Saturday, December 22, 2007
We have only been back for a few weeks and already I feel so refreshed and renewed. I am quite suprised that we have had this opportunity, actually. I wouldn't have considered us "burnt out" or "worn out" so the notion of a "sabbatical" almost seems undeserved. In my mind only life-long "missionaries" or pastors get this much time off. But....maybe that is what we are. Maybe we are all just that...missionaries or pastors. Not that you or I may necessarily be under these titles in the worlds eyes but I think we are in His eyes. He asks that all of us see our path with the purpose of making Him known. A pastor is no more "closer" to God than a plumber if they are both being obedient to the Lord's calling on their life.
It's funny to me how we lift pastors and missionaries above all other "ministries"(jobs). Yes, these people are incredible and amazing but they are just the same as accountants or teachers who love the Lord....they are people seeking Him. I write this because we are asked a lot if what we are doing is "mission work". I always reply yes, even though it may not be "officially" (by the world's standards) titled that. Jason and I are following the Lord's calling. We are seeking to make Him known in every aspect of this journey on which He has walked with us. I am sad for those who think they are some how less holy or righteous because they aren't in "ministry". Where ever the Lord has you....that is your ministry. Being in ministry is a wonderful thing...and I challenge you to think about the definition of ministry.
The world is large and lost. There is pain EVERYWHERE. There is sadness and tears in many a crevice of the world's heart. The world needs the Body of Christ to love it. It is not the job of just missionaries or pastors. It is the calling of all of those who love Him. There is an aching world and I look upon it and many times, feel defeat. I want to love others as deeply as Christ has loved me but I get stuck in my own agenda, judgement, and sin; and it cripples me. I doubt. I judge in my heart. I analyze with my own wisdom which, according to 1 Corinthians, isn't much and I would have to agree. So....that is when He shows me that I have tried to love on my own. That is when He shows me I have stepped out from under the shadow of His wings. That is when He shows me that I can only love through His power, through the Holy Spirit...through Him. I am learning. I must remember not to get frustrated with the process. I desire to have the patience of Moses, who waited 80 years before stepping into his purpose. I desire to wait on the Lord and be trained by Him until He says I am ready. Ready for what? I'm not sure but I will wait when He tells me to wait and I will go when He tells me to go.
So....where do I start....where do you start....where do we start. We pray. It's the only thing we can do when we are unsure of where to go. The only thing when we doubt and have nothing left to give. However, just as much as we talk....we must listen. And He is speaking. You hear Him. Remember who HE, HIM, I AM has made you. He wants to talk with you about that. We want instant results from the Lord....well, at least I do. But I have to remember what He says about His timing....."The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness." 2 Pet. 3:9 So, I will pray that you would please pray with me for the movement of His Holy Spirit across His lands. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide your prayers and direct your heart and please pray for me that I may also pray with you and that the Holy Spririt would guide my prayers and heart.
My heart is full.
"Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each another and forgive whatever grievances you may have with one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues, put on love which binds them all together in perfect unity. " -Colossians 3:12-14 (the verses after that are really great too :) )
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
So, first let me say….What!? Jason and I were prepared to head back to the states thinking our opportunities in Japan were finished and over but on the day that we went to book our plane tickets we got a phone call from our friends, the Barton’s (they have been missionaries to Japan for about 29 years), asking us if we had already booked our ticket. “Well, no not yet but we were about to.” We answered. “Well don’t! Wait, because we may have a job opportunity for you.” replied Cheryl. You see, Bernie is a principal at an all girls Christian Japanese Jr. and
God’s timing is so perfect and although periods of waiting were so hard I am so glad that we did wait on Him. He is faithful to always provide in whatever circumstance.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
On this particular visit they invited us to come along to see Kobe and to experience another part of Japan. We were so thankful for this opportunity but we were unsure of what exactly to do because on the day the Bartons were leaving there was an information session in regards to the new company. The pull to want to have information and some sort of understanding was pulling at our decision to stay in Tokyo and forego the trip this time in hope that we might still be in Japan the next time they came for a visit. However, after much thinking and praying we decided to go on the trip. Although it would seem to make sense to go get some information we had been waiting for, we just didn't have a peace about staying. Thankfully, after a converstation with a co-worker who attended the meeting and after reading some news articles, we discovered we had made the best decision. Any of the information we needed we could get from the internet and from the Nova office at a later date. So, we got the information we needed and some relaxing time in Kobe.
We have felt more at peace here than we have in Japan in a long time. ummm, maybe not more at peace just more at home, more still. We attended our first church service here in Japan and although it was all in Japanese it was such a blessing. We visited Kyoto, which we have been wanting to do and this was a great time and opportunity.
I write all this to say that in this time of waiting and chaos the Lord has been so good to give us some peace and beautiful moments to see and experience him. He is so faithful and so loving and so good. In all of this he has walked with us through these days of directional blindness. He is guiding us. to Him be all praise and glory! Amen!
Thursday, November 8, 2007
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
When we experience Jesus, when we experience his holy spirit, no words can quite explain the inward, personal journey that we have been traveling nor can we accurately describe all the small details and wonders that one encounters. Were we ever really meant to explain it with in such a way so that those listening or reading will fully understand? I think maybe not because if we could do that…if we could experience things through someone’s words what would be the point of the Holy Spirit? Only He can speak to those places in our heart where we need His light and truth…nothing/no one else can do that.
