Monday, January 30, 2012

2nd Grade Theology

This week our class is memorizng Psalm 103:11
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
   so great is his love for those who fear him;
 God's omnipresence came up in 1st and 2nd grade bible class today as we studied Psalm 103:11.  

Student A (girl):  Where is God?

Me: God is everywhere all at the same time. Omnipresent is the fancy word for it. He can be here with us, and in Minnesota with my family, and in South Africa with Mrs. G's family, and in Ghana with Mrs. N's family.

Student B (boy): So, He's right here (points to the left of him), and here (points to the right side)?

Me: Yes, and you can ask him to live in your heart too.

Student C (boy): Is he in my nose too? (giggles)

Student B (boy): Is he in the toilet? (giggles)

Student A (Girl) : Wait! Is God a boy or a girl? Because if HE is a boy - that's yucky if he's in the toilet!

This led to a talk on the trinity. . .

Friday, January 27, 2012

Basketball update

Nagoya International School (NIS)

Kansai Christian School (KCS) Boys Basketball team is at the Small School Tourney this weekend in Nagoya.  (3 hours from our school).  Yesterday we won the games against Hiroshima and Hokkaido (pretty convincingly). The evening brought a game against NIS (Nagoya) Junior Varsity team.  We won.  Giving us 1st place in our pool which means we secured at least 4th place out of 8. 

Now there are games today (Saturday), In the other pool KIU (Kyoto) beat, NIS varsity (Nagoya).  So KCS will play NIS this morning. These are 2 of the top ranking teams in the division so it promises to be a tough game. If we win, we go to the Championship game later today.    

Our school is the smallest school in the tourney. Twelve of the 13 boys in our high school play on the team.  Six of them are seniors so this is a BIG year for Basketball at our school.  The coach, Mr. M. Dugan is an alumni from KCS too.  

Wishing I could be there in person to see history happen, to cheer everyone on and to help take stats. But I'm hosting a Jr. High Girl's Night at my house tonight so I'm cheering from afar and checking  frequently for updates.  I'll try to post updates when I receive them.

We received 4th place.

Updated 1/30/12  - Quoted from the KCS Athletic Director. . . 

"Yes, some of you have heard that KCS ended up with a 4th-place finish out  of 8 teams.
This doesn't sound so good, but the coaches and athletic directors agreed that the top 4 teams were so close.  One long-time basketball coach and principal of the Hokkaido team said that if any 2 teams played 10 games, they would likely win 5 each.
The final ranking was:
1.  NIS      We lost to NIS by 4 points  26-22, which is less points than over 10 points that KIU lost to NIS in the final.  We found out that this is the first basketball tournament, boys or girls, that Nagoya has won in its 50 its years.
2. KIU       KIU beat NIS by one point in overtime, but then the next game they lost to NIS by over 10.  During the season, we beat KIU 2 out of 3 times.  We didn't have a chance to play them in the tournament.
3.  Hokkaido   The first day, we beat Hokkaido 37-31, then today, they beat us, 34-31
4. KCS        
So, we can say that the teams have a mutual respect for one another and we had a good memorable time.  Also, Coach M took the opportunities given through the tournament by giving the players good, spiritual input not only applicable to the game, but also to life.  Thanks Coach and to all of you who helped and encouraged them along the way.

THANK YOU, Mr. H! For countless emails, phone calls and attention to details that set up the season's schedule, ensuring gyms were reserved, drivers arranged, and no student was left behind! 


Thursday, January 26, 2012

snapshots of life

Things have been foggy.

Sometimes the weather mirrors life.  
Today a friend  sent an email saying . . .
"I read a book recently, Kisses from Katie by Katie Davis; she said that she'd always heard growing up that God will never give you more than you can handle.  She vehemently disagreed with that statement.  Her view was that God absolutely gives us more than what we can handle, because it's in that place that His power is evident.  I think she has a good point."
Today I listened to a sermon called The Beaty of Weakness by Matt Moore based on:  
2 Corinthians 12:7-9 (the message)
I was given the gift of a handicap to keep me in constant touch with my limitations. Satan's angel did his best to get me down; what he in fact did was push me to my knees. No danger then of walking around high and mighty! At first I didn't think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. Three times I did that, and then he told me, 
   My grace is enough; it's all you need.    My strength comes into its own in your weakness.
Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ's strength moving in on my weakness. 

Life has been intense lately.
 I have been out of my comfort zone, ministering in areas I'm not trained. 
Needing to take risks. Stretching my faith muscles. Honing my spiritual warfare skills.
 Leaning into God as He holds me and others around me in uncertain situations.  
God's strength moved in on my weakness. 
Beauty is coming out as situation after situation are
 allowing the fog to lift our eyes up to the hills where our help comes from. 

Besides a deepening of friendships and an awareness of the band of brothers and sisters around us
There have been multiple gifts during this intense time.

  • Three new students joined the high school worship team.

  • Some of the best bread made in a bread machine. Found here.  And realizing there was a "hurry up" button on the machine making it in under 2 hours! 

