Spring

I thought you might like to have a glimpse of home life in Japan. Spring has definitely sprung in my part of the world.  I am sorry for those of you that are still enduring winter.  Hopefully, that will change soon.  In the meantime, maybe you will enjoy seeing a little of our spring.

Advertisements

Weekend Reads

When You Don’t Want to Read the Bible-“Has the idea of reading your Bible ever seemed like too much work?  Like you’re investing in something that doesn’t have a very good return?”

Even On Your Best Day-“Indeed- grace is a wonderful enabler to do God’s will. But it’s also a gentle exfoliator along the process of sanctification, opening and revealing the places where we are not depending on God. It’s no wonder that, as we get older and grow in our faith, those openings become more apparent and the needs seem to increase and to feel more out of control.”

Amy Carmichael’s Secret to Fighting Discouragement-“I’ve often wondered how Amy could maintain such supernatural joy in the face of ‘griefs which can come down like an avalanche over the soul.’ Reading her writings has taught me that there were four main things that bolstered her spirit and her faith—saturation in Scripture, delight in the presence of God, the support of a Christian community, and the glorious beauty of the natural world.”

Register Now to Memorize Matthew 5:1-19-“We invite you to slow down with us for a new Bible memorization challenge.”

Compass Book Ratings-I was happy to find this website.  Sometimes I see a book that I think I might like to read and then I am disappointed with the content and often stop reading.  This site rates books as others rate movies to help you make an educated decision.

youth pastor sleep

*posted on Facebook by Christian Funny Pictures

The Rising Sun

japan-flag-1332902_640

I live in the Land of the Rising Sun.  “Nippon and Nihon (Japanese for Japan) literally mean “the sun’s origin”, that is, where the sun originates, and are often translated as the Land of the Rising Sun.” The Japanese flag is a representation of the rising sun.  A little side note…those of us who live here often call it the Land of the Ball of Red Tape.  😉

We don’t do daylight savings time (DST) here.  I kind of like that.  It does make it difficult to figure out what time it is in the USA when I want to make a phone call.  For example, sometimes we are 14 hours ahead and sometimes we are 13 hours ahead.  We don’t change, but those in the USA do, or at least most of them.

There is one thing that does change for us, which is true of everyone in the world.  That would be the time of the sunrise.  In the peak of summer, it will rise around 4:30 a.m.  In church Sunday, everyone was yawning.  Those of us from the USA were commenting about having “sympathy tiredness” for our friends and family in the USA. HA!  Then it occurred to us as we were talking that with the sun rising earlier each day, we were waking up earlier than usual. There’s only one solution, time to reset the body clock and go to bed earlier. That will definitely be a trick for this night owl!

Left Field

left fieldSometimes things catch us off guard.  They come from the proverbial “left field”  and we are left reeling wondering what in the world is going on.

I’m going to be transparent.  I have been struggling recently. I am a missionary in a country that is not my own.  There are things going on in the lives of my children that I long to be a part of and it makes me sad, because I feel like I am missing out.  We talk or text often, so it’s not like they aren’t trying to keep us in the loop.  I just long to be there. In Japan, a lot of things that have been part of my comfort zone have changed and/or are completely gone, such as a favorite store, a favorite perk at a store, a favorite restaurant, etc.  I’ve also had some culture clashes recently and I’m dealing with a physical struggle…again.  Add that all up, and it makes for a very unhappy camper.

I’m writing this on a Sunday evening.  The Lord spoke to me today in that still small voice through His Word. For one thing, I realized that even though I have been in Japan for over 15 years, I can still experience culture shock.  I need to return to the things that helped me when experiencing this in the past. God helped me before, He will help me again.

The Lord can also meet my other needs.  I need to turn to Him.  If I do this, there will be exciting times ahead such as finding a new favorite store, etc.  I also need to think on things to be thankful for instead of looking at the negative things that are happening. This will help me to take my thoughts captive and have a better attitude.

Life is full of changes and there are always new areas for growth.  I hope you will join me and keep pressing on!

until the next time…

Spring Tea

I have been wanting to have a spring tea with cherry blossoms for years.  This Saturday we finally had it!  We had a wonderful time. For some of the ladies, this was their first experience for this kind of a “party.”  We had a very international group:  Japanese, Indian, Chinese and American.  Habakkuk 3:17-19 were the theme verses for the day.  If the hope of spring doesn’t come, we can still trust in our God and have joy!

Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls:  Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation.  The Lord God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds’ feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places.

IMG_0345

IMG_2343.JPG

IMG_5773

IMG_7143

My lovely mother-in-law was our speaker.  Another young lady in our ministry was gracious and translated for us.  This took some pressure off of us with the language and allowed the English only speakers to understand what was said.

until the next time…

Opening Ceremonies

It’s that time again.  Winter Olympics 2018 has begun!  There is excitement and eager anticipation while we wait to see who will come out on top of each event.

It is always interesting to me to watch the opening exercises.  The culture and beliefs of that country are always showcased at this time.  This year the event is in Asia, Korea to be exact.  While there are many things unique to Korea, there are many things that are similar in other Asian countries, including the one that I live in.

At one point, a large group filled the stadium stage.  There were drums and choreography.  It was stunning.  The commentator made an interesting statement.  In this country “the group is more important than the individual.”  This philosophy shines through in many areas of life in this part of the world.

The culture I live in is one of conformity.  People who ‘think outside the box’ don’t fit well in society.  This explains the difficulties that many national Christians face.  They are ‘outside the box.’  They don’t conform when there are national holidays or events that are centered around idolatry.  Sometimes they actually become outcasts from their family.  It is a big step here when a national is baptized.  It is a public statement that separates them from their culture.  My husband has often said that you can’t be a good Japanese and a good Christian.  Their culture is intertwined with the idolatry of buddhism and shintoism.

It was also interesting to me when the single gong was sounded.  The commentators explained that this represented new beginnings and a new step in spiritual enlightenment.  This is very common here at New Year’s.  It’s a very quiet holiday here.  The New Year enters with the single gong and a meditative silence, with none of the celebrations that westerners enjoy.  Of course, as there is more and more influence from the west, this is changing in some areas.  On New Year’s Eve we drove an half an hour to see fireworks.  We didn’t know that they would only last for 3 whole minutes!!  HA!!!

Pray for your missionaries.  It is very difficult sometimes to work within the parameters of the culture.  Sometimes we have to take a stand against something within the culture, not to mention the philosophy of the group being more important than the individual.  As an American, we think the exact opposite.  I heard a national pastor pray one time for a new missionary.  He asked the Lord to help them think like a Japanese so that they could minister more effectively.  That is a prayer to pray for any missionary!!

As you watch the opening and closing ceremonies of this Olympics and Olympics in the future, I pray that you will watch looking for ways to pray for your missionaries and the national Christians in that country.  If you are seeking, you will find!!