Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy (Non) Turkey Day!

Most of the students in my class are Japanese, only 3 have ever celebrated Thanksgiving before So it was a holiday filled with new discoveries.

As I was putting up fall decorations one of the Japanese teachers asked me, "Is that a peacock?"

Umm . . . It's a Turkey - For Thanksgiving.
I inherited the ties for the turkey from a teacher that retired and needed a new home for her bulletin board collection. I loved watching the reaction of so many who came into my room for one reason or another and stopped in their tracks when they saw it.

As I described Thanksgiving to the students (History, culture and culinary elements) we talked a lot about food. For Language class the students wrote stories about how a turkey escaped from being eaten. It was so fun to see their personalities and imaginations come out. One student had her turkey "Pop" move to Australia. Another student's turkey "Bob" hid under a rock and covered himself with stinky socks so no one would find him. "Pumpkin" worked on a science experiment and then hid in the Science lab while everyone was in the kitchen. "Gobble" was given a magic potion where she was able to fly across oceans and became a classroom pet in Japan at a school called KCS. "Rainbow" with magic turned into beautiful colors and was too pretty to eat. "Emmy", the turkey, used her words to talk the pilgrims into letting her bring food to the feast and so she baked a pumpkin pie and was invited to sit at the table and not be served on the table.

At snack time Wednesday I surprised the students with Pumpkin pie. The students had small pieces just to give them a small taste of American culinary tradition. 5 of the 7 students gave the pie 2 thumbs up. It was so fun to see their reaction.
Photo above is a shout out to my sister - and her ability to stuff a juicy bird with style!

I celebrated Thanksgiving with friends on Tuesday. Their Turkey was named "Murphy" after Murphy's Law - Anything that can go wrong will. This year as my friend was starting to cook the turkey for the multitudes coming to her home for the feast - her oven broke. It made for a memorable day - and we all enjoyed store bought chicken with stuffing, mash potatoes, cranberries, creamed corn, green been casserole, and a large amount of Japanese rice dishes including various kinds of sushi. For dessert we had pumpkin pie and pumpkin cake. It was a fun day with friends!

Oh - and since my students are head over heals in love with jokes.
I'll end this post with some jokes.

Q What do you call a gobbler that thinks he knows everything?
A: A Smirky Turkey

Q: Why do turkeys always go "gobble, gobble"?
A: Because they haven't learned good table manners yet.
Whether you celebrating with turkey or some other main dish - I hope you have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Prayer Update

Hebrews 10:22-23
Let us draw near to God
with a sincere heart
in full assurance of faith.
Let us hold unswervingly
to the hope we profess
for he who promised
is faithful.
Themes of Faith and Hope have been evident through this last month.
God has been faithful to meet my needs and given me glimpses of hope in His Word and through the lives of those around me. Sometimes life gets to be about this going through the motions, the routines and schedules that I forget to stop and look at the ways He is faithfully meeting my needs and planting seeds of hope for the future. I find I need to take more time to reflect and share how I see God at work. Sort of like taking time to walk through the local park and reflecting on on the small details as well as big picture of God's creation.
Visa renewal - November 20 is a special day for me because it marks the anniversary of when I first moved to Japan as a career missionary. Today, to mark the 3rd Anniversary, I celebrated by going to the liquor store. No, I wasn't buying liquor. In Japan the liquor stores many things beside liquor (like cheddar cheese, milk and nutella!) Today I went in response to the suggestion from the Immigration officer. I needed to buy a stamp to show I've paid the government to renew my visa. It's about 200 yen cheaper at the liquor store than at the 7-11.
Praise God My visa was renewed and I'm set until 2013 !

Bible Study - Wednesday during lunch time I meet with eleven 8-12 grade students from the schools' worship team for Bible study. We're discussing worship. It has quickly become one of the highlights of my week! At first the jump in maturity and reasoning skills between the typical 1st and 2nd grade conversations to the high school was a shock - now I enter the study expecting the students to bring challenging questions and dive into discussions that will spur us all on to further study. Please continue to pray for us to seek God for understanding.

Educational Ministry - We've just finished our 1st Quarter Parent /Teacher conferences. The meetings proved very insightful as I try to gain more understanding of each child and how to best educate them. I had 100% of the parents show up for the meetings and I'm very grateful for the translators who helped with communication. Please continue to pray for the parents & me to have wisdom in disciplining the students and training them up in the way they should go.

Relationships - Nov. 20-22 is the KCS Staff retreat. I'm looking forward to spending 3 days and 2 nights at a government owned retreat center with fellow teachers. On the schedule is a 7:30 am mandatory group exercise time and a group hike. Other than that I believe we'll be focusing on building relationships and talking about spiritual development in staff and students. This is a group of people from around the world who are passionate about educational ministry - and we have a ton of fun together too!

A Day of Thanks Nov. 23 is a national holiday in Japan - it is seen "as an occasion for commemorating labor and production and giving one another thanks". Some American friends of mine here are taking advantage of the day off. We've ordered a turkey and canned pumpkin from the foreign buyers club and Costco and plan to gather for a-close-to-traditional Thanksgiving Feast. - My job is making the pie!

Mission Meetings - Nov. 26-27 the Converge Worldwide missionaries from Tokyo and Kansai area will be meeting together in Tsu (not too far from Nagoya). This will be business meetings (Fall Field Council) as well as our Mission Thanksgiving (making more pies). Please pray for joy in fellowship and wisdom for decisions - especially budget issues regarding the dismal dollar/yen exchange rate.

Health - The change in seasons has caused many to develop colds and coughs. As a elementary teacher I seem to catch whatever my students have. Unfortunately it doesn't seem to go away. Please pray for good health.
{Photos taken near Nara Koen (Park) on Nov. 19, 2010)