I write this third blog post from our fifth accommodation so far, an upgrade from our past apartments as it actually has a wardrobe. Our clothes have finally made it out of the suitcases after nearly a month. We both let out a sigh of relief when we entered this new place, a whole kitchen area where we could actually start to settle into the normalities of cooking meals. Eating out has been amazing but it has been taking its toll on our waistlines. Let me not forget to mention the toilet, as you all discovered from my last post it is a fascination of mine, the one we have has many intriguing buttons and functions that will mean returning to a bog standard toilet again shall be very disappointing. There’s even a seat warming function that I find slightly strange, as with the climate here, its not exactly something you want- however in the winter maybe I will think otherwise.
As you all may have read in my last post, James has a job! I wanted to explain a bit more around how it came about and what the past few weeks have held for us both.
On Friday 28th August James got his first response to a job application of his, asking him to attend an interview the week after. As you can imagine we were very excited by how quick this potential job opportunity came about.
That weekend we made our first visit to a Church and were introduced to an Australian couple who both taught English at two different places. One, at the company where James had been offered an interview and the other at a pre-school who had just found out that a teacher of theirs was leaving and was now looking for someone new. Through that meeting James got an interview with the pre-school that same week.
James’ first interview went very well at the first company, they seemingly wanted to offer him a full time job and they even asked him to bring in my CV at his forthcoming trial lesson so that they could maybe offer me a job also. It sounded like a convincing offer, we had read about how without a degree you could not get a job as a teacher and for me that was a bit disheartening. Pumped from his positive meeting, James came home and explained the options we had and it sounded good- I liked the idea of getting a chance to teach.
The next day James attended his second interview at the pre-school, the interviewer started by explaining what hours he would be doing, what they would pay him and James had so stop them by saying “Wait, you haven’t even explained what the job is yet!”. It seemed they were already giving it to him and he hadn’t even had to say anything. James returned from this interview very happy, he loved the sound of the job they were offering, he said it felt like a great environment and he had a good feeling about it. The only problem was that they were only offering part-time and therefore less money than the job from the day before. And the option for me to teach would be gone.
To get a working visa here you need to be contracted a certain amount of hours so the pre-school needed to let us know whether what they were offering was enough for our visas- ultimately that was the most important factor of getting a job. We waited only a few hours and then got an email saying we could get our visas and James could have the job, all he needed was to say yes, or no.
We weren’t quite sure what to do at first, there were factors to consider, mainly practical ones including whether the money would even cover our living costs. However, James really wanted this job at the pre-school.
Often, as a result of faith, you don’t choose the seemingly logical or most practical option. On a bus to a friend’s bar we both decided James should accept the job at the pre-school. I have to say, I didn’t know in the moment how I felt about the two options, the part of me that can be nervous about money and security was nagging at me but the way James was talking about the other job was telling me that it was the right one. In a wave of confidence, we both said to each other that if God had said He would provide for us here, He would. And the next stage would be finding some private classes or for me to actually find some part time work too.
We arrived at the bar with the sudden realization that we should be celebrating! James was going to get a job! We could get our visas and we wouldn’t have to leave the country after our six month tourist visa ended. This was something to be very happy about!
After a fun few hours we were ready to leave and as we were about to a man stepped into the bar with his heavily pregnant wife. The man stood out as he was a western man with curly strawberry-blond hair. We have found in Fukuoka that you can go a whole day without seeing one other westerner- so it was a surprise to see him! We were introduced to him by our friend and realised this man, Duncan, was who James had emailed several months ago about the possibility of a job as he owns an English school. He had previously said he had nothing but would keep an ear out for any jobs. So, we ended up staying for another drink and the man asked James how the job search was going. James explained his accepted job offer and the man asked what hours he was going to do as he may now have an opening at his school. It was a bizarre moment when James explained his hours and the man just smiled and said “I was hoping you would say that- that would work well for what I’m offering”. We both looked at each other and had a moment of “Seriously!? How good is this!?”
I asked the couple if they came to this bar often as they knew our friends who owned it and they replied “Ah no, we don’t really ever come here- we just came tonight as our regular was closed for some reason”. It blew us both away, to say and believe that God will provide is one thing but when it so blatantly happens it is quite overwhelming.
We came away from that evening feeling very happy and with a strong confirmation that we were meant to be here.
Since that night we seem to be in a constant cycle of getting things in the pipeline. We got in contact with UR, a government housing scheme and have visited a few apartments to rent on a year’s contract, one of which we really liked and are hoping to move in at the start of October. Through another helpful person we met at church, I also have a teaching opportunity at a primary school for a few weeks which may open some more doors for me. Our initial thoughts about it being tricky for me to get a job may prove to not be so tricky after all…
We want to say thank you all for your encouragement, prayers and messages. We feel grateful to you all for cheering us on!
Until next time...