  • Snowflakes outside the window to match the ones inside, energizing a classroom of students.

  • Sunshine despite the snow. (No snow stuck to the ground.)
  • 8 mailboxes in my classroom - Added a new 2nd grade boy to the class this week.
  • Piles of "Finished work" corrected by a skilled teacher's aid.
  • Encouraging  drama/ musical auditions setting the tone for the season
  • teaching a lesson on the 10 commandments and having students apply the lesson, that very afternoon. "I'm so sad, because you are making God so sad. You lied. That's rule number 9. It says so right here in the Bible. We studied that this morning. You hurt God's heart and that makes me so sad."  - 2nd grader 

  • Driving the "bus" last weekend and seeing the b-ball team's decisive wins.
  • Filled with hope as the boys basketball team loads the "bus" for the Small School Basketball Tourney in Nagoya this weekend. 

Monday, January 16, 2012


Over the last year I’ve seen so much hope for the spread of the gospel in ministries and outreach in Japan. At the same time Satan is also actively working to spread lies and destroy ministries and relationships. I’m walking alongside a friend right now who is experiencing great pain in a family crises. Please pray for my friend to have the wisdom to know what is right and the courage for her to do what is right even when it is difficult. Pray that God would give those around her the wisdom and grace to minister to her and her family.

As I exercise my faith and hone my spiritual warfare skills, I’m learning more about the importance of a true band of brothers and sisters, the strength of community and the power of prayer. Your prayers are essential to the growth of the gospel in Japan. I am blessed to have so many faithful ministry partners supporting me and this ministry in Japan. 

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Race Results

Opening Ceremony-

Where various sponsors said "Ganbatte" (Good Luck/Press On).
Temps were -3C/26F at the start - yet some still chose to run in tank tops and shorts! YIKES!

^Starting Line - Here the Elementary students were ready for the 2k Run. 
Lots of baseball teams represented. 
3 KCS students ran - 1 in 4th grade ran 2k (time: 10:14), another in 7th for 5K(time: 28:12) and the 12th grader who got 4th place for the men's 5K (time: 19:28).
I have some great photos of the guys but won't be posting them here to protect their privacy.

A friend took photos while I ran - here is lap 1 - still smiling.

Coming in to the finish - time 29:14 (YEAH for meeting goals!)

Here's my friend Mercy - who also ran the 5K. 
(She is AMAZING - She had 2 hours of sleep and had flown into the country the night before!!)

Besides hanging out with the students, and admiring the Albert Einstein mosaic at the site
 (in photo reflected off the building), 
 I enjoyed watching the "ekiden". Its a long distance relay race.  Today's ekiden had 5 team members running 2K each for a total of 10k for each team.  Elementary through high school teams participated in it.  So fun to watch! Instead of the baton used in short track relays the ekiden uses a sash that runners wear and hand off. 

Japan has a New Year's tradition of having the Collegiate  Hakone Ekiden run over 2 days and televised over New Year's holidays.  It's like the SuperBowl of Japan in terms of TV viewers and popularity.  Each team has 10 runners covering a total of 219km. 
Ekidens are a great example of Japanese perservernce, as well as group identity and teamwork.

As a reward for participating today all runners got a towel that had the name of the race on it. 

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Running the Race

Tomorrow morning I'm going to be participating in a 5k race, the 生駒ふれあい市民マラソン, (Ikoma fureai city marathon).  3 students from KCS will also be running, a 4th grader in the 2k, and 7th and 12 grader in the Men's 5k.  I'm excited to share this experience with them.

 I've been jogging regularly since the summer and signed up for a race to keep some motivation in my training schedule.  However, I'm having mixed feelings about the race now that its here.  I was in track in high school but ran only sprints and hurdles, (unless you count the MPLS  Turkey Day (5K) about 10 years ago), this long distance thing is new to me. Not even sure what a good time for a 5k is! I ran the race course on Friday thought about pacing and I was feeling GREAT! Today I've been sneezing all day and have a head cold so I'm not sure what to expect.

BUT before I run I want to set some goals.

1. Finish the race.
2. Attack the hills. (There is a nasty up hill climb for the last km!)
3. If I get under 35 minutes I'll be happy, under 32 minutes I'll be thrilled!
I hope to be able to post an update tomorrow to tell the results.

Right now looks like we can be expecting sunshine, light winds with a high around 45F or 7C.

New Year's Eve I got to hear Olympic medalist Jim Ryun* speak at Koza Baptist Church in Okinawa.  With his running background and Christian testimony - it was great motivation for this race. 
 Training in Okinawa with a friend over Christmas break with 65F or 18C degree weather was AWESOME too!

*Jim Ryun grew up in Wichita, Kansas, achieving national acclaim as a High School track and field star. Jim set the male High School Mile Record at 3:55.3 in 1963. He also participated in the 1964, 1968, and 1972 Olympic Games, winning a silver medal in the 1500 meter run in 1968 and held the World Record in the mile, 1500 meters, and 880 yards.