Looking Up at Everest… Will I ever climb this mountain path… or can I!?

I feel like I’m looking up at Everest… Will I ever climb this mountain path… or can I!? This is the real feeling I had when I started to seek to be the JCFN staff a few years ago.

I have many opportunities to talk about the reasons that led me to the ministry, but surprisingly few opportunities to talk about the period between my return to Japan and the installation. For the first two years after returning to Japan, I worked part-time as a couple. I made shiso rolls (have you ever heard of shiso rolls? ), my wife had a part-time job teaching English at a children’s school, and on weekends, we visited churches that asked us to come. At the churches I have visited, I have been told, “That’s a great decision and faith.” At such times, I could not say, “I believe in God, I am filled with peace, and I have no worries…” It wasn’t that great. I was happy and sad, and sometimes depressed. But each time I was shown that it was not up to me to do something about it, but that God would always open the door. Everything is in God’s hands, and “what He does, He does!” It was a period of time when I saw this obvious thing. I realized how easy it is to forget or doubt this simple thing. It’s like the Israelites in the Bible. Whenever I feel weak, I realize, “So that’s why I need to rely on God!” Through this repetition, I think I have been able to take one step at a time.

In the past, there were many times when I wondered if my family size would be a hurdle to overcome, or if I would have to worry too much about my financial situation. However, I have not taken this step alone, but as a family, and my wife and children have been led to this point while going through their own challenges. I believe that this was a preparation period that God gave us in order to be used as a family. It is definitely God’s best for this family to be led together. It is definitely God’s best for us to be led as a family because God, who is full of wisdom and love, has opened this time as the best time for us to be led.

Please pray that they will be granted visas. Also, our daughters have been meeting and parting with friends, and each time it has been painful, but new friends have been given to them everywhere. Please pray that they will be given good friends and a good environment in the midst of future changes, and pray that the ministry will be used in the places where they are given.

Daisuke Tsuchida

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EC Reunion is coming!

Hello hello, my name is Kristine Reddington and I’m an associate staff for JCFN 🙂

Last year, I had the privilege of serving as the EC20 Beyond director.

It is crazy to think that it has already been a year since then.

How has God been speaking to you these days? Have you enjoyed LISTENing to Him :)👂?

So! Because we didn’t know how things were going to be with COVID, we are NOT having our usual EC this year😢 But!

We are having an EC Reunion online🥳🎉👏

 

1/21(Fri) 6pm~9pm (Pacific time) + optional hang out

1/22(Sat)11am~2pm (Japan time)

 

We will have EC / post EC testimonies, short sermons from last year’s EC speakers, sharing time in breakout rooms etc. so it should be a great time✨

I’m hoping we will get to reflect on the past year as we remember what God has done at EC and beyond.

Recently, I’ve been feeling so distracted – I’m realizing that I haven’t been stopping to really LISTEN. Although I am not always faithful, I am so thankful that God continues to speak to me and never gives up on me.😭💖 So! wherever you are in your life/ your spiritual journey, I hope you’ll get to join us! (Those who’ve never been to EC are also welcomed👌)

 

Thanks be to God who is constantly speaking, who is always reaching out to us..💓

I’m so excited to see you all!

EC Reunion Registration: English Registration Page

 

 

A Time for Reflection

Fall is my favorite season of the year. But I have noticed that at some point, I started to feel down or lonely in Fall, and even be apprehensive of the approach of this season. Having a reading break in October in the U.S. and February in Canada might be related to the need for a pause or slowing down.  

The other day, I re-read “Here and Now” by Henri Nouwen that I encountered for the first time in 1997, and pondered on the importance of “Reflection”. I have had an opportunity to learn from the translator of this book, Rev. Koichi Otawa last year, and received a recommendation to read the chapter on “In Search of Meaning”. This process is also described as “Examen”, “meditation” and “reflection” in “The Good and Beautiful God” by James Bryan Smith. In “Here and Now”, the author touches on devotional reading.    

Below is the an excerpt from “Here And Now”: 

++

Most of us read to acquire knowledge or to satisfy our curiosity. When we want to know how to repair a car, cook a meal… give a lecture, etc., we have to do a certain amount of reading. … The purpose of spiritual reading, however, is not to master knowledge or information, but to let God’s Spirit master us. … The great value of spiritual reading is that it helps us to give meaning to our lives. …The issue is not just what we read, but how we read it…We have to keep asking ourselves: “What does it all mean?  What is God trying to tell us?  How are we called to live in the midst of all this?” 

“Here an Now” by Henri Nouwen

++

Often times, I’m unable to easily find answers to such questions and instead find myself fallen asleep. Yet I notice my heart being calmer through the reflection rather than being filled with the matters of the world that stir up fear, anxiety, and compulsion.  

Perhaps, there is an important meaning in applying myself to look for a meaning, more so than finding the meaning to the answer itself. It might be because through the process of reflection, I feel the presence of the Holy Spirit, walking the journey beside me today, and get to know God, who works within my life. 

Another point; when reflect on “What meaning does this event or issue hold?”, I’m led to a question, “Why do I react in this way, anyway?” When that happens, I realize I’m not necessarily reacting to the “issue” itself, but reacting to somebody else’s reaction to me. These steps provide me an opportunity to recognize what is holding “my current self” captive, and what is driving me. 

However if I use this time of reflection for the purpose of self examination and self analysis to judge words and actions of myself and others, I end up being controlled by my false self, who is obsessed with how I acted and how others might evaluate me. 

Jesus Christ came to this world to tell us that “the image of you this world conjures up is not your true self. Your true image is a child of God who is atoned and loved.” The book reminds me of this after 24 years. Since when the words “false self” and “beloved child of God” resonated in my heart, I have set out on a long journey full of struggles and gradually come to savor the depth of their meanings. To read the Bible, needless to say, and other devotional reading and reflections are so very important. 

Worship is also a time of reflection, to which God invites us. To receive the Bible message from the passage we have read many times before, this time communally with others. If we could take the time to look on with the spiritual eyes our hearts that frantically raced through the past week, at the same time noticing the warm gaze of God and His love, with what peace would we able to welcome the new week! The delight of Fall I have forgotten completely, and the joy of worship in the temple of God. I hope we will savor it together once again, and enjoy.    

from Santa Clara Valley Japanese Christian Church Bulletin “Hydrangea” published on 11/3/2021

Makiko Nakao  

Santa Clara Valley Japanese Christ Church pastor’s wife.
Mother of three daughters born in 🇯🇵🇨🇦🇺🇸.
Hobby: Observing my husband, aimlessly change interior decorations.
Stay-at-home wife blogger ++Violette ++https://violetteivory.wordpress.com/

 

 

お問い合わせ

連絡先

JCFN 北米
P.O. Box 17982, Irvine, CA 92623-7982, USA tel 949-424-7535 e-mail: ushq*jcfn.org (*を@に変えて入力してください。)

JCFN 日本
〒101-0062 東京都千代田区神田駿河台2-1 OCC ビル内 Tel/Fax03-5217-2505 e-mail: nihon*jcfn.org (*を@に変えて入力してください。)

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