Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Thanksgiving Inertia

in·er·tia, in-ur-shuh(-nĂ»rsh)n. ,1. The tendency of a body to resist acceleration; the tendency of a body at rest to remain at rest or of a body in motion to stay in motion in a straight line unless acted on by an outside force. 2. Resistance or disinclination to motion, action, or change.

I have a case of post Thanksgiving Inertia. I'm finding I'm resisting action. After a month of traveling to various locations, speaking in churches, meeting amazing people, and sharing my passion for Third Culture Kid Ministry, I had 3 days of Thanksgiving relaxation. Ok, well, if you count the 2 - 10 hour days spent in the car, it was really 5 days of relaxation.

Ingredients for a relaxing Thanksgiving:
lots of delicious food,
relatives who get along,
sports on TV,
a machine to do the dishes,
a challenging puzzle, and
great post-turkey day sales with manageable crowds.
For a little variety, add in a good novel, movie, concert, or craft project.
For a little spice, add in discussions of family history with different versions from various family members.

The only thing missing was the traditional pumpkin pie - but considering we had every other imaginable food there - I hardly noticed. We did notice and missed greatly the family members who couldn't be there.

Now that my schedule has gone from ultra high movement before Thanksgiving, to slllooowww, if any movement, during Thanksgiving, I'm now trying to overcome the tendency of a body at rest to stay at rest.

My mind has been working though, I have been reflecting on the fact that if my target date of being in Japan in Sept. 2007, is reached - this was my last Thanksgiving in the states. Perhaps next year I'll be celebrating the American holiday with missionaries in Japan - eating a Turkey purchased from an army/navel base, and relishing in the un-Japanese way of eating - letting all of my food touch on the plate.

As I consider the fact that my target date is only 10 months away - I've thought of a long "to do" list for the month of December. I don't have many church visits planned for this month, so I'll be in my office gearing up for January and the rest of winter. Mailing, calling, organizing, following-up, and writing letters are some items on my to do list.
As is "get a digital camera" that way I can more effectively add photos to the blog. (For all of you visual learners out there - I apologize for my lack of photos!)

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Thanksgiving Down South

I survived a 10 hour car ride - got some crocheting and reading done along the way, very thankful that I didn't have to drive on this trip. (I've done my share of that this month!) We stopped in Iowa for lunch at "Billy Buzzard's Flying Carp Cafe", Yum-O!

Now we're in Derby, Kansas enjoying a relaxing time with Aunts and Uncles and cousins. Tomorrow is Turkey Day and Christmas all rolled into one. Should be fun!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

A Place to Grow

Sun Prairie Baptist Church, Salem, SD –
Thank you for the warm welcome and amazing hospitality. Dale and Karen, Pastor Mark, Tom and Mary, Mildred, the meal on Saturday night was a fun time to get to know you. I found out (from Tom) there's a difference between those who farm and those who work for the government, and Mildred you play a great game of 20 questions! It was a blessing to enter as a welcome stranger, connect through life stories, love of God, and laughter, and leave with a sense of friendship developing. Dale and Karen - thank you for hosting me with the relaxed 'at home' feeling.

Sun Prairie's motto is "A Place to Grow" and it was great to see a country church surrounded by cornfields and pasture, which is growing in number of members and in depth of faith. Thank you for giving me so much time to share about my ministry in Japan. Your questions about Japan, religion, and my ministry kept me on my toes - but I love talking about those topics and was thrilled that you wanted to know more.

Marcia and Tim - Thank you for opening your home to me on Sunday afternoon. It was fascinating for this city gal to learn about Angus and Hereford Ranching. I'll have to write another blog about the experience. TJ, great job on the Christmas lights! JD, Sorry about the Viking's loss!

Ramsey Baptist Church
Pastor Al and wife Linda - Thank you for dinner on Sunday evening. I enjoyed meeting you and learning more about the joys and challenges that face rural churches. Phineas, you win the prize for cutest Boston terrier I know!

For those of you were praying for my health - Sunday, my throat was scratchy but my voice didn't go out until about 10 pm on Sunday night! Technology also cooperated with us as the PowerPoint presentation and DVD worked smoothly. Monday was my drive back to MN - with clear roads and a day of quietness for my throat. With Thanksgiving approaching, I'm looking forward to a few days of hanging out with relatives.

Friday, November 17, 2006

On the Road again

While I've enjoyed being in Minnesota for awhile and participating in the Jr. High youth group at my church, it is time to be heading out on the road again this weekend. Heading West to Salem, South Dakota visiting Sun Prairie Baptist Church (Nov. 19) where I'll be speaking during Sunday school and the morning service. It will be a time for the church to get to know me and hear about my ministry in preparation for their decision on whether or not to partner with my ministry.

