Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN


August 29, 2012

Smith: Alexander spreading goodwill abroad

Greensburg — Many of you know Kami Alexander who was recently home from Kyoto, Japan and enjoying her summer break with her parents David and Kathy Alexander. Kami is a 2001 graduate of South Decatur High School and was a Key Club district officer (a high school version of the Kiwanis Club), active in journalism, a cheerleader and ran track and field.

She did that while working a part-time job and maintaining a good grade point average. It wasn't a surprise that she was the Frank Braden scholarship recipient to DePauw University.

When Kami was interviewed for the scholarship, she remembers talking with Paul Stewart and telling him that she wanted to be a missionary or a political journalist. She continues to be grateful that she received that scholarship.

Decatur County's Frank Braden retired as general personnel manager of Illinois Bell Telephone Co. in 1967, returned to Decatur County and became executive director of the Chamber of Commerce. He donated a $1.2 million trust fund to DePauw.

Kami graduated from DePauw with a double major in sociology and anthropology and a minor in Asian studies. She studied Japanese for three years in the Asian Studies program. ÒI've always loved learning about other cultures and DePauw has an excellent Asian Studies program.Ó

She got started with JET, a teaching exchange program, teaching English in junior high school. She did bible studies outside of her work. ÒFrom graduation my goal was to stay there permanently but my contract was only for three years. When I finished my three years I got an opportunity to work for Kyoto International University Academy (KIU Academy) doing ministry as a teacher."

KIU Academy has many bicultural children. Kami said, "We are a bilingual Christian school and teach both English and Japanese. Many students have parents from two different countries and because of that, the kids are sometimes bullied in public schools. Therefore, if the parents are from two countries the kids are more likely to go to this school where there is no issue with bullying because we take care of it immediately."

Students in Japan go three years in middle school and are then able to go to work or go to high school if they pass the exam. ÒMost parents push their kids to go to a good high school, because a good high school leads to a good university, which leads to a good career,Ó said Kami. This requires passing difficult entrance exams, so the parents push kids to study long hours and go to cram schools. Parents who push their kids a bit beyond the norm are called Ômonster parents.'

In Japan less fewer than 1 percent of people are Christian and that 1 percent includes Protestants and Catholics.

Kami said the suicide rate is rather high. ÒWe don't know all of the reasons, be it cultural or from religious or historical roots, but I believe that without a Christian influence someone is more likely to commit suicide.Ó

ÒI really want to just give people hope and let people know of God's love for them. With that they are less likely to doubt their self worth,Ó said Kami.

Involved as a non-supported missionary she said, ÒThere are plusses and minuses for a non-supported and a supported missionary. If you are a supported missionary you are sometimes in a box. You cannot always choose what type of ministry you want to do. I have the freedom to do many kinds of ministry by working and earning a salary instead of raising support from churches."

Readers will remember March 11, 2011 when the largest recorded earthquake in Japan's history struck the sea bed off the east coast of Miyagi.

That triggered a horrific tsunami which engulfed eastern Japan, and started the nuclear power plant crisis in Fukushima.

Kami volunteered to work in the area three times, traveling many miles each time to give aid. Although we don't hear much about it now, residents there still live with the after-effects.

Raised a Methodist, Kami attended Letts Methodist Church but now attends a non-denominational church in Osaka, Japan. ÒThe Letts Methodist Church gave me a good foundation,Ó she said. ÒI remember that at age eight I knew what it meant to be baptized and that I wanted to be baptized. When I got in high school I made a deeper commitment.

In her off time Kami enjoys hiking and Taiko drumming. The drum is sometimes called the Òfat drumÓ because of its size and the large sound. It has been used for centuries in Japanese culture and once it was said that the farthest point that the drum could be heard was the edge of the village.


Text Only
  • Thanks, Max

    Max Dickson has given the historical society a gift that many will enjoy for years.

    April 17, 2014

  • Lee H. Hamilon: Government As Innovator? You Bet! Five years ago, the federal government spent $169 billion to fund basic research and development. This fiscal year, it's down to $134 billion. People who believe in public belt-tightening applaud drops like that. I understand why: There are many reas

    April 17, 2014

  • How to deal with nuisance wild animals Most people enjoy watching wildlife and sometimes even interacting with critters on occasion. One of my favorite activities is keeping the bird feeder well supplied and seeing Hoosier song birds up close and personal. Sometimes there are situations w

    April 17, 2014

  • Self deposit box: Wolfsie takes a selfie of his check I love where I bank. It's a branch inside of a big supermarket. I can make a modest withdrawal and then go and blow every last penny in the cookie aisle. The tellers at the window appreciate me. They know about my obsession with round numbers and und

    April 17, 2014

  • Alice Woodhull: Back on the job Well, this is Alice, and I am back on the job. It has been two months since I got my new shoulder, and so far it is working like it should. I have had a couple weeks of therapy, plus doing a lot with it on my own, and I'm hoping it will soon be as g

    April 16, 2014

  • Linda Hamer Kennett: The timeless beauty of wicker No matter what the day may bring, I can leave it all behind when I take my evening walk. Strolling through our historic neighborhood on Indy's south side is a multifaceted treat. It is good for my heart, it erases the cares of the day and it affords

    April 16, 2014

  • Dr. Michael Layne: Palm Sunday Matthew 21:1-11 is the Gospel passage that will be heard in many churches this Palm Sunday. Today, I want us to look at the last two verses: 10When Jesus came to Jerusalem, everyone in the city was excited and asked, "Who can this be?" 11The crowd a

    April 12, 2014

  • Jenni Hanna: Exploring the mystery of the bitcoin I've heard of a lot of synonyms for currency, but "bitcoins" was a new one to me. Although bitcoins (BTCs) have been around since 2009, they are something I've just recently learned about and am really struggling to understand. Bitcoins cannot be hel

    April 11, 2014

  • nws-gb041014-Spaulding headshot Jack Spaulding: A time not to adopt Springtime brings a host of new life into the outdoors. The fields, forest, and the nests and dens are full of new life and cute and cuddly baby critters as nature carries on procreation. Nature knows how to take care for her own, but unfortunately,

    April 10, 2014 2 Photos

  • Net tricks My wife and I went on a binge last week. If you think I'm talking about an eating binge, you've never seen how thin we both are. If you think I mean a shopping binge, you don't know how cheap we are. And if you think it was a cleaning binge, you've

    April 10, 2014

Featured Ads
AP Video
Raw: More Than 100,000 Gather for Easter Sunday Raw: Greeks Celebrate Easter With "Rocket War" Police Question Captain, Crew on Ferry Disaster Raw: Orthodox Christians Observe Easter Rite Ceremony Marks 19th Anniversary of OKC Bombing Raw: Four French Journalists Freed From Syria Raw: Massive 7.2 Earthquake Rocks Mexico Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.