Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Banana Bread

Taken by one of my students after she got home.

Yesterday was our English and baking class. More English was spoken yesterday in the morning class than ever before! (That is one of the points of the English and Baking class!:) One of the new attenders is an English teacher so she took the opportunity to practice her English which influenced the others. Since banana bread has to bake for an hour we had a chance to chat after washing up the dishes-I cannot say how much I love that they help with the dishes! We had some really good conversations, in both English and Japanese.

The morning group.

By the way, does anyone know how to get silicone pans clean? I think they are clean and then take them out a month or so later to use and they are greasy like I never washed them. What's up with that?

Monday, February 25, 2008

A trip to Tokyo

Last Monday and Tuesday I was in Tokyo for the JEMA annual meeting. (Japan Evangelical Missionary Association) Monday was a seminar about "Hikikomori" a phenomenon in Japan of people who refuse to leave their houses. The psychologist who spoke talked about people who are hidden hikikomori. They seem to be functioning in society, go to work, get married, have families, but they do not know how to show emotions or talk about things on a deep level. It was very interesting and all of the missionaries in the room were saying "Naruhodo" or "Ah, I get it." We have all interacted with people like this or who have this syndrome. After his lecture we had a chance to talk in small groups, which I found very helpful. Tuesday was the business meeting.

While I was there I got to see two of my friends who live in Tokyo, Yumi, who used to live in South Dakota, and Meg, who is from Karuizawa. I had a good time with each of them, catching up on life, dreaming about the future, and, of course, enjoying good food! Before going to Tokyo I borrowed a magazine from the Nakas at Small Talk about hamburger places in Japan, most of the once highlighted in the magazine are in Tokyo. Yumi and I met and went to a restaurant, ordered our food, talked, were told it was time for the last order so asked for our bill. When I looked at the bill I realized that the restaurant was one featured in the magazine! But, I had eaten a chicken avocado sandwich rather than a hamburger!:)

Yumi at the West Park Cafe

With Meg having our morning coffee/tea

Saturday, February 23, 2008


Last week one of the parents from Kansai Christian School was shown some land with three buildings by a realtor. After seeing it he contacted the head of the relocation committee and the chair of the school board. They went to see it and contacted the board and other relocation committee members. After having seen it all of us were in agreement that it is the best place we have seen so far-most reasonably priced, best space, and buildings already built, just in need of remodeling. So, today there was a meeting with the committee and board members and it was decided to pursue purchasing the property!!!!!!!! Here are a couple of pictures...

The main building

The third floor of the main building. Jon, our relocation committee chair showing how it was used as a ballet studio!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Baking and Middle Schoolers

This morning 4 middle schoolers and their English teacher came to my apartment to make chocolate chip cookies. Their teacher is a member of the Gospel choir with me. They were a bit quiet at first having to use English. But as time went on the began talking a little. And, of course, once we started eating and speaking Japanese a little, then they warmed up! The last batch we put into the oven they figured out how close to put them together in order to make snowman shaped cookies, which was appropriate since it was snowing at the time!:)
Here they are scooping out the dough onto the cookie sheets and then one of us all together...

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


I was just on the Compassion International website because it is my Haitian girl's birthday next month. Her name is Shaaida. I picked her because she had a neat sounding name. I picked Haiti because Terry Logan, from my home church, has done several mission trips to Haiti and I wanted to be of some support for the work God is doing there.

Being a sponsor of a child who lives in poverty is an amazing thing. It makes me think about what I buy and how I spend my money. When I send her a small birthday gift and she writes a thank you note telling me all of the things she bought, it is incredible.

I love getting letters from her and my other girl, Magally, in Peru. They share with me about what they are learning in school and at the center which provides support and Christian teaching. We exchange pictures and I send stickers. Hello Kitty seems to be a universal interest for little girls!

If you have never sponsored a child, I encourage you to check it out. If you are a sponsor, you know the joy I am talking about. There is so much poverty in the world. I wish I could sponsor more children. When I go to the website I want to click that "Sponsor a Child" button more. Children are unfortunate victims in poverty. I really don't even know how to express the deep sadness I have because of the poverty I read about. I used to try to avoid going to the website or reading about the poverty all around. I still don't seek to run across such items, but when I do it is a reminder for me to pray, as well as a reminder that there are two little girls who are getting a better chance at life and to know our wonderful Savior.
Check it out: http://www.compassion.com

The door is open. The children are waiting.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

God in the City

Tokyo from my hotel room

I have been reading and contemplating a book given to me for my birthday, "Embracing Soul Care." The readings are to draw our souls to God. There have been lots of conversations about nature, mountains, trees, flowers, etc. One step into a park, under a tree, in front of a sunset, on top of a mountain and I am praising God.

