There is a Japanese term, “nemawashi”, which literally means “to clear the soil”. The picture is that the soil is getting cleared away from the roots of a tree in order to more easily uproot and transplant the tree. In English, the closest equivalent would be to “clear the way”.
We have a strong sense that this is what God has been doing for us ever since we arrived in Japan. It started over a year ago, but the first time we were aware of this was the week after we arrived.
Higa Sensei, the pastor of Seaside Chapel, showed us an article from the local newspaper. Apparently, Okinawa prefecture has just announced that they plan to be #1 in English ability in Japan within the next five years. Teaching English conversation will be one of the ministries that we engage in for outreach over the next three years. Interesting…
When Peter and I were undergoing our training to be English conversation teachers, we asked our supervisor, “As English teachers, who are our main competitors for students?”
He told us that the two main companies that used to teach English conversation have gone bankrupt in the last eighteen months. This was not for lack of students, but just because the companies extended themselves too quickly. There are now no competitors for our niche offering.
We don’t rejoice in the misfortunes of others. This is just something that we’ve been pondering. I wonder what’s in store.