Thursday, March 29, 2007

My hubby's birthday!

Today was my sweet hubby's birthday! We spent the day with friends, and went to Costco! That is one of our favorite places and we had a great time today. We came back and celebrated with dinner together. It was so much fun.

Every year at Rocky's birthday I am reminded of something very interesting. I am reminded of how amazing it is that he is here and I got the chance to be married to him.

You see, the school I first worked at here in Japan is called Seinan Jo Gakuin and they have a chapel high up on a hill. This chapel, during WWII was supposedly taken over by the Japanese Military and was being used as a major communications hub. Our city, Kitakyushu, was bombed heavily because there are a lot of steel making factories here. I have been told by several people that the city of Kitakyushu and more specifically THAT CHAPEL up on the hill was the original target of the atomic bomb that was dropped on Nagasaki. The day the plane flew over to drop the bomb, it was cloudy here in Kitakyushu and the pilot could not see his target so they moved on to Nagasaki. If the bomb had been dropped that day, Rocky's Dad was two years old and lived a few miles from that location. He likely would NOT have survived, and the course of history would have been changed. Rocky would never have been born. Even IF Rocky's Dad HAD survived, the school would have been destroyed and so many people who have played a part in that schools history as well and it may not have continued so that I would eventually come there one day to serve as a missionary in Japan!

There is no telling how many other things the Lord orchestrated to protect our mother's and father's before we were born, and then to protect us throughout our lives to bring us to where we are now. But when you know a fact as powerful as this one, it is eye opening.

I am so thankful for my precious husband's birthday. So thankful that he was born and we were brought together!

Happy Birthday, Sugarpie!!! I LOVE YOU SOOOOOOOOOOOOO MUCH!!! I just can't help it! You are a precious and thoughtful husband, an amazing father and such a sweet best friend! I've spent 7 of your birthdays as your wife and I look forward to AT LEAST 70 more! (Would that make you 106??? *wink, wink*)

hugs and kisses,
Your Sugarpie

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

A child of God...

There is one very special pastor here in Japan whom God allowed me the priviledge of knowing since my first year of service here. Sensei is so amazing. I always say I wish I could clone him and have about 100 more just like him. To put it in a few words this amazing man just adores Jesus! Everything he does is all about his Lord! He is kind and caring but straight forward and strong. He is so respected by so many and so loveable! Sensei is so precious to me.

Last year his wife passed away. It was powerful to watch him lose his wife with such grace. He did not tell anyone outside his immediate family that his wife had passed away because an engagement ceremony for a young woman in his church was scheduled for the very next morning. He blessed that couple and enjoyed the fellowship at the church and did a normal Sunday worship and message, while holding his grief at bay. I'v never known someone that gracious and giving. The next week he was at a concert we did. He had made a commitment to help at this conference and did so with true joy even though he was still deep in the fresh grief of his loss. I gave my testimony of losing my Dad at that concert and I could only look at him once as he was weeping in the front row on my far left and it was all I could do not to break down sharing in his grief! That day giving my testimony was one of the hardest in a long time. Later as we sang songs like Amazing Grace and Sweet By and By he sat in his seat with his arms raised high in worship to Jesus with tears just streaming down his face! That was a powerful picture of true worship to me!

This last Sunday he came to our Afureru! meeting and told us that his mother, who was 102 and 10 months old, passed away this week. For years he has also been caring for her and lately she has had a lot of demintia. Through out caring for her and his wife, Sensei conintued to pastor a church and serve other ministries all over. He is in his 70's but Rocky and I say it is like he is 17, he has so much energy.

His mother's passing was a powerful testimony at the hospital where she died. She loved the Lord too, and even in her latest stages of severe demintia, she had no problems remembering the words of hymns. When Sensei would go and visit her during her last month, he said she was totally unresponsive unless he would sing her a hymn and she would seem to try and sing along although she was in a deep coma. Also, at her passing when the heart monitor had been flat, a pastor was praying and when he said "Amen" her heart beat three more times. The doctors and nurses were at a loss to explain it and all were deeply moved.

