This is not one of those recipes but I promise, it's really, really worth it.
Cooking for groups has given me an appreciation for meals that don't require a lot of extra steps. I want to put things in the oven and forget about it for a while, I want simplicity and short recipes.
This is not one of those recipes but I promise, it's really, really worth it.
Here I am, sitting in my room at Torchbearers Yamanakako, watching the water drip, drip, drip, evidencing the melting snow. Bound to return soon to a country of year-round warmth, this snow is something I'm enjoying. But more than hot drinks or snowflakes on moss, I'll look back with fondness at the people I've worked with over the last two months.
And though I look forward to ongoing lessons as the Holy Spirit continues to teach me wherever I am around the globe, I expect I'll really miss this place where I feel Him at work. In light of that, here are three of my "takeaways."
Efficiency in practical skills
As a volunteer at Torchbearers Yamanakako, I spent hours washing dishes, folding laundry, caring for children, organizing boxes of supplies and performing general cleaning tasks. I learned that the order in which I tackle my to-do list can directly affect my efficiency. If I clean the countertops and microwave before sweeping, I won't have to sweep twice. I also learned that heat removes grease. Boiling water is therefore more faithful to remove oil stains from dishes than a good scrub with just-warm water.
People are complex
As part of my staff training, I took Love Language and Communication Style mini tests. The former is designed to show the testee which of five ways he or she tends to express and receive love. The latter helps us know whether we are primarily task-, process-, people- or ideas-oriented in our approach to life.
Taking these tests and viewing the other staff members' results opened my eyes to how different each person is to the next. A better way to put it would be that God made each of us so uniquely. He is so endlessly creative.
Hand-in-hand with this, I learned that to be a source of encouragement to members of a community isn't as simple as doing for them what I want them to do for me (though I believe that's a fantastic start!). It's about learning to know them-- to really know them. What makes them smile? How do they uniquely feel loved?
This has been a key word to me since the new year. Google defines it as "the quality or state of being exposed to the possibility of being attacked or harmed, either physically or emotionally."
I don't want to be attacked or harmed so I try to cover up every possibility. I try to create a picture-perfect image of myself to hide inside. But as children of God, He wants us to "walk as children of light" (Ephesians 5:8). Since light exposes, part of that means being vulnerable. It's scary and sometimes painful, but I believe it's also a beautiful part of God's design. It showcases His power to transform lives, it purges "unfruitful works of darkness" from us, it enables genuine love and fellowship with other believers and with God, and it allows us to practice truth.
That concludes my list of three. I hope you benefit from these takeaways as much as I did.
~Jordy Thériault, Torchbearers Yamanakako Staff Member
Who: Past Torchbearers Yamanakako Students & Staff
When: Saturday, February 11th at 5:00pm
What: A casual supper together
Why: Jen and the girls are in Calgary for a short time
and would love to connect with you and update you on
what's happening in Japan! We would love to hear about
what God has been doing in your life too! (Sorry, no Steve this time!)
The reunion supper will be directly followed by a "supporter night" during which we will give a formal presentation/update on what God is doing at the Centre. The supporter evening will take place from 7pm - 9pm with the formal presentation starting at 8pm. You are more than welcome to stay for the entire evening, or to leave after supper if you need to.
If you're interested in joining us, please send us an email for more information!
How did you spend your New Years?
Here at Torchbearers Yamanakako, we brought in the new year by hosting our 28th Annual New Years Conference.
At first glance our New Years Conference looked like any other Christian conference. Times of worship, teaching from God’s Word, refreshment, fellowship, food, activities, the “usual” conference stuff (ok…so maybe the scheduled trips to the public bathhouse wouldn’t be standard in North America!). But the cultural backdrop for our conference is quite different than the average North American setting.
New Years in Japan
Here in Japan, New Years is the most important holiday of the year. At midnight, Buddhist temples all over Japan ring their ceremonial bells 108 times to symbolize the 108 human defilements (sins) in Buddhist belief. Buddhists believe that ringing the bell will wipe all these bad behaviors clean from their personal history.
Meanwhile, at Shinto shrines across the country, millions of people flock for their “first visit of the year” (Hatsumōde). There they pray for success and happiness, and they purchase charms that are believed to provide luck or protection. They bring back the charms that they purchased the previous year and burn them. Fortune-telling papers are available for a donation, or they can write and display their hopes and dreams on a purchased wooden plaque.
It’s a sad scene: people grasping for prosperity, hope, and forgiveness and leaving their future in the hand of “luck” or with a hand-carved statue of Buddha. The longings of the Japanese heart for purpose, meaning, cleansing, and relationship are placed there by God Himself (Ecclesiastes 3:11). They were put there in order to draw the Japanese, and all of us, to His Heart and into satisfying relationship with Him.
Pray for Japan this New Year
Please pray Acts 17:27 for the Japanese this new year. Please pray that Jesus would reveal Himself even at the shines and temples so that people can “reach out for Him and find Him.” Please pray that they will see that He, and not a bell, can wash away our sins and provide everlasting hope and peace that could never be found in a trinket or a scrap of paper with a fortune on it.
Praise God together with us for a fabulous New Years conference. Our guests were delightful. We really enjoyed playing, resting, and praising together with this great group. We thank God for bringing Chris Thomas, the International Director of Torchbearers, to us, and for the teaching on the person and work of the Holy Spirit that he challenged us with. We praise God for our terrific team of volunteers who cheerfully and tirelessly served us and our guests. We couldn't have done it without such a great staff team!
We are already looking forward to what God will do in our midst at next year’s conference. We hope that we will see you there!
The start of the 2016/2017 New Years conference is only 10 days away! There’s no better way to ring in the New Year than fixing your attention on Jesus, being encouraged by God’s Word, fellowshipping with other believers and resting in beautiful Yamanakako.
There are still rooms available, so call 0555-62-3464 to reserve your spot today or email us at email@example.com!
From the beginning here at Torchbearers Yamanakako, we have been opening our doors and inviting people to connect. Inviting people to connect with God. Inviting people to connect with themselves. Inviting people to connect with each other. Inviting people to connect with us!
Now, thirty-four and a half years after opening our doors for the first time we are pleased to invite you to connect with us again, this time through social media.
I remember when I first came to Japan in 1995. Snail mail was the only communication option. Email wasn’t a “thing” yet. I got to call my family back in Canada once a month and pay exorbitant per-minute-international-phone rates just to hear their voices and say a brief hello.
It’s so amazing that now we can share our lives and ministry with you, our friends and partners around the world, so quickly and easily. We are so excited to show you what God is doing through the Torchbearers Yamanakako ministry and to interact with you along the way.
So please connect with us! Be sure to sign up for our blog, like us on Facebook, and to follow us on Instagram and Twitter. It will be great to keep in touch!