Monday, December 31, 2012

Fix Your Eyes

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

I've enjoyed celebrating the holidays in the states without the use of skype. So many little spontaneous moments with family and friends to treasure.  But I find no matter where I am, I'm homesick for the other place.  After 5 Christmas holidays in Japan I found myself missing some of those traditions, too. Such is the paradox of working cross-culturally.

Now I am finishing up my last good-byes with friends in Minnesota and focusing on packing preparations to return to Japan Jan. 2. (2 more days!)   The good-byes are emotionally exhausting but I'm anticipating, with joy, the reunions in Japan with friends, coworkers, students, neighbors and brothers & sisters in Christ.  And looking forward to the activities and adventures in this new year.

Home assignment has been a refreshing time for me. Lots of time to dig into the Word and reflect on how God has been at work over the last few years of my life - even if I couldn't see it clearly at the time. How often we fix our eyes on what is seen and we miss the opportunity to see the unseen, eternal work that God is doing amongst us.

Today when I visited the Coffee girl confessions blog sponsored by "Women of the Harvest"  I found one of my photos as the Picture praise photo of the week!  Check it out here.  WOTH is a ministry of support and encouragement for women serving cross-culturally. WOTH has a list of blogs of women serving cross-culturally so if you find yourself with some free time over the holidays - I encourage you to travel the world by reading a few from the blog list.  As for me, I'm going to get back to sorting, packing and cleaning.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Taking on a new role

I have some news to share!  After 3 years in 1st and 2nd grade the school board has allowed me permission to "skip" a few grades and move into middle school.  

This fall the principal at KCS and his wife, the middle school teacher at KCS, announced they have accepted a position in South Africa to help start up the high school phase of Batho Pele Christian School which will begin in January 2014. The Batho Pele Christian School currently enrolls 286 students from Grades 1-6. The kids come mostly out of very poor areas and quite a number is AIDS orphans. This is the only Christian School in that area, about 35 km north of the capital city of Pretoria.

The Greeff's are amazing teachers, mentors and have the gift of administration and motivation that will be necessary for moving into that task. While I can see how God's hand has prepared them for this task it will be difficult to say good-bye to these dear colleagues and friends. Bittersweet! 

Their leaving opens different needs at KCS.  I was asked if to consider how I wanted to be involved at school when I return and have decided to accept the position of middle school teacher starting in September.  I will be teaching various subjects in grades 5-8 including Math, Bible, Social Studies and Reading.  I'm excited for the challenge of the upper grade levels and thrilled to see some of my former 1st and 2nd graders returning to my classroom as middle school students. 

Looking for a few good teachers

Kansai Christian School where I teach in Japan has some teaching opportunities for the 2013-14 school year, starting in September.  

  • Elementary teacher for grades 1 and 2  
  • Principal with high school teaching responsibilities in one or more of the following fields: math, science or social studies. 
If you are interested in applying for one of these positions please go to the KCS website and find more information under "employment".  The applications can be found on this webpage. 

If you have questions about the positions you can contact the school at:

If you, are a church partner reading this post - please spread the word in your community about the need for teachers to make a difference in the lives of students overseas.  Feel free to post a comment to me if you have further questions.

Please pray that God would prompt qualified Christian teachers to apply for these positions.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Wrapping it up

Blogging without photos is like baking without spices.  Just not the same without the flavors.

This weekend I visited 2 of my supporting churches. On Friday, I traveled to North Isanti Baptist Church in Cambridge, MN, to share at the Ladies' Christmas Candlelight dinner.  On Sunday, I shared at Ridgewood Church in Minnetonka, MN.   I enjoyed conversations with so many!  Today, I received an encouraging email that said. . .

I wanted to tell you that I really enjoyed your presentation. You were funny and informative and inspiring all at the same time.  Nice job!

They were the last two churches on my schedule. So as I'm in the process of wrapping Christmas gifts for friends and family I'm wrapping up my church visits. I'm so thankful for the chance to have visited 17 of my 27 churches in the 27 weeks I've been in the states. It often meant traveling to a new church or missions conference each weekend stretching me to meet new people and step out of my comfort zone. But it was also an encouragement to learn of the prayer warriors out there, to share ministry stories and to encourage others to join us in expanding God's Kingdom. I'm thankful for the amount of time the churches gave me also.  Many offered the chance to lead Sunday school and others offered the sermon time for me to share about ministry in Japan. I also had a sweet time with the children's ministries on Wednesday nights!  I'm looking forward to visiting the remaining churches next time I'm in the states, potentially summer of 2015.

I'm so very thankful to have had beautiful weather for traveling during this last 6 months and especially this winter in Minnesota.  There were no flat tires, car problems or flight delays due to weather. The one Sunday in Minnesota that we had 11 inches of snow fall I did not have a church scheduled and was able to stay off the streets - enjoying the beauty of God's creation from the warmth of my living room.

With 16 days left in the states - now my focus has changed from visiting ministry partners, to Christmas celebrations, good-byes and packing. Thankfully my Christmas shopping is completed!  It'll be my first Christmas with family in the states in 5 years.  I'm looking forward to making memories! I'll be traveling by plane this week to visit some friends and would appreciate prayers for safe travels and joyful reunions. 

 Simultaneously, I'm thinking about my return to Japan, going to "my other home". I'm anticipating happy reunions with friends and students. Excited to visit the new Keihana Baptist Church building and  be reunited with church friends. I'm looking forward to the new challenges that 2013 will bring and the blessings that God has in store for me.