Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Introducing: My man

Speaking of "unexpected gifts", meet this past year's most unexpected. It's about time I introduce my people to my boyfriend, vital part of my ministry, cheerleader, challenger, and precisely... my cup of tea. He really has no clue how great he is, which is another wonderful quality.

Brent Dickinson is a math teacher at Tuttle Middle School in Crawfordsville, In. I have come to believe that his patience with me is in part, due to the fact that he deals with 13 year olds all day. He likes to grow things, make things, fix things and in general.. help people.

I have learned so much from him and through this relationship. I can honestly say that my walk with God has expanded and grown closer, through the process of getting to know Brent. I have come to realize the goodness of God in a fuller way. I have been both humbled and lifted up time and time again.

I have a lot more to learn. It's not easy... but " For I am confident in this very thing, that he who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus."
Phil 1: 6
Pray for us.
(Brent knows and approves of this post)

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Art of Japan

Anyone who has ever been to Japan knows their lovely way of presenting food. Raw fish looks so appetizing and down right gorgeous presented against lovely cucumber and carrot forests. Or take the above example, of stuffed oysters with some kind of cheesy breadcrumb topping... yummy. This little cafe' was next to the sea wall. The waves were cresting and crashing against the wall in dramatic fashion showing off our Creator's immense power!

Three other lovely ladies and myself enjoyed Japanese pampering to the fullest at Cocok's Nail Cafe'. They do an "all out" pedicure complete with massage, and nail art with tiny little paint brushes. Amazing!
So many kinds of toes! Guess which ones are mine!!?

I leave for Indiana tomorrow afternoon. This trip has been extremely rewarding in so many different ways.
1. I have been able to experience different facets of Japanese culture including:
a. food and art (sashimi, tea, Soba noodle soup, Okinawan Sanshin, cute little pottery dishes, amazing service... etc etc. etc.
b. hospitality (the people here in Okinawa are very friendly and smile and nod/bow in greeting, and the service is always above and beyond).
c. Religion: Shinto is a religion of fear and endless hopelessness. Buddhism has a similar hold.
d. Believers here: Joyful and full of hope, very friendly. They absolutely love children.
e. Living in the city: everything here is very compact, brightly colored and green. they have a garden for every inch of dirt they posses in their tiny yards.
f. health: the sick and the old go about the city wearing a mask across their nose and mouth. It is a sight to see. I wonder if it really works? They even hand them out in airplanes along with an eye mask and slippers for comfort. It's great!
g. It is so beautiful here and such a treat to be among bogonvia, palm trees, and banana plants. It reminds me of the Philippines.
2. I have been able to help out my friends the Lees:
A. give them peace before returning to the U.S. by helping with the kids, washing dishes, making dinner, packing boxes, giving Becky and chance to shower... etc.
B. Being a friend and someone to talk to and bounce things off of.
3. Sharing my ministry with Yomitan International Church:
A. The pastor and his wife were very encouraging to me in these words: "We used to have a good int'l student ministry here, but it died off. We think God sent you here to stir some hearts to start one up again on the three main campuses here in Okinawa. If that was what I did by sharing, I will be thrilled beyond belief! It will be all worth it... every mile, every word, every bit of time on the airplane. In the end the pastor asked for my prayer card and information and gave me a book and gift.
B. I was encouraged by several members of the congregation including my interpreter, a native Okinawan. She told me she was an int'l student in Canada, learning English. Her host family were believers and they led her to the Lord! It was so exciting to here her first hand experience.

I praise the Lord for his perfect timing in bringing me here to help my friends before they leave. I praise him for allowing me to share His heart for the lost with the local church.
I praise him for the beauty that I was able to drink in... in January (i might add)
I praise him for my wonderful friends, Becky and David Lee.
I praise him for what he will do on His island of Okinawa. Let everything that has breath, praise the Lord.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Ancient Culture

I am attempting to play a traditional Okinawan instrument called a Sanshin, (it means "three strings"). It has this fun, "banjo twang" to it. I never thought I would be exposed to so much authentic Okinawa, but here's some proof. Songs in the Okinawan language are sung while playing the Sanshin.
A Shinto Tomb, a more modern version actually. The traditional version is round and built in the side of a hill. There are days when people come and bring food and water to the tomb to honor their dead ancestors. Quite a sad ritual, w/o any hope. Jesus, bring these people hope!

