Saturday, November 23, 2013


Well I've been here almost four months now. And that's just crazy. There are moments when it feels like only minutes, and others when it feel like years. I still laugh at how back in June I hadn't the slightest idea of where I would be living or if I would be teaching or not. I smile when I think to the first day of school watching my students walking in my classroom door. I'm not sure if I've ever been so nervous as when I first looked into fourteen pairs of eyes I already loved more than I could express knowing that they are my responsibility and somehow I'm supposed to teach them something. Now I look into the same eyes and I love them even more, and grow more and more proud of them daily. I can see how they are growing, and learning while in my classroom. Which maybe my proudest accomplishment thus far.

I've learned somethings since I've been here. I'll only share a few with you because you have more important things to do than read this. I have learned to stand on the left of an escalator so others can walk up the right side. I can get around on the subway. I know how to use my oven that's the size of a small microwave in the States. I know random words in Japanese (Tanpopo means dandelion.). I can find the things I need in the grocery store, normally. I can talk about the weather in Celsius and have an idea what it means in, occasionally. I can even recognize a few characters in hiragana!

Sometimes living in Japan is all things fun and exciting. It can mean learning a new language, eating new food. It may mean going to another country for a long weekend because flights are less expensive. It means reading shirts, logos, bags, and other things with English words on it that looks like it came from Google Translate. It might be using an app on my phone to communicate with my neighbors. It has been an eye opening experience to the lost in this world. It is meeting new friends and building new relationships. Getting to tell my favorite stories from childhood to people who have never heard about how I got that scar, or how my brothers put spiders in my hair as a child. Every week I laugh at the "Selfie Sundays" "Throw Back Thursdays" "Flashback Fridays" and such that I see on Mondays, Fridays, and Saturdays. Little do many of you know you're a day late. :]

But it's not always these things.

Sometimes living in Japan is hard. It can be trying to buy shampoo and conditioner three times but then getting stressed out and just walking away. (I stood on the aisle several times for over 5 minutes then I just got stressed out and gave up. Seriously. This happened at least three times before I actually bought some...) It means my first holiday away from loud, hilarious, and loving family. It is moments of missing my family and friends. The people who I don't have to explain why things cause such joy or pain, because they walked through it with me. At times it's finding a black dog hair on something and remembering that she's no longer mine. In this moment it's knowing I would give almost anything to be in my mom's sewing room talking to her as she cuts, sews, and irons fabric, turning it into beautiful creations I hoped to find under the Christmas tree with my name on it.

Even though life is full of these momentarily highs and lows I know that one thing is always constant. Whether I'm full of joy that I live in Japan, or it's a moment when I wish I was a bit closer to home, I know that God is always here. He is always beside me, comforting me, guiding me, sharing my joy, or comforting my grief. He has brought me here for a purpose and I couldn't be more excited to see how He uses me here.

I'm glad that life is full of sometimes, but God is all the time.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Questions, Sweet Students, and Arm Wrestling.

This is my 50th post. Is that an accomplishment? Because I feel like it is.

Today I finished my fourth week of school. That's right, I've officially been a teacher for a month now. (There is no question about it, that's an accomplishment.) Does that throw anyone else off? Nope? Just me? When did I become an adult? I'm not sure, but this blog isn't about the fact that my adulthood sprung up on me like a brother waiting behind a corner to yell "Boo!" in order to cause a mini heart attack. Nope, it's not that.

I wanted to share about my class. I hope you're okay with that, because honestly I could talk about them for a while.

I just can't get over the fact that it is my job, my job to teach 14, soon to be 15, sweet little souls about Jesus everyday, and that we sing Jesus Loves Me when we need a brain break. I got to watch a little girl light up when I put a borrowed Bible on her desk as she held it like it was worth more than anything she had ever seen. I heard her take a deep breath and breathe out "My first Bible." How excited she looked when I said that even though she is borrowing this one, she will have one of her own as soon as possible.

I am blown away by the questions my students ask. "Why are you a Christian? Is everyone you know Christian? Why aren't they Christian? Do you try to tell them about Jesus?" Another day after one of my boys asked me what a Christian was. The entire class gasped in shock that he didn't know. Another student got out of his seat wrapped his arm around his shoulder and said, "It's okay you don't know, Ms. Meegan will teach you." I pray that I will do so in a way that makes perfect sense.

