Friday, August 12, 2016


Sunday was such a blessing.  The joy & comfort of worshiping in ones native language is amazing!  The message was thought provoking as well.  I have been pondering it off and on all week.  Yesterday when I was out with a dear friend we talked about it and this blog began to write itself.

Jeremiah 6:16 (NIV)

16 This is what the Lord says:
“Stand at the crossroads and look;
    ask for the ancient paths,
ask where the good way is, and walk in it,
    and you will find rest for your souls.
    But you said, ‘We will not walk in it.’

Stand at the crossroads.  Each and every day we stand at crossroads...  Many of these crossroads are small and may not make a big impact on your life...   Do I eat watermelon or have another hamburger?  Apple pie or peach?  Some of these crossroads are bigger... Do I go out with friends or do I stay home?  Do I buy ___ or save my money?  Some of the crossroads are huge... Do I marry him or not?  Do we buy that house?

The Bible tells us to stand at the crossroads and LOOK.  We should not make decisions lightly.  We need to contemplate our choices, even the small ones.  However the bigger the decision the more careful we need to be.  We need to stop & look.  We need to seek out help from "the ancient paths" - from GOD. From God's word.  From those who have walked with the LORD longer than we have.

We need to look for the "good way" and walk in it.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true,whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is purewhatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

When we do this, then and only then will we be walking in the Light.  It is then that the Lord will bless us.  However, like the Israelites of old, too many times we stand at the crossroads and choose to NOT take the right path.  Or we simply fail to stand and look, but charge full speed ahead.  Then we wonder why God has forsaken us.

If we chose to eat only junk food, we shouldn't be surprised when we gain weight.
If we chose to not reach out to people, we shouldn't be surprised when people don't reach out to us.
If we chose to buy that new shiny gadget that we really cannot afford, we shouldn't be surprised when we don't have money for important things.
When we ignore God's warnings & the advice of older saints, we shouldn't be surprised when the choices we made fall apart.

If we fail to stand at the crossroads and look, we set ourselves up to fall.  Fall on our faces, Fall away from God.

Each of us needs to remember to Stop, Stand, & Look to the LORD as we make the many decisions, big and small, in life.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Long & Short Of It

Seems to me that travelers are portrayed in two distinct lights; either all pulled together, fresh, perky, and clean or the Home Alone madman dash.  After just having spent roughly 2 full days, 45 hours to be more precise, traveling I do believe that much depends the combination of the group dynamics along with the point in transit.  Our group started at the pulled together, fresh, perky, excited and ended more sleep deprived & disheveled, but still excited.  Thankfully, there was no mad dashing involved!

The main part of the group met at the Kashiwazaki station at 3:30 Thursday.  We met up with our last member of the group in Nagaoka before we boarded the Shinkansen.  In Tokyo we met up with what felt like the entire population of Niigata prefecture all jam paced onto one train O_o  *Note to self, remember rush hour and Tokyo trains in general when making travel plans & reservations!!  We finally managed to arrive, check in, and make it to our rooms at an airport hotel by 9:30pm.  Yes, it took us 6 hours of travel get us to the airport vicinity!

Friday morning was airport time.  Baggage claimed (most of us had wisely shipped our bags ahead to the airport) we headed to the check in counter where we entered into a counter jumping contest.  Me to airport staff: "Which counter should we check in at?"  Staff: "Go to counter L"  Next Staff person: "Go to counter O"  Next Staff person: "Go to counter P. Use this scanner to check in."  Next Staff person: "Seems you cannot use the self check in,  Go to counter Q"  Whew, we still managed to gt checked in in a fairly timely manner.

On to Immigration...

The students whizzed right through.  I needed 3 shots to "whiz" through.  First time, I didn't have the correct form.  Things have changed and I did not see the tables set up with reentry paperwork so I went to the counter with nothing more than my passport, boarding pass, & foreign resident card.  The officer scanned my passport & foreign resident card and told me to fill out "THIS side" of the paper he gave me.  Second time... you must fill out the other side as well.  Third time, with paper fully filled out, I whizzed right through. 

In Dallas/Fort Worth the students got to experience the 3rd times the charm fun of immigration.  I must say that was more frustrating and stressful for all involved - even those of us who whizzed right through and had to wait!  BUT eventually everyone was allowed to enter the good old US of A.

We had two flights: Tokyo to Dallas and Dallas to Detroit.  Both flights were pretty typical and went without complications.  I did enjoy the privileged of flying without a special needs child.  I actually managed to watch, and even enjoy, 2 movies.  I slept some, read some, likely experienced what a normal person does on a flight...odd, very odd.

In Detroit we were met by Jenn.  Jenn was our summer intern a few years back and this year she is the state side coordinator for our home stay.  She is also the church bus driver!  She got us from Detroit to Butler, in good time.  We arrived at Christ's Church at Butler just after 8pm local time Friday or 9am Japan time Saturday.

Now for the fun to begin!