Saturday, September 13, 2014

Here and There, Part ?4?

I have lost count of the here and there times over the summer!

Just after returning from California, I jumped in my car and headed to Tsu for the JBC college and career camp.  It was a great 30 hours of time with some quality young people who love God and fellowship.

We had a good time eating, playing, laughing, studying and praying together.  We learned about the privilege of work and how God has provided work for us.  I learned a new German work, although I am not sure how to spell it, beluf ベルーフ.  This word includes the meaning of work + calling, not just work for work's sake, but thinking of work as a calling, a purpose in work that is not making money.  Our prayer is that work will be part of serving God for these young people as the learn, grow, and join the work force.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Here and There, Part 3

My next adventure took me to the U.S. and a completely new experience, leading a group of Japanese people to L.A. for a home stay program.  I have been to L.A. before, but it has been quite a few years!  I have had Japanese friends visit me in S.D.  Our family hosted Japanese students who came to S.D. for a home stay program.  And, now I have been the leader of such a program.  Thankfully, everything was basically planned before we arrived.  As often happens when traveling, some plans were changed, but nothing major.

Our group

We spent mornings at a sister NAB church studying the Bible in English-I did do some translating to help with understanding.  After Bible class was American culture class.  I enjoyed refreshing my American history memory and singing some fun songs.

Bible study time

American Culture Class

Afternoons we participated in a variety of activities, L.A. sightseeing, making crafts, volunteering, visiting city hall and the fire department, shopping, and a historical homestead tour.

Meeting the Anaheim Fire Chief

Painting trash cans at the park

Our home stay families, the volunteers from the church, and our teachers did a wonderful job of making us feel at home and cared for.  It is always a joy to see God's people sharing God's love with brothers and sisters from around the world!

Church friends teaching the art of S'mores

The joy of a s'more!

Highlights for me were attending church, Disneyland, and seeing long-time friends as well as running into some avid missionary supporters from Canada who happened to be on vacation and enjoying Disneyland!

Missionary cheerleaders from Canada!  They just happened
to be at Disneyland the same day we were!  And, even more
amazing, Moni recognized me!
(I have only met her once, I think!)

Awesome photo bomb that took on a posed look when we
saw what his shirt said! (Jesus changed my life)

Mickey pretzel!

Love these guys!  Still wild and crazy and in love with Jesus!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Here and There, Part 2

Two years ago we had our first baptism at Komyo Christian Church.  You can read about it here.

She and I have spent many hours together over the past few years delving into God's word and learning how it applies to our every day life.  I have truly appreciated our study times together, her questions, and the sweet fellowship we enjoyed.  I have grown from our times together, and I have seen amazing growth in her faith as well.

The last Sunday of July we had a farewell party for our friend as she moves from Japan to the U.S. where she will begin her new life as a Mrs.!

We miss her already!  However, it is also exciting to hear about how God is working in her life and how she is relying on Him for strength and wisdom each day.

God bless you!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Here and There, Part 1

I have spent a bit of time over the past month in airplanes and fighting jet lag.  These travels have all included fun, work, times of refreshment, and times of study.

Every summer our missionaries in Japan gather for a time of study and refreshment.  This year we went to a beautiful beach location.
Enjoying the beach, sun, and ocean!

I enjoyed our times of worship and study as a mission family.  We studied Moses and his leadership.  We sang and praised.  It was refreshing!

Singing together

We also spent some time enjoying nature, the beach and mountains, two of my favorites!

Our hiking adventure took a muddy turn after about 300 meters.  We crossed a river several times so were able to rinse off as we went along.  The waterfall was pretty but not as grand as we were expecting.  Of course, the river was not at the end of the hike, so we went home muddy!

Really, the waterfall is just down the hill!

Time for water and a snack
The waterfall

Our muddy legs at the end of the hike.
They had been worse than this at times!

We made it!

Our last morning God woke me up early as I had asked so that I could see the sunrise over the ocean. Beautiful!

I am thankful for this annual time of worship, study, and refreshment!

Monday, August 18, 2014

What to do...

How I would look tomorrow
if I did not take time off
For the first time in several weeks, I am getting to have my day off.  I have had so many activities and travels over the past month that I hardly know what to do with myself today.

Some things are automatic-wake up, spend time with God... sunny day, wash clothes... noon, eat lunch... eat lunch, scroll Facebook.

My mind has already made lists and lists of things to accomplish today.  I may or may not accomplish any of those things.  It doesn't really matter.

What matters is just taking some time to not worry about or be in charge of anything!  We'll see where that leads...

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Special Day

July 1, 1967
Today, July 1, is a special day in our family.  It is the day my parents said, "I do."  The day they promised to spend the rest of their lives together.  The day our little family took flight.

Forty-seven years.  My parents have had forty-seven years together as a married couple.  They have had many joys, some sorrows, lots of fun, a bunch of challenges.

Through it all, they have always worked it out.  Their commitment to God has helped them through the good times and the hard times.

Even without words, just by watching them, I learned commitment to God is the most important thing in life.  When that is a person's number one priority, the difficulties and the joys can be handled with grace, more grace than a person could muster up on their own.

December 2013
Last year I had the privilege of living with my parents for nine months.  It can be a challenge for parents to allow their very independent daughter to live with them for such a long time, I think!  However, grace abounded.

I loved watching Mom and Dad interact.  They have a way of communicating that most people cannot follow.  Fortunately, my dad usually knows how to finish my mom's sentences because she rarely finishes one!  Thankfully, my mom has a good sense of humor because my dad loves to make dumb jokes.

When two people have been together for so long, they have a life dance with music the rest of us cannot hear.  Even though my dad has absolutely no rhythm, he and my mom dance beautifully.

Their love for each other is absolutely evident and adorable.  Their love for God is strong and pours out of every pore of their being.

I am so thankful for my parents.
Thank you, God!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

For the first time

I have been learning a few things in the past couple of years about depression.  I have never experienced it myself.  However, it seems many people around me, especially here in Japan, have experienced it.

One of my friends from church is one of those people.  When she first came to church she was at one of the lowest points of her life.  Yet, God drew her to Himself.  Thankfully, we were just across the street from her apartment!

Since that time she has gone through many ups and downs.  She has learned about Jesus, His love, His sacrifice, His free gift of salvation and eternal life.  She has been quite consistent in attending church, even through times when she did not want to do so.

The transformation in her life is nothing short of a miracle.  We are all praising God together as we see the joy and peace in her life grow daily.

Last week she told me that for the first time in her life she truly does not want to die.  She is not afraid to die, she said.  But, really actually has a desire to live now.

Praise God for transformation!