Grade 12 Nagasaki Trip
To equip our senior class to be prepared to serve Japan for Christ, we believe they need to have a deep understanding of Japanese history and culture. Though they spend considerable time in the classroom reading and studying about these topics, this comes alive for them when they visit the fascinating city of Nagasaki.
Prior to the trip, seniors read the powerful work, Silence, by the Japanese Christian writer, Shusaku Endo. They reflect on and discuss the challenging themes of faith, suffering, and wrestling with God. The book and the film (directed by Martin Scorsese) make a profound impact on the seniors, but the story becomes a living reality when the students visit the museum of the 26 Christian martyrs, when they tour the museum memorializing Endo’s life and work, and when they hike through the woods to see a shrine where hidden Christians worshipped in secret.
On the Nagasaki trip, students visit sites where they are confronted with the effects of the atomic bomb devastating the city at the end of World War 2. They think about how this event has shaped Japanese society and what their response should be.
Of course, they also enjoy doing all of this deep and thoughtful learning in the company of their classmates. The seniors and their teachers walk from one end of the city to the other during their few days there, using that time for much discussion on topics heavy and light. The seniors conclude their trip with a more complete understanding of the country we equip them to serve, a lasting vision of Japanese believers’ faith in the midst of suffering, thoughts about how their own faith might be applied, and a deeper appreciation for each other.