Monthly Archives: February 2016


Around 4 a. m. on Saturday February 6, a 6.4 magnitude earthquake struck southern Taiwan.  By now most people have heard about this tragedy.

But let me tell you what happened two days before, on Thursday February 4, around 7:40 a.m. Every morning, we gather with the kids to have a morning devotional and prayer time.  We read a few verses of scripture.  Then Akira and I pray over the kids and the day and finish by all praying the Lord’s Prayer, together.  This morning, we gathered as usual.

Josiah was upset because he had lost his red and white P.E. hat at school.  If he could not find it, he would not get seconds at lunch.

cegoh / Pixabay

This red/white reversible hat is like the one Josiah lost.

For Josiah, lunch is very important.  It is his favourite “subject” at school.  After the kids all get their food whatever is left goes to whoever wants it.  But, a lot of kids want it. They play “janken,” or Paper, Rock, Scissors to see who gets to have the seconds.  Apparently from what I hear from Josiah and Josie, too, there is a lot of yelling and shouting as they play.  Winners return to their seats with smiles and food on their plates.  Losers carry empty trays. Because it is such a big deal and Josiah’s class was having trouble remembering to bring their homework, Josiah’s teacher made a new rule.  If you forget anything, wasudemono, you can not have seconds that day.

So this morning, Josiah was upset because he had lost his red and white P.E. hat.

We challenged Josiah to pray that Jesus would show him where the hat was.  He just grumbled.  Akira prayed and then it was my turn.  I prayed over the kids, the usual protection from sickness and injury, and for all the students and teachers that they would know the Father’s presence that day.  Then I started to pray for Josiah.  I asked that Jesus would help him find his hat and that He would make himself real to Josiah.  That He would show Josiah that everything that happens to him matters to Jesus.  I prayed that He would make His presence known to Josiah.

Then, as I was praying we had an earthquake.  It started as a low rumble sound then the floor began to shake.  The shaking became stronger.  And then, just as I started getting nervous, it stopped.


4.9 magnitude.

Akira checked.  The earthquake had happened here in Kanagawa. Right where we are. He had made His presence known.

Later I remembered the verse from Acts 4, “After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken.”

Did Josiah find his hat? No. Did he get to have seconds? Yes. Did Jesus make Himself known? A Big Yes.

Jesus is making His presence known in Japan.

The Lighthouse

As Akira and I walk our neighbourhood, the Uchiyama district, in the evening, I often carry a flashlight.  This is a special flashlight.  It is the flashlight I used in Kansas City to teach the kids at church about God’s love in our heart and His light shining out of us so we can shine His love on others.  I took an ordinary flashlight and taped construction paper heart in the lens.  Then I turned it on and pointed it right at a kids chest.  Right there on their heart, they saw a beam of yellow light with a heart shape in the middle. God’s love and God’s light in our heart!  Then they took the flashlight and shone it on someone else.  God’s love and God’s light shining through our heart into the heart of others.

So as Akira and I walk and pray over our neighbors and schools, I think about God’s love shining through us.  The flashlight reminds me that Akira and I are carrying his love in our hearts and that as we pray, we are shining that same love on the people we are praying for.

That led us to call ourselves the five lights.  Each of us, Akira, Josie, Josie, Julia and Melanie, carry the Father’s Heart in Our heart.  We carry HIs love.  And wherever we go, we shine that love on others.

fancycrave1 / Pixabay

I realised one day that five lights together is much brighter than just one light by itself.  And as we five lights come together in our home, we shine very brightly, like a lighthouse.  And the purpose of a lighthouse is to shine light into the dark to warn of dangers, to shine the way.  My prayer now is that our home will become a place of safety, a refuge.  A place where people can come and find the right path.  A place where light can point them in the right direction.  A place where they can discover His love.

We have opened our home and He is opening doors.


Life in Japan

As we spend our daily lives here, we are constantly reminded that we are in Japan.  As a result we have developed a “secret” code that we use with one another whenever something unexpected happens.  “TIJ” This is Japan.

Last week, our doorbell rang.  I answered it and to my surprise saw a man and a woman dressed in impeccable black suits.  They began speaking and the only word I understood was “ginkou” which means bank.  I politely responded with “chooto matte kudasai” or Just a minute , please,  and got Akira.

I heard many “sumimasen” and saw a lot of bowing, and then they handed Akira a beautifully wrapped package.

When they had left, I confusedly asked Akira what had just happened.

We had been trying to set up an automatic withdrawal for Josie’s Kumon classes and had been having trouble.  Switched around numbers and other problems had occurred and we had had to apply several times.  The people from the bank had come to our house to “apologise” for our inconvenience.  And they brought a gift to say sorry…a new organic bath towel.  Wow!

I looked at Akira and said simply, “TIJ”.