Thursday, June 25, 2015

Prayer Update - end of June

Thank you for your faithful prayers. 
  1. Continue to pray for the students. Some students come from non-Christian homes and don't have spiritual support at home. Others are from Christian homes and struggle with making their faith their own. Over the summer pray for Christian mentors to build into their lives and for students to develop a hunger for reading the Bible and living out what they are learning. Pray also for the incoming teachers who will be loving on these students in the next school year that they would connect well from the start. 
  2. Praise God for the energy, wisdom, patience, and joy to navigate the last week of school. 
    • Exams were given, graded, and returned (June 8-9). Report cards done (June10) (*Insert happy dance here!) 
    • Mission meetings were attended (one via Skype) and transfer of KCS responsibilities was completed. 
    • Senior Farewell Dinner (June 9) was a sweet time of remembering the Seniors and their legacy at KCS. 
    • The class party (June10) turned into a student organized surprise farewell party for Ms. Smith & me and was a bitter-sweet time of seeing the students pour out their love, express appreciation for our service at KCS and say good-byes.  
    • All-school cleaning day (June11) went smoothly for 7 & 8 grade. The classroom was cleaned out, as well as the Library, computer lab, school entrance, balcony, 2 kitchens and stairwells! (So many amazingly diligent workers in this group!) (In case you're wondering: our school doesn't have a custodian, so the students help clean the school for 15 minutes daily, and then have 2 big cleaning days throughout the school year.)
    • Spring Program and Graduation (June 12) went successfully and even had live streaming online for family and former teachers around the globe to watch. So blessed to promote the 8th graders to high school. Loved this class! They will hold a special place in my heart for years to come.
  3. My grandmother (age 92) passed away peacefully on Wednesday, June 17. Her funeral was held June 22. Her obituary can be found by clicking hereThank you for praying for my family during this time. I did not go to the States for the funeral but was able to Skype with many of my relatives the day before and after the funeral. I'm so thankful for the way technology connects us despite geographical distance. 
  4. My main tasks for the next month are to assist my roommate in moving into her new apartment, and pack up the mission home where I live in preparation for home assignment. Pray for discernment in knowing how to sort through belongings, discernment on how to best pack/store items, and perseverance to use  the complex garbage/recycling system in Japan.   
  5. Praise God for time to renew relationships. Since school has finished, I've been enjoying the opportunity to go out to lunch/coffee/dinner with friends in town and reconnect with people that I haven't talked to in months around the globe via Skype. 
     Hydrangea in my back yard and rice paddy next door.
    Everything is so green thanks to the rainy season!

    Sunday, June 14, 2015


    On June 3, KCS staff gathered to celebrate Kobayashi Sensei (center of photo).
    Photo taken at the retirement dinner for Kobayashi Sensei. 26 years of incredible, selfless service to KCS. In every conversation I've had with her I've walked away with a new Japanese word learned, and a deeper appreciation of the art of teaching. Thank you, Kobayashi Sensei!

    Here's a photo of Kobayashi Sensei and me in 2009 when she graciously helped the teachers and female students have the experience of trying on silk kimonos. 

    There are 4 teachers not renewing contracts for next year.
    Besides 1 retiring teacher, Ms. Smith (center), Ms. Wimer (right) and I will be saying good-byes at the end of the year and transitioning to other ministry.  It's been such a joy to work with these ladies and to encourage one another along the journey.

    Ms. Wimer (right) has been the 1st and 2nd grade teacher and my classroom neighbor. She is the most positive and energetic person I know.  As Mentor Teacher, I have been meeting with her on a weekly basis to go over educational, behavioral and scheduling related topics.  We shared student stories and laughed at the unique personalities God's allowed us to teach this year. She is transitioning into a position at a preschool.

    Ms. Smith (left) has been my roommate the last two years. She has been the 5-12 grade English teacher, drama director, and led professional development for the staff this year.  She is a compassionate teacher who understands each of her students well and is able to draw the best out of them. As my roommate, I've gotten to know her well and am thankful for the friendship that has formed. She will also be transitioning into a teaching position at a preschool.

    The above photo was taken at the Senior Farewell Dinner. (from earlier photos we changed a few things with the color of yukatas and belts.) Saito Sensei (right) gave us the yukatas (summer kimonos) as a farewell gift and helped dress us. 
    What a special way to remember the time we've had at this school!
    There are many co-workers that are also friends that I will miss working with but can't put all the photos here. I'm thankful for the time that God has allowed us to work together and the joyful experiences He's given us during this time. I'm praying for those who are staying as they minister to the needs of the students and pour out God's love into their lives. 

    Just keeping it real - here's a photo of me at my desk in my classroom the last week of school.  We were in the midst of trying on yukata's and I needed to check something on the computer. The chaos & mess that is captured in this picture: stacks of papers to grade, books to be inventoried, etc. - in addition to the fact that I wasn't aware my roommate took it -speaks a bit to the chaos of transition.

    Sunday, June 7, 2015

    Prayer Update

    Praising God For Answered Prayers & Trusting in His Future Grace

    Thank you for your faithful prayers. As we head into the last week of the school year I'm sending out an update to help you pray more specifically.
    1. Praise God that the All-School Camp-out went well and the students had a great time bonding with one another and learning about God's presence in times of trouble through the story of David and Goliath.
    2. Praise Him for students drawing close to God as the school year comes to an end. As students lead morning devotions - I am in awe at the spiritual growth and boldness they show as they witness before their peers to His enduring love.  Some students come from non-Christian homes and don't have spiritual support at home. Others are from Christian homes and struggle with making their faith their own. Over the summer pray for Christian mentors to build into their lives and for students to develop a hunger for reading the Bible and living out what they are learning.
    3. One more week of school! This week is packed with Final Exams (June 8), Japan Mission Executive Committee meeting (June 8),  turning in grades for report cards (June 9), Senior Farewell Banquet (June 9), class end of year party (June 10), meeting with incoming staff (June 10), cleaning out the classroom (June 11), Spring Program and Graduation (June 12). After 6 years at KCS this week will be filled with good-byes and transitioning of responsibilities.  Please pray for energy, wisdom, patience, and joy to navigate the transitions well. 
    4. My grandmother, who has been in hospice over the last 5 months, has been declining rapidly in health. It seems like her passing is near.  Please pray for peace and comfort for her and special blessings for family members who are with her at this time.  It is hard to be so far a way at this time but I'm thankful for the witness she has been to God's faithfulness and joy throughout her life. 
    5. Praise God that pieces of the home assignment transition puzzle are coming into place.  I have a place to stay (in Minnesota) and a car to use. Next step is buying plane tickets. Thank you for praying for the transition ahead as I relocate to the other side of the globe for 6 months. 
    If you would like to sign-up to receive prayer letters via email please send me a message through the comments of the post. THANK YOU!