08. Art and Mission

At a webinar this week, I was asked, “What is the biggest challenge for Japanese becoming Christians?” The biggest challenge is that most Japanese have never met a Christian. Why would you become a Christian if you’ve never met one? The beauty of the arts creates those opportunities, bringing people together, where non-Christians can experience Christian community for the first time. …

07. Sea Glass

When the tsunami siren sounded, Hiroko tied her dog, Kai, to a tree and headed for the shelter. “I’ll be right back,” she said. Kai waved his tail in reply. Hiroko didn’t think there was any danger. Why would she? Her town was protected by 13-foot sea walls. And sirens often went off after earthquakes. Forty-five minutes later, she watched in horror as the tsunami surged over those walls and tore through her town. …

06. Taking A Pounding

There is so much brokenness in this world! Just by me speaking to you right now, it’s very likely that some of you are suffering, or someone you know is suffering. Especially now, during COVID-19. Life is hard, and we would be fools to think otherwise. It’s a terrible part of this world, and you know, frankly, it makes me a little bit angry. We want to protect the ones we love from suffering, but we can’t. So, where’s there hope in that? How can we keep on going? How do we overcome this? …

Love Bird

What a crazy year! There have been many jokes about 2020 giving us anything but a 2020 vision for the future. I am a musician and had a lot of plans for performing and recording that have not been able to happen. I could, of course, keep practicing, but music loses a lot of its appeal when there is no way to play for anyone. As a missionary, I constantly ask the question: What is most helpful for church-planting? How can I best use my creativity? …

05. The Golden Cracks

One of the joys of living overseas is being able to see the world differently, sometimes in ways I would never expect. One day when I was in Kyoto, in the Kyoto National Museum, I stumbled upon some clay bowls. Everything about the exhibit screamed, “These things are important!” They were individually encased behind panes of glass. They sat beautifully displayed on felt-covered small boxes. They each had their own special lighting, but the odd thing to me was that they were broken. …

04. Simmering in the Gospel

One of the joys of living overseas is being able to experience different parts of the world. There are times when I think, “Wow, that’s exotic.” Sometimes it’s a smell in the air. Sometimes it’s a sound that I hear. Sometimes it’s the feel of the atmosphere. When we first moved to Tokyo, I had such an experience. …

02. The Scarf

My friend, Shannon Johnston, started The Scarf back in 2011 as a direct response to the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disaster here in Japan. It was a way for people to knit their hopes, thoughts, and prayers together for the people of Japan. Scarves are something you wear around your neck like a hug. The Scarf was a way people could give hugs without actually being physically present in Japan. …