Wednesday, March 18, 2015


Today's word for my lent photo challenge is believe.

Today I was asked by an English student if I believe the stories in the Bible are true.  I replied with a resounding "yes!" and that I would not be a missionary if I did not believe the Bible is true.

In our Bible class this morning we were studying the death and resurrection of Jesus.  We talked about the people around the cross as Jesus was dying and their various reactions.

Mark notes the women who were there, however, he doesn't say much about what they were doing or thinking or saying.  As we discussed the women and their possible reaction, one student mentioned that they must have been very sad and crying and even felt hopeless.  (Luke writes that they were mourning and wailing.)

Then we read the beginning of the next chapter of Mark which includes, in my opinion, one of the most hope-filled statements in the Bible... "He has risen!  He is not here."  Of course, once the shock wore off and Jesus was actually seen alive, hope was restored.

I can barely read those two little sentences without shouting and without a tear of joy appearing in my eye.  I think my heart may even skip a beat when I read them.

He has risen!  He is not here!

When I read those words in my head, they are read loudly and with gusto!



Indescribable love.

Yes, I do believe the stories in the Bible are true.  The Bible is what my life and faith are built upon.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Still Praying?

Four years ago today an earthquake shook below the sea just off Japan's northeast coast.  The moving earth caused the ocean to react in an enormous tsunami.  That tsunami flooded a nuclear power plant.

We call it a triple disaster.

I am not sure we can label the disasters of that day with a number.  If we did, it would be much larger than three.

I am not going to list the statistics here.  Anyone reading this has google and can find the numbers for themselves.

Those numbers are not just statistics.  They are important.
Number of terrifying seconds the earthquake lasted.
Number of horrifying meters high the tsunami towered.
Number of awful kilometers inland the tsunami rolled.
Number of cozy homes swallowed whole.
Number of beloved mothers, grandfathers, teachers, brothers, babies, neighbors who will never take another breath.
Number of beautiful children living with giant scars where parents used to be.
Number of loved spouses living with enormous holes in their hearts.
Number of gorgeous people continuing to live in temporary housing.

A nation that has moved on, that looks back, that is stuck in time, that grieves, that learns to hope.

This is the tension which is now reality.

Four years ago I wrote these words...

I am sure others here in Japan not in the earthquake/tsunami affected areas would say the same thing. I am feeling overwhelmed. Watching the news, hearing the stories, seeing the devastation, etc, brings tears, feelings of guilt, feelings of helplessness.

Tonight we heard about a hospital that is running on a generator that will not last much longer. They have 200 patients on dialysis. They have enough supplies for 2 more days. Phones and cell phones are not working. The only way this info got out is because the TV crew happened to be there. Nurses and doctors have been there since the disasters on Friday.

What do I do with all of this? How do I respond? 
Here is a quote from a friend's blog...
"What can I do for suffering people? I know that prayer is the answer and my mind knows that this is so much more powerful than anything else I could ever offer, but why does it feel so futile? Perhaps because it doesn't feel like I am really doing something and I like nothing if not to feel active and to see the results of my activity. With that in mind, I will continue to talk to God, knowing that He is bigger than all of this."

So, this is how I respond, for now.

Today, four years later, am I still praying?  Or am I like Peter, James, and John in the garden, sleeping when asked to keep watch?

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Plus Jewelry

This year before Lent started I began thinking about how to prepare my heart for celebrating the resurrection.  Many people give up things during this season.  I decided I would wear a cross necklace or earrings every day.  When I wear jewelry, I have a habit of playing with it.  I figured as I played with my jewelry it would remind me of the cross, of Jesus and His sacrifice.

This one decision has had more of an effect than I expected.  I didn't realize how much I actually think about the jewelry I put on each morning.  So, every morning as I put on my cross jewelry, I think about why I am wearing this certain piece.  It helps me begin my day centered on the cross.

As I continue the photo challenge I have realized every day so far could be either a picture of the Bible or the cross, or sometimes both.  Some days have been very challenging for me to find something to photograph.  As I think of what to photograph, I have also been thinking about why the word was chosen, what it has to do with the cross or lent.

One of my friends has been adding comments to my Facebook photo posts.  She posts a Bible verse to go with each photo.  It has been fun to read the verses she picks.  Sometimes they are verses I would have picked and sometimes they are a complete surprise.

Even in the busyness of every day life and ministry, lent has taken on a deeper, more contemplative role for me this year.  So far, anyway.

I am looking forward to more of what God wants to teach me, to show me, during the next 30 or so days.