Last night's reading spoke what I feel about cities. I grew up in a small town and loved it. However, I am completely intrigued by big cities! I love all of the hustle and bustle. I wonder where all of those people are going. Where do they live? What do they do all day? And then the relative silence at night when most people are inside.

Here is what the book had to say:
"Cities matter to God... As much as the natural world displays the beauty of God's handiwork, cities reveal the deep compassion of God's heart. Cities are where people live and work, where they forge relationships and practice their faith... courage is needed to survive and thrive in the city... Our faith embraces urban concerns and expresses compassion for the poor inside the city's walls. We concern ourselves with government and leadership, as well as integrity in the marketplace. In cities and villages, Jesus' message was always the same... No matter how large the place where you live, the message of Jesus is for those people."

Here I am on the top of the Eiffel Tower with the city of Paris behind me.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Notice of Redelivery

In Japan when the post man comes to deliver a package and no one is home he puts a white slip into the mailbox called a "Notice of Redelivery." Then I call the post office and set up a time for him to come back-actually another guy usually comes, I think.

Anyway, recently I have received several of these notices-because of the kindness and generosity of friends and family. The funny thing is that every time the guy comes-it has been the same guy three times in a row-he asks if this is the Reed residence! As far as I know I am the only foreigner in my apartment complex. My name is not at all Japanese sounding. And my appearance is nothing like any Japanese people I have ever met. The packages all come from overseas. I want to laugh out loud each time he asks me that question! But, I try to refrain and just answer politely.

Thank you to all of you who have sent packages and made my day twice, once when the delivery guy comes and asks if this is my house and the second time when I open it and find wonderful treasures!

Monday, February 4, 2008


Life has been incredibly hectic. January was a complete blur, as were December, November, etc. Even with all of the busyness I still seem to have time to procrastinate. One of my biggest procrastination devices is the TV. I am able to come in, turn on the TV and then suddenly realize that I have not been doing the things I had planned to because I got distracted by the TV.

Actually, this is not a new revelation! For the past year I have been considering how to remedy the situation. Sheer will power does not work! Last year during Lent I gave up TV and videos/DVDs except on weekends-it is an English outlet! During that time I was much more productive and rested. But, after Easter I easily fell right back into the procrastination mode.

I have had thoughts for the past year of rearranging my apartment but it always seemed like too much work. And, I figured I could lick this problem without rearranging. Ha!

So, on Saturday I stopped procrastinating and just got it done. I moved my office into the living room-the warmest room in the place-and the living room into the office. This required taking all of my books off of the shelves, taking the shelves apart so that they would fit through the doors, and then putting the shelves back together and the books back on the shelves. Plus, resetting the clock on the VCR/DVD player! That had to be done immediately so that the Superbowl could be taped!:)

Now I am sitting in my 'new' office enjoying the soft lighting and blogging. I'd take a picture but I have laundry hanging all over the room-rainy days do not lend themselves to hanging laundry outside but I needed clean pants and inner clothing!

It has only been two days so I am not sure how this will work, but I am thinking that it should be at least one less thing in the procrastination list for now. When it gets warm and I don't need a heater then it may be a different story:) But, I believe that this is something that God has given me the strength to do-physically and spiritually-and that He has answered my prayers. He knew that I couldn't do it on my own so He waited until I was ready to admit that. When I admitted that I could not do it on my own and needed His help, He provided me with an afternoon and gave me permission to take a break from my paperwork.

Once I started the process it took way less time than I had expected, for which I am also grateful! I had visions of only getting half done and living with books on my kitchen table and floor for weeks. It was like Jesus was here helping me carry things, giving understanding about furniture arrangements and just enjoying the time with me.

I am so thankful for God's patience and persistence. He cares about even little things like TV watching and will help us to grow and learn if we stay open. I am quite certain that I have missed out on some sweet times of fellowship with Jesus because I sat in front of the TV instead of turning it off and reading His word or talking to Him. Forgiveness! I have confessed my weakness many times but have not truly repented-turned away. Patience! Yet, God keeps waiting for me. Persistence! He keeps reminding me of what He has taught me and that He wants to teach me more. Praise God for His kindness!

White Sunday

Sunday morning I woke up to a lovely snow falling. I am not really a fan of winter but it was really pretty looking out seeing the snow fall. I tried to take a couple of pictures. They didn't turn out all that well but here they are anyway. I was standing in my sliding door doorway trying to stay kind of warm while I took the pictures.

Apparently blogger didn't like the second photo all that much, it took three times of trying to download before it finally accepted it. Anyway, as you can sort of see, it was pretty. Driving to church seeing all of the white roofs of houses and white on all of the trees was lovely. By the time I got to church at 9:30 the snow had turned to rain so driving home was not as beautiful!