One day a boy asked if Christianity was really the only way to Heaven when I said yes he replied, "Well what about Buddhism?" The reaction from another child, was complete desperation. "Ms. Meegan! Ms. Meegan! Christianity is the only way right?" "Yes sir, it is."  "Well Ms. Meegan, he doesn't know that! Ms. Meegan teach him! He NEEDS TO KNOW." Is that not beautiful? This was not a side conversation had out of range for the child who asked the question. He expressed how sad it made him that a classmate doesn't know Jesus is the only way to Heaven in front of the entire class. There was no shame for what he was saying. Only a longing for a friend to know Jesus.

One of my students randomly makes sure that he fully understands the bridge illustration, before school, after school, middle of math class. Constantly I'm hearing, "Ms. Meegan, wait. Just a second. Let me check. God's here, and we are here. No way to get to Him right? Just through Jesus right?" I love the constant conversations I have about the Gosepl.

Today the class was working on a Bible assignment, reading situations and verses and deciding which matches. One of the verses was talking about falsehoods, due to a misunderstanding one of my students thought it meant false gods. He began telling those around him why there should be no false gods. Someone asked what it meant, he continued to explain that a false god was something, anything we put before God. We shouldn't do this because there is only one God and no one is greater than He. Another student started talking as well. The two said something about how this is for Christians. They asked one student if he was a Christian when the student said no they both began to explain why God is the only God and how we should worship Him alone. I said nothing in the conversation, when it started I was helping another student. Then I just sat listened and smiled at the fact that my students were actively sharing with a student who doesn't yet love Jesus. I prayed that those who don't believe would listen oh so carefully to those who do.

My class especially makes me smile when they are sharing Jesus with each other, or asking me all kinds of questions.

But they also make me smile the rest of the day. Even when I'm tired, have a headache, and loss my patience.

Once while getting onto to them for something, probably not listening I began to talk. One of my boys finished my sentence perfectly. He even used the right tone. After the class laughed for a moment another said "Guys, we're wasting our time." Isn't it too early for them to sound like me? I feel like it is.

They try to teach me Japanese, and I must admit, they are pretty good teachers other than they try to teach me a lot of information in two minute periods and expect me to be able to say it all perfectly. But none the less they are the most helpful in learning how to pronounce things. Often adults here will tell you that you said something perfect while my students will say "No. That's wrong." Then say it again loudly stressing whatever I did incorrect. They are also so encouraging when I say something correctly. Sometimes, there's even a brief applause. No joke. This is how I spend my lunch.

After we are done packing up if there's time we arm wrestle. Yes, I arm wrestle my students. It's so much fun. I may have let the smallest girl in class beat me after arm wrestling the biggest boy and beating him without trying. Oh if you could have heard the chorus of giggles! It may seem a bit strange, but hey, it gets the room clean and my students are ready to go on time.

Today several of my students and "sumo wrestled" while waiting for older siblings. Really we squatted and took large steps towards each other before bursting into laughter.

I love my class deeply. Whether I am answering their Gospel centered questions, getting on to them for something, or arm wrestling.

If you could continue praying for their sweet little souls. I feel that some of them are so close to really understanding what Christ did for them. Pray that the Christians in the class, and myself, would not confuse them with what we say. Pray that their ears and hearts would be open and that their minds would be focused.

I love you guys. I love and deeply appreciate the constant encouragement I've received since I've been here.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Such a Sweet Sunday.

I'm taking a moment out of lesson plans to blog for the second time in one weekend. 

Today in church we sang a song about how one day every nation will praise God. In Japanese. Have I sang about this before? Yes, it's a common idea in worship songs. But never have I had the chance to sing this wonderful praise in another language. It was one of my favorite times in worship I have ever experienced. It was made just a bit sweeter because one of my Japanese friends I met at Worldlife, the international ministry I was apart of throughout college, was beside me. I was reminded that my God is not just a God of my country. My God is your God too. My God is the God of every nation. How beautiful is that fact? Does it blow you away as much as it blows me away? I spent a good amount of today dwelling in that.

Church was made a bit sweeter, yes it got even better, when we took communion. The bread was passed out. The pastor stood to tell us to eat our bread said “Dirty sinners that are loved deeply by God take the bread in remembrance.” It was an instant reminder of the incredible unending grace that has been given to me when I didn't deserve an ounce of it. Man. God is good.

In the midst of planning for my sweet energetic class I couldn't help but pray that I could show my students some of the grace that has been awarded to me because that same grace has been awarded to each of them.  

Saturday, August 24, 2013

One Week Down, A Lifetime To Go!

