Friday, April 27, 2007

Oh, CANADA!

I traveled to Canada during Easter week, and enjoyed a wonderful week with my sister, Jennifer, her husband, Erik and my neices Kara Grace (age 2.5) and Olivia (age 1).







Here are some photos of our places we visited during our time together. (People photos to be added another day)
First photo is of a maple leaf covered mail box.



Parliament Hill













A random courtyard outside the coffee shop we stopped in to get out of the rain.












ByWard Market
(Not so busy on a rainy April day)









Perfect weather for
Beaver Tails














National Art Gallery of Canada - We were scared away by the giant spider so we went to the civilazaiton museum instead.


Sculpture in the Canadian Museum of Civilization




















The view accross the river to part of Quebec.(Which I learned is pronounced Ka-beck, not Kwa-beck)



The Royal Canadian Mounted Police are said to be a spectacular sight in their red uniforms. We only got a glimpse of the horses on their day off. But I did meet a member of the RCMP at church (without the horse).



Bonus Question: Any readers out there know what the capital of Canada is?

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

bayfield

Bayfield, Wisconsin - population 611 (as of 2000)
The view of Lake Superior and the Islands from the golf course.

















And the shoreline -

That boat is the ferry - not even a quarter the size of the ferries out in Seattle - but it does fine transporting people and vehicles to the Apostle Islands. Bayfield is the stopping off point before visiting the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, a world famous freshwater kayaking destination.

Faith Baptist Church, a ministry partner!



April 14 - 15.

A lovely resort town on Lake Superior



a lovely stay with Pastor Dale and Karen Phelps - in the beautiful mansion they call the parsonage



A friendly congregation (we were too busy talking at church for me to take pictures)

willing to try new things

Ok - stop - you see when I was in invited to speak in Bayfield, I was asked to do the "special music". Now, I love music - and I love to sing - in groups or alone in the car or alone in a shower - but alone in front of an audience - not so much!

So - I decided to try something different. I found some familiar Christian songs - "Jesus loves me" and "Amazing Grace" and then located the Japanese words to the songs. When I was invited up to sing - I taught them the common vowel sounds in Japanese - some key words (like God = Shu, Jesus = Yesu, Grace = Megumi and love = Aisu) and then let them phonetically work their way through the rest. (The Japanese was written in roman letters). THEY DID GREAT! So good in fact I let them sing - "This is the Day" - now the words (in Japanese) aren't so difficult but it moves quite fast! You try it . . .

Kono hi wa, kono hi wa,
Shu ga tsukurareta,
Shu ga tsukurareta.
Warera wa yorokobo,
Kono hi wo ba, kono hi wo ba.
Kono hi wa, Shu ga tsukurareta,
Warera wa kono hi wo yorokobo!
Kono hi wa, kono hi wa,
Shu ga tsukurareta.


When they tried to say "tsukurareta" the tsu took on more the form of spitting. So in a way they were all singing in a shower. But they ended with smiles and I was impressed with their language abilities! They are invited to Japan any time! Even if all they do is sing those three songs - There are many Japanese who need to know that - - Jesus loves them, with amazing grace and THIS IS THE DAY THE LORD MADE!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

No Time for “Real Ministry”?

“You won’t have time for real ministry,” replied a gentleman at the Urbana ‘96 Student Missions Conference, when I asked him about opportunities to teach missionary children (MKs) in Japan. He claimed that after nine hours of teaching, there wouldn’t be time or energy left for “real ministry”. He said I should shift my focus to Japanese people and teach English. Why did his words stir up such turmoil in my heart?

After six months in Japan, teaching English and studying at Tokyo Christian University, I agreed that Japanese people need to have opportunity to hear about a personal and loving God and Savior Jesus. I also agreed that teaching MKs requires much time and energy. However, I did not agree with his interpretation of “real ministry”.

I had lived in Japan long enough to realize that because of the extremely tiny number of Christians in Japan, local believers alone cannot carry out the task of reaching 127 million people. Missionaries are sorely required to help complete the Great Commission in this strategic Asian nation. Those missionaries often come to Japan as families engaged in cross-cultural ministry often on the cutting edges of evangelism.

Missionary children need to receive an education, be encouraged in their spiritual walk and be equipped with strategies and tools to encounter cross-cultural transitions and challenges faced in their multicultural upbringing. Therefore, I believe that the ministry of teaching missionary children is just as real a ministry as church planting or teaching English.


Motivated to minister to MKs because of their presence, their parents and their potential, I look forward to serving in Japan. MK ministry demonstrates God’s love for each member of the body. With increased globalization and ease in mobility, the number of families living outside their passport culture will continue to increase. The presence of Third Culture Kids (TCKs) will continue to grow in number as will the need for Christian teachers overseas.

