Monday, September 12, 2011

Watashi wa Susie desu :)

The day I left CA... July 1, 2011
That means..  I am Susie.

Before I left many people felt the Spirit gave "Identity" in various ways to speak into my life. It is something that  I always believed was no problem for me... until... in my 28th year of life I lost a brother.  I changed, some good and some bad, and lost some years not knowing who I was. As hard as that is to admit, I need to confess that it is true. I spent time in denial trying to convince myself that I was who I was before. Every time  I taught interpersonal communications I encouraged students to do self reflection often to keep the self concept realistic and healthy...though  I learned that in denial you can fool yourself pretty easily.

Since God was clearly telling me to take a real look at myself I decided it must be time... and a good idea. So, here I am in another land, just barely learning the language, living on my own, working more hours a week then I ever have before, wearing clothes that don't feel like me, without anyone who truly knows me, unable to read labels and signs, and just sometimes feeling like a 12 year old.. thinking I am grown up but knowing  I need help, even to read a menu (thank the Lord for pictures!). On top of that my first month I was without a computer and my second was a spiritually heavy time in Japan.

Kamakura, Tokyo with Kathy & friends
Now I am in my third month...  I have had to lean on God and, being that He knows me most, ask Him to help me see who I am.  I am now taking a Japanese conversation class once a week (no $$ or time for more right now). I have gone 2 weeks and can count to 10 and introduce myself.. and a few others things. This language is less direct and the same sounds get repeated often, so please pray  I can memorize and use it correctly ;). I am slowly listening to God and doing some self exploration into who i am. When I look I feel wretched sometimes, and not so bad others. When I ask God  I feel special, worthwhile, loved, gifted, strong,  wise, that  I have a purpose, beautiful, and liked. I am trying to ask God every day to remind me so that where I lack I can grow into who  I am, who God created me to be!!
Kathy & I with Hachi
(hachi is 6 in Japanese)

I want to encourage you to do some self reflection... are you who you think you are? are you who you want to be? are you moving or static?

And please let God be a part of the process because He created us and knows us more deeply then we could ever know ourselves... and even so, He loves us more deeply than we can understand, and the biggest shocker to me is... He likes us and desires us to get to know Him... He wants YOU around!!!

So, who am i? i am a daughter of the everlasting King! i am a Princess! i am a saint! i am an ambassador for the Kingdom of God! i am a mighty warrior! i am loved & liked! i am God's creation! i am who God created me to be! i am Susie!

Science Museum.. my 2nd day in Nagoya, Japan
Enjoying a bath house with my sister at the base of Mt Fuji.

Who are you????

Thanks for Reading! Please pray for me... that  I remember who I am, get on a better schedule, and learn the language well. Thanks

Sunday, July 31, 2011

One Month Down

Tomorrow marks one month since the day I got on a plane to move to Japan. I am moved in to my apartment and am full swing into my 40 hr/week schedule. I am anxious to start learning Japanese and dive more into the culture. It feels like I have been here for longer, which is bringing on feelings of being behind... like there is this invisible schedule of what I need to have done by now...

Anyway, there is a holiday coming up here in Japan call Obon... people believe it is the time when relatives who have passed on come to visit so many go to be with family and pray for their ansesters. Because of this I get a week off work (as do most people in Japan). During this time I will be blessed to see my living sister! Kathy is traveling right now and come Aug. 8th we will travel some of Japan together for a week. I am very excited! Please pray for us as we navigate new places with no Japanese to speak.. and pray for Japan as they pray for those passed on... pray the Holy Spirit will meet the people here and speak to them with love and hope.

I have been having computer trouble and so staying connected to my family & friends has been hard since I have been here. Tomorrow, August 1st would have been my dad's birthday. I am struggling a bit emotionally and have wanted to talk to family more... though at the same time I am calling out to God more and trying to learn how to better deal with my emotions. I am being stretched in new ways and though some of it is uncomfortable I welcome it so that I may become more of who I am!

