Saturday, November 16, 2013


We went from the relative comfort, meaning not really cold, of autumn with all its vibrant colors...
to THIS and COLD!!!!!
Literally over night!
In fairness though I must admit that it lasted only a couple of days here in the city and daytime temps warmed back up a tad - temporarily. Those mountain area schools I go to every week though are getting whiter by the day...brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!
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The Best Mexican food in Nagano!

The junior high kids that come for English service on Sunday afternoons are all in the band.
They just finished competing in the National Junior High Band Competition and received a Champion Award!!! WOOHOO!!! They've worked so hard, practicing for hours before and after school and on weekends, so it was awesome to see their joy at being rewarded for all their efforts and time.
We'd been planning to have them over for a fun and casual get together and decided this was the perfect chance. Two of the kids are brother & sister and their family belongs to our church. Due to having band practice every morning, weekends included, they couldn't attend morning church. This was the original reason they started coming in the afternoons even though their English was near non-existent. (It's really improved) John puts lots of thought and effort in to making the talks interesting and engaging for the kids and it shows because they really enjoy coming now - it isn't just something they 'have' to do. With encouragement they started inviting friends to come with them and it warms our hearts to see them willing to openly share their faith.
Back to the Mexican food!
We wanted to do something they could help in the preparation with and that they don't get regularly.
John had precooked the meat but other than that they made everything.
He instructed them in the steps as they made seven layer bean dip, guacamole, pico de gallo and cocoa krispie treats for dessert (I know, not Mexican, but quick and easy and yummy)
Everyone helped and everyone enjoyed the fruits of their labors!!
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Halloween in Nagano

A bit behind but still wanted to share some of the things we did in October.
We know there are some who feel that Christians should not celebrate or recognize Halloween.
We personally do not feel that way and hope not to offend anyone by our actions/activities.
Living in Japan we do our best to take advantage of every opportunity to reach others for Christ.
Using a story I'm sure many of you have seen comparing a pumpkin to being a Christian we enjoyed using this to teach several of our students while carving the pumpkins.
For most this was their first experience carving a pumpkin and to relate it to the Christian comparison was a fun and enlightening experience.
The first three pictures above are my English Club high school students.
We had about ten pumpkins of various sizes and had fun talking, sharing and creating.

These next three are the junior high youth that attend the Sunday afternoon English service that John leads.
Along with a young man from Indonesia and our Pastor's wife, this was a first for all of them.
As they each created their own masterpiece they took turns reading the comparison story along with some related Bible verses.

These three are from the annual Halloween party that John and our friend, Mako, do for their English students. This year there were over 100 kids and around 150 people in total! They had fun playing games, singing songs and trick-or-treating.
(Since John has been wearing the same costume - remade, over made and redone again & again - for the past ten years I really think we're gonna have to come up with a whole new plan before next year!)


Last but not least, we used one class at one of my elementary schools to teach the kids - and as it turned out the teachers, too! - how to carve a pumpkin and how it relates to life as a Christian.
As a first time experience for all I think they did some pretty great work!
We also went trick-or treating around the village but I somehow didn't get a shot of that in here...
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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

if anyone is there...Hi!

Well, if anyone still stops by to see if there's anything new here...Hi!

I think by now it's a well UNdocumented fact that I'm not really good at this thing called blogging. Not if being consistent has anything to do with being good.

Somewhere in some format I have tons of pictures from so many different events that I would love to share. Seems every time I at long last sit down and try to update our lives and happenings on here when I try to include pictures I get almost finished and lose everything. It's so far past frustrating.

I think it's been almost two months since I was last here...
needless to say much has taken place since then.

Birthdays, anniversaries, church, school, music, sports, holiday events... LIFE!

It's been so long we've gone from the sweat and heat of summer to the snow and heaters of almost winter!

Our family in the states are busy and far as we know pretty much happy and healthy - from our parents to our grandchildren and all in between. Praise God!

John and I are both doing lots of English classes and our schedules are very different. Mine are all day time and in school settings here, there and yonder. While his are scattered all around as well, he does classes at church, community centers, others' homes, our home and many evening and night classes. In that circumstance we are very thankful for the times we have to spend together and God manages to give us a good bit.
Since our children were very young we have always tried to make time for the two of us together a priority - for the benefit of all of us. Having lived for 7 1/2 years here in Japan when most of our kids were still home with us and pretty young, that often presented a challenge. Those of you in the states where 'baby sitters' are a common and accepted thing need not to take it for granted. Japan is one of those countries - still - that doesn't really have that term in  their vocabulary.       Ok, got a little distracted there.    
Any way, whether we're sitting in the same room doing our individual activities, side by side watching a show, sharing devotional/Bible time or going out some place together - it's such a blessing to do it together.

It's been 10 1/2 years since we brought our family back to Japan to serve as missionaries to help grow God's kingdom. In that time we've experienced all the up and downs, highs and lows, good and not-so-good of life that is common to everyone. The difference for us, the part of our lives that far too many don't have, is our belief, faith and trust in the one true God! It gives us the assurance that when we are in the midst of any experience that is beyond our understanding that we are going through it with the One who knows everything that is, was or ever will be. God's word is filled with His promises to each of us. God keeps every promise.
We never intentionally 'test' God or His word. Still there are times when we are deeply concerned by some circumstance. In those times when we doubt, wonder or question, God has repeatedly provided. At times it is exactly measured out according to the need. Others the abundance stuns us. Awesome God!

In moments when I reflect on all the times in my life that I struggled yet came through, there is one constant - God. Whether I was on my face pleading with Him or He was pushed somewhere in the far reaches of my mind hidden behind everything else, He was - is! - always with me. His love, grace and strength are what brought me to this place in my life.

He is why we are in Japan.

Those of you that know God as Lord and Savior... can you imagine going through life without Him???
Less than 1% of the Japanese population know God and have chosen Him. He told us all  those years ago that we needed to come and share His word here so that the 99% would have the opportunity to choose Him. Little by little, person by person, day by day, in our every day life and activity we do our best to live so that everyone who sees us sees some bit of God. Something that they recognize as missing in their own life that they want! That 'something' being God! It breaks our hearts to know that the vast majority of those we see every day will not know eternal life with our Lord as they are now.

Sometimes we're told that we 'don't seem like most missionaries'. God knew perfectly what kind of people we are when He told us this was His plan for us. Our strengths and our weaknesses and how He can  use our life experiences to reach the people here that don't know Him as Lord. I am humbled beyond measure that God would choose us to go out in this land for Him. In this walk it means everything to know without doubt that when I struggle or stumble my God is beside me to help in whatever way He knows is best.

So I want to say a special prayer of thanks for each one of you that has been a part of this journey thus far. And for those that continue on with us or join in the future. Every word of encouragement, every smile, every prayer, every offering is a special blessing and a part of why we can be here doing what we can in mission for God. Our children, grandchildren, parents, siblings, extended family and friends are walking this walk with us in ways even we can't fully comprehend. We pray unceasingly that the true joy of the Lord, the peace that only He can give overflows in every life.