I have been on a difficult but beautifully sweet journey with the Lord over the past months while here in
God is so good. Although we don’t know for sure if we still have jobs we are being provided for in every way. We have food for today and a place to sleep which is amazing because our landlord has let us continue to live here in spite of the rent not being paid for three months. This is Jesus. We have not lacked or had a want for anything in these chaotic days. He has given us peace. We have not worried and have not been afraid….we have been impatient and eager for answers but the Holy Spirit quickly reminds us to wait. So we remain in waiting, eager and ready for what the Lord desires and wants. We are eager but not impatient and the two are very different. Thank you to the body and to all the saints who have been praying for us and with us. You are an encouragement to us and a huge support system whom without this time would be much harder. Thank you for being saints, a royal priesthood and such a great cloud of witnesses.
Saturday, October 27, 2007
so wha will we do next if nova fails? we are wondering what the answer to that question is also. we would like to stay in japan but maybe that is not what the Lord has in mind. We are just praying for his guidance and protection in the midst of so many questions. We know he has a plan and we will trust him. We have a lot of peace right now and we are not afraid. this has to be jesus! i am thankful that He is protecting us and for his daily provisions. Please pray for us whenver you think about it.
We will update more whenever we have more news. Until then we will enjoy our time off :)
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
We take this train ever day for work and to go into tokyo....there are few benches and chairs at the station and we walk a lot so any time we get a chance to rest our legs we take it. We often have to stand on the trains because they are so crowded.
a lot of people sleep on the trains and sometimes these sleepers are so out of it that they sleep on you....check out the video below. jason caught it in action.
inside the rain and a cute little girl with bunny ears on
here's the train map posted above the ticket machines
a cute little fella waiting for the train and one is never too young to start text messaging which is a very popular past time while riding the trains in japan.
Saturday, October 13, 2007
It has taken me much longer than is acceptable to write this blog entry. We spilled water on a table which our computer was sitting on and now we have a keyboard with a few of the keys not working. Two of which are the “t” key and the “y” key. So, we have to copy and paste ever t and y that goes into any sort of letter so…writing any sort of response or email takes quite some time. We are trying to decide on the best course of action to repair our sick keyboard.
Well, we have been in
We started our new jobs as English Instructors about five days after we got in japan. Training was intense. We got a lot of information all at once but now we are much more comfortable in our jobs and we are starting to get to know some of the students a lot better. Although we are feeling more and more comfortable in our job, things with the company we work for are not looking so great. There is a lot of talk about bankruptcy and we just received a fax today from the president stating that we aren’t getting paid when we are supposed to because there are not enough funds to do so. Jason and I have been praying about what to do in the next few days. This whole situation has become much more serious since we got here. NOVA has taken a nose dive in the public’s eye and financially. NOVA was caught in an advertising scandal back in June and the punishment handed out was that NOVA wasn't allowed to enroll any new students and some students were upset about the situation so they asked for refunds of their already prepaid contracts. so, what is happening to NOVA is what happened with some of the banks during the great depression. NOVA customers deposited their money and then a mad rush came to withdraw it all back out again. Leaving NOVA with only output and no means of input since they were not allowed to enroll new students for 6 months. so, Please pray for us as we seek the Lord about what we should do in regards to this situation. We don’t want to leave japan yet but we need jobs so….we are looking and trusting that the Lord knows what is going on and that He will provide for us.
We have also seen some great parts of traditional Japanese culture. We went to a sumo tournament, walked around the beautiful East Garden of the
We are excited to see what all the Lord has to show us. Please pray for us when you think of us as we seek what the Lord would want us to do next if the company we work for fails to survive. Also, please pray for our living situation as we live in a NOVA accommodation and if NOVA fails we will not have a place to live. Thank you for taking the time to read this blog and I will try to write more than just an update very soon.
1st picture: taken from the east garden of the imperial palace....its a wonderful retreat from the very loud and very busy city life
2nd picture: our expensive sushi (we were a bit shocked when we walked into the restaurant) but a wonderful presentation! also, it was delicious!
video: taken while we were at our first sumo match.
Sunday, July 29, 2007
After seeing friends and family we will fly out from Seattle on August the 14th for the Tokyo/Narita Airport. We will be living in Sagamihara-Shi (city) in the Kanagawa(State) Prefecture. To most, this may mean absolutely nothing so in effort to try to clarify our where abouts go to the link below to gain a visual of our location.
Directions for link:
1. Under "Search By Words" click on the letter "K"
2. Under "List of Prefectures" click on "Kanagawa"
3. At this point, a map of the Kanagawa Prefecture should pop up and the city where we will be living is "Sagamihara
4. You can scroll down to the bottom of the new page that should have popped up and under "Other Local Information of Kanagawa Prefecture" you can browse around and find some beautiful pictures of the region we will be staying in.
Also, to learn more about the teaching we will be doing you can go to the website, www.teachinjapan.com.
We will be writing more soon and if you want to know our physical address you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Love, Grace, and peace to you all!
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
First of all....I'm not a very good writer and I always lost during the first round of my 3rd grade class room spelling bee's so please understand my frequent misspelled words, so please don't expect perfection or deep, profound thoughts.
Second, I am about to move to Japan with my husband and this blog is a way to update all of our dear friends and family about our adventure in a new culture, a new land, and new jobs. We will be teaching english to the Japanese citizens. We are very excited and don't quite know what to expect. I have done a lot of reading but I need to experience things to really know what all is going on. Please pray for us when you think about it.
Third, to all of our beloved friends and family who take time out of your busy day to read my thoughts and to read about what is going on in our lives....I am humbled that you would do so.
We are going to miss you all....my heart groans and aches.....We love you!