Our God, Eager to Save

Posted January 10, 2010

Tomohisa had reached a coveted status in Japan’s vertically-ordered society: medical doctor. Along with the status came wealth, which he used to buy the affection of women…and lots of booze. His selfishness blinded... [Read More]

The Humbled Tsunami

Posted December 2, 2011

When the warning sirens went off, residents in a south Sendai neighborhood fled to the local school. Together with panicked children still in class they climbed to the rooftop. Some 600 altogether... [Read More]

Japanese Get "Bach" Hope

Posted September 21, 2011

Who would have thought Bach would be involved in 21st century mission work in Japan? I have frequently read with interest of the strong connection between classical music (particularly J.S. Bach) and Japanese interest... [Read More]

Tsunami Ground Zero

Posted April 7, 2011

I still haven't returned from tsunami ground zero. That is to say, although I've been back several days already, the reality of the scene is still with me. The incredible amounts of mud in once beautiful homes... [Read More]

"Nice Try, Kevin" File

Posted February 9, 2011

This one goes into the "Nice try, Kevin" file. I just thought it was a nice-looking bunch of flowers in the storefront and, on the spur of the moment, decided Kaori deserved to enjoy them. Chrysanthemums, however, are... [Read More]

The Gulliver Complex

Posted November 9, 2007

I'm a giant again. Well, not really. But it sure feels like it again since returning from the States. The first sign was bumping my head in the shuttle bus from the airport. By habit, I normally duck my head through any... [Read More]

Foreigners Don't Get the Point

Posted January 31, 2010

I'm standing in line at a drugstore with other shoppers. The woman in front of me has just pulled out a business card file. Hurriedly she flips through at least a hundred or more cards searching for the right one. It's a... [Read More]

More Powerful than Bombs

Posted July 5, 2008

Fuchida grew up loving his native Japan and hating the United States, which treated Asian immigrants harshly in the first half of the twentieth century. Fuchida attended a military academy, joined Japan's... [Read More]

Ready?

Posted September 14, 2010

I'd been putting it off. Although I knew it was important, taking inventory of our earthquake and disaster gear just wasn't getting done. Japan rests along the "ring of fire" in the Pacific ocean, a stretch of area that is... [Read More]

150 Years Later

Posted March 17, 2009

This spring marks the 150th anniversary of Protestant Christianity in Japan. The first protestant missionaries set foot in the port of Yokohama back in 1859. Now they were real church planters -- overcoming all... [Read More]

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I for Japan. Japan for the World. The World for Christ. And All for the Glory of God.

— Kanzo Uchimura, Japanese Evangelist

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Rambling Notes from Japan

Here are some blog posts that we hope will make you feel a part of things, and help you understand how to pray better for us and Japan. Please see our external blog in Blogger, if this page does not display correctly.

Back "Home" Again

We've arrived back in Indiana safe and sound for a couple weeks of needed break from ministry in Japan. Kaori was able to get a stamp in her visa that maintains her permanent residence in the States. We also learned that missionaries may be exempt from needing to return every two years to make this happen. Hmmm. We'll have to research that one a little more. No matter, we are grateful for the time to be in the States together with family and supporters, and all things very familiar, yet strangely different.

It is that last point that bears emphasizing. After two years away from the States, we expect things to be different upon our return. But along with that feeling is a general sense of disconnect with things that is hard to pinpoint exactly. There is the sense of being a foreigner to your own culture that always manages to sneak up and surprise me when we return home after a period of time like this. Slight reverse culture shock is part of that, but there is more. Slowly my point of reference and identification has drifted away from the North American axis, to points east...far east. It's only upon coming back and scraping against my own home culture again that I come to realize how lengths of time in Japan have changed me.

Well, enough with the introspection for now. There are many things to do during our three week stay. Justen is going back to Lansing Christian for a week to reconnect with his school pals. Kaori and I are speaking in four different churches, and connecting with many more people. Phone calls and personal matters. Shopping and family. It all takes a bit of time. But we relish this great fall weather to experience it all in. More later.


Seeing only Half the Show

This evening the three of us went to see the fireworks along the Tamagawa river near our home. What is remarkable about a Japanese firework show is the sheer size and intensity of the fireworks. They are so much larger (and lower) and greater in frequency than any Stateside version I have seen.

I found a restaurant in our neighborhood that actually serves what they call "American" hotdogs. It does indeed look like an American hotdog. The bun is a plain white one. And the dog is short, thick and juicy (not the long, skinny Japanese kind.). It even comes with packs of Heinz ketchup and mustard, unlike the Japanese mustard that is some hot Chinese dristan type that clears your sinuses.

The crowd along the river was estimated to be in the hundred thousands, so we distanced ourselves by watching from a park a half kilometer away. Lawnchairs, hotdogs and chips in tow, we watched the show. Felt just like the Fourth of July, but this was August in Japan to be sure.

This year both Kawasaki and Setagaya had their fireworks shows simultaneously along the river as part of a combined coordinated show. Unfortunately it was impossible from our viewing angle to see both parts of the show at the same time. One was immediately in front of us, the other directly behind and to our right. The couple of hundred of others in the park had the same difficulty. Some and oohhed and aaahhhed at the fantastic display in front of them, only to miss the fireworks going off behind them. Some tried flipping their attention both ways and probably went home with a very sore neck. There was no way to see the whole show at once.

This reminded me of how limited our perspective can be as humans when it comes to God's Firework Show: his fantastic work in multiple places all at once. In fact, he is at work in billions of lives at the same time around the globe, yet our focus so often is only on the one life here, or there, that we seem His hand at work, and even that is a limited perspective. How limitlessly more fantastic the show would be for us if we had a broader perspective. If, for even one moment, God were to give us a birdseye view of all He is doing, I know we would certainly join the angels in saying "Holy holy holy!" He is powerfully at work in so many places. Being a missionary has opened my eyes to just a bit of this reality.


A Thorny Refuge

Our theme verse for 2007 is Nahum 1:7. "The LORD is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him" This photo of two birdies in a nest in the cactus plant amazes me. What a place to build a nest, mom! Among thorns? How painful! Yet rather than complaining, they simply trust their mother and wait and watch patiently for her return.

Yet how often God does the same for us. Though he may not spare us from the pain. He builds a place of safety and refuge in the middle of it all. A place we can find refuge and peace. We trust him. He cares for us. It seems too childish. Too simple. Yet God makes that promise to us through his prophet Nahum. While trusting, we wait and watch for Christ's return. That will be joy!


The Launch

Communication has changed. YouTube. Gmail. Blogger. SMS Messaging. Skype. Podcasts. For good or for bad, the speed of communication has certainly changed. The missionary letter is so yesterday. But why change now when it's worked so well for so, so long?

Why indeed? Why change to fit culture? And so for some time I've debated whether to create this blog. It seems a bit self-focused. It definitely is pop culture. But in my mind's eye I see a future missionary. He is no longer swayed by the old ways of communication. He is connected. He wants the personal touch, not the distant missionary in faraway lands. He wants to know and explore and sense his world in ways the old communication methods just can't satisfy any more.

I want people like this to understand our challenges, know that we are real people, and be challenged to pray, give, come or educate others about missions. And so we want to redeem this technology for just those purposes.

So here it is! The first post of our blog. We'll be writing and updating things here regularly, adding bits of culture, ministry, family life, and prayer needs. So check back frequently!


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4-14-24-1 Futago, Takatsu; Kawasaki,
Kanagawa JAPAN 213-0002
Tel 044-833-8791
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We serve with WorldVenture, an evangelical faith mission. Our sending/home church is Cornerstone Church of Lansing, Illinois.
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