Well, I successfully made it through my first week of teaching. 

Were there challenges? Oh goodness yes. Do I love my students dearly? You better believe it.

On Sunday night I had my first wave of homesickness. While getting in bed I thought "Tomorrow as soon as school ends I'll call my parents to... No I won't call them because it will be 2 am for them." There were more thoughts like this and in a very short time I was laying in bed crying. I turned on my light and pulled out my Bible and the sweet notes of encouragement written by my dear friends before I moved. After spending a good deal of time being encouraged by God and by friends I went to sleep after midnight. This is not the best way to start the school year.

On Monday one of my student's parents came and knocked on the classroom door before school. I knew that the mother was being admitted to the hospital that day to prepare for her surgery. She has cancer and had major surgery on Wednesday in hopes to remove it before it could spread to the rest of her body. (The surgery went well!) Immediately the parents, whom I know from church, started telling me how encouraging I had been to them already and that they were praying for me. I couldn't believe my ears. A woman with cancer standing on my classroom doorstep telling me how she was praying for me. I told them I was praying for their sweet family and their son who is in my class. They left shortly after to go directly to the hospital. It was an encouraging, but bittersweet way to start the day. 

While waiting for my students I thought I was going to have a heart attack. I couldn't help but think "In a few moments 13 students will walk through these doors and I have been given the task of teaching them. Am I ready?" They arrived we shook hands, exchanged high fives, and even a few hugs. Then the day began.

Things didn't go as planned, of course. What school day goes exactly as planned? But it went well. After that day I could tell this year was going to be a great one. 

I have 15 students, but only 14 in class currently. One will join us during the second quarter. I started the year with 13 in class, but on Thursday another beautiful girl joined the class. I have 11 boys and 3 girls in class right now. Later another boy will be added This means that my class has an incredible amount of energy! 

I have students that are still fighting over things from last school year. Ones that follow others around the room throughout the day. One who gives the student beside him back massages all day. But they are wonderful. They make me smile at all times, even when I am getting on to them for not listening. My class is full of energy. Most of them are always moving in some way. They are full of joy. Laughter is heard throughout the day, sometimes for no reason at all. 

I look at my students and think how lucky I am to be able to teach and love them at this point of their lives. I also am so blessed by the fact that this week I shared the Gospel with my class twice. One point the class turned into them asking me a variety of questions about God and Jesus. How many teachers can say that about their first week of school?

I am so thankful for the staff here. This week I had not been sleeping well, hardly at all, for no reason in particular. Several teachers and assistants prayed for me throughout the week. Many would ask me about how I slept when I got to school. I've said it before and I'll say it again. I love the staff here. 

I'm thankful for friends who I know were praying for me last week. I promise that your prayers were certainly felt.  

One week of teaching down, a lifetime to go! And I couldn't be happier about that!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Life is Good.

Hello my dear sweet friends and family! I would have posted sooner, but alas, the internet in my apartment is not working. In fact I wrote this Sunday afternoon and couldn't post it until I went to the office to turn in some things Monday morning. I'm sorry that I haven't been able to update y'all.

The flight to Japan went fine. It was LONG. But fine. Nothing too exciting. I had a nice neighbor for the 12 hour flight. I went through customs in Tokyo in only about 45 minutes. It was crazy fast! I made my flight to my second flight with no problems. About an hour later I landed in Nagoya. A teacher here and I found each other then went to catch the bus. I had about an hour ride until we got off in my new city. I shortly after walked into my new apartment.

My apartment just cracks me up. The sink in the bathroom barely goes past my knee. Yesterday to fix my hair I brought a chair in front of the mirror in order to see. I could barely see still! The peep hole doesn't come to my shoulder. If only you could see how I have to bend to look out of it! I have decided my apartment was made for hobbits. I'll post pictures of everything soon!

My first full day I was shown around by a teacher here. I went to the office, listened to a short presentation about cell phones. Which I can't get until I get my work visa and residence card. So I have been getting online on my phone whenever I get the chance to be able to send short updates. I also went to a restaurant where sushi goes past on a conveyor belt. It was so good! I am going to work my way up to eating raw meat. I had two pieces of sushi that had some raw something. But I set my goal of a piece of sushi that has uncooked tentacles on rice. I. Am. Going. To. Eat. It.