The MK school staff has opportunity to help meet needs as they nurture children and promote resilience in families. Consistent modeling of wholesome Christian family relationships has the potential of being a living translation of biblical truths, a sight greatly needed in a land less than 1% Christian.

TCKs have unique potential for world leadership and impact that must be developed and released. I have met MKs working in a variety of occupations around the world, using their unique upbringing to make a difference for the Kingdom of God. A few examples include a researcher at the World Bank in Washington, D.C., a pastor of a Japanese church in Boston, a teacher in Germany, a stay-at-home mom in Minnesota, a doctor in Iowa, an engineer assisting with Hurricane Katrina relief and a missionary in the Philippines.
This perspective of MK ministry was emphatically expressed in the October 2006 issue of Evangelical Missions Quarterly,
Some have seen the importance of this ministry [of teaching MKs]. Although it is
vital to the well-being of the missionary families, this is not only a ‘support’
ministry; it is a wonderful opportunity for evangelism and discipleship.
Teachers are watched every day in both their good and bad moments, and can serve as examples of Christian discipleship to a watching younger generation . . . The ministry of missionary educators is a vital and important role within the
missions community.

There may be differing view points about whether this ministry is a frontline or support ministry, but I hope it will never be doubted — teaching Missionary Kids is “real ministry”.


Top Photo: - Missionary Kids - my real ministry in Japan 1998-2000,
Sarah, Katie, Andrew (back row), Nathan and Joshua (front row)

Middle Photo: the Mukappa Group from Bethel College at a Third Culture Kid Retreat in Wisconsin
Bottom Photo: The MuKappa group from Bethel with Matt Neigh and Dave Pollock, amazing advocates and care givers for TCKs with Interact International .
Note: The gentleman at Urbana who tried to discourage me away from TCK eduction was only one voice among many (granted a very memorable and life changing voice). I also met and spoke with others at Urbana who held different view points, many of which were inline with my conclusion that TCK educational ministry is REAL minstry.

Prayer Items

· Praise God for the monthly support amounts rising to 52% and for a doubling of the prayer supporters!

· Departure preparation: Discovering ministry partners, selling a house, attending conferences.

· That through this process I would draw closer to God, relying on his strength and wisdom.

· New building for Kansai Christian School, Japan, (former building damaged by termites).

Upcoming events in April:
4-10, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada - visit my sister and her family for Easter
14-15 - Bayfield, WI - visit Faith Baptist
20-22 - Duluth, MN - chaperone youth group for Spring Blitz youth rally
28-29 - Forest City, IA - visit First Baptist

Between the Dreaming and the Coming True

With six months until departure, the monthly support is now up to 52% thanks to the commitments of 16 partnering churches and 33 individuals, enabling this dream of ministering in Japan to come true! Last year at this time monthly support was at seven percent. I have also gratefully received several special gifts designated for start-up funds. Everything that is received right now is critical to getting me to Japan more quickly.


Celebrate reaching 52% and join me in praising God and looking expectantly for what He is still going to do. To read ideas for how to celebrate with a halfway party
click here.

Lessons from the Road

How is Ministry Partner Discovery (MPD) preparing me for life in Japan? While traveling to new churches each weekend and meeting with individuals interested in partnering with my ministry to Third Culture Kids (TCKs) in Japan, I am learning valuable life lessons.

· Navigating the Curves: The opportunity to speak may come at any time, in any place and to any age audience. This helps me develop flexibility in articulating my vision for ministry in age-appropriate ways and build up my extemporaneous speaking skills.

· Moving from Stranger to Friend in 0 to 60 Seconds: Through the many interactions with church members, mission councils, host families and a growing number of prayer partners, I am learning to jump into relationships quickly and enjoy the diversity and unity within the community of Christ followers.

· Traveling companions: While I am on the road focusing on new relationships, I am deepening my appreciation for long-time friends and discovering creative ways to stay in touch — including monthly prayer emails and using online technology, such as this blog, where I post pictures, prayer requests and share stories of my MPD journey and look forward to reading your comments.

· Construction Zones: Transition between life in America and preparation for life in Japan often produces chaos and unexpected detours. Proceeding with caution on the bumpy road of life, I try to seek stability in transition through relying on God.

· Packing Light: Learning to leave the baggage of doubt and the hitchhiker of discouragement behind, I am packing my bags with confidence in my identity in Christ and what He has called me to do, realizing that this assignment is much bigger than me and recognizing a spiritual battle in progress.

· Limited Visibility: Experiencing a new city and church each weekend and learning about their local culture is teaching me how to handle ambiguity and to take things one mile or one contact at a time — trusting God to lead, to stir up the hearts of others and to give me a clear view of the next step.

Got Wisdom?


Zeal without practical wisdom
can lead to heartache
and the squandering of Kingdom resources.

Learning Never Ends

My graduate studies came to a close in May, ‘06. But I still have much to learn!
In January I attended the Strengthening Your Interpersonal Skills Seminar (SYIS) sponsored by Baptist General Conference in Minnesota.





