Sunday, April 26, 2015

Recommended reading

As I look online for resources to help navigate life overseas I've found some gems that I go back to on a regular basis. Can't keep them a secret any longer . . .

Velvet Ashes
encouragement for women serving overseas

I'm participating in their book club and HIGHLY recommend this book for other missionaries, sending organizations, and ministry partners.
Expectations and Burnout: Women Surviving the Great Commission by Sue Eenigenburg and Robynn Bliss 

A Life Overseas: the mission conversation
by group of writers living around the globe

Ecipleship for People on Mission
by Ivan Velhuizen (Converge Worldwide missions leader)

Rocky Reentry
the realities of life after living cross-culturally
Great food for thought as I prepare for home assignment.

For teacher resources
 I'm following  a middle school teacher :
Sue Acuna's blog
I found out about her through a book that she co-authored with Cynthia Tobias called, 
"Middle School the Inside Story : What Kids tell us but won't tell you"

Another source of encouragement is: Angela Watson's
The Cornerstone
"Practical ideas that make teaching more effective, efficient and enjoyable"

What recommendations do you have for me to read?

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Update for the Prayer Update

  • Praise God for a fabulous 2 weeks in Minnesota at Christmas for the holidays, and my twin sister, Lisa’s wedding.  
Update: Even the memories of the trip are AWESOME! 
  • Lisa, and I own a house together in St. Paul. We recently put it on the market for sale the 28 of January. Please pray it would sell quickly and at a good price to someone who will be a great neighbor to those who have been great neighbors to us.  UPDATE: On Feb. 7, (our birthday)  an offer was made on the house, pending inspection and other details going smoothly - closing could be March 17! 
Update for the update: The house is sold! Closing is done! Yippee! 
The sign makes it official!

  • My 82 year old Grandma, in Minnesota, has recently been placed in hospice care and her health is slowly declining.  Pray for peace for the family and comfort for her in her last days.  
Update: She maintaining her current health status, enjoying the therapy dogs which come to visit regularly. It's also been reported that she enjoyed her first Dairy Queen butterscotch dilly bar of the season. Yum!
My mom & Grandma 

  • I have decided not to renew my contract with Kansai Christian School for next year. After considering past experiences, current circumstances, and future hopes I feel God is leading me to step away from the school.  I will continue to teach at KCS until the end of the school year. I am in communication with other Converge missionaries regarding future ministry assignments in Japan.  Thank you for praying with me as I seek to finish well at KCS and honor Him as I share the decision with other staff members, students, friends & ministry partners. Pray that I would continue to seek HIS face in all of this, have the wisdom to discern his plan and have the courage to follow where he leads.  
Update: As I've expressed my decision to transition into a new ministry it has brought the paradoxical realization of how blessed I've been to work with these students and staff and also confirmed that this is the right time to step away. Thank you for your prayers for endurance, wisdom and joy in the last 7 weeks of the school year. One student moved to a new school in April and a new student (from Argentina) has joined our class. Pray for the students to have and be good friends and for overall cooperative spirits to make the last quarter the best quarter yet!

l. to r. Lori, John & Eliane Mehn, Ian Smith, MaryLou & Tom Ellison
Japan Field Council was held March 24-26 northwest of Tokyo. There, as a team, we talked, prayed and made many big decisions. My future ministry plan was discussed, which has led to more explorations of some exciting opportunities. It is such a blessing to work with this group and have them supporting me through this ministry transition. (We also ate a lot of delicious food!) 

Tom & MaryLou at Happy Pension (location of field council)
Kindred Spirits

We also celebrated the Ellison's 30 years of ministry in Japan.  Retirement parties are another paradox - wanting to keep in Japan these dear friends who have become family to me, and yet excited to see how God writes this next chapter in their story. Pray with me as they begin the transition into this next chapter.

Sunday, April 12, 2015


 my head is filled with words and
 they flow onto the page faster than I can write them.

 my job is filled with words:
       nice ones,
    funny ones,
           sideways ones,
                  regrettable ones,
    encouraging ones.

 my schoolwork is filled with words:
       learning words.

 my to do list is filled with words:
             next week,

 my ministry updates are filled with words:
          prayer requests.

  I have no words.

Perhaps, as some of my students say, "I can't talk. I've used up all my words for the day."

Until my writing voice returns, here are some words in photo form.

 Cherry Blossoms . . .