Sunday, February 25, 2007

Support Report - Party Time!

This wintry weekend, I was able to visit MapleRidge Church in Maple Grove, MN, for their missions fair. In September, MapleRidge decided to partner with my ministry - back when I was at 35%! Today, despite the heavy snowfall amounts, these hearty Minnesotans braved the weather and the service went as planned. It was a great time to connect with members of this church. I had the opportunity to speak in the adult and youth group Sunday school classes, during the service, as well as with at a table display as people mingled.
While I was in Seattle, WA, last week, at the Reaching Japanese for Christ (RJC) Conference, I learned that Bethel Baptist Church, in Galesburg, IL, has officially voted to support me.

(Bethel Baptist Church sign reads, "FREE trip to HEAVEN",

next screen read, "details inside".)
This support, when combined with the regular giving of other churches and individuals means,

drum roll please . . .

Support amounts are now at 50%!

Praise the Lord for continuing to provide!

And thank you to all who are praying for incoming support!

Time to throw a Halfway Party!

With others or by yourself find a creative way to celebrate.

Here are some ideas . . .

Eat half a cupcake, or half a bowl of rice,

use half a pair of chopsticks,

cut up half a piece of paper to make confetti,

perform a "happy dance" using half of your body,

draw a line on a map starting in MN and go half way to Japan,

talk to half the people you know and share the news,
then talk to the other half of the people (or half of the churches) you know and tell them about the need to educate, encourage, and equip Third Culture Kids

and introduce them to me!
50% PTL!

Minnesota Mingling

Don't think of it as a snow storm . . .

Think of it as a mingling opportunity.
After very cold weather and a dismal winter, nothing brings Minnesotan's out of their hibernation like a good dumping of snow! Many friendships have been renewed by a conversation about the weather while holding a shovel in hand.
It's great to look out your window as your neighbor goes the extra yard and clears your sidewalk. This behavior is understandable with people using snow blowers . . .after all, it has been a quite a while since we've gotten such a measurable snow fall, and the equation is easy to figure out: Men + power tools + snow = neighborly kindness. But it is an especially nice gesture to use a shovel to clear your neighbors walkway. THANK YOU - to my neighbor Denise who took the time to shovel the 3 inches that fell my sidewalk today while I was at church!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Seattle ferry

For those of you blog readers out there who are fans of Grey's Anatomy - here are some ferry pictures.
When I rode the ferry (1 day after the "Walking on Water" episode where there is a big ferry crash) I looked by the pier but didn't see Meredith bobbing up and down in the water - no wonder she was blue in the next episode - one week underwater would do that to anyone. Do you think she'll live?

- Any rate - I think ferry boats are awesome and, in fact, very safe. Passengers can walk on or drive onto the ferry. Plus they have free wireless on board so people who aren't totally engrossed in the beautiful scenery can stick their nose back in a computer and continue working. I prefer the sun deck, were one can see a great view of the skyline . . .
and on clear days Mt. Rainier (an awe-inspiring active volcano). Can you see it faintly in the distance on the right? JoAnn Wright calls it - the Mt. Fuji of Washington.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

What do you think?

Many people ask me what I think about staying with a different host family each weekend as I visit various churches during Ministry Partner Discovery.
To be honest, it has its joys and challenges.
For example -
Joy - I meet many interesting and generous people
Challenge- Returning to normalcy after being spoiled by these people ;0)
The joys outweigh the challenges and the people I meet are such a blessing!

Ken & Marilyn - Thank you for your hospitality!

You welcomed me with open arms to Seattle.

Introduced me to the Seattle - Bainbridge ferry,

and showed me, Poulsbo a bit of Norway in Washington.

Fed me the most amazing cedar plank grilled salmon (Thank you for sharing the recipe and a cedar plank with me!) and shared your stories of family as well as sharing your home with this phenomenal view of the Olympic Mountain range with me.


Have you had your latte today?

I love coffee!
Since it is Seattle's signature beverage, I'm finding it very easy to love Seattle: a city with a coffee shop on every corner. The city is the home to Starbucks, Tully's and Seattle's Best Coffee. Note to future Seattle visitors: it is not a good idea to use a coffee shop as a landmark when trying to navigate the city - they are all over the place!

On the Feb. 12, While I was between church meetings, I went sightseeing with JoAnn & Don Wright, missionaries to Japan who are now based in the Seattle area working with the Reaching Japanese for Christ (RJC) ministries. JoAnn & I are pictured above checking out the Starbucks location where this coffee empire all started.

The photo below is of a latte from "Espresso Vivace Roasteria". I took a coffee break here on Valentine's day and enjoyed the artistic heart shaped swirls in the foam topping my latte.

With the price of a "fancy drink" about $3, many coffee lovers soon find purchasing an espresso machine for their own home is more cost effective than indulging in the daily ritual of getting a latte on the road. One of my host families called their espresso machine "the family altar" and in this coffee obsessed culture that is not far from the truth. What I don't understand though, is how so many highly caffinated people manage to have such a layed back attitude.

Seatle - Impressions

Life is good in Seattle, a very pedestrian friendly community. Great mountain, ocean and city views, a coffee shop on every corner, fresh seafood, friendly people and warm weather (read: its actually warm enough to rain here).

Sorry for the delay in posting updates about Seattle travel while in Seattle. I had a few technical difficulties and frankly was having so much fun with the people and exploring the area, I didn't spend much time online! Now that I'm back in Minnesota I'll try to get back on track with regular posting.

I arrived Feb. 10, to visit with members of North Kitsap Baptist Church (a partnering church) in Poulsbo, WA, and then I attended the Reaching Japanese for Christ Conference at Northshore Baptist church in Bothell, WA. I had a great time with the host families I stayed with and made multiple connections with other people doing ministry among Japanese here in the states and in Japan. I arrived home to Minnesota, Feb. 18, and I hope to put up a few photos to give you a glimpse of my time in Seattle.