I saw my classroom! It was used as a meeting room last year and before that it was the music room. So it is full of chairs, extra desks, a piano, three guitars, and other random things. Everything that was in the old third grade room was put in the middle of the room in boxes. There are many things that need to be taken out, and many things that I need, such as all furniture. I currently have no where to put books, bag packs, shoes. I am also missing a teacher desk and computer. While currently the sight and thought of it stresses my out a bit, I love it. I love that I have a classroom where I will teach my 13 students. (Yes, 13, my class shrunk by two.) I know that I most likely wont have everything the way I want it by the time school starts, on the 19th, but it will be great! I have my very own classroom and I love it. Boxes, piano, guitars and all.

Church this morning was wonderful. We sang in both English and Japanese. There are people from all over the world. I think this will be where I go to church. For those in my Sunday school class back home I smiled when the sermon started. Guess what book the church is studying? Mark. I hope that makes you wonderful ladies smile as well. After church I went to lunch with some missionaries that have lived here for two years. I also met one of my students at church! His father is one of the pastors and works in a nearby seminary. If you would pray for his mother who was recently diagnosed with cancer.

Guys. The staff here are wonderful. Most of the staff is new to Japan this year. Several of them taught in South Korea together. Many of the staff has taught with NICS before, in Korea, Surname, Kenya, and China. There is such a love among the staff. From first meeting I felt like I was meeting long lost family. It's going to be a great working here.

I'm sure you were expecting some blog about how different life is here. And it's honestly not so different. We walk or ride bikes (I get mine today!), to the store, or church, or work. While most of what I see or hear is not understandable to me, everything feels so normal that it's strange. I didn't expect to feel so normal. And I know that I'm in the 'honeymoon' stage and that culture shock may kick in soon. But right now, life is good.  

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Brie, you know Japan is not Africa right?

Upon hearing me say "I'm moving to Japan!" many people, okay most people, asked some version of the question "What happened to Africa?" Well I figured I would explain it here for those of you that are wondering the same thing. 

Let me begin with I still love Africa. A large piece of my heart is in Nigeria with those beautiful children who in this very moment are probably eating dinner and taking baths. I am still planning on going there and loving those who hold my heart in their little hands calloused and stained by red dirt. I am just not sure when that will be. And yes, that last sentence hurts my heart.

My freshman year of college I felt God's call on my life to missions. I began praying about what this would look like while I was in college and after it. This lead me to the international ministry at the Baptist Student Ministry, a summer spent at Mission Arlington, and two spent in Nigeria. 

It also lead to me repeating the words of Isaiah "Here am I! Send me." Isaiah said this after seeing the Lord on His throne surrounded by creatures calling out "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is filled with His glory!"  The Lord asked "Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?" Isaiah replied simply "Here am I! Send me." (The full story can be found in Isaiah 6:1-8) This was his response to seeing God on His throne. 'Allow me to go and tell others of you.' I can't tell you how many times those two simple sentences have become my prayer. How many times I cried this words while driving, laying in bed, walking my dog, walking around my campus. This is the kind of heart I have always wanted. I want to see God and then immediately want to go tell others about what I saw. 

I did my best to do just that. I followed Him to international ministry, Mission Arlington, and Nigeria. All of these things were easy for me. They were comfortable, they were home. For those who have ever talked to me about Nigeria you know how my heart often longs for that little village down a dirt road. You know how nothing quite feels like home like that. And somehow over time this became what my mind saw when I said the words "Here am I! Send me." I no longer saw the world and its need for Him. I saw one area, truly a speck on the face of the earth. But it's a speck I love. My view of missions became Nigeria. All the while I continued to pray "Here am I! Send me." 

Then God wrecked my view of missions. He destroyed it. And I couldn't be happier. And more terrified. Missions in my life is no longer just Nigeria. He reopened my eyes to the world. In fact He is sending me to it. I spend a lot of time laughing with God now. Laughing at how narrow my own eyes had become and how I needed this to open them fully. 

I have been reminded that the whole world needs Him. And I am so humbled that He has chosen me, little ole me, a loud red head from a small town in Texas to go and be His light in a place quite opposite of where I saw myself. As many have pointed out, Japan is just about as opposite as you can get from a village in Nigeria. 

It has made me more dependent on God than I have been in a long time. I need Him to comfort my fears, because I am truly terrified. I need Him to give me the words to speak, mine couldn't save anyone. I need Him to love me. I need Him for every moment of the day. 

So yes,  Nagoya, Japan is not Nigeria. But there are hurting, broken, and lost people there, just like in Nsukka, Nigeria and just like Denton, Texas. 

