In 1982, I was blessed with the opportunity to be a part of the first group of students in the Sister City Exchange Program to travel from Moses Lake, Washington to Yonezawa, Japan. It was an experience of a lifetime and left me with a tender place in my heart for the Japanese people. Since my name is Connie, pronounced with a long “o” in Japanese, they affectionately called me “Konni-chiwa”, which means “a good day”.
Almost seventeen years ago, I was blessed again when our family was able to be a host family to a young girl from Japan named Hitomi who came to stay with us through a Christian exchange student program.
It was an honor to share our Christian home with Hitomi and after she graduated from high school in Japan, we were so amazed and blessed that she returned to our area, graduated from college with honors through a nursing degree, got married, and had a baby boy.
For my youngest daughter’s 12th birthday this year, she asked if we could consider hosting some Japanese girls in her age group from Japan. I was once again amazed when our church requested host families for Japanese students, 12 to 13 years old, to arrive on my daughter’s birthday! Of course we put in our request right away and a month later met “Peanut” and “Bell” as they affectionately wanted to be called.
My heart was stolen away by these two beautiful and loving Japanese girls. They came through a Christian school called MeySen Academy and I highly recommend looking into this school if you are interested in hosting Japanese students or if you would like to consider teaching English in Japan.
While the girls were here, we had lots of fun. They had only two requests: Eat cheeseburgers, and go to Mount Rainier. Here are some pictures of all the fun we had for the short three days they stayed in our home…