Thursday, November 15, 2012

I Voted

Nov. 6. The United States of America voted for national and local officials.  And in Minnesota we voted on two proposed constitutional amendments.

 In America the  campaigns can last up to two years.  There a lot more phone calls and surveys done here. So much so that many people I know refused to answer their landline phones until after Nov. 6. The time to vote is the first Tuesday of the month of November. Where you vote is determined by where you live.  My assigned location this time happened to be at a local church.  (Last time I voted in person,  in 2004, was in a local school.)  On the news I heard of places with long lines for voters. For me I was tenth in line and was in and out in less than 20 minutes. I used a paper and pen to fill out the 2 sided form.  I also saw my neighbor at the polling place with his 4 year old daughter who was learning about the voting system.   "I Voted" stickers are worn proudly after participating in the process.

I found it interesting that in Japan election campaigns are held 1 month before the election and the place and time to vote is on a Sunday at school.  Campaigns can included posters, loud speaker vans broadcasting messages, candidates with megaphones at train stations, and fliers in your mailbox.

Oh, and in Japan, you don't vote directly for the prime minister - you vote for the representatives and the party with the most representatives appoints the prime minister.  If the Prime Minister resigns the party appoints a new one (without needing a vote from the public.)  Since 2007 there have been 5 Prime Ministers in 5 years!  It was just announced that Prime Minister Noda is dissolving the diet (the legislative assembly), forcing an election Dec. 16.  And now reports (see here and here) are that a new party may gain leadership and Japan will have a new prime minister.



Tuesday, November 13, 2012

I got the Green Light!

Exciting news!
Which starts with a huge THANK YOU!

Thank you, God, for such amazing prayer partners!
Thank you, God, for such generous partners!
Thank you, God, for a meaningful ministry that uses my gifts and talents among the needs of Third Culture Kids in Japan!
Thank you, God, for an encouraging Home Assignment!

Thanks to God's provision, the faithful prayers and generous giving of so many ministry partners I now have received a green light from Converge Worldwide to head back to Japan.  I am excited to report that I am fully supported and can return to Japan as scheduled departing January 2, arriving January 4 in Osaka!

That means - 7 weeks until departure!

How am I keeping busy? 
I'm finishing up my doctor visits: eye exam, physical exam, dental work, and psychological exam. I'm finishing 2 Japanese classes, and saying good-bye to my Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) group.  I'm trying to spend time with as many friends and ministry partners as possible before I leave.  Celebrating birthdays with family members.  And a few last visits with partnering churches.

Coming events:
Nov. 18       Sharing in 2 services at Maple Ridge Church, Maple Grove, MN
Nov. 20-25 Thanksgiving in Kansas with extended family
Dec. 1-2      Sharing during Sunday School at First Baptist Church, Darlington, WI
Dec. 6        Missionary Fellowship with other Converge Worldwide missionaries on home assignment
Dec. 8        Christmas celebration with College MuKappa friends
Dec. 14     Sharing at the Ladies' Christmas Candle Light Supper, North Isanti Baptist Church, MN
Dec. 15     Sharing at Ridgewood Church, Minnetonka, MN
Dec. 19-21   Mystery trip to visit ministry partners
Dec. 23-25  Christmas in Minnesota with family

Packing. Sorting. Cleaning. Happy New Year!
 Good-byes and then Hello's!

Prayer:
1. Praise God for healthcare professionals who speak my language! Pray especially for healing dental work.
2. Thank God for the relationships that have been built and connections made over the last 5 months. Pray for healthy good-byes and precious memories to be made.
3. For the transition ahead - there will be some new responsibilities in the next year. - (Can't wait to share the exciting news!) Pray for the adjustment to new roles.
4. Pray for Kansai Christian School - for the students & families to grow in God's love for them and for the community to embrace the gospel.
5. Pray for more teachers, missionaries, short-term teams - workers to come work in the field of Japan.