Thursday, February 25, 2010

Edible Olympic Treat

Box of Food Coloring: gift from a friend
Box of Rice Crisp Cereal : 329 yen
2 Bags of Marshmallows: 526 yen

Finding a quick Olympic treat for a school potluck: Priceless

I went to this website for the recipe and some creative ideas.
To this website to confirm the colors and then as a print-out for my students to color.
And soon I will be taking the treat pictured above to a potluck for our school staff - aka my fellow Olympic Freaks!

Basically, I made a batch of Rice Crispy Treats and put it in the pan. Then melted a couple marshmallows and a pat of butter. Mixed it with food coloring and then stirred in 1/2 to 1/4 cup cereal. Shaped it into the circles and placed it on the top of the crispy treat base.
(Side note: I used melted chocolate chips instead of food coloring for the black circle.)

It provided to be a creative activity for this Olympic addict. Join the fun!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Home Assignment Update:

I am scheduled to be in the States, July –August 2010. I hope to visit some of my 27 partnering churches and many of the 88 individual partners. More information to follow.

Friday, February 19, 2010

A place to belong

Thank you for your prayers that I would find a church body in the Nara area where I could feel a sense of belonging and press on with joy through Japanese language challenges. While I still struggle to understand 30% of the sermon, I’ve found fellowship with a local group of believers at Saidaiji Baptist Church (about 16 regular attendees). I’ve been especially blessed by the Ibaraki family who have reached out to me. Sachiko and Yo Ibaraki are Christians teaching English and History in Japanese schools. Their children, Megu, (age 6) and Jun (age 4), never fail to greet me with hugs, smiles and giggles as they chatter away in Japanese.
The Saidaiji church celebrated its 20th anniversary this summer and is currently facing a challenge that is common to many Japanese churches—the lack of a pastor. Started by missionaries, Bob & Nancy Sorley, and led by an interim pastor for two years, the church has been actively looking for a pastor for seven years. However, in a country where less than 2% of the population is Christian, with low seminary enrollment and many retirements there is a major shortage of pastors. Finding someone to fill the position is a huge challenge. Saidaiji is now discussing the possibility of merging with another church. I would appreciate your prayers for the future of this group of Christ followers.

Thursday, February 18, 2010


After 3 years of looking for a new location, long summer months of remodeling buildings and days unpacking, Kansai Christian School (KCS) is now settled into our new location in Heguri, Japan. Thanks to generous donations land was purchased, Phase 1 of the remodeling project completed, a playground built (pictured below), and a security gate installed.
Surrounded by chrysanthemum fields and rice paddies, the wide open spaces are refreshing and yet it is conveniently only 5 minutes walk from a train station. It makes me smile to hear the students thank God in their morning prayers for a place to learn and play.

The project is not done yet though—
we would like to turn a storage area into the future 1st and 2nd grade classroom (pictured below), add fencing around the playground (So we don't have to go "fishing" for recess balls in the neighbors rice paddie) and pave the parking lot (to avoid getting stuck in the mud) . Funds are still needed to help finish Phase 2. Prayerfully consider taking part in building a school for Third Culture Kids in Japan. If you want to learn more contact me at: japanlori (at mark) gmail (dot) com.
To contribute: send in a gift to the Converge Worldwide BGC Converge Worldwide (BGC) 2002 S. Arlington Heights Road, Arlington Heights, IL 60005. Please clearly mark all gifts: Japan-Kansai Christian School Building, Project #640699. Visit this website for more giving information.

Prayer Update

Praise God for relationships developing at school, church and in my neighborhood. Please pray for wisdom and timeliness about making, maintaining, and growing relationships in Japan and overseas.
Language Learning
Pray for time & diligence to continue studying alongside my teaching ministry focus.
Educational Ministry
Pray for stamina and discernment in my role as teacher and for opportunities to pour out Jesus’ love to the students, parents of students and staff.
Building Project
Pray for the provision of funds for remodeling buildings and finishing the construction of a playground.
Church Home
Pray for Saidaiji Baptist to pursue God’s will in their next steps and continue to grow spiritually during this transition. Pray for lay leaders to answer the call of church ministry in Japan.
Home Assignment
Pray for scheduling, communication and all the big and small details that go into relocating to the other side of the globe for the summer and reconnecting with people I haven't seen for almost 3 years.

No Wasted Experiences

One thing that God has taught me this year is that there no such thing as a wasted experience. Teaching at a small international school and living cross-culturally provides multiple opportunities to step out of ones comfort zone, to develop new skills and dust off others. Kansai Christian School has 30 students enrolled in grades 1-12 this year. Christian and non-Christian families from Japan and across the globe learn and explore together. This year I've been teaching 1st and 2nd grade and learning how different lower elementary is from the upper elementary grade levels I had taught in other schools. I enjoy my students’ curiosity in their search for understanding and pray God will use me to encourage them to embrace Christ.

