Our Church

My husband made a video of our church property.  I thought you might enjoy seeing it.  It’s very small by American standards, but I’ve heard that Japanese think it is big.  We are thankful for the property the Lord has given to us.

A New Spring


Spring in Japan is my favorite season
.  It is so lovely.

This year is a very different spring with the coronavirus threat. Some of my favorite haunts to view cherry blossoms are out of the question since we want to avoid crowds.

Last week, we went to visit my in-laws in the country.  They live near a river lined with cherry blossoms.  There were no crowds, so we enjoyed a couple of lovely walks.

I’m so thankful that I could enjoy this time.  Perhaps these photos will help you to understand why this is my favorite season in this corner of the world. I never tire of it and look for every excuse to go for a walk or a drive to see these beautiful blossoms.

Returning to Change

By the time you are reading this, I have returned to Japan.  Many things have changed since we departed for our furlough the end of April 2019.  Favorite restaurants have closed.  Favorite shopping places have closed. Even a favorite shipping company that we used to ship items from the USA has closed.  Foods and toiletries that we previously shipped to Japan are no longer able to be shipped due to changing custom regulations.  Some responsibilities are no longer mine, while new ones are being added.  In some regards, it is like starting over.

I don’t like change very much.  I often wish things could just stay the way they are, but in the world that we live in, it will never be.  I’ve shared here before, but maybe you need to be reminded too. What a great comfort to know that there is ONE who never changes!

“Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever.”
~Hebrews 13:8

“For I am the LORD, I change not;”
~Malachi 3:6

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.”
~James 1:17

Of old hast thou laid the foundation of the earth: and the heavens are the work of thy hands. They shall perish, but thou shalt endure: yea, all of them shall wax old like a garment; as a vesture shalt thou change them, and they shall be changed: But thou art the same, and thy years shall have no end.”
~Psalm 102:25-27

Worth the Read

I’ve read some good articles on the web recently that express things in a way I can’t find the words for.  They are written for or about the missionary and pastor’s wife.  If you are a missionary/pastor’s wife, may you be encouraged.  If you have a missionary/pastor’s wife, may you gain understanding.

Don’t Judge a Missionary by Their Stage
“Missionaries are people, not super-natural beings. They experience just as much pain, financial struggle, exhaustion, stress, as the average person does, if not more.”

You Take Yourself With You (And Other Important Things About Living Overseas)
“You don’t become a different person on the airplane. The beauty is that the God who called you, who knew you as you were being knit in the womb, who knows your comings and your goings, he knows that and he has chosen to use you…”

7 Ways to Encourage Your Pastor’s Wife
“Are you aware that most pastors and their wives experience loneliness, isolation and discouragement during their ministry lives? The role that members play can be a huge encouragement.”

Ministry is Awkward (And What To Do About It)
“Oh, but imagine my horror as I realized that it was sometimes just the opposite. God was teaching me so much about grace. God was calling me to do these awkward things where hearts meet and meaningful ministry happens. The awkward moments are where the grace is so needed. And they are where the grace abounds. If I stopped serving at the onset of awkward feelings, I would miss the grace! Talk about horror…
Just like I remember the first time I felt the awkward, I also remember the first time I pushed through the awkward and prayed anyway, attempted conversation anyway. Imagine my surprise to find joy on the other side! Fellowship in Christ. Friendship. Seeing God work and answer prayer. Perfection? Nope! (Still awkward me here) But sweet unexpected grace, and enabling to do God’s will…
If you are a seasoned pastor’s wife, you know this awkwardness is true, regardless of personality even. Maybe you are weary of the awkward, even surprised that after this many years it could still be this awkward in certain situations. But dear soul, take heart. There is still so much grace waiting for you in these moments. And there is so much for you to teach others along the way.”*

“And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work.”
~2 Corinthians 9:8

*This was especially encouraging to me as I serve in a place where I struggle with the language and find communication very difficult.

 

 

 

 

Life Update

Thank you to those of you who are still here after my sporadic posting this last year.  Furlough has been busy with lots of family events and ministry opportunities.  There has been very little time for “extras.” I hope to remedy that as I get ready to head back to Japan.

We’ve traveled many miles and visited many churches. We were present for the birth of our first grandchild.  We enjoyed holidays with our children which included Christmas with our children for the first time in 6 years.  We were present with each of our children during times when we just needed to be there.  I cherish those times and memories.  Quite frankly, we miss out on a lot of our children’s lives.  God’s grace is sufficient, but I soak up all that the Lord allows me to be a part of.

