Saturday, October 11, 2014

A Hundred Times

"And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life."  Matthew 19:29

When Jesus said this He was talking about the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on His glorious throne.  However, I would say that I have also experienced this in the here and now.

Yesterday was one of those times.

The gospel choir I joined six years ago, Anointed Gospel Choir (AGC), is preparing for a concert next week.  Yesterday during our rehearsal we didn't have time to go through all of the songs, so our director was taking requests.

There is a song in Japanese that I have not quite memorized so I requested it.  About halfway through the song, as the lyrics really started to sink in, my eyes started to overflow.  I did my best to mouth the words of it and the final two songs.

I thought I had pulled myself together.

At the end of rehearsal, I am usually asked to pray.  I thought I would be fine.  But, again, the tears started and I had a hard time speaking.

After choir there were lots of encouraging words and hugs, yes, hugs from my Japanese friends.  These ladies who have become dear friends, not to replace the friends I had in the US before coming, but to be added, shared my worry and hope.

Friday my dad started chemotherapy.  The song we were singing is: 希望の光 (The light of hope)
Being far away at a time like this is a challenge to the heart!  But, I was filled with hope as I sang the song and was reminded of the light of hope God has placed in my heart, and in my dad's heart.

My AGC friends stepped up and filled in the gaps.  Thank you, my dear friends.




Taken from 1 Corinthians 11:13 and Matthew 11:28

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

New Trust

This picture is actually from September!
Here it is, October 1!  From the comments of several friends on Facebook, I am not the only one surprised by how fast September passed.

Many new things are happening this month.  Some are good things, some are things I'd rather not have to experience, but through it all I know God will go with me and guide me and others involved.

I am grateful to have the peace of God, which passes understanding.  I know that through it all God will work and look forward to how He will be glorified and praised.

"Surely God is my salvation;
I will trust and not be afraid.
The Lord, the Lord, is my strength and my song;
He has become my salvation."
Isaiah 12:2

Because He has been faithful in the past, I know He will be faithful again.  I can trust Him because He knows the outcome.  He already has a plan.

I know this is pretty vague, but thank you for your prayers for all of the newness I will be experiencing this month.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

A Sad Day

Enjoying the terrace one last time

August 31 was a sad day for me.  The place I have studied, relaxed, met friends, and made new friends for the past eight years closed.

"My" Starbucks closed.  

It was sort of out of necessity.  The building in which it was housed closed, so they obviously had to do something.

Pretty much every day I was in Izumi in August I went to Starbucks.  I was a little surprised at how sad I was.  I mean, it is just a place.  But, it holds so many memories.  It was comfortable and familiar.  The people were comfortable and familiar, even the people I hadn't met yet.

Chocolate Chunk Scone, one of my favorites

Thankfully, I did not have to say good bye to the staff.  They are all going to be moving to the new shop opening at the new mall.  It doesn't open until October 30, so until then they are all spread around the area.  But, they all get to work together in the new shop.

Until then, I just wait.

Several times over the past three weeks I have almost packed my bag to go to "my" Starbucks.  I am looking forward to seeing my friends again in the new place.

The only challenge will be that there will be thousands upon thousands of people there the first few months the mall is open.  It will be difficult to relax and actually get to chat with the staff.  Even though it will be crazy to try to get into the parking lot and the mall, I probably will go pretty soon after they open.  I need to see my people!

It is a bit farther from where I live, but it is right next to Costco!

I am looking forward to my new place!

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!