each person was required to switch with the other campus team for one day. For me, I ended up going to Gaidai (Tokyo Univ. of Foreign Studies) on Thursday with campus team 2. It was really cool getting to go sharing with one of our guys Kyle who I had never gone sharing with and getting to see him talk to students.

Friday night was the creative date we had planned for the ladies and it was very much a success. We presented a quite comedic skit of what project would be like without the girls as well as a poem prepared by some of our guys telling them how much we appreciate and love them.

All of us all dressed up after the date

The busy week ended with yet another busy day of the whole team waking up at 7 AM to spend the day at DisneySea, only to come back home around midnight. Even though Saturday was just a fun day at a Disney theme park, God used a lot of stuff that happened to really show me how much He loves me and how much all I really need is him and nothing else in this world. On the train ride back from DisneySea, I had some of the best worship/prayer times I've had in a long time. It was a pretty great night.

Most of us, waiting in line at DisneySea!

Week 3 - "Challenge" Week!

Ok, so i know this is a really late post, but just pretend like i posted this on June 13th, 2009. It is now the end of weeks 3, "Challenge Week", a pretty great week for me. The "challenge" aspect of it involved three goals that we had to set (a number of gospel presentations, a personal goal, and an "exceedingly more" that only God can fulfill). I had a goal of 6 gospel presentation, a personal goal of having quiet time twice a day, and an "exceedingly more" that one of my contacts would e-mail me back after over a week of not responding. At first, I wasn't really sure how I felt about this whole thing, thinking we're kind of putting God's plan in a box. After talking to Gen about it (talking to him always makes things better lol), I began to see it as a way of challenging myself in getting out of my comfort zone and sharing my faith more, while humbly trusting that the Lord is taking care of me and will provide what needs to be provided. In the end, it was a great week!

This is my campus team in front of Hitotsubashi University

The best part about it was that my "exceedingly more" prayer was answered the next day! Kylan (our campus leader) and I were heading back to the gate at Gakugei on Monday ready to head home where I see someone who looks really familiar. I didn't wanna look like a fool so I didn't want to approach him but Kylan encouraged me to and then I realized it was Yoshiki! (the guy my "exceedingly more" was about). He was really excited to see me and told me how he had e-mailed me the night before and I hadn't gotten it! How sweet is that!? I then got a chance to invite him to the "English Lunch" hosted by Campus Crusade and he came to it! It was really encouraging to see God answer a prayer so quickly.

On another note, while my goal of gospel presentations wasn't quite met, it really encouraged me to just go out there and talk to a lot of people about Jesus. Whether I felt like it or not, I persevered through dry times and went out and formed relationships. As a result, I met my dear friend Daisuke. He was sitting on a little seat in the grass reading a book. Jeremy and I approached him and he was really nice in inviting us to sit and was really welcoming in his conversation. The convo quickly led to spirituality and we told him all about Jesus. His response was pretty much: "wow that sounds like a great God, i wish a God like that was true in my life". The bummer was that it was followed with the response, "but in Japan, we've learned that religion is bad, so i can't join a religion". Nonetheless, we talked for over an hour about religion, culture, Jesus, and just life in general. It was the start of a pretty sweet friendship.

The thing that frustrated me the most was how typical this reaction was with Japanese students. So many students talk about how great of a god our God sounds and how much they long for that sense of peace and joy that we talk about. I can tell not only how much they need a god, but how much they want a god! They just have grown up with the thought of religion as a terrible thing that leads to hatred and violence, even though this is the first time for many to hear the message of the gospel. It's so frustrating! Either way, it was really encouraging to meet Daisuke who was so open to Jesus and allowing God to work in him.

We finished the week with our "Discover Friends" Party, a ministry-oriented party that we held for all the Japanese friends we've made over the last few weeks. It was a really cool opportunity for us to share the gospel and just have a good time with the friends we've made.