So as I prepare to head back to Japan, I appreciate your prayers. Goodbyes get more and more difficult.  I’ve heard other missionaries say it, so I know I am not alone.  I look forward to being back to the place where God has called us to serve and the people there that I have come to love, but my heart also longs for those I leave behind.

*****

“Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.” ~Romans 15:13

Happy Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day in Japan is quite different.  Basically women buy chocolate for the men in their lives whether it be a husband, teacher, colleague, etc.  On White Day, March 14th, men reciprocate.  If they received chocolate, they return the favor.  I like our way better!  🙂 The article linked here explains more.  I still can’t get over the whole idea of obligatory chocolate.  HA!

Here’s a picture of me with my Valentine.  💕

May each of you have a wonderful Valentine’s Day reflecting on the love of our God towards us.  It is not obligatory.  It is out of His generous, loving heart.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. ~John 3:16

 

Christmas Apart

This year for Christmas, we will be together with all of our children for the first time in 6 years.  It is the first year with our daughter-in-law of 3 years and the first year with a grandchild.  I feel amazingly blessed.

There are many missionaries around the world that aren’t with family. The following was posted recently at In Her Shoes.

Pray for your missionaries during the holidays.  It can be some of the loneliest days as they are apart from their families. I came across a short passage in Amy Carmichael’s Rose from Brier that I often think about and share at this time of year.  If you are apart from your family this year, may it bring comfort to you as it has been to me…

Click here to read more.

Christmas Cheer

Life abroad can be challenging at times.  In Japan, Christmas is not a holiday.  New Year’s day is the big event.  The first year we were here, we told the school our children were attending that their winter holiday would begin December 24th.  There were very few Christmas decorations.  Hearing a Christmas song over the loudspeaker was so rare it was shocking.  I remember the first time I heard “He rules the world with truth and grace…” and thinking that the people don’t know know who He is.

Sometimes it’s hard to get into the Christmas spirit.  I know the focus of Christmas is not about the decorations, music, movies and events that all come with the season.  It is about the birth of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.  There are several things I am doing to keep my attention on this most important reason for this season. One is reading from Gospel Meditations for Christmas.

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Times are changing as western culture meets eastern culture.  There are lots of Christmas decorations around in the shopping areas. They are definitely making use of the season in that way.  They even had a Black Friday here this year.  What?!?!?!?  How can you have a Black Friday when you don’t have a Thanksgiving??

Although people don’t understand what Christmas is, they know it has something to do with the church.  This is our busiest time of the year for ministry simply because people are interested in Christmas activities.  We have the most visitors this time of the year.  I recently posted about our Friend Party.  Last week we had our Children’s Christmas Party and Sunday the 23rd will be our Christmas program with a huge potluck afterwards.  These are highlights of our year.

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I really scaled down on the decorating this year.  I was in the states until the week before Thanksgiving.  I just didn’t have the energy required to do it all, especially while recovering from jet lag.  It generally takes me at least two weeks to feel like myself again.  I did put up the Christmas tree and the Nativity.  I also displayed some of my Christmas china.  I am enjoying the simplicity this year.  I am starting to think it may be time to slow down and keep things simple every year.

If you are on Instagram, you might enjoy following #12daysofcozy2018.  It is hosted by Whitney of Come Home for Comfort.  I decided to participate this year.  I always enjoy countdowns and this one has been fun.  I’ve also enjoyed seeing everyone else’s posts.  It’s a nice way to spread that Christmas cheer!! Another thing, that I enjoy is Jacquie Lawson’s advent calendar. There is a new video or activity for each day.  There are also some games that I enjoy.  This year you were able to design your own plaid.  What fun!  You can see one of mine on the sofa.

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So as I spend my 4th Christmas in a row without any of my children, I am thankful for the little things that help to make this holiday season a joyous one.  Pray for your missionaries and their families during this season. Technology is a marvelous thing.  It can bring you closer to those you love who are so far away, but it can also cause you to miss them more.  Maybe next year…

 

 

 

 

Friend Party

I love the Christmas season!  Sometimes I miss all the parties, etc. that I can experience in the USA.  We try to do some of those things here.  It is always fun to share the Christmas season with the people here in this country that we call “home.”  Recently we hosted a party. We try to do something different each year.  This year we made Christmas wreaths.  It was wonderful to see the creativity of the ladies.  Each one was so different, but beautiful!  Here are a few pictures from a wonderful evening:

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