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Lives

Your Future is Bright

The world is sinking in bad news. Recession, war, restrictions, COVID, inflation, busted politics and the list goes on and on. If all you listen to is the news, your life follows a similar negative path. But when we know what God says about who you are and what things are happening, the future looks bright.

God has a purpose and plan for our lives, each and every person, and this purpose is a good one full of life, but it is not something that just automatically happens. It requires our cooperation to happen. But the good news is that when we cooperate with God and what He wants to accomplish, He makes the impossible happen. He can make a bright future for anyone, in any situation from any part of the world. Here’s how.

An uplifting message of hope
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Lives

Recharge Your Life

The last couple of years have been hard on everyone. Everyone, and I do mean everyone, is struggling with something. Something at home, at work, at school, with relationships, with health, with finances, with general well-being and happiness. Realizing that everyone is struggling helps us give a little extra grace to others, because we all need it! And one of the big conclusions I’ve come to recently is the necessity of finding an activity that recharges your life.

These activities are as diverse as humanity itself, as this video shows, but there’s something out there for everyone that, when you do it, you come alive and feel it. Now more than ever it’s important to find the people and the activities that recharge your life batteries. Then make a plan to get out and do it on a regular basis.

We can’t treat these activities like a hobby— they are way more crucial to life. We need to regularly invest time into life-giving activities. If you do, there will be incredible benefits to your physical, emotional and spiritual well-being. So what are you waiting for? What sparks that interest in you?

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Lives

A Foreigner’s Struggle

Being a foreigner in any place is an eye-opening experience. In fact I recommend that everyone who has a chance to go to a foreign country take it, because it will greatly increase your perspective. Having a narrow perspective on life is a great inhibitor to really seeing any kind of growth — whether personal or as a community.

But one of the great struggles in living as a foreigner anywhere is schooling. Do you educate your children in your native culture & system or do you educate them in local systems? This of course depends on a whole lot of factors, such as where you see your self ending up in the future. When the kids get old enough to make their own decisions, their desires will modify the best route to take.

But the decision isn’t always clear, and knowing exactly what is best for your family can be a constant struggle. In Japan (specifically the Tokyo area), where there are a number of options available, the decision can be mind-bending at times. It’s the focus of this Life in Japan episode.

It was very interesting reading through the myriad of comments on this video, because there is no clear consensus, whether among the Japanese or the foreigners! If anything clear came from it, it’s that you have to decide where you want to end up in life, and then plan your education accordingly. Doing what is best for your family is so important.

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Lives

Building Strong Family Ties

Building a strong family doesn’t happen by accident, and a lot of work needs to be done in order to have the family of your dreams. I have a goal of always improving as a husband, as a father and leading my family to realize their full potential (which is something that requires God’s help to do). But part of building a strong family is spending quality time together. That’s where weekends and special holidays are critical. The tendency is often to fill this time with whatever we as individuals (or as a couple) want to do. But a strong family is built when we do things that strengthen the whole family, even if those things are not our first choice personally. A happy family is well worth the sacrifice of personal preference, because it won’t matter what you do, you’ll have a blast.

Golden Week vacation begins!

But trying to do fun things with the family during Golden Week can be a huge challenge. Why? Because that’s when so so many other people are off and out with their families. The roads pack with traffic and camping grounds and vacation destinations fill to the max with visitors. It can really be a deterrent to a good time. But even in the midst of these challenges, we visited 2 new parks that were well worth the hassle of Golden Week. One of them had one of the craziest slides I’ve ever experienced!

Braving Golden Week to discover 2 must-visit parks was an adventure to say the least

But when it comes down to it, it doesn’t matter where we are or what we’re doing, we’re going to make the most of it. You can be in a field of weeds, but if you know what to look for, you can find the beautiful path that leads on to things you’ve never experienced and places you’ve never gone. Thinking about the blessings in life will prepare you to experience more and more of those blessings in the future. It is something that you have to train yourself to do. But the more you look for blessings and praise others for their good attributes, the more you’ll live a positive life.

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LIJ Episode Lives Videos

The Japanese Only Challenge

A while ago we challenged ourselves to speaking only Japanese for a whole day. This was a big challenge, especially as parents who, in some situations, need to communicate clearly and quickly. The kids understand Japanese pretty well (especially Rebeca & Anna) but Dad & Mom, in spite of a lot of study, still have a lot to learn. We did our best and made a video about it, and that video really connected with people here in Japan and around the world. So recently we decided “Let’s do one day in Japanese again.” And so we did.

While I wish Japanese just rolled off my tongue, most of the time for Ruth and me it’s a still a big challenge. But in the challenge of doing this video again, we’ve come to realize just how far we’ve come in the last couple of years, and that’s encouraging. It gives hope that in the not so distant future, our whole family will be perfectly comfortable in Japanese as well.

Here we go — again! Does our Japanese sound any better this time?

But speaking Japanese isn’t the only challenge we’re up for. Recently I made a video about how we celebrate Easter here in Japan. Yes, there are chocolate bunnies and Easter eggs in the stores, but by far those who celebrate Easter are Christians who remember the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. So the challenge is, how do we go about celebrating a predominately Christian holiday here in Japan?! Well, with a big party and lots of kids, of course! And you can’t forget the Easter story.