Yoshi is a teacher in South East Asia

Tell us a bit about yourself, how and where you grew up, and where you went to school.
I was born in Hokkaido, Japan.  At the of age 15, I moved to America by myself. I was searching for the meaning of life and I didn’t want to get trapped in the Japanese education system.  I met God as a teenager at a boarding school in Oklahoma.  After a missions trip to Ukraine, I attended Word of Life Bible Institute and Cedarville Univ. where I met my husband.  In 1999, after completing my masters at Columbia International Univ. and working for a couple years, we signed up with NICS to become international school teachers.  Currently, I am a member care coordinator and counselor in South East Asia.  My husband is a philosophy teacher.  Our 2 teenagers have grown up in Asia and attended NICS schools all of their lives.  We taught in Korea (7 years), Turkey (1 year), and now in South East Asia (10 years).
What made you decide to become a teacher?
To impact students for His Kingdom.  As a TCK myself, I can relate/connect with students. Teachers inspired me so much, so I want to do the same!
How did you first hear about opportunities at NICS?
Cedarville University College Fair
Did you speak any languages beyond English?
Japanese (had to learn Korean, Turkish, and Chinese)
What did your family say when you told them you were teaching in another country?
“Teaching is the best way to change the world!”
What was the biggest barrier keeping you from signing on as a NICS Teacher?
Will I be accepted in Asia as a Japanese citizen, educated in America?
What convinced you to overcome that barrier?
Having a partner who believed I could make the difference in people's lives. Going and serving as a team.
What was your biggest fear once you signed up?
Am I going to be accepted by the host cultures?  Koreans and other Asians hate Japanese due to our terrible history. Once they find out my true identity, will they hate me and despise me?
Did your family encourage you to go? If so what was the most encouraging thing they did?
Gave us their blessings to follow His Will but hesitated for us to be on the opposite side of the globe.  Just before we left America nineteen years ago, our lives were spared in car accidents, and we felt, "He is not done with our lives yet".  Our parents supported us to go where we felt led.  Once our children came along, it got harder for them to be away from their grandchildren.  Once our parents came to visit us on the field, they understood why we love what we do, and they stopped worrying about us being so far away.
What was your biggest fear when you first landed in your new country?
Why am I going to a country where I knew they hate my nationality and my native language? My first job was to teach the un-welcome Japanese language to Korean high school students. However, once I arrived, the teenagers had very different attitudes towards Japanese culture and the language. After studying together for a couple years, my students decided to take a missions trip to Japan to share the Good News because, “The Japanese did not know what they were doing.” Only 0.1% of Japanese are Christians. He blessed me with many Korean brothers and sisters who accepted me and forgave me. I am also on the reconciliation journey in my current field as well.  Hatred is real, but real forgiveness and repentance can bring so much healing. Love can cover a multitude of sins!
What was your favorite experience living in a new country?
Learning new languages, meeting locals, eating the authentic food, learning to cook new dishes, exploring historical sites.
What is the funniest thing that happened to you as you acclimated to a new culture?
Trying to practice my Chinese, I went to the market and meant to say, "Excuse me..." instead I was using the wrong tone and said "Please kiss me!"  So embarrassing!
Tell us your favorite story from teaching at your NICS school.
Having many high school class parties over for pizza parties at home; out of that, discipleship started. Even today, some graduates come back seeking spiritual advice since they consider us their spiritual parents.
What makes teaching at NICS so special?
All about Him! He can change the hearts of students, teachers, schools, and the community!  Teaching at different schools brings different challenges, but we serve the same King! He taught me so much from trials and suffering. Since you are so far away from your own family/relatives, your international community becomes your family.
How did your experience with NICS help you grow as a teacher?
Having a network with other schools. Feeling like you are a part of a big international team making a difference in young people's lives. The school paid for my further education to be a counselor, so that I can be more effective in what I do.
What do you wish you knew before you signed up?
This experience will change your life! We are committed to NICS long term. We’ve already put in 19 years.The retirement package also helps!
What would you tell someone considering becoming a NICS teacher?
Great experiences and adventure. You will be stretched in many areas of your life and make friends form all of the world!
What is the one thing a new teacher should pack for their trip?
What is your best advice for getting used to a new culture/climate?
Have a learning attitude. Don’t assume American ways are the best. Make local friends when you want to stay longer!

Take a leap of faith!  Your eyes will be opened up through your global experiences—both in your classrooms and traveling in your new country! Build your own support system back home and also on the field—have friends and a church that will pray for and support you! Let them partner with you on this exciting journey!

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