Experiencing Community (in MN & WI)…

(May 2015 Monthly Prayer Bulletin)

Thanks for praying about my (Andrea’s) trip to Minnesota and Wisconsin last month. The trip began in snow and ended at over 80 degrees-it’s definitely planting season for both vegetable and spiritual seeds. In addition to connecting with five churches and many special friends and relatives (thanks for all the good conversation, food, walks, housing and transportation!), other highlights included helping in a tutoring program for Somali kids and a junior high Japanese class, submitting my last papers (DMin studies) on time, and watching the wonder of spring appear for the second time this year.

Gail's Home It was great connecting with Minnesota family…. cousin Gail offering a bed and home base for operations…. cousin Bryan offering a fancy yellow jeep for getting around!

Everywhere the theme of community stood out-either its presence, or its absence. Maybe this sensitivity is because of the dislocation we feel due to our frequent moves. (7 locations in 10 years: Isesaki, Maebashi, Turlock, Maebashi, Seattle, Chicago, Tokyo, Woodinville.) We are social creatures, by the grace of God. We are made to be connected, known, loved, and interdependent. Mobility and technology can connect us, but instead, paradoxically often isolate us from human interactions. As Mary Pipher puts it in her book Another Country, the transition from a communal to an individualistic society means “we all live among strangers…in a hotel society.” Sometimes, of course, being anonymous and independent is a momentary relief, but it is not a great way to live. The arrest of the six young Somali men from Minnesota for attempting to join ISIS highlights their lack of meaningful integration into their larger communities. READ HERE

In the rural churches I visited, I was struck by how lucky (and loved!) the youth are, even though they themselves may not realize it. They are loved in the big churches too, but perhaps not as well known. Community building-to know and be known, and to be faithfully present to one another, both inside and outside of the church in cities as well as towns-may be one of the major tasks of the church in the 21st century. (For those wanting a stimulating read, see James Davison Hunter’s To Change the World: The Irony, Tragedy and Possibility of Christianity in the Late Modern World)


  • good chances to reconnect with supporting churches and relatives in Minnesota. Tim’s family has a heritage of faithful, loving, serving people-missionaries to the Congo, Alaska, Brazil, China, pastors, farmers, health care workers, homemakers, educators, and more.
  • the boys’ group at the Isesaki Church continues to grow-we were excited to see this shot of those that gathered for an indoor soccer game last week.

Boys' Group

A couple moms as well as our colleagues Pastor Kogure and Jim & Hydi Peterson are working with this outreach. The boys all look pretty serious in this out-of-focus shot but we know better!



Thanks for your prayers for our family as we adjust and begin to look forward to another year here in the US.

  1. Sky is excited about soccer tryouts and getting certified as a youth referee
  2. Lilla is relieved to be done with AP testing and looks forward to getting her driver’s license and first job
  3. Tim and Andrea are praying about how to “put down roots” locally for the next year. We want to faithfully use our gifts here while we pray and work toward going back to Japan in summer of 2016-please pray for God’s wisdom and discernment.

In case you missed it here is a repeat portion of last month’s bulletin:

In recent weeks we have requested and received permission to extend our home assignment. We had been planning to return to Japan this summer. Now it appears likely that it will be summer of 2016. My mom and stepmom are both in their 80s and we feel the need to spend some more time with them now. Sky continues to experience some special needs and challenges that we feel can be best resourced and managed here in the US for the short haul. The need to shore up our financial support as well as several other issues all seem to be coming together to make this decision seem pretty obvious. Honestly, there is quite a bit of disorientation that we feel…. but we also have a sense of peace. Our mission team in Japan, as well as our national partners are aware of this decision and are standing with us in prayer. Thank you for praying with us in all of this. We’ll keep you informed as we move forward.


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