Today was the third Sunday I was able to go to church. I found a great church of about 40-50 people that is in English and Japanese... so I can't speak Japanese yet but I can sing praises to God in Japanese already, which is way cool! The church is called Grace City and it is a church plant from Australia. The lead pastor is from England and the congregation is a mix of English speakers from different countries and native Japanese folks. The church is passionate about the Lord and about Japan. It is so wonderful to find others here like minded that want the same thing... to see the nation of Japan (and the world) experiencing the fullness of the Kingdom of God! My desire is to bring HOPE and FREEDOM to all I meet.

I would love to post some pics but my camera seems to eat batteries in less than 10 minutes, which makes it a challenge to take pictures at all. I am slowly making friends, enjoying my students (of all ages), blessed to have found a church so quickly, can't wait to dive in more deeply.

Please pray for me:
-For my emotional and Spiritual states.. that I will lean on God more and mature in dealing with my emotions, especially grief.
-For a new computer, gym membership, etc.. that I will be a good steward with what I have a make wise decision of when & what to buy or join.
-For friendships to develop more quickly and for fellowship
-For health for me and my school... this is a time when many kids get sick.
-For the language, that I will find the right class to join and catch on quickly.

Thank you so much for caring about me. Thank you for your prayers. Please let me know if you'd like prayer as well. take care and please dive into the spring that the Holy Spirit offers and be filled with joy, laughter, hope, peace, and rest.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

"Suit Up"... I have to ;)

So I have survived 2 days wearing a suit. I will don my third tomorrow as I continue to train for this new job and gear up to teach my first class to real students (though I'm not at my school yet and they know it will be my first time). That means I have been in Nagoya, Japan for just over 3 days.

I can't believe it's only been 2 days of training since we have cover so much! There is still 6 full days of training left!! I hope I can remember everything. I am training alongside some great people, four have been to Japan and three speak Japanese, and us 3 remaining are here for the first time. We are enjoying exploring some of Japan together, though not much yet since we are training from 11 am to 8 pm everyday. We will be together until next Wednesday when we all move to our schools and into our apartments. We all are within 30 minutes of Nagoya's center. It's nice to be doing this with others.

I am focused on taking in my new job for now and will get more into learning Japanese when my brain has more space. I also will look for a church, try to find the swing dancers, and rediscover who I am. Some of us might try a hip hop class and there is a hiking club... some are talking of doing marathons (not me).. there will be many adventures, challenges, laughter, tears, and personal growth this year. I pray that in it all God uses me to be a light and bringer of freedom to all around me.

My move to Japan is underway. I don't feel like I live here yet but moving into my apartment next week will help with that. Please pray I do well with my job and that I find balance as I adjust to living alone in this new nation. Thanks.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Is time running out... or just moving on??

There is just two weeks before I head to Japan. My plane ticket is bought, my visa is ready, and my church prayed for and anointed me last night. Then I look around and realize that I have very little of the clothes or shoes I am suppose to have, it seems I will not have the amount (or even close to it) of cash they suggested I bring, and I am still trying to win a computer (not much luck there ;). AND I ONLY HAVE 2 MORE WEEKS to figure it out!!

It is easy to start to feel like I am running out of time.. not just because of the stuff I need, also to see all the people I want to see, & to try to get work to make some more cash to bring... though with God all things are possible. One thing I am trying to do in life is to keep moving forward (and remember that a lot can be done in two weeks). God's timing is perfect and often doesn't gel with my time line... Praise God for that!! When I try to control it all I miss out on so much... so I am working on learning how to keep moving forward in a posture of still following Jesus. It's not so easy to navigate when I have spent years playing tug o war with God over control of my life... so letting go of control and holding onto trust. That is what I am trying to do. The tricky part seems to be the moving forward, making decisions even when I don't get a direct sign from God, and trusting HE will direct or redirect when needed.