Sunday evening, I'll be traveling a few miles down the road to visit with the pastor of Ramsey Baptist Church, Montrose, SD to get to know more about one of my newest supporting churches.

The weather looks like it will cooperate - please pray that my health does. I've had a sore throat for a few days and I know this weekend will involve quite a bit of talking.

Prayer First Team

On Sunday, I had the opportunity to attend Ridgewood Church in Minnetonka, MN. Although I was only scheduled to be at the mission's luncheon, I attended Sunday school and church too. Although I don't fit in the "Boomer" age group I ignored age division guidelines and attended the class with some friends. They were participating in the Nooma DVD series and that day's topic was "RICH". Following the innovative video, we discussed different interpretations of the phrase, "God Bless America". It was a fascinating conversation about contentment, stewardship, intentional generosity and awareness of the fact that we are blessed to be a blessing.

During the service it amazed me how each church has its own style and flavor of worship. I'm finding I enjoy getting to know churches through participating in worship with them.

The Prayer First luncheon was a fun time visiting with various church members, some former missionaries, some school teachers, some relatives of college friends. Ridgewood's purpose of the luncheon was to encourage individuals to become prayer partners with a specific missionary the church supports. The speaker was Rob Boyd, a former missionary to Latin America. He spoke on "How to pray for your Missionaries". Which can be summed up in three points . . .
1. Get to know them
2. Get to know their culture
3. Let them get to know you.

Then, as the newest Ridgewood missionary, I helped them get to know me by sharing about my call to missions and vision for ministry among third culture Kids/missionary kids in Japan. It was encouraging to get a message on Monday morning informing me that 20 people signed up for my prayer team! I'm so excited for our building relationship! Thank you for your prayers!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Extreme Makeovers - Tech style

My computer had a doctor visit this week.

It started with a few black outs and then some white screens which were not very pretty. I did what every intelligent computer user does - Turn it off and then on again in hopes that the problem will just disappear. For about a minute, the problem was gone. When it happened again, I called for reinforcements, first to the BGC computer specialist and then to computer company itself. It was then determined that my computer was selected for a free makeover (thank God for warranties!). The Dell technician arrived at my doorstep yesterday - dismantled my laptop, unscrewed every screw possible, replaced the motherboard and then screwed it back together all in less than 45 minutes.

The post-op recovery took longer than the operation itself as I had to reinstall a program hurt in the process. I found it a bit frustrating when the program I used to connect to the internet was down - and when I called the tech guy he said - you have to be connected to the internet to reinstall the program. I got a bit creative, went to a local cafe with WIFI, downloaded the program and now - I’m happy to say I’m back online and the programs are running smoothly.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Third Culture Kid Articles

Last month I was introduced to these articles from The Santiago Times about Third Culture Kids and I want to share them with you.

by Heather Domnick



Written by an adult TCK, these articles describe her life as a TCK, the history of the term TCK, and various aspects of life as a TCK as well as ways to support TCKs. Check it out by clicking on the article titles.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Welcome to the Team

I just received news that Ramsey Baptist Church, in Montrose, South Dakota, is joining my support team. That means my monthly financial suppport is now at 36%! Praise God!

Thursday, November 9, 2006

A Few of my Favorite Things

Ministry Partner Discovery (MPD) definitely has its ups and downs.
Today, I thought I'd share with you some of my favorite things about Ministry Partner Discovery.

  • Seeing grandparents introduced to the term Third Culture Kid for the first time - talk about their new understanding of their grandchildren who are living overseas.
  • Young adults who are exploring future careers - thinking about majoring in education and wanting to learn more about teaching overseas.
  • Church leaders who are gaining a deeper understanding of missionary care, involving the whole family and not just the adults, and thinking about ways to enhance their current missionary care.
  • Talking with military veterans who have stories of their time in Japan during and after WWII. Encounters often include some Japanese phrase or song they remember.
  • Young children who are excited to learn about what life is like for kids on the other side of the globe - learning a Japanese word, playing a Japanese game, trying to use chopsticks and asking questions like - "If only 1% of Japan is Christian what do the other 99% believe?" And "If their moms and dads aren't Christian who is going to tell them about Jesus?"
  • Parents - especially mothers - who can empathize with the challenge facing missionary families regarding the limited educational options on the mission field.
  • People who after hearing my presentation say, “Wow – I never imagined that this was a needed ministry overseas, but I can now see how valuable it must be to the families. Thank you for sharing.”
  • Getting a phone call from a church or individual saying, "We want to join your team!"
  • Meeting strangers and feeling joy at realizing, this is the start of a long-term friendship.
  • Walking into a home and seeing a prayer map. Hearing excitement about praying for missionaries and teaching children about missions. A recent comment I heard, "I just bought a world map for our family and we're going to put pictures and newsletters of the missionaries we support up on it and put string connecting the picture to the city where they are working."

