Master or Student?

In the missionary life, it’s easy to get lazy. We’re used to struggling with everything— figuring out whether we’re buying fish or laundry detergent at the grocery store; dedicating significant thought to even the smallest events, because we don’t want to accidentally destroy fledgling relationships; running away from the telephone because it’s so scary to get calls from someone who’s talking a-mile-a-minute while we’re still trying to figure out whether they said their name at the start. 

Some…

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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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Adventures at the Grocery Store

Today I thought I would share with you about something we can all relate to: shopping at the grocery store. Stores in Japan are a little different from those in Canada and the States, so let me walk you through a typical experience here in Okinawa.

Our supermarket is called かねひで (kah-neh-hee-deh). It’s an Okinawan-owned chain, and often the stores are small even by Okinawan standards. Think: about 1/2 the size of the smallest old-style No Frills you’ve ever seen in Canada.

store.jpg

Above: our local…

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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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