So, I am moving to Japan in two weeks. In some ways I feel ready and prepared, and in other ways I feel like a fish outta water (suits don't like my body!!!!). When I get on the plane whether I have the $1200 they suggest I bring or only $300 with me I will keep moving and trust God in it. If I don't have a laptop with me I will trust God and move forward in it. If I don't have ultra nice suits to wear, as long as I have something suitable, I will move forward and trust God in it.

So I am still moving.. these two weeks are not to be wasted! Please pray I get the random jobs that fit into the time I have, that as I scour good will and tj max, etc., I will find clothes to use, and that I win or am able to afford a laptop... and especially that I keep God in all of it!!! Thanks.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Where's the balance?

This past weekend many, including my family, celebrated the Resurrection of Christ. The Resurrection changed the world and still changes everything...that is why I am moving to Japan. It has forever changed me and continues to transform me into the woman I was made and called to be. Praise the Lord for He is Alive & Speaks to us!!!!

It was so nice to see much of my family on Sunday. We laughed, talked, and watched the joyful children running around in search of eggs. The sun was shining and just an all around good day. Then today it hit... this Easter was the last holiday I would be here in the states. Wow! The next one, July 4th, is my first day of work in Japan! Such bittersweet emotions running through at the thought of leaving my family and the excitement of walking into more of what God has for me.

With these last weeks I will be starting to learn Japanese (via the computer), getting as much work as I can, saving money in order to shop for the things I need (and some I want ;), and trying to spend time with those I love. Not sure how to do that...

Gas prices are high and the people I love are spread out. It is doable to keep it free or cheap once getting there but in a group that is often harder to accomplish. So, if it is too much for me right now to spend I need to repectfully decline yet want to stay in order to fellowship with friends.

I am trying to take as much work as I can so that takes up time, and the time I seem to be freest during the times when everyone else is at work (advantage there is time to spend time with God, work on Japanese, and exercise).

This may seem small but I am a people person and giving up time with people is a challenge. I want to wise with my finances and save enough for all the clothes and such I still need to get for my upcoming job, but how much is okay to spend in order to connect, encourage, and just have fun with friends & family?

So, as these weeks go by please pray for me to have balance in saying goodbye and preparing to go. Also, that I will have wisdom and disernment in when to say yes, when to decline, when to purchase, and when to put back on the shelf, and in all things to be done spiritually, practically, emotionally, and physically before I leave the states. Oh, also that I pick up the language easily!!

Thanks so much! May the Lord bless you and speak to you in beautiful and powerful ways!!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Soaring Ahead

In the beginning of 2010 I decided to ask God to teach me how to 100% surrender. He is faithful and in answer to that prayer it has been an amazing, yet challenging journey (and ongoing). I do a word as my theme for each year and for 2011 my word is Soar!. As I explored and prayed on where and what is to be next, I came to realize that no matter where I am I want to be used by God to set people FREE. Freedom comes in many different forms and my desire is to see people experience it all. As I Soar this year reveling in my Freedom I hope you will join me.

As for where I am headed; I have accepted a job in Nagoya, Japan. The plan is to move there and teach for at least a year. This blog will mostly be to follow that journey... preparing, arriving, living, loving, and bringing freedom to that great nation. I have no idea how it is going to look.. exciting or dull, big or small, natural or supernatural... all I know is the I am trying to follow the Holy Spirit and that means anything can happen! So, all things are possible for God (Luke 1:37) and I trust He will allow me to be a freedom bringer and I leave the details in His hands.

In preparation:
-I am trying to save money. I have some things I need to buy (plane ticket included) and should have some cash with me to get started. Once I am there I will be paid so no long term fundraising needed.
-I am getting in better shape :)
-I am trying to build a community to be sent from and be held accountable to.
-Want to start learning the language.
-Striving to continue surrendering and going deeper with God.

I welcome your prayers and support. Thank you for joining me on my journey.