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


  • 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. 

Frequently Asked Questions:

How many students do you have?
For the 2014- 2015 school year, Kansai Christian School has 44 students, grades 1-12. There are 10 students in 7 & 8 grade, and 4 students in 5 & 6 grades. 

What subjects are you teaching this year?  
For 7 & 8 Grade:  Bible, Japan Studies, Study Skills, and Life Skills. For 5 & 6 Grade: Math, Social Studies, Science, Language Arts, and Study Skills.

What are your extra curricular responsibilities?

This year I am mentoring a new 1st and 2nd grade teacher and organizing all things sports related as the Athletic Director.

Growth Spurts

"My favorite class in 7th grade is Bible, because the teachers treat us like big kids. They ask our opinion on stuff and why we believe things. I'm not sure yet which religion to follow, though. I'm doing a lot of research online. I kinda think I'll pick Christianity, but how do I know which is the right one? Have you every heard of Jediism?"   ~ quote from a KCS student

Middle schoolers want to believe in something. They experience physical, mental, and emotional growth spurts, so it shouldn't be much of a surprise when they hit a spiritual growth spurt. 

From the student who speaks four languages and has lived in multiple countries, has non-Christian parents and declares to the class, "When I grow up I want to tell the world about Jesus."  To the  student who is learning to trust God while watching parents divorce, and learning of a parent's cancer. To the kid who says, "I'm a Christian, but I'm not really good at following the rules."  They are all growing.

The more I spend time with middle schoolers the more I realize that they are in the midst of some of the most intense self-discovery they'll ever experience. Their whole world is beginning to shift and re-settle. Developing questions and doubts about the faith they've inherited is a sign they are in the process of personalizing their faith, making it their own rather than merely that of their parents. 

This year as I teach Bible at Kansai Christian School (KCS) and make efforts to integrate a Christian worldview into all subject matter, it is my prayer that God would draw each student to himself at a young age. I pray that they would know and love God's Word, and that they would have and be good friends.

Teaching middle school takes a different kid of energy than teaching in the lower elementary grades: they can dig deeper on a topic and work more independently, but there are also more emotional ups and downs, and more relational drama. Although people are shocked when I say it - I love teaching middle school. Each age is special - but I am especially loving the potential for lifelong and eternal influence that teaching this level provides. Please pray for the energy, wisdom, patience and joy to navigate the growth spurts well.  

Grateful for your partnership,