The PacRim 2004 voyage is now over. Most blogs start with now and scrolling down takes you further into the past. We've reversed the order here so you can read from the beginning to the end. Or click on the categories to the left to skip directly to what you're interested in.

Jala Herndon

Saturday, September 04, 2004

The Journey Starts

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Our journey has begun. We left Oklahoma Christian University at 5:45am on August, 27 2004. Arrived at Will Rogers Airport and that is where John Osborne and Nancy Moran (Travel Agent) met up with all of us and helped us get through the ticket counter. 

Then we left for Salt Lake City where we would connect with our next flight to Los Angles. Our Final flight will be from LA to Narita, Japan. Once we landed in Narita, we went through customs just fine, but baggage claim was another thing. Chris Verner’s Luggage got misplaced in between Narita and Oklahoma. Total amount of flying on the first day of travel is 6881 miles!

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Wednesday, September 08, 2004

The Great Wall

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This has been by far the coolest site that we have visited in Beijing. The Great Wall has been a dream fulfilled for me. We left the hotel at 8:00a.m. Saturday morning and traveled about an hour out of the city. When we saw the great wall in was an awesome site. I thought to myself, “This is a two thousand years old and it is still standing.”

The wall is not flat at all but very steep in a few places. It was a very great place to see. We spent around 3 hours at the wall. While at the wall we found out that Kent Breese is a great bargainer with street vendors. imageimage

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Monday, September 27, 2004

Temple of Heaven

imageOn Sunday September 4th we left for the Temple of heaven. This is a very special place for the Chinese people.  There is a huge park where every weekend there are people getting together playing games, singing, doing some type of judo, or just sitting and pondering.  There are three temples in this park. One of the templtes, the temple of Heaven, is a very beautiful place with a lot of Chinese heritage.image

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Fragrant Hill:

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Fragrant Hill is not a hill but a mountain. Fred (our tour guide) told us that every year elderly Chinese men and woman climb to the top of this mountain to prove that they are still young. Fragrant Hill has 2200 steps to the top. It is not an easy climb, but once you get to the top, you see the entire city of Beijing and how large it really is.
Jacob Barnes said, “The name of the hill should be changed to ‘The mountain of beauty and pain.‘”

At the top we sat and took it all in for about an hour, then we ran down the 2200 steps to the bottom. We all enjoyed this trip to the top of Fragrant Hill.
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Thursday, October 07, 2004

Arrive at Ibaraki Christian & Omika Church of Christ:

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When we first got to Ibaraki the staff and our IC buddies were there to greet us until our families got there. When all the families finally arrived we headed to our new homes for the next month.
The next day we all met up with the Pac Rimmers and went to Omika church of Christ. After the service the Church prepared a Hamburger lunch with home-made ice cream. The church fed us well treated us with great respect.

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First Week at Ibaraki:

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We have been at Ibaraki for one week. This week has been fun but very busy. We started are Japanese language and culture classes. This has been very challenging and a lot of fun.
In between classes we are meeting up with Japanese students to help them with their English, we use the “Let’s start Talking book” so we are also teaching them Gods word in the process. Pray that through this that the students have a better understanding of the Bible and learn about becoming a Christian.
This week’s activities contained a Karate demonstration, a welcome party, and learning to play the Koto (traditional musical instrument). So far we are adapting well to life in Japan and looking forward learning and growing while here.

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Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Weekend Retreat:

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We had the opportunity to get together with a bunch of IC students for the weekend. The weekend stated with a traditional Japanese BBQ, and a time of fellowship. The food was awesome and very filling.

After dinner we got together and played a game that was very challenging for us because we were not aloud to talk to each other. They game was like Spades with a twist everyone was given a different set of rules for the game. After the game Batton Sensei told us that when you are in a different culture you need to be aware that people have a different set of rules which they live by.

The next morning we had the opportunity to see a Japanese sunrise, but I was so tired from staying up late I didn’t get up.

