Sunday, April 19, 2015

Update for the Prayer Update

  • Praise God for a fabulous 2 weeks in Minnesota at Christmas for the holidays, and my twin sister, Lisa’s wedding.  
Update: Even the memories of the trip are AWESOME! 
  • Lisa, and I own a house together in St. Paul. We recently put it on the market for sale the 28 of January. Please pray it would sell quickly and at a good price to someone who will be a great neighbor to those who have been great neighbors to us.  UPDATE: On Feb. 7, (our birthday)  an offer was made on the house, pending inspection and other details going smoothly - closing could be March 17! 
Update for the update: The house is sold! Closing is done! Yippee! 
The sign makes it official!


  • My 82 year old Grandma, in Minnesota, has recently been placed in hospice care and her health is slowly declining.  Pray for peace for the family and comfort for her in her last days.  
Update: She maintaining her current health status, enjoying the therapy dogs which come to visit regularly. It's also been reported that she enjoyed her first Dairy Queen butterscotch dilly bar of the season. Yum!
My mom & Grandma 

  • I have decided not to renew my contract with Kansai Christian School for next year. After considering past experiences, current circumstances, and future hopes I feel God is leading me to step away from the school.  I will continue to teach at KCS until the end of the school year. I am in communication with other Converge missionaries regarding future ministry assignments in Japan.  Thank you for praying with me as I seek to finish well at KCS and honor Him as I share the decision with other staff members, students, friends & ministry partners. Pray that I would continue to seek HIS face in all of this, have the wisdom to discern his plan and have the courage to follow where he leads.  
Update: As I've expressed my decision to transition into a new ministry it has brought the paradoxical realization of how blessed I've been to work with these students and staff and also confirmed that this is the right time to step away. Thank you for your prayers for endurance, wisdom and joy in the last 7 weeks of the school year. One student moved to a new school in April and a new student (from Argentina) has joined our class. Pray for the students to have and be good friends and for overall cooperative spirits to make the last quarter the best quarter yet!

l. to r. Lori, John & Eliane Mehn, Ian Smith, MaryLou & Tom Ellison
Japan Field Council was held March 24-26 northwest of Tokyo. There, as a team, we talked, prayed and made many big decisions. My future ministry plan was discussed, which has led to more explorations of some exciting opportunities. It is such a blessing to work with this group and have them supporting me through this ministry transition. (We also ate a lot of delicious food!) 

Tom & MaryLou at Happy Pension (location of field council)
Kindred Spirits

We also celebrated the Ellison's 30 years of ministry in Japan.  Retirement parties are another paradox - wanting to keep in Japan these dear friends who have become family to me, and yet excited to see how God writes this next chapter in their story. Pray with me as they begin the transition into this next chapter.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Words

Sometimes
 my head is filled with words and
 they flow onto the page faster than I can write them.

Sometimes
 my job is filled with words:
       nice ones,
    funny ones,
           sideways ones,
                  regrettable ones,
    encouraging ones.

Sometimes
 my schoolwork is filled with words:
          mispelled,
                uncorrect,
    beautiful,
       learning words.

Sometimes
 my to do list is filled with words:
      urgent,
          today,
        tomorrow,
             next week,
                   someday,
         yesterday!

Sometimes
 my ministry updates are filled with words:
      quotes,
           stories,
     praises,
          prayer requests.


Today
  I have no words.

Perhaps, as some of my students say, "I can't talk. I've used up all my words for the day."

Until my writing voice returns, here are some words in photo form.

 Cherry Blossoms . . .








Sunday, February 15, 2015

Prayer Update for February


  1. Praise God for a fabulous 2 weeks in Minnesota at Christmas for the holidays, and my twin sister, Lisa’s wedding. 
  2. Lisa, and I own a house together in St. Paul. We recently put it on the market for sale the 28 of January. Please pray it would sell quickly and at a good price to someone who will be a great neighbor to those who have been great neighbors to us.  UPDATE: On Feb. 7, (our birthday)  an offer was made on the house, pending inspection and other details going smoothly - closing could be March 17! 
  3. My 82 year old Grandma, in Minnesota, has recently been placed in hospice care and her health is slowly declining.  Pray for peace for the family and comfort for her in her last days.
  4. I have decided not to renew my contract with Kansai Christian School for next year. After considering past experiences, current circumstances, and future hopes I feel God is leading me to step away from the school.  I will continue to teach at KCS until the end of the school year. I am in communication with other Converge missionaries regarding future ministry assignments in Japan.  Thank you for praying with me as I seek to finish well at KCS and honor Him as I share the decision with other staff members, students, friends & ministry partners. Pray that I would continue to seek HIS face in all of this, have the wisdom to discern his plan and have the courage to follow where he leads.  

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Whoosh! - Update on Winter 2014-15


School is half way done.
The schedule is filled.
The pace is swift.
Rest is treasured.
Life is challenging.
God is Good.


How are we already to the end of January 2015!  The winter is zooming by and I'm looking forward to spring blooms and not needing to use a heater!  For now, here is a look back at the last 3 months.




