Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Why Nanzan.

People always ask me, “Why Nanzan?”
I’m never quite sure how to answer.
At first, it was the cost-value and the dates that matched perfectly with my plans. It was the amazing academic program and the promise of finishing with the ability to speak more Japanese.
Yes, the studies were wonderful - the senseis were incredible and I learned so much Japanese.
(I've started thinking in Japanese. It's all sorts of confusing.)

But, as my time at Nanzan comes to a close, I realize I was there for quite another reason.

Quite honestly, the academic aspects of my time in Nagoya are mere fragments of what I experienced there.
There was so much more to be learned...so much to be gained.

I've seen the Lord bring me friends who are so close, I can't believe I've only known them 6 weeks....friends who I know I'll connect with for life. 

I've seen the Gospel work vividly in this country, in this city, and in the lives of my friends.
I've felt the overwhelming weight of His love, been reminded of the clarity and truth of the Gospel, and gotten so many opportunities to boldly speak of that Love to those around me.
I have new vision...the Spirit is on the move. 
And He's been so good. 

Every time I leave this country, I always wonder how is it that a heart can be split so strongly between two opposite sides of the globe?
It's the weirdest feeling.
And even for the many times I've made this trek, it doesn't get any easier.
Japan is a part of me.

But even though I leave Japan, sad at the passing of such a golden season, I'm not completely forlorn. 

This is only the beginning. 

Yes, I leave Nanzan University with more than just improved Japanese and an over-stuffed suitcase.

I leave with teary eyes, a full heart, and eyes open to take in all that the Lord is doing.
I leave grateful. So grateful....
and so much better able to answer that ever-present question,

"Why Nanzan?"

Because the Lord knew I needed it.

That's why.
Because He always knows best.
And He is faithful to take good care of his children.



Thursday, June 15, 2017

some days.

some days don't go as planned.
some days are helter skelter and not at all like you would have thought.

some days are tired days.
they are the days you wake up after studying late into the night...the days you can't drink enough coffee.

some days you wake up with no voice and a presentation to do.

those are the ゆっくりdays.
they are days for savoring.

they are the days you allow yourself to slow down - when you remind yourself to look up and breathe in that Japanese air you love so much.

these are the days you allow your brain a rest and take your time painting flowers in art class. the days you stay even longer after class to talk to the 75 year old sensei about his career as a famous artist and his time at Nanzan.
they are the days for squinty-eyed jokes and pouring through old art books together.

there are some days you spend too much time in conversation with your friends over white rice lunches.
those are the days when you end up running to your next class...laughing the whole way as you hold down each other's dresses.

they're days for breathless smiles and knowing glances - twinkly eyes and Japanese puns.

those are the days you decide that grades are important, but not as important as your gambaru...your effort. Those are the days you cut your losses and laugh with your sensei in stead of taking your imperfections too seriously.
and you find you actually learn more that way.

they're not perfect days.

no, they could never be.

but they're happy days.

and I'm thankful for them.

until next time,


"I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding.  For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ’s return. May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation—the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus Christ—for this will bring much glory and praise to God." 
philippians 1:9-11

" 私は祈っています。どうか、あなたがたの愛が、もっともっと満ちあふれますように。同時に、霊的な知識と洞察力も、さらに深められますように。 10それは、あなたがたに、善悪をはっきり見分ける力が備わり、主が来られる日まで、だれからも非難されることなく、心がきよく保たれるよう願うからです。 11どうか、神の子どもにふさわしく、親切な良い行いができますように。それは、大いに主をほめたたえ、主の栄光を現すことになるのです。"

(ピリピ人への手紙 1:9-11)

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

great is Thy faithfulness.

I dreamt in Japanese last night.
Its' been a while since that has happened.

Yet, here I am. And it's all happened so quickly, here in Nagoya.
I've been here 4 days, and already I can see so much fruit.
But I suppose that's what happens when head knowledge is finally allowed to work.

I've already met so many new friends and been pushed outside my comfort zone so many times...when I finally get to sit down and process it all, it gets overwhelming.
In the best way, of course.

There's a much bigger Work at play than I can even comprehend.

But I see glimpses...every now and then.

I see it in new church family and in Japanese baptisms...in new friends from all corners of the globe and in little-people laughs that make my heart swell.
They make me realize that God connects people from all over the world in beautiful ways...
for His purpose.
It makes me thankful for a common Inheritance as brothers and sisters...working to the glory of the same King.

I see His hands at work in my Japanese friends' lives and in my class mates who I have more in common with than I thought - in fellow military connections and in similar hearts for Japan.

Sometimes it's in small things - like homemade dinners with local ingredients and quiet walks home in the sunset breeze. In lugging groceries home from the subway station and in lunches that consist of samples from sweet-faced grocery workers.

I see it in the shadowy mountains off in the distance, and in the trees all over this beautiful campus...in the smell of the trees and in whiffs of someone's dinner that come floating into my apartment around 6:30.

It makes me so thankful.

Because I'm so genuinely happy to be here.
My classes are going to be difficult - I've placed into the highest level of Japanese language, along with Japanese economics, politics, and culture courses.
This is no vacation - my days will be fullll.

But, once again, I feel like a kid on a ride - overwhelmed with the exhilaration of the journey.

I'm so very happy about every single thing He has placed in my path so far.
I've seen his provision so fully.
It's all for His glory in my good.

And so, my heart has been singing.

Great is Thy faithfulness.

Now and forever.



p.s. Sorry for all the iPhone photos...one of these days I'm going to actually bring my camera with me, I promise. But sometimes, you just gotta snap a memory with what you got. And most often, that's my trusty phone.