Laila Rivas
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Hello there! I’m Laila J. Rivas this year for 2024 I’m going overseas to Japan for a ministry school to deepen my relationship with God and learn how to serve the people of Japan! I’m very excited, so come with me as I go on a journey of a lifetime.

About Me:
I enjoy both simple and exciting things in life. When I was little I’d pray to God for something magical to happen just like in the Barbie movies, enabling me to go on a grand life adventure ✨️.  This is finally the season of my lifelong prayer happening. Things I enjoy are crafting, creating, art, and the color PINK!

Why Japan?:

     I’ve been interested in Asian Culture in general for a while. After taking this past year off from school, I began questioning where I was meant to go and my purpose. The only thing that felt right was going away somewhere entirely new.  For the past 3 years, my family has hosted exchange students, our first one being from Japan. It was such a God thing from the start. It all began one night when coming home from my aunt’s house. I threw out the idea of becoming an exchange student myself.  The idea of going somewhere completely new sounded fun.  The day after I brought up studying abroad, my high school sent an email. They were asking people if they’d like to host exchange students. It was extremely surprising because the school is small only about 200 students total from KG-High School.  My Mom and I instantly knew God wanted our family to do this. I was begging God for a girl from Japan. The person who placed students picked her out for us because we were late in signing up. She described her as a cute Japanese girl wearing Minnie Mouse ears in her photo and instantly we knew that was our girl. 

     Time skip to 2023/24 God brought us another Japanese girl and she is like the little sister I never had.  She became interested in my family’s faith in God.  At first, it was hard to explain in a way she understood.  Then we had a God moment. We went up to the city to pick up some pottery that we had painted. I decided to go eat at Chick-fil-A, we could’ve gone elsewhere that day to eat but didn’t. When we arrived at the restaurant it was hectic but walking out the door my Japanese sister noticed someone. It was another Japanese girl! We learned how she had recently moved to the area with her American husband. The likelihood of anyone moving here from a different country is small, especially someone Japanese. A month later we ended up going out to eat with her and her husband. At the end of our night together the couple began to talk to my sister in Japanese explaining to her why they believed in God.  Most people from Japan aren’t Christian, and this sparked a new interest in me.

     I took it upon myself to dive deeper into why Japan has a low Christianity rate. I also wanted a better understanding of the culture there in general. I ran into a particular video from the YouTube channel Know Christ. It was about AASM’s (Awakening Asia School of Ministry) and the lead pastor’s testimony.  A week or two after following them they posted about having a school there in Tokyo.  There were only three days left to apply but I felt God pushing me. During my time of waiting for a response, God was giving me a lot of confirmations.  Not only did my family have a Japanese student this year, but one from Germany too where Awakening Europe is based!  Taito is the name of my Japanese sister’s friend that I talked to, I learned later that the school is located in Taito Tokyo! Even if they are pronounced differently God showed me there was some correlation between the two.  

     Finally, I was accepted!  There are a lot of things pointing me in this direction. God keeps opening my eyes to more, even if I didn’t quite see it at first.  Going onto this next season I can’t wait to find out all the reasons why God is sending me to Tokyo, and what he will have me do to serve the Kingdom♥️