Thank you for praying for me during my travels! It was a blessing!

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

The Twins

Growing up - we were called "The Twins", probably because, although we aren't identical, that was easier than trying to figure out which child was Lisa (the one with blue eyes) and which was Lori (the one with brown eyes). Well, today is our birthday (she's 15 minutes older). Click here to see some baby photos.
We're celebrating separately, since Lisa is in Canada visiting my older sister & her family. Lisa's likely to be spending her time there teaching our neices some new phrases and tricks.

For those who haven't yet met Lisa, imagine the unique combination of

  • Lance Armstrong (athletic ability & endurance, but plays multiple sports)
  • Martha Stewart (cooks, quilts, decorates & loves to throw parties)
  • Bob Villa (This Old House meet Ms. Fix-it)

Her favorite holiday: April 1

Favorite TV show: 24 or Survivor (she should try out for the show!)

Favorite song: Maine Title Theme to Everwood

Favorite sport: Well, what season is it? (currently Broomball, Snowshoeing, and Skiing)

Nickname: Spud (think Spud Webb - the shortest player in NBA history to have won the NBA Slam Dunk contest)

We've been roommates/housemates for 22 years of our lives and have learned more than enough ways to drive each other up a wall.Thankfully, we've also learned how to get along and where to make the duck tape line down the middle of the room.

Happy Birthday, sis! May you have another hair raising year!

ps. I hear in Japan they believe that the twin born second is actually the oldest.

Also - Mom & Dad - Thanks for the gift of life! And not freaking out too much when you found out that you were pregnant with twins less than 2 months before we arrived. (Ahh, back in the days before ultrasounds were common!)

Little known fact about our names . . .

When deciding on names, our parents wanted our names to start with the same letter (L) and have the same number of letters in the first (4) and middle (3) name. Thus, we were named: Lisa Sue and Lori Ann.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

To Comment or Not to Comment

I can see by the "cluster map" to the right of the blog entries that there have been over 680 visitors to this blog, from 20+ countries. Some of you may be first time visitors, others may be regulars who have my blog bookmarked and check for regular updates, whichever the case - I'd love to hear from you.

Part of my reason for creating this blog is to increase communication with those interested in my life, the Ministry Partner Discovery Journey, Third Culture Kid stuff, and missions in Japan. But right now I feel like this is a very one sided dialogue. (Perhaps you're ok with that) nevertheless, I want to hear what you have to say!

So don't be afraid to make a comment.
Add your opinion.
Ask a question.
Make a suggestion.
Say Hi.
Let me know where you're from and how you found out about this blog.
Even if you think your comment is repetitive or "nothing special", just the fact that you took the time to make a comment is important to me.

Thank you to those faithful few who have been sending in comments already. If you want to make a comment or read what others have written, click on the word comments at the end of each blog entry.

If you want to communicate with me but don't want your comment broadcasted to the rest of the viewing public, that's fine. All comments go to my email and are moderated by me before everyone in cyberspace can read it. I can choose to keep the comment private, or publish it. So if you don't want it to go public - just tell me. Also, you can sign your name with the blog or make it anonymous. Your choice.

Tomorrow, February 7, is my birthday, so for all of you who have hesitated to make a comment - That may be a great day to start!

Friday, February 2, 2007

Stability in Transition

Currently at home, having just unpacked from 10 days on the road, but getting ready to leave again soon, I'm thinking a lot about transition.
  • Thinking about how being "home" for only three & 1/2 days doesn't motivate one to fill an empty refrigerator.
  • About how much I treasure time with my home church and hugs from friends, and teens in the youth group, I haven't seen for multiple weeks.
  • About how much of an honor it is to be invited to churches to share my vision for ministry but also how thankful I am for a "free" weekend after a month of travel.
  • About how God has blessed me through my girlfriends in my bi-monthly bible study - their lives, prayers, questions, and encouragement.
  • Thinking about how I've seen my sister, with whom I live, 5 times in the last 12 days and will not see her again for 16 days. (She's on her way to Canada and I'll be in Seattle when she gets back.)
  • Thinking about all the stuff in my house that I'll be sorting through to give away, pack or store as we prepare to sell the house.
  • Thinking that this is just the beginning of all the transitions that I'll be facing in the next 9 months preparing to go to Japan - which will be followed by more transition once I arrive in Japan.

Perhaps because of all of these thoughts the bible study we (my girl friends and I) had last night really hit me. We're beginning a study written by Shirley Smith titled, The Women in the life of Abraham: God's Care for Ex-Patriot Women - and last night was on Sarai - "Stability in Transition". (selected verses from Genesis chapters 11-20.)

It helped me remember my stability doesn't come in routine, or location, not in socio-economic status or even in friends and relationships because those too change. It comes in God. In His unchanging Promises. No matter how impossible or unlikely the promises God made to Abram & Sarai were - HE fulfilled them - in His timing. (Gave a child to a 100 yr. old man and 90 year old woman! And hundreds of years later their descendents inherited the land that was occupied by other nations. And through it all God's name and faithfulness became known.)

Sarai was an ex-patriot who never returned "home". She had major lifestyle changes as an adult (Religion, location, urban to nomadic, and cultural), and she was put into another man's harem, twice, by her husband. Yet God was already there, where Abram and Sarai were going. Sarah's stability was only in God's promises.

Which motivates me to do more thinking - What promises has God given me? Where am I doubting him? What am I focusing on for my stability in transition?

Do not, O LORD, withhold

your mercy from me;

let your steadfast love and your faithfulness

keep me safe forever.

Ps. 40:11