Kwansei Gakuin Elementary School (KG) is a private co-ed elementary school in Takarazuka, Japan. Each year they send their entire Grade 6 class to Canada for a short school trip. There were 89 students, this year, on a five day trip, accompanied by several teachers and two administrators of KG. One of the main themes of the program is intercultural communication. KG programs aim to develop globally-minded people who understand other cultures and inspire them to help others. Their motto, “mastery for service”, is a reminder for students to master their many God-given gifts to serve their neighbours, society and the world. The motto was brought to KG by a Canadian Missionary, CJ Bates, who borrowed it from McGill University. KG follows Methodist Church principals.
The students arrived at Knox on the morning of June 3, for their last stop on the trip. During their visit Colleen spoke about some of the Knox programs, and then some about the church building itself. One student led them in a brief “service” of prayer and all the students sang a song of thanks, while one of their teachers played the organ. They then had some time to wander around the sanctuary, the chapel, poked their heads in the door of the organ loft room to catch a glimpse of the pipes, ventured upstairs to the choir room, and some spent some time looking for the tiny mustard seed represented in the stained glass window on the east side of the sanctuary. After a brief question time everyone gathered for a farewell photo. There were lots of good-byes and cheerful high fives as they headed back out to their buses and departed for YVR airport – and home. (The planning and organization of the trip is handled by MYK Enterprises Ltd., who have offices in Vancouver and in Kyoto.)
We were extremely pleased to welcome the students and their teachers to Knox, and look forward to future visits.