Foot massages and fortunate encounters...

We were walking through a local mall one evening last month when I noticed a new store: a spa. I suddenly had a completely irrational desire to go in and see if they offered reflexology (foot massages). It was completely irrational because we already have someone who does reflexology, who (a) we’re completely satisfied with, (b) is much closer to our home, and (c) is cheaper than anyone else. Still, we went in. 

The shopkeeper was named Dana*. We soon found out that she’d been to Canada once…

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Sharing the Message of Jesus in Japan - Part II

Earlier this month, I talked about some of the principles that are most important when sharing the good news of Jesus with the people of Japan. Today, I thought I would share a concrete example of what this can look like. It’s taken from a short talk that I gave at last year’s Christmas party. I’ve similar talks a few times since, and have been told by several people that this approach has gone straight to their hearts.

Where necessary, I have included a few notes of explanation about the…

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Sharing the Message of Jesus with Japanese Stoics - Part I

As Peter and I continue to minister as missionaries in Japan, we are learning a variety of lessons on sharing the good news of Jesus with people of different cultures. Sometimes the Bible verses that we take for granted in North America—verses like John 3:16—aren’t the most appropriate to use when introducing people of a different culture to Jesus. 

In Japan, Bible dust jackets do not commonly display John 3:16. Instead they use a verse from Ecclesiastes: “Meaningless, meaningless, everything…

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The Skill of Rest

In Japan, people are often workaholics. Much of this is cultural—they don’t want to appear lazy in comparison to the people around them. They want to be good citizens and make valuable contributions to their companies. Some people have taken this so much to the extreme that now the Japanese government is concerned, and is taking steps to reduce the number of cases of 過労死 (“kah-row-ooo-she”), or “death by overwork”. 

You can tell what a culture values by the number of words that it has to…

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Valerie's Trip to the Hairdresser

When I was a little girl, my mum went grey before all the other mums. It probably didn’t help that she was 37 when she had me. New friends invariably asked if she was my grandmother, but she was self-confident enough that she didn’t care and never tried to hide her true hair colour. However, I decided that if I were to follow her into premature greying, I would dye my hair. Thirty years passed, which included several stints of pain, and I have indeed gone prematurely grey—even earlier than my…

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