Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Visiting Ministry Partners Begins

In September I began visiting ministry partners. 
My first stop was my sending church, where I shared a brief update and got to "travel to Japan" with the children in their World Traveler series. We had fun exploring different cultural centers, trying on Japanese clothes, playing games, using chopsticks, discoving origami, and learning some Japanese language. 

Here are some photos from Bethany Baptist Church, Roseville, MN

Pastor Kevin and the worship team

While the children were occupied with activities
 the adults decided to join into the fun, too! 
Jane, trying on some Japanese items

Martin and Dick attempting origami making a folded paper cup.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Sinking Deep

One of the joys and challenges of returning to USA after a time in Japan is returning to American churches.  Adjusting to the size, the format, the language, the people, the programs, and the music.  Last Sunday I attended 2 different churches connecting with friends along the way.

At the end of the day I realized every one of the worship songs that were sung in both churches were new to me. Sometimes its hard to join in when music is unfamiliar but I found it wonderful to worship in English. Perhaps because I was able to sing the words and know the meaning without having to translate in my head it sunk in deep to my heart.

Here is one of the songs, by Hillsong Young and Free that I have continued to play on repeat all week. Give it a listen.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

airport - hellos

Arrival at the Minneapolis St. Paul Airport

Aug. 18

Ellison/Harms group

Here is the Ellison Family reunited - 
Tom, Peter, Grace, Kristi, Mary Lou, and Philip
The first sign reads, "Welcome Home, Mom, Dad, and Lori"

The second sign says, "Happy Retirement Mom and Dad" 
on the back of the retirement sign it said, "NOT YOU LORI"

Here is my family -
 my parents, nieces and nephew
 with their colorful signs that said, 
"Welcome Back!" 

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

airport - good-byes

Aug. 17-18.

After all the packing and sorting, and visits to the city office and cell phone company we moved out of the Ellison's house and spent our last night in country with others. I stayed at the neighbor's home and enjoyed a delightful evening with them.

 I had met the family a few years ago and in the last week their 6 year old son (Yuwa) and 13 year old daughter (Chisaki)  had been at the Ellison's house helping with the move. Chisaki has been attending church with the Ellison's and is growing in her faith. We're praying for the whole family to grasp His love. 

When I stayed with them Yuwa-kun was super friendly and took it on as his job to keep me entertained for the evening - teaching me how to thumb wrestle, arm wrestle, play board games, and feed his pet beetles.  (photo by Chisaki)

Tuesday was a fairly quiet morning. After reading some Pokemon books with Yuwa, Chisaki went to Volleyball club and Yuwa to preschool.  Since packing was finished I enjoyed some relaxed time writing postcards before we left for the airport.

At the airport there were almost 50 people (and one poodle) who had showed-up to say final good-byes to the Ellisons. Mission co-workers, church leaders, church members where Tom & Mary Lou had ministered, and neighbors. We had lunch together, had a time of prayer and singing and a group photo, then friends lined up to say their  good-byes.

After getting through the initial security check at Narita Airport there was a glass overlook where the group of friends waved good-bye. 

After all the good-byes, and packing we were a bit tired when we entered the plane. But praising God for all the little and big evidences of His grace along the way and the many different packing angels that helped bring us to this point.  

It was such a blessing to have been able to be with the Ellisons during their last 2 1/2 weeks in Japan. I've learned so much of God's love through their lives, their family, and their ministry. Thank you Tom and Mary Lou, for letting me join you in this part of your journey and enveloping me into your family!