Besides the classroom subjects, I also teach elementary music, supervise the high school worship team, and will be directing a spring musical, called “Holy Moses!”. This winter I also assisted the high school basketball team. These are all areas which relate in some way to experiences I had in my childhood but I could never have imagined then, how God would weave them together into the tapestry of my life and ministry now.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

We Are More - Poem from 2010 Winter Olympics

I love the Olympics and the hope seen in nations interacting peacefully.
Creating friendships among the competition.
2010 Winter Olympics are being hosted by Vancouver, Canada.
I watched the opening ceremony (at 11am Saturday Feb. 13) in Japan while Skyping with my parents who were in MN watching it (at Friday evening Feb. 12). The main difference we noticed in the TV broadcast was Japan had no commerecials and was about 20 seconds ahead of the US in broadcasting. As expected each country spent a little more time showing its own athletes as they entered the stadium.

In my opinion, the opening ceremony did its job well in showcasing mulitple reasons to visit Canada!

It also featured a poem about Canada which I think is amazing so I'm posting it here. Transcript of the poem which has been called "a powerful contemporary ode on patriotism by Canadian slam poet" Shane Koyczan to listen to it being read go to this website . . .

We Are More
by Shane Koyczan

When defining Canada
you might list some statistics
you might mention our tallest building
or biggest lake
you might shake a tree in the fall
and call a red leaf Canada
you might rattle off some celebrities
might mention Buffy Sainte-Marie
might even mention the fact that we've got a few
Barenaked Ladies
or that we made these crazy things
like zippers
electric cars
and washing machines
when defining Canada
it seems the world's anthem has been
" been there done that"
and maybe that's where we used to be at
it's true
we've done and we've been
we've seen
all the great themes get swallowed up by the machine
and turned into theme parks
but when defining Canada
don't forget to mention that we have set sparks
we are not just fishing stories
about the one that got away
we do more than sit around and say "eh?"
and yes
we are the home of the Rocket and the Great One
who inspired little number nines
and little number ninety-nines
but we're more than just hockey and fishing lines
off of the rocky coast of the Maritimes
and some say what defines us
is something as simple as please and thank you
and as for you're welcome
well we say that too
but we are more
than genteel or civilized
we are an idea in the process
of being realized
we are young
we are cultures strung together
then woven into a tapestry
and the design
is what makes us more
than the sum total of our history
we are an experiment going right for a change
with influences that range from a to zed
and yes we say zed instead of zee
we are the colours of Chinatown and the coffee of Little Italy
we dream so big that there are those
who would call our ambition an industry
because we are more than sticky maple syrup and clean snow
we do more than grow wheat and brew beer
we are vineyards of good year after good year
we reforest what we clear
because we believe in generations beyond our own
knowing now that so many of us
have grown past what used to be
we can stand here today
filled with all the hope people have
when they say things like "someday"
someday we'll be great
someday we'll be this
or that
someday we'll be at a point
when someday was yesterday
and all of our aspirations will pay the way
for those who on that day
look towards tomorrow
and still they say someday
we will reach the goals we set
and we will get interest on our inspiration
because we are more than a nation of whale watchers and lumberjacks
more than backpacks and hiking trails
we are hammers and nails building bridges
towards those who are willing to walk across
we are the lost-and-found for all those who might find themselves at a loss
we are not the see-through gloss or glamour
of those who clamour for the failings of others
we are fathers brothers sisters and mothers
uncles and nephews aunts and nieces
we are cousins
we are found missing puzzle pieces
we are families with room at the table for newcomers
we are more than summers and winters
more than on and off seasons
we are the reasons people have for wanting to stay
because we are more than what we say or do
we live to get past what we go through
and learn who we are
we are students
students who study the studiousness of studying
so we know what as well as why
we don't have all the answers
but we try
and the effort is what makes us more
we don't all know what it is in life we're looking for
so keep exploring
go far and wide
or go inside but go deep
go deep
as if James Cameron was filming a sequel to The Abyss
and suddenly there was this location scout
trying to figure some way out
to get inside you
because you've been through hell and high water
and you went deep
keep exploring
because we are more
than a laundry list of things to do and places to see
we are more than hills to ski
or countryside ponds to skate
we are the abandoned hesitation of all those who can't wait
we are first-rate greasy-spoon diners and healthy-living cafes
a country that is all the ways you choose to live
a land that can give you variety
because we are choices
we are millions upon millions of voices shouting
" keep exploring... we are more"
we are the surprise the world has in store for you
it's true
Canada is the "what" in "what's new?"
so don't say "been there done that"
unless you've sat on the sidewalk
while chalk artists draw still lifes
on the concrete of a kid in the street
beatboxing to Neil Young for fun
don't say you've been there done that
unless you've been here doing it
let this country be your first-aid kit
for all the times you get sick of the same old same old
let us be the story told to your friends
and when that story ends
leave chapters for the next time you'll come back
next time pack for all the things
you didn't pack for the first time
but don't let your luggage define your travels
each life unravels differently
and experiences are what make up
the colours of our tapestry
we are the true north
strong and free
and what's more
is that we didn't just say it
we made it be.

How do you define the country in which you live?