As the journey of partner discovery continues, I look forward to sharing the joys with you.

Monday, November 6, 2006

Midwestern Tour Update

Back in Minnesota - As I am enjoying being home and getting out of the car, I thought you might like to hear an update.

My eleven day Midwestern Tour took me from Minnesota to Nebraska, Iowa and Illinois, travelling over 1700 miles. Along the way, I was able to meet some amazing people passionate about missions! On the weekends, I had the opportunity to share my vision for ministry among TCKs in Japan to churches in Polk, NE and Galesburg, IL. During the week I was able to meet with one missions leader, three pastors, one individual, and gave ministry information to yet another church. The one day of the trip when I was not traveling or meeting with a potential ministry partner I had a very effective "office day" making phone calls and writing emails. Of all the places I visited, First Baptist Church, of Polk, NE was the only current ministry partner. I candidated at Bethel Baptist Church in Galesburg where they will be voting soon about a potential partnership. The other churches are in various stages of considering partnership with my ministry. Please pray with me that the Lord's will be done with Bethel Baptist's decision, and with the other churches with whom I had contact during this week.

Praise - While I was in Iowa City, I received news that First Baptist Church in Benson, MN has voted to team with me as a ministry partner!

When I wasn't at a church, meeting with potential partners, or doing office work, I enjoyed exploring the community, trying unique local restaurants, and learning something new about each place I visited. In Nebraska, I was able to visit the first town I lived in (Cambridge), learned a bit about rural life (Polk/Stromsburg), and explored Omaha - including the Old Market and the Bohemian Cafe. In Iowa, I visited with my friends Sharon and Jamie Steen in Iowa City, enjoyed a trip to Whitey's (Who says Ice Cream is a seasonal treat?!) and experienced Game Day, although they tell me the crowds weren't as big as for other games, it was a lesson in the art of tailgating by the Hawkeye fans. (Might as well be a professional team for Iowa!)

Thank you to my hosts and the churches that offered their gift of time. Thank you also to those who've been praying for this journey. The weather was fabulous the whole way and travel was safe! My next trip is to Ridgewood Church in Minnetonka on the 12th.

(Sorry - due to dead camera batteries there are no photos for this entry)

Wednesday, November 1, 2006

Chickens and Cattle and Pigs, Oh My!

Nebraska has more farm animals than people. According to a Nebraska Visitor's guide - for every human being there are 4 cows, 2 pigs & 8 chickens residing in the state at any given moment! I think cows in the photo are glaring as a result of a comment I made about how they smelled. (I wish this were a scratch-n-sniff photo, so you could have the full experience!)

Living Single in a Couples World

Let's face it, we live in a couples centered society. But the reality is - there are more singles in the world than there are married people. It is especially challenging to be single in church where it seems so much of life is geared toward couples with children. I am content in my singleness but I think singles too often look at married people and think the grass is greener on the other side of the fence, when in reality each side of the fence has its green spots AND its weeds.

Recently my sister, Jennifer, pointed me to a sermon by Pastor Paul Brushaber and his wife at Christ Community Church in Rochester, MN, entitled -"Live High Efficiency: How to Live Single in a Couples World". I checked out their website and just finished listening to the sermon. I highly recommend that you listen to it. All people - married and single - need to be reminded of the truths in the message based on 1 Corinthians 7.

For those of you who aren't able to listen to the MP3 format here are the main principles and application points from the sermon.

3 Principles:
  1. Two of the greatest New Testament Leaders were single - Jesus and Paul.
  2. Certain situations make marriage a bad choice.
  3. Marriage creates divided loyalties and complicates life.
6 Applications:
  1. Singleness is not a stage before marriage but a legitamently chosen lifestyle.
  2. Singleness is not a time of aloneness but a chance for great friendships with both sexes.
  3. Singleness is a chance to be more kingdom focused.
  4. Marriage will never complete you, only heaven will.
  5. Singleness offers a good chance to become a good potential partner in marriage. (Better to be single, wishing you were married than married and wishing you were single.)
  6. Singleness is not related to spiritual maturity, rather personal choice or God's will.
The church needs to validate the fact that God has a place for everyone in His Kingdom. It needs to be a place were singles find respect and are encouraged to use their gifts for the expansion of his kingdom.
Listen to the sermon and let me know your reaction.