As I talked to him on Sunday he said, "My wife is gone, my mother is gone and I also just retired from a church. For the first time in my life I am on my own. I have to find out who I am. I was a son, a husband, a pastor, now I am just me." At this point I was about to say to him that he needed to take it easy and take care not to get depressed. I was going to warm him that he might experience some issues similar to culture shock or post traumatic stress syndrome. But before I could say anything else, this is what he said... "I look forward to it. I am going to bask in finally being simply A CHILD OF GOD. Simply that, and that's all. I really really look forward to exploring what that is like."

WOW! I pray that if I ever find myself at that point in life, I can have such a precious and sweet outlook on what lay ahead. Instead of focusing on his loneliness, or expecting sorrow and difficulty, he is looking forward to being alone, to just being a child of God...

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

TEN years

I am feeling a bit sentimental lately. Thinking back on lots of things. I think what has triggered it is that this year marks 10 years since I came to Japan. Except for spending about 10 months back in America between my mission term and Rocky and I's marriage, I have spent all that 10 years living in Japan. Almost 1/3 of my life has been spent here. WOW!

Ten years is a long time. It seems like I have been here 2 or 3 years maybe. Time really flies when you are having fun. I mean it REALLy flies.

I was thinking back on a lot of things today for some reason. A lot of "if...then" type of stuff. For example...

If my Dad hadn't passed away of ALS, my relationship with the Lord would not have changed so drastically when it did.
If my relationship with the Lord had not changed so drastically I wouldn't have been as involved in church when our college group went to Passion '97.
If I hadn't gone to Passion '97 I wouldn't have received the call on my life to missions when I did.
I was called to missions so I applied to become a Journeyman with the IMB
They sent me to Japan
In Japan I met Rocky
I married Rocky
and on and on and on...

ten years

If you had told me even 11 years ago that I would become a missionary I'd have laughed in your face. If you'd told me I would someday speak another language fluently, I would never have believed you. If you had told me I would marry a Japanese man (or anyone not American) or that I would live in a foreign country or any of these things, I'd have declared you insane on the spot. NO WAY. Not this small town girl. I wanted something different in my life, something with a little more adventure, but not THAT MUCH adventure!

What an incredible ride it has been, and it is just beginning really. WOW

Sunday, March 11, 2007

7 years and going strong!

On this day, in 2000, I married my sweetheart! I can not believe it has been SEVEN years! At times it seems like it was just a few weeks ago and other times, I can't imagine a me without him. How did I go 24 years without this part of myself???

We had a busy day, but at some point today I thought back to what I was doing 7 years ago today. I got up VERY early the morning of our wedding day to take a long hot bath. Taking a long hot bath was my thing as a single person. I LOVED long hot baths, any time of day, as long as I wanted, because there were no other responsibilities, no one else to take care of or think about. So on that morning it was like my last time to enjoy totally single-person non-responsible time all to myself. Granted, I had to get up at 4:30 in the morning to enjoy it, but I did. Me and my Dr. Pepper and my Bible! It was wonderful. Then I headed off to my hair appointment at 6:30 am and then up to the church. I had plenty of time to put on my make up and hang out with my brides-maids. We took all the pics before the ceremony. The wedding ceremony was AMAZING, even with a few small glitches, the time to greet everyone who came to the wedding and enjoy the cake and fellowship at the reception seemed to just fly by and we were off on our honeymoon. It was by far one of the most incredible days of my life. I didn't have even an ounce of nerves or doubts, just pure and total JOY. I was marrying the man of my dreams!

He is still that today and more. 7 years of marriage have only made me love him more. We have been through so much together. Starting this ministry having no idea where our month to month financial and physical needs would come from. Years of trying to conceive and then the intense and unbelievable wait for our precious daughter. CD projects, national and international concert tours, countless Bible studies and concerts, and more that I can't think of at this late hour.

I'm so thankful for EVERY step of the journey and I so look forward to the future with this amazing man!

