Sunday, December 2, 2012

WOW! Time Flies like a hummingbird!

So, I'm not sure anyone is here to read this since I waited so long again. If you are reading... thanks so much for giving me grace :).

Now that it's December, it's way too cold sitting here under two blankets but I decided that I needed to get some stuff done this day off!! The knowledge that I will be home in warmer weather and seeing my family this Christmas helps me hold on and not give in to the cold by staying wrapped up in bed sipping hot chocolate. So, where to begin....

Work Halloween Parties!
Work: I dove into my new job at the end of July. After 4 months I do have the hang of things and love all the kids. It is so nice to be able to freely talk about Jesus at work and I pray that I show them the love of Jesus with my love and care. There are some challenges, of course, and as long as I don't have to potty train I might do this job one more year.

The growth I am experiencing with this job is good. I learning more about myself as I interact with many different personalities. Working with kids always tests your patience and I am seeing I have grown in that for sure. I also realized that my patience with adults is not so good all the time. So, a work in progress I may be.. but the key word there is "progress." Let me encourage you to stay on the journey of growth no matter your age or life experience. God will never give up on us and will always help us become better, when we ask.

 I came home to the sunset every night until winter!
Home: This place and set up is so much better than last year. I no longer feel like I am in a dorm room. I have a good roommate. We get along well and she happens to be from California too. We have quite a few similarities but are also very different. We can sharpen one another since she has some strength where I am weak and vice versa. My friends and I were just talking last night about being teachable... and that is what I want to be.

Anna's baby shower, showing off my rocking gift!
Etching our designs in glass at Church camp!
Church: Grace City is a wonderful community. We have so many nations represented and more and more Japanese people have been coming. I am now serving by helping with coffee and power point. This month my friends Anna & Luke with their new wee little daughter, Lene, will be heading back to England. A part of life here is that people come and go, so you need to make the most of it while they are still here. The best thing is that we are still family no matter where we are in the Kingdom of God so we only gain by meeting, even if just for a season. I am learning to get new joy out of relationships even when I know they won't be with me very long. I hope others do the same with me since I will be the one leaving someday.

Please pray as we are looking for a new location. It is difficult to find meeting spaces in Japan. We also have some things that are important in the move... like being close to a station so people can find us easily. Also, having classrooms so the youth doesn't have to meet in the kitchen and our growing number of kids with have space. And a place where we can meet every Sunday! The community center sometimes needs it so we have to find another space or skip a service that week. Oh, and a place to store our stuff would be good too ;). It is so great to see so many coming. We are having a Christmas service on the 23rd. I will be on a plane that day but please join me in prayer that many Japanese people will hear the story of Jesus' birth for the first time this month! They already know who Santa and Rudolph are, but not the Savior of the world!

Basilica Cistern, Istanbul.
Fun: In August I went to Hanabi (fireworks) with some co-workers! Wow, Japan does fireworks like no one else. They went for 45 minutes and had like 10 of what we consider a grand finale. And each was bigger than any grand finale I have ever seen. They switch areas in the sky and even kept going when the sky was full of smoke! Sorry I don't have any pictures.. it was spontaneous so I didn't have my camera.
Ken & I at his Church Retreat!

In Goreme taking a tour around Capadocia.
Hot air balloon ride! It was so amazing!!
In September I went to Turkey to visit my brother!!! It was so wonderful! I do have lots of pictures but my second to last day, in Ephesus, I dropped and broke my camera. Wow! I love Turkey!! The food was amazing, the people were great, my brother is there, and the history is showing all over the place. I got to go on a retreat with my brother and his church. It was at the beach, so beautiful  and to get to worship God alongside my big brother, priceless!! My church also had a church camp in Sept. I had to work but was able to go late and enjoy the last evening and the next morning meeting. It was a blast!

In October I was able to reconnect with many of my friends whom I hadn't seen in a while. I also grew closer to new friends. Relationships are really important to me and it is so much fun getting to know new people, connecting with others, and enjoying tea together often.

In November I got to eat two Thanksgiving meals. One after work on Thanksgiving day with a couple of co-workers at an American style sports bar that has turkey just for 4 days a year. Then on Sunday I enjoyed a lovely home cooked Thanksgiving with some friends. It was a small group so we got to truly enjoy one another. Also, we all pitched in money and one friend cooked everything!! So nice and what a blessing!! It was yummy!!!

Now we are into December and it is cold all the time in my apartment! No insulation at all. But I will survive and look forward to Swing Dancing on the 16th for our Winter Ball or something like that and flying home for 10 days on the 23rd. I have a layover in China and will hopefully see my sister on the way! So, off to finding fun gifts for my family and cleaning!

Give out your smile often and you will see many returns for that small gift.