Saturday, March 27, 2010

All in a Days work

After being at Field Council for 4 days, I jumped back into the school day at full speed. It was a busy day Friday.

  • Taught 1st and 2nd grade gave a Math Test, Spelling Test, Memory verse Test, etc.

  • Spoke at 5-8 grade chapel about transition

  • Attended the KCS Bazaar chatting with parents and visitors

  • Supervised 1/2 of the English Corner (where 1-8 grade students read books to visitors)

  • Gave an entrance test to a prospective 1st grader

  • Helped coordinate the filming of an "Egyptian Brick" commercial for Drama Club.

  • Gave a student a ride home

Come to the April 23rd production of "Holy Moses!" to see the finished product!

Tickets go on sale April 9!



The highs of the days for me were . . .

* having the chance to talk in the Middle School chapel about how to say healthy good-byes, the impact of the transitions on their life and re-introduce the multicultural kids of the Bible.



* Witnessing a 2nd grader read a children's book, "Who is God?" to a classroom of non-Christian Japanese children and adult visitors.

Field Council - What is it?



What is Field Council?
  • Yearly meeting of the missionaries in Japan that work for our misssion (Converge Worldwide= CW)
  • We discuss ministry, take care of business matters, enjoy times of fellowship, and do a lot of praying.

Because I am currently the only CW missionary in Japan not living in Tokyo, Field Council has a Family Reunion feel. Co-workers are more like family members who rejoice with us at the good stuff and cry with us in the hard times, and share lots of inside jokes as well as sweet times of prayer.

(This was the view of Mt. Fuji I had from my room - yeah -although the ice covered trees were beautiful - the rain clouds hid the majestic mountain for 3 days straight!)

We met at Torchbearers in Yamanaka-ko, enjoying a feast of delcious creations at every meal and the care of an international staff.

Pumpkin Udon with Miso base - SO GOOD on a rainy day!

(Dessert with every meal really spoiled me!)

This year's Field council was unique in a couple of ways.

1. Numbers were small . . .

  • Only 6 Career missionaries are on the field (2 are on home assignment).
  • 1 short-term missionary is on the field.
  • 1 missionary was unable to attend due to illness.
  • Only 1 Missionary Kid came to the meeting
  • No one from the US home office came.

So all 7 of us fit at one table - in fact we sat at the "Kids table".

(See how many attended in 2008 here!)



2. I was approved to return for a 2nd term . . .

Before CW missionaries go on home assignment (back to USA to visit ministry partners), we need to complete an evaluation process.

  • The missionary completes a written evaluation of herself.
  • Three or more Japanese nationals complete evaluations of her ministry/life in Japan.
  • The Field Coordinator interviews her, reads evaluations from nationals, then writes a report.
  • The missionary presents a report of her term (in my case 2 1/2 years) to the other CW missionaries at Field Council.
  • The other missionaries give feedback, discuss areas of concern or give affirmation.
  • The Field Coordinaor presents a report to the other missionaries (while the missionary in concern is out of the room)and discusses any areas of concern.
  • The missionaries vote whether to approve the missionary return to the mission field.
  • The missionary then returns to the room and receives the news of the vote.

In cases of a YES vote the missionary returns to the room and recieves a standing ovation, hugs and then prayer. In the case of a NO vote - other steps are taken to address the concerns discussed.

It's an intense process at points, yet its rewarding to look back and see how various aspects of life (physical, spritual, emotional, relational, vocational) work together for good or bad over the term. It's also rewarding to hear affirmation from teammates who have been on the field for many, many years. I look forward to starting my 2nd term September 2010.

For me - as a teacher, I missed 4 days of school to attend the meetings. I'm VERY thankful for Chris who worked as a substitute teacher with the lively bunch of 1st and 2nd graders in my class. The kiddos enjoyed their time with her - especially "Jelly Bean Day"!

I'm thankful for the time at Field Council and praise God for safety over the 900Km round trip. I'm also thankful for the smiley students who greeted me at my return on Friday with hugs and cheers.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Traffic Jam with a view

I had the adventure of traveling on Japanese highways on a holiday.


Lots of trafic! After the 4th motorcycle passed between the lanes full of cars I thought ""These motorcyclist are crazy!" I wondered how long it'd be before I saw the first accident, as another cyclist zipped at high speeds between the cars as we crawled along. Even when the cars increased in speeds there was a constant blur of 2 wheeled vehicles zipping down the dotted line.














I was only 30km into the road trip when I heard the sirens and the traffic came to a complete stop. A motorcyclist was on the ground holding his shoulder his bike seemed to be further down the road. YIKES!











Service Areas/Rest Stops
Later when I entered a service area 2 trucks collided right in front of me, shattering a windshield but not injuring anyone. Thank you for praying for my safety! Although it took 8 hours instead of 6 I'm glad to be in one piece.


Below is one rest area near Nagoya. The bathroom here was AMAZING! It even had a map of the layout of the bathroom at the entrance so you didn't get lost on your way to the toilet.






There was even a specific area for the dogs. The sign says it all!



While in some sections traffic flowed smoothly, I didn't mind the traffic jams that occured once Fuji-san came into view. I decided I might as well use the camera while we were at a standstill. (note another motorcylce in the middle)
After arriving in Yamanaka ko, I met up with the other missionaries from the Japan Team, we had a prayer time to start Field Council, ate a delicious dinner and then our annual kickoff of Field Council with bowling. It's a small group this year, as some have retired and some are on home assignment, but we have a "family reunion" feel to this group and hopefully will get through the business meetings quickly with more time for fellowship and relaxation.







Sunday, March 21, 2010

Roadtrip



I'm traveling over 400km today by car and would appreciate your prayers for safe travel and discernment in reading the road signs and map. I've driven these roads before but this will be the first time to drive it by myself. If things go smoothly and I see clear skies I should see the foothills of Mt. Fuji at the end of the trip. Field Council 2010 here I come.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Happy Spring!


It was 22 degrees yesterday - thankfully that's Celsius! Which means it was a gorgeous day Saturday - well, at least until the wind picked up and blew my laundry off the balcony!

Here is what's blooming in my yard.




Spirea


Forsythia


(Thanks to the flower expert (aka Mom) for helping with the name of this one!)



Rosemary
(Did you know it blooms?)




Hyacinth

There are also Daffodils and Magnolia trees around the neighborhood that are blooming. And Tulips are just starting to pop up in places.



The farmers tilled the rice paddie behind my house yesterday too.



You can see more blooms on Facebook here.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Putting Out Fire

I've been busy putting out fires so haven't had much time to update the blog.



This photo is actually from a class field trip to the Abino Life Safety Learning Center where the kiddos (and teachers) learned about earthquakes, fires, calling 119, and how to use a fire extinguisher. Very educational hands on experience for the 1-4 grade class. The tour was all in Japanese but very easy to understand and they made great use of technology. Especially the 8.4 earthquake simulator.


We stopped at McDonald's for lunch before riding the train back to school.