Once when I was in my teens and totally frustrated with dating and boys, I asked God to just show me the man He had planned for me in the future. I thought if I could just see a glimpse of his face, know he existed, and be content that he was out there somewhere, it would somehow make all the junk I was going through easier to deal with. I thought it would make the wait easier. I never could have imagined what I would have glimpsed that day if God had shown me. I think it would have blown me away! But today it blows me away because my life is so amazing and my sugarpie is so amazing!

Thank you Lord Jesus! You have totally blessed me above and beyond. I can't imagine what is to come.

Friday, March 09, 2007

A rare sight...

Every once in a while I see something in Japan that is so out of place, it GRABS my attention. This evening after I dropped Rocky off at a Gospel music class, Hana and I stayed in the shopping center where the class is held to have dinner and walk around a bit. As I was wheeling Hana down the corridor in her Mickey Mouse car/entertainment center (you gotta see these strollers, someday I'll take a picture), something caught my eye. There were small benches in the middle of the corridor for shoppers to stop and have a rest and there sat an older couple. The first thing that struck me as odd was they were smiling and laughing with each other, as I took a closer look, they were sitting close to one another and the man had his hand on his wife's knee, patting it and affectionately holding onto it as they laughed together. I found this sight so surprising a smile spread wide across my face. They noticed my smile and smiled back and then began to adore my sweet little cart occupant.

Those of you in America are probably thinking, "Now what was so odd about that sight?" It shouldn't be such a unique thing to see, but I can confidently say I have never seen a married couple, especially older, show each other that sort of affection in public and enjoying each other's company. I rarely see couples even speak to each other, so to see them talking and laughing together was also quite unique. It warmed my heart, and was a bit of an encouragement to see that there may be some happy couples somewhere out there in this country.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

I dream WAY too big!!!

but that is totally NOT a bad thing. I think sometimes Rocky wonders what he's gotten himself into though (I don't blame you honey, I'm nuts!). But I always seem to be so far ahead of myself (and everyone else sometimes). I recently looked back on the BIG dreams we had when we first married and I am amazed.

I (and then Rocky) dreamed of building a music ministry where we did concerts ALL over and even had our own CD's. I knew that, through music a powerful impact could be made for the Kingdom of God in Japan. Where are we now? We do about 70 concerts a year, we have 3 CD's out and more to come (as soon as we find the time), and Rocky is active with 3 other bands in ministry as well. We have been all over the US, to New Zealand and Fiji, and all over Japan. In the near future we may be ministering in several other countries as well!

We dreamed of have a studio in our home. Rocky now has all that he needs to produce an entire CD project and has done so for our own Cd's and 4 clients!

We dreamed of owning our own home! We are now living in a wonderful, spacious (by Japan standards) home that God provided in a miraculous way!

We dreamed of making our ministry a 501c3 non-profit organization in the States so that churches and individuals could send us their support. That is now a reality!

I could think of many more now that are happening, have happened, or will happen soon. There are very few visions that I've had that didn't come to pass. That is NOT to say that I am in any way responsible for them happening. It is all because I believe God gave us those visions and they happened because HE made them happen! He is so amazing and so full of grace and mercy.

We started our marriage with VERY little, and these dreams all seemed impossible when we looked at our situation back then. Now I look at where we are and what we do and it's like, "OF COURSE! God can do anything!"

My dreaming never stops. And I have learned now what are the dreams I dream out of ME and what are the ones that come from God! The dreams and visions from Him are different, somehow. Some HUGE things are going to happen in the near future. Get ready for quite a ride! God is just getting started.

Saturday ALREADY!!!!

man time flies. I can not believe it is Saturday already. This week just flew by.

OK, a pat myself on the back.... I ate soooooooooo healthy this week, AND I worked out 4 times!!!!!!! Yihaw! I'm on a role again, and feeling great.

So nothing else really exciting here except that I need to get in bed, and Hana has some cute funnies on her blog so go check them out!

Love ya,