Kobe Port Area


  • November
    • Ended 1st Quarter at School 
    • Explored Kobe on Fall field trips - Maritime museum, Kawasaki Good times Museum and Kobe Tower (More info here.)
    • Visited with parents at Parent Teacher Conferences
    • Chaperoned and supervised our Girl's Basketball team for a game in Kobe 
    • Celebrated Thanksgiving three times 
    • Coached my middle schoolers to use their talents to lead chapel for 1-6 graders.
Japan Fall Field Council: Mehns, Ellisons, Harms, Fischer and Smith
    • Traveled to Tokyo for Japan Fall Field Council - 
      • met Ian, our newest Career mission in Japan you can follow his blog here. 
      • praised God for teammates' current ministries 
      • prayed about future ministry plans
      • took care of mission business
      Yurigaoka Baptist Church
    • Attended church at Yurigaoka Baptist - where I was a short-termer worker
    • Reveled in the joy of spending a relaxing afternoon with my Japanese host family and their 7 grandkids in Tokyo area!
    • Learned, networked, and was inspired at the International Christian Educators Conference in Seoul, South Korea.
    Enjoying new foods with Lisa in South Korea

      International Educator's Conference in Deajon, South Korea
    • Reunited with my friend Mihwa and met her growing family in South Korea
Me with Mihwa, and her adorable daughters
  • December
    • Hosted missionary fellowship with my roommate
    • Celebrated Christmas at School and with an outreach to a nursing home
    • Traveled to Minnesota, USA
    • Christmas silliness with my sisters, and my mom 
      • signed papers to put a house I own with my sister on the market to sell
      • celebrated Christmas with my parents, sisters and their families
      • visited with college roommates who are now living in MN and Saudi Arabia
      • helped my twin sister, Lisa, with projects the week before her wedding.


Lisa & Mike on their way to go ice fishing before the wedding.
  • January
    • Still in Minnesota
      • CELEBRATED in Lisa's marriage to Mike Dwyer. (So thrilled for them!)
      • Delighted in gathering with family and friends at the wedding
      • Enjoyed a visit to Bethany Baptist Church (my home church)
      • Hugged my grandma who is in hospice care 
      • Left Minnesota for a crazy travel tale of canceled, delayed, and rescheduled flights and lost luggage. 
    • Back in Japan
      • Returned to a pile of paperwork at school - and awesome coworkers 

      out to eat with co-workers - taking a break from grading papers
      • Hosted a farewell party for 2 students who are leaving
      • Blessed by a visit from Lisa, a friend who teaches in Okinawa, Japan
      • Saw the Emperor and Empress of Japan at Kobe Airport (Crazy- amazing story!)
      In the audience of the Emperor and Empress of Japan 
      • Created Japanese art work with students for Social Studies Asia unit. 
      • Gave Semester Final Tests

      • Drove the basketball team to Nagoya (3 hours away) for a 2 day Girl's Basketball tournament (I'm the bus driver and sports coordinator.) 

      • Finished 2nd quarter and 1st Semester of school




It may seem
 with this long list of events
 combined with teaching my students 
a life of a busy bee.  

You may not see
with this long list of events
that through it all 
God is sustaining each day
 with his grace resources, 
his wisdom supply, 
his abundant love. 
Growing my desire to do less,
and be with him more.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Exciting Family News

 This summer I was able to be in the States to attend a cousin's wedding, a family reunion, and spend time with my grandmother.  While in Minnesota, I also got to meet my twin sister's boyfriend, Mike. Mike and Lisa got engaged in August and are now planning a wedding for January 2, 2015. I am excited to welcome him into the family and anticipate making a quick trip to Minnesota over the holidays for the wedding. 

Prayer Prompts

PRAYER 

  • Praise God for a refreshing summer visit to see family in USA
  • Pray for my students:
    •  that God would draw each student to himself at a young age, 
    • that they would know and love God's Word, 
    • that they would have and be good friends
  • Pray for me to have the energy, wisdom, patience, and joy to teach well
  • Pray for team unity and clear communication among the KCS staff
Up-coming Events
  • Nov. 14-15:  Japan Field Council, Tokyo, Japan
  • Nov. 20-21: KCS Parent - Teacher Conferences, Nara
  • Nov. 26-29: International Christian Educators Conference, Deajeon, South Korea
  • Dec. 18 -19: KCS Christmas Outreach & Christmas Program
  • Jan. 2: Lisa and Mike's Wedding, Minnesota, USA

"Everything is AWESOME!

"Everything is AWESOME!

Everything is cool when you're part of a team."  
The lyrics to a popular Lego movie theme song would have us believe - things are just awesome in a team.  But reality teaches us that teams are like families and all families face tensions at one time or another. Being part of a team means learning to balance tensions, accomplish goals and keep relationships in tact. People on a multicultural team have a variety of view points, cultural approaches, leadership styles, educational philosophies and communication styles yet they must strive to work together.


Last year was a challenging year for me at school as I adjusted to new leadership, new roles, and new staff. Please pray for our staff this year as we work to build unity, use our giftedness, and honor God with clear communication through challenging relational dynamics.