Ok, now onto the fun of the weekend. After such a rough week, we were "highly encouraged" by our team leaders to rest on the weekend. We did so by going to Tokyo Disneyland for the day. Gen, Heather, Jeremy, and I spent the day (from 3 PM) having a chill and fun day and it was great! After dland closed and we got back to Koenji, we spent over 2 hours at a local park playing on the swings and playing the Haha game. It was one of my favorite days of the trip!

Me, Heather, Jeremy, and Gen in front of the Disney Castle!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Week 2!

So, this past week has been a pretty rough week. Monday was spent at Gakugei University where I had several great conversations and got to share the gospel with a student. The next three days were at Hitotsubashi and were not quite as encouraging. The conversations were awkward, the students I talked to didn't seem interested, and my motivation to start conversation was being drained. It was really rough! I never really though about ministry as being as hard as I'm learning it to be. But Thursday was a turnaround! I had great quiet time on campus reading a few chapters of Matthew and then had a really encouraging conversation with one of our team leaders Gen.

The story of Peter walking on the sea really stuck out to me:

"So He said, “Come.” And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!”
And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, 'O you of little faith, why did you doubt?'"
- Matthew 14: 29-31

This is such a great portrayal of our days on campus. We take leaps of faith, trusting God is there to keep us up. The moment we start doubting the Lord's power, we begin to fall. But the greatest thing about our Lord is that even if we do doubt and fall, his hand is immediately there to catch us! How legit is that? So, that's been something I've been learning to rely on.

Another thing I've been learning is how much of a team we really need to be. We're all going to have encouraging days and have discouraging days. Something that's really helped me get through that is taking joy in victories as a team. A win for any of us is a win for Christ, how can I forget that? We're not in this alone, we're not even in this as just a team of 17, we're in this as all the Christians in the world with God by our side!

None of this is really news for me and it's all kind of common sense, I'm just recently learning to live it out in times of trouble.

So, let's look at the positve!
Last Wednesday, one student at Hitotsubashi University, while talking to one of my teammates and a Christian Japanese student, decided to accept Christ! YES! It's the first and only we've seen so far, but that's so encouraging to hear! I ask that you pray for him that his faith is genuine and that he continues to grows in the Lord.

Also, we recently found out that the administration at one of our campuses has forbidden the Japanese Campus Crusade for Christ from ever coming back onto ICU (which stands for International Christian University... pretty ironic huh?). As a result of that, the whole team got to go to ICU High School where they had some pretty quality time talking about their faith and sharing their testimonies! At that point, the whole team wasn't even upset about the ICU situation anymore! Pretty cool to see how God has his own plan, huh?

Now onto the tourist-y stuff!
Saturday, we woke up at a painfully early time of 4 AM and went to the Tsukiji fish market. It was crazy! There was fish and blood and guts everywhere! It was pretty sweet. After the fish market, we went to a fresh sushi place right nearby and had some delicious nigiri!

After a much-needed nap, we went to a local park and just had a chill time exploring the park, playing volleyball and soccer, and watching a sweet local quartet perform!

Sorry for the long post, but it's been a while and it's been a pretty eventful week.

I wanted to thank you all again for your prayers and encouragement! It's been one of the most encouraging things for me to get e-mails and messages from friends and supporters telling me to keep on going. You guys are awesome!

Until next time,

Saturday, May 30, 2009

First week on Campuses!

It's been a little over a week since our first day on campuses! My team of 7 students has been sharing on Hitotsubashi University (a commerce-oriented school) and Gakugei University (an education-oriented school) where we've been talking to students about their lives, their experiences in college and in Japan, and their faiths. It started off as kind of a rough week in terms of talking to students and making contacts, but my last 2 days at Gakugei have been really encouraging! So far, there has been some really cool opportunities given to us in getting to know students:

One of my teammates (a Lacrosse player at Montana State) was invited to go and play with the whole Hitotsubashi Lacrosse team and they want to meet up with him again! Another one of my teammates invited a non-Christian student to the weekly Student Impact meeting where the student came and actually received a gospel presentation! Earlier today, a teammate and I got to give a gospel presentation to a Gakugei University student in the main cafeteria!