"Here am I! Send me." No matter where that leads. 

Saturday, June 15, 2013

One Way Ticket... To Japan?

Yes, you read that right. I am in this moment looking up ticket information for a one way ticket to Nagoya Japan.

I bet you're wondering why I, Brie Meegan, lover all things Africa is looking for flights to an island so far away. Well it's because I got a job.

Let me start in the beginning. I graduated in May from the University of North Texas (cacaaaw!). Since then, actually a bit before that, I began applying for jobs. In fact, that's how I spent just about all of my free time. I filled out application after application, I sent emails to go with a majority of the applications. And then I waited. I waited for the interview then job offer I kept hearing I would get. When that didn't come I sent out more applications and emails.

Soon I had applied for 120 jobs. Yes, I counted. And I had one, just one, interview in a very small town that I just could not see myself living in. I couldn't tell if job hunting was really this hard or if I was just that bad at it.

About a month ago I was sitting in home group when someone asked me how the job search was going. I replied with one word: stupid. They asked if I would consider teaching overseas. Well if you have had any type of conversation with me you probably know that I want nothing more than to teach overseas. But I have loans, and all the organizations I had looked into required that you had no debt. She began to tell me about NICS, Network of International Christian Schools. She knew people who had gone and paid their loans. I applied the next day all the while preparing myself for more rejection or just being ignored, after all I had learned that's what a job search is mostly.

I filled out the personality form, the first step. A few days later I got an email saying I could fill out the interview form. Honestly at this point I was just glad SOMEONE was validating my existence. So I filled out the interview form, still thinking at some point surely they will say no just like everyone else. I won't have enough of something they were looking for... In fact I hardly told  anyone I had applied overseas because I just assumed nothing would come of it.

Two weeks later my phone rang. It was someone with NICS wanting to talk with me. She seemed so calm, too calm. You know those overly calm tone that people use when giving bad news and their tone will somehow soften the blow. I walked upstairs waiting for the "I'm sorry but..." Instead I heard "I'm reviewing your interview form right now. It looks like you're a great fit for us!" My first thought was not something about getting a job, it was more along the lines of "SOMEONE THINKS I'M A GOOD FIT. THANK YOU JESUS FOR ENCOURAGEMENT."

The phone call continued and she asked what I thought about the possibility of Japan. Would I be interested? I instantly said "Yes." Now trying to use one of those super calm voices to hide the pure joy running through me.

Reference forms were sent then returned. Roughly two weeks later, Thursday morning, I received another phone call. It was the coordinator for the school in Japan. Again, I prepared myself for the "I'm sorry but..." Instead this time I was met with a job offer. A third or fifth grade teaching job in the city of Nagoya at the International Christian Academy of Nagoya. I had until Monday to decide so that the visa process could start for me, or for someone else. I ran into Sarah's room screaming, and I do mean screaming. I then called some family and friends. I met with my home group leader for lunch to discuss things. I cried randomly throughout the day. I laughed a lot. I prayed. I called the coordinator back with questions. I called my parents with answers.

Fun fact about several of these phone calls: During the first call with the job offer and the first calls to my parents I received emails from school districts telling me the position I had applied for had been filled. While talking with the coordinator I received two, and one during each call to my parents.

All this to say this, on Friday morning at about 10 am I called the coordinator back to accept the third grade position in Japan. It is a two year commitment.  I have to be there early August. So, in a month and a half I will be moving across the world for two years. I should be back next summer for a bit, the school schedule is the same as American schools so I'll have the same summer break!

I have to raise my initial plane ticket, roughly $1,000. I know that my God provides. He always does, and always will. My laptop is in the process of dying, the screen randomly goes too dark to see anything and in fact is in the process of breaking away form the bottom half. I'm just not sure it will survive a around the world trip, and if it does I know it will not last two more years. So if and when I have more than enough money to buy a plane ticket I will be buying a new laptop. Yes, I could buy one there...But I am not technologically savvy and I would prefer my dear sweet father help me set it up.

I would love and appreciate your prayers for me and my family during this time. I had a very small taste how hard this move will be by making phone calls yesterday. My family knew I was going to move across the world at some point, but they didn't think that would come so quickly. So pray that this time will be well spent and as peaceful as can be.

I love you guys! If you want to spend time with me (I would love to spend time with you!) let me know and we will plan it! But please let's not always get lunch, dinner, coffee or other things that will cost me. Remember, I need to save money because I'm moving to Japan soon. :]