Missionary Stories

New Life and New Projects at Union Theological Seminary

This spring we have had two new projects at the seminary. First, Union Theological Seminary in the Philippines was part of the celebration of the Second Founding Anniversary of Peasants and Church People Movement of Cavite (PCPMC).

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Pacific Theology

Last week, the only regional ecumenical institution in the Southern Hemisphere, the Pacific Theological College (PTC), celebrated the induction of its new principal, the Rev. Dr. Upolu Lumā Vaai. Rev. Dr. Vaai hails from the island country of Samoa.

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Prayer of Intercession

Lord of Life, of Love, of Justice and of Peace, we give thanks today for the gift of life you have given us and a world of wonder to sustain us and give us joy.

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New Year Greetings

Dear Friends

 2018 was a tumultuous year in many ways.

 Personally, I had to say goodbye to several dear friends, one of whom was Teruko Enomoto, the founder of the Bazaar Café.

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Thanksgiving in Japan

Japan_Doug_Searles_CWS_Japan_IMG_3111.jpegAlthough I ate many and varied dishes during my stay, my hosts in Japan had never heard of kotsudan. According to Dave Barry it’s a dish made with dates although I suspect he got the name wrong. One of my favorite Japanese dishes was lamb grilled in the style of the Hokkaido Islanders. I watched my friends cook the lamb with cabbage and shallots on a small square grill on their living room table.

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Faith and Human Rights: Being Authentic Christians in a Sinful World

Sermon preached at Kowloon Union Church, Second Sunday of Advent and Human Rights Sunday

Old Testament:   Micah 6:6–8
Epistle:                 James 1:22–25
Gospel:                Matthew 22:34–40

Today, Lord, may the meditations of my heart, of my mind and of my spirit be acceptable and pleasing to you, the God of life that offers peace to all people, and may they express the wisdom you have given to each one of us. In your Son’s name, we pray. Amen.

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Because They Know Who We Are

Having grown up as an American in Japan, one of my great passions is to be a bridge for people who want to encounter new cultures. This month we had a group of ten people from Los Angeles, led by Mike Okamura of Altadena Community Church UCC. They visited our partner church, the Kyodan, to learn about issues facing the Japanese church, and to visit specific projects and ministries. Mike’s relatives live in Fukushima. He was particularly interested in taking the group to see the Tohoku region which had been devastated by the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster of 2011.

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“Weeping With Those Who Weep”

Dear Friends,

In response to recent disturbing news about the suppression of Christianity in mainland China, the Hong Kong Christian Council held an ecumenical prayer meeting on the evening of October 24. Over 100 persons gathered at the hall of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Yaumatei to sing, reflect and pray together for brothers and sisters in the mainland.

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Mission in Japan: Asian Rural Institute October 2018

japan_ari_joyce_and_bob_ray_08.jpgIn the third week of October, we can feel fall in the air here in Tochigi, Japan. Some days are still warm, but nights are pretty cool. We expected to see changing leaves, but they are still green, and the changes are in the mountains, we hear. September was busy with many visitors – university classes coming to gain experience in organic agriculture, Rotary clubs and women’s groups. Mealtimes were spent explaining to visitors our role as short term Global Mission Coworkers and why we are here!

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Mission in Japan: Asian Rural Institute September 2018

japan_ari_joyce_and_bob_ray_01.jpgIn September, 2018, Asian Rural Institute (ARI) life is as we remembered it from 2013 – welcoming smiles, camaraderie, hard work, learning by doing, and everything that comes with a community sharing a common life together. The special blessing of returning is renewing friendships and also meeting a whole new class of participants and volunteers. We are grateful to Global Ministries, an ARI partner for their support.

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