Overall, the week has been a test of my patience and perseverance in continuing to push though even when our work doesn't seem to be fruitful 100% of the time. It's been a week of trusting the Lord in doing my part and leaving the rest to Him, while taking refuge in Him and energizing myself in Him.

Last Saturday was a free day, so a bunch of us decided to go to Asakusa where we visited the Senso-Ji temple. At first, it was a beautiful sight in its architecture and its art, but after we walked in, it was a heart-breaking image. Hundreds of people were walking in and "praying" to Buddhist images and statues. The sad part was that it wasn't in a touristy "this is a joke" way but in a genuine "i need help" way. This just made me realize a little bit more how much this place really needs Jesus.

On a happier note, this weekend, I've had the best sushi I've ever tasted, gotten closer to my roommates and teammates, saw some really cool tourist spots, and bought a sweet new sword!

Prayer Requests:
1) That I'm seeking the Lord and His glory before anything else
2) That my whole team feel regenerated and strengthened when going to campus and sharing
3) That the hearts of Japanese students are softened and willing to listen
4) That the hearts of my team and I are broken for the students we're reaching out

Thanks for reading! I hope all is well with everybody back home (both LA and St. Louis) and I miss you all!

Until next time,

Monday, May 25, 2009

Greetings from Tokyo!

So, let me start off by saying that today has been a pretty great day! After settling in yesterday, we had an orientation this morning with the Japanese Campus Crusade for Christ where they introduced to the west campus staff that we're going to be working with and fed us a delicious lunch. They were such nice and loving people and I'm so excited to be working with them for the next 5 weeks! After lunch, we were sent on a "Taste of Tokyo" scavenger hunt where I was in a team of 3 with 2 of the teammates I'll be on campuses with. It was a great time of working together, adventuring through Tokyo, and taking ridiculous pictures. We then all got back to Koenji (where our apartments are) for dinner and then split up for a pretty amazing "date night with Jesus"!

I am so encouraged to be here right now! From all the people I have encountered today (whether Campus Crusade staff or random Japanese people we started talking to on the train), I'm starting to love this city and the people in it.

Tomorrow is going to be our first day on college campuses. I'm not really sure what to expect but I'm really excited to start talking to students and making new Japanese friends! I was a little nervous about that, but today's experience has completely changed that. Anyways, I ask for your prayers as we go tomorrow and start developing relationships and talking to students, that our hearts are aligned with God's and that we go forth with love, compassion, and wisdom, following the Lord in everything we do.

I thank you all for your support and hopefully I'll be able to post again soon!

Until next time,

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

First day of briefing!

Today was the first day of briefing. After a long day of driving and last-minute packing, we arrived at Vanguard University, checked in, ate dinner as a team, had a general meeting with all 3 teams, and then a team meeting with just the Tokyo kids. My team has 16 other great guys and girls, from ALL over the country and definitely VERY diverse! We spent about an hour and a half in team meeting getting to know one another, talking about our reasons/goals/worries about the summer, and praying for one another and for the project as a whole! I am happy to say that, even though i had a lot of worries/burdens coming into project, this day has really refreshed us all and got us ready and excited for what God has in store for us!

I want to thank everyone who has supported us in prayer and finances so far! One of the most encouraging things I've gotten so far has just been all the calls and letters from friends and family telling me they're praying for us!

As far as finances, I'm almost there (relatively), but my whole team of 17 is still in need of about $19,000! It seems like a large number but I know God can do it! If you haven't donated, or feel called to possibly donate a little extra for my fellow teammates, it would be really appreciated! (whatever is raised extra for each individual goes to the team as a whole for those who are still under)

Since project has technically already started, checks must now be sent to:
**Tokyo A Summer Project FOR Andrew Guirguis**
Campus Crusade for Christ

C/O Chrissy Tsai
16 Technology Dr Suite # 205
Irvine, Ca 92618

OR still online at:

I hope to update my blog fairly often and hope it's a good way for all to stay updated as to what God is doing in the hearts of Tokyo students as well as our own hearts!

Thanks again in advance for all your supports and prayer and I ask that you keep earnestly praying for us! I can't emphasize how important that is to my whole team!