Being safe—it’s something everyone wants. And we all have many ways we work to keep ourselves and our loved ones as safe as possible: homeowner’s insurance, fire alarms, retirement investments, seatbelts, and shisa. Wait—shisa? What are shisa?

Shisa are mythical creatures somewhere between a dog and a lion, recognizable by their curly manes. They represent Okinawans’ desire for safety, as they are supposed to guard the place they are posted. As I walk around my neighborhood, I see them everywhere—on rooftops, gateposts, and vending machines; in front of the Starbucks and the gas station; and on terra-cotta tiles adorning the entry to the local elementary school and the local fishing port.

My neighbors worry about the usual threats to safety—and a few more: tsunamis, earthquakes, and typhoons. In my neighborhood, there are signs pointing to tsunami evacuation routes and signs designating emergency shelters.

Keep Each Other Safe LogoAt OCSI, we want our students to be safe physically. So, for example, we have earthquake drills, where everyone shelters under a desk or a table to protect their head from falling objects. We have typhoon procedures to close school and to secure the campus against the strong wind and heavy rain.

We also want our students to be safe spiritually—to find shelter in Jesus. In a country where less than 1% know Jesus, we have the opportunity to teach our students not only math and English, but also how to find spiritual safety!

Please continue to pray for OCSI:

  • Ask God to work in the hearts of our over 400 K-12 students. Ask God to keep them safe in Jesus.
  • Praise God that new staff are making a good transition to OCSI.

Thanks for being involved in God’s work in Japan.

Michael B. Essenburg, superintendent
Equipping students to walk with God and impact the world for Him
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