Castle ruins atop a rather large hill. this door opened to the outer court. So beautiful and ancient. I love the fact that these stones have stood the test of time, wars, typhoons etc. What a great place to go and soak up the history of the Okinawan people. Pray for the Japanese. So few of them know who Jesus is. These are beautiful people with a long history. They value honor above all else. They need to understand Who the only truly perfectly Honorable One is.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Garlic, Animals and Pineapple Park good for the health.

If you can read along, you will notice some interesting phrases in these pictures. For some reason I get a kick out of poor English signs in other cultures. I appreciate them, and it wouldn't be a cultural experience w/o them.

I had the privilege in the past two days to experience Japanese culture at it's finest. Tonight we went to the Garlic House (Arin Krin). Notice the amazing pictures and phrases outside the building.
Last night we went to Den Den. I traditional Japanese restaurant complete with triangular unique dishes, beautiful Sashimi presentations, and low wooden tables with benches on either side. I should have brought my camera, but I forgot

The sign with the bird's behind it is just a sample of the fun times to be had at the NEO animal park. They had some pretty amazing birds including flamingos, pelicans, peacocks, and others I didn't recognize. I'm not sure what "it" is but it doesn't have a sure footing either way:)

The pineapple park was fun and tasty. I got to try multiple pineapple products including wine, juice, chocolate, cakes, cookies, the fruit itself, pickle, pie..etc. They also had a beautiful shell collection from beaches around the island. So many things about this place remind me of my childhood in the Philippines. I love the local tourist locations because they are not "Americanized" yet. Tomorrow promises more sight seeing and speaking with the pastor about my ministry and praying he will let me talk to the congregation. We'll see. Happy sweet day!

Monday, January 4, 2010


To have faith like a child. What pure and simple joy that would be. To find hope in the touch of a hand that's larger then your own, what strength. To walk down the street, trying madly to keep up with Pop's long stride, supremely confident that he won't mind, your hopping to keep up.

To have faith like a child, what madness, what folly, to have any other kind of trust. Because adults have too much fear built up. Too many disappointments, to much independence ingrained. Hold out your small hand and let Him take it. Life will suddenly seem much simpler then before.

These smiling giggling faces are and should be an inspiration of simple joy, pleasure, and hope. Their names are Alexis and Erik Lee and they are the children of my hosts in Okinawa, David and Rebekah Lee. I didn't know what all I would learn from my trip to Japan, and I still am unsure, however I know that I need to slow down, trust, appreciate the little things, and hold my heavenly father's capable hands.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Happy New 2010!

It's a great way to start out the new year... in a different country then your own, so I picked Okinawa, Japan. Did you know the main island is shaped like a sword? Maybe that's why there are 15 different military bases here. It is also about 1000 mi from main land Japan so it's warm here and things are blooming and growing even in January. Our neighbors have a papaya tree in their yard.. I love it.

It is the rainy season
so it rains most days but not all day and it smells so fresh here!
I was able to go to church with the Lees this morning. The service was in English with a Japanese interpreter. During the service the pastor asked us to turn to someone near you and pray with them they may be lights and witnesses for Jesus to their friends and family. The only people around me were Okinawan and didn't speak English... and we know my Japanese is not up to par. So I prayed... in English. Some how it just didn't matter. They didn't say anything but I have a feeling that the language barrier was temporarily broken down by three human beings communicating to our creator, our mutual father.

I am still trying to get over jet lag. It's been good so far but it may take a few more days. It's been fun to build my relationship with my friends and their two cute little kids. I am hoping to put up pictures soon. There is a bed in store for me... I am thankful.