That morning was a special time for us Pac Rim group because one of our own deiced to get baptized while at the coast. McKayla Brooks was baptized on Saturday October 2nd around 9:00am. So congratulations to McKayla, our new sister in Christ.

I thought that this was a great way to end an awesome fun filled weekend.
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Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Busy Week Two: Stephanie Coil

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We got the honor of being invited to attend a Rotary Club meeting as their guests.  Although very few of the members (mostly business men) could speak English, we had a great time.  We had lunch and took turns introducing ourselves.  We experienced a true Japanese tradition:  gift-giving.  We each received a small gift from the Rotary Club, which was much appreciated. 

Also this week we visited Omika elementary school.  We were split into groups and got to spend time with different grades; playing games, sports, and singing songs.  We had a great time eating lunch with the kids and, of course, at recess. 

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Busy Busy Busy Week 3 at Ibaraki

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Our culture class this week was over the Japanese Haiku.  We got to experience an age-old traditional Japanese style of writing, called “oshuuji.”  Our teacher translated our names and haikus into Kanji, and after some practice we wrote them on strips of paper and hung them on a bamboo shade.  Here we have Danny, Stephanie, and Isaac; who took first, second, and third place for their haikus (our teacher was the judge).

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This week was completed with a trip to the Oarai aquarium, or Aqua World.  The aquarium is right on the beach, and complete with everything from sea lions to clown fish.  While at the aquarium we also got to watch an amazing dolphin show.  The same day some of us attended a Halloween party, put on by the English Bible Class.  We carved pumpkins, ate pumpkin pie, and laughed at each other’s…costumes.
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This past Sunday, October 17th, Hiromi Yamada was baptized at Mito Church of Christ.  Hiromi is a junior at IC has been studying the Bible for the past four years.  It was touching to see Hiromi’s baptism this morning, knowing how much of a struggle she went through to get to this point, and in a country that’s less than 1% Christian. 

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McKayla’s Web Page
Stephanie’s Web Sit


Above are links to Mckayla Brooks and Stephanie Coil’s personal websites, with their own thoughts and pictures as we journey through the Pacific Rim. Feel free to check them out! 

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Sunday, October 24, 2004

People to Thank At Ibaraki:

The time has come to say good bye to Ibaraki Christian University and our host families. It is hard to think that the four weeks is already up it seems like we just got here and were figuring out how to get to school from our homes by trains and busses.  As the weeks progressed we felt more and more comfortable to where it was second nature to get to school.

We have to thank the people who made this foreign place feel like home. The 15 families that took in us all in and treated us as if we were one of there own kids. They fed us took us to sites, and showed us true hospitality. So thank you all very much.
Jordan Alexander Togasaki Family
Jacob Barnes Saka Family
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Kent Breeze Tanmachi Family
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McKayla Brooks Owada Family
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Stephanie Coil Yabe Family
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Amy Convington Saito Family
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Jala Herdon Hirai Family
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Laura King Sawahata Family
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Danny Kratzer Kikuchi Family
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Issac Magoos Kikuchi Family
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Adam Potter Kikiuchi Family
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Jon Schulz Mori Family
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Leia Vergne Akiba Family
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Chris Verner Kuboki Family
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Casey White Kuwana Family
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Ibaraki Christian University has these people called “IC Buddies” they helped in many ways and became some of our really good friends. The buddies spent their free time helping us in our Japanese class; they also helped us order food and helped us communicate with the other students. The IC buddies spent time with us after school and took us around the town from Karaoke to “Pricula” (a really popular thing to due in Japan). A special thanks to our new friends who will be greatly missed.

The four ladies in the International studies office at ICU get a gold star; they planned many activities, helped us with translations, took me to the Hospital, and helped us when we needed help. They went far above the call of duty and made everything run smoothly.
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The last people that we need to thank are the professors that taught us in our Japanese culture class and language class. They made Japan come alive, they taught us all different aspects of the Japanese culture from learning to play the Koto to learning how Japanese business men do business.  A special thanks to Suzuki Sensi who spent the whole month teaching a group of American how to speak a very difficult language. To the prefessors thank you again for everything.

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