Photo: Toshi Tabara & Lori taking a hike during the SYIS seminar in January. Tabara-san is a Japanese missionary serving in the Philippines. Her spiritual journey was influenced by a missionary kid inviting her and another friend to a Christian camp in Japan. (Click here for the January post)

In February I traveled to Seattle, WA, to soak up more learning at the Reaching Japanese for Christ (RJC) Conference.



Photo: Lori with Setsu Kuroda: While at the RJC conference I met Kuroda-san, an adult TCK, born in Japan and raised in a pastors family, she moved from Japan to Hawaii at age 15. She is now the International Director of Japanese Christian Fellowship Network (JCFN) working to equip multicultural Japanese Christians for Ministry.




May 29-June 29 I will take part in a five week pre-field training (SPLICE) and language acquisition program (PILAT) through Mission Training International (MTI) in Colorado.

In July I will attend Global Church Advancement’s Church Planting Seminar at Bethlehem Baptist in Minneapolis.

But the learning will not end there! When I arrive in Japan, the first stop will be attending language school. This will help me to communicate with Japanese, give me a better understanding of Japanese culture and ways of thinking, and open doors to developing friendships.

Frequently Asked Questions



Q: What is your target date for leaving for Japan?
A:
September 2007, or earlier, contingent upon receiving prayer support and 100% of the monthly support. (Currently at 52%)

Q: When should we start giving?
A: Start your giving as soon as possible. This will increase the chance of meeting my target date, encourage others to partner with the ministry, and offset expenses incurred during Ministry Partner Discover (MPD).

Q: Will you be teaching English in Japan?
A: My primary ministry will be teaching elementary level students at a Christian school using English language for daily instruction. The majority (70~75%) of students are children of the evangelical missions community.

Q: How can we learn more?
A:
Email me using the contact information. Visit the Baptist General Conference website: www.bgcworld.org. Under "Directory" click on "BGC missionaries A to Z" then click on "H" you should see my photo and information. Or call the BGC Director of Missionary Partner Development, Duane Harms at 1.800.323.4215 ext 3509 or email him.

A Recovering Perfectionist

Updates

Life has been crazy (in a good way) recently. I have wanted to get online and update my blog but haven't added any updates since March 23! UGH! For those of you who have been looking for some updates - thank you for your persistent visits I'll work on being more regular about updating. Meanwhile - here are a few posts for you to read. Recovering Perfectionist

Hi, my name is Lori and I'm a recovering perfectionist.

There are certain areas of my life that I want to get just perfect. Other areas, I don't put so much pressure on myself to get "just right".

For example, recently I was working on writing a newsletter. This is a letter I intend to send out quarterly to all of the people who are interested in my future ministry in Japan teaching third culture Kids. I was hoping to get the letter written, proofread and printed in January. But my perfectionistic desire for "just the right article", delayed me. I realized that it needed to get done as a way of communicating to my faithful partners so I put more effort into it in February. Eventually, by March, I had it ready but feared that the newsletter would go out and someone would find a type-o or a grammatical error. So I had 2 friends proofread it, one did the initial read and gave layout suggestions, the other happens to be a retired newspaper editor - both very detail oriented people. Rationally, I should have realized that one mispelled word in letter is not the worst thing that could happen to me nor tarnish my reputation for ever but - I was focused on getting it "just right". With help proofreading - I sent the letter to be printed.

You would think my perfectionistic tendencies would end there - but NO - I have over 350 people on my mailing list, some receive the letter by post and others by email. I wanted to make sure they each received a copy of the letter -- a reasonable desire, until the "what if"s attacked. What if a special friend was left off the list, or what if someone was on multiple email lists and their inbox was jammed with this pdf file. So I began the process of checking my mailing list and reorganizing my multiple lists to get it "just right". That lasted until my accountability partner questioned what I was doing and helped me to shift the focus from being perfect to getting the letter out to the people.

Finally on March 31 and April 1 I was able to snail mail and email the "March 2007" newsletter. Perhaps one of the reasons I like blogging better than writing a newsletter is there is less pressure (often self inflicted) to get it "just right". There are less restrictions on space, more options for adding photos, topics can range from birthday greetings to theological reflections and editing a post after it's published is simple and free.

In this process of preparing to make an international move I'm learning a lot about myself. Discovering my desire to have things "just right" will effect my life in many ways here and overseas. From refusing to dive into a project unless I have "enough" time to give it "enough" attention, to the fear of making a mistake when learning Japanese. I need to realize there is nothing wrong with wanting to do something well, but if I wait for the perfect conditions before I seize an opportunity I'll be waiting till the day I die. Nothing will ever be perfect and nothing can be totally planned.

Now, for all you blogging buddies who haven't received a newsletter, the next few posts will mirror the content of the articles in my newsletter - enjoy.