reflect 2011, forward 2012

2011 is history. It marked the 50th year of my life, making me suddenly realize that the length of my life would actually show up on a time line of the history of the world — almost 1/2 that of Joseph’s! What to show for all that time? ummmm, welllll, uhhhh,,,,

Main events in my life last year were coming back to Japan to the same house i lived in from 1998-2005. It feels so good to be in comfortable surroundings, waking up at nite knowing how to get to the bathroom, and not having to wonder if you were going to step on a creepy-crawly, knowing how to communicate with people around you, cooking food you like, earning money again after a 5-year absence (except for a 8-month stint in Thailand), not having to wonder if the people you’re staying with really want you to leave or not, etc. etc. If the 5 years of travel added 10 years to my age, this 1 year rolled off 1 or 2 years of that 🙂

It was very difficult tho getting back into earning mode. Having only a 90-day tourist “pass”, it was impossible to promise people i could teach English long-term. Fortunately some people took a chance on me, for which i’m extremely thankful, and then in September a former customer of Country Life Restaurant (an American guy) sponsored my one-year working visa – thank you! Strangely, only 1 of the 60+ kids i used to teach in 2005 wanted to restart lessons, so it has taken a while to get back up to speed, but things are definitely going well and looking up now. It feels really good to not just be able to support myself, but to have enough income to help others too!

The Kobe Seventh-day Adventist church provided quite a roller-coaster experience for me. I first went to the church on January 19, after the lady elder at the Yao branch-church affirmed that she still believes that it is OK for new converts to have idols in their home. I won’t agree to that, so went to the Kobe church, taking nearly 2 hours each direction. What a pleasant surprise to see them very interested in the Japanese 1858 Great Controversy book i translated, and warm and friendly in sabbath school, and even the pastor preaching about this book, then giving away 50 copies to all the congregation one sabbath! wow! They kept trying to sponsor my visa, but too late and too little, as the Union nixed the idea, but we went ahead and started a little free English school for neighborhood kids on Tuesdays. It has been great to see some of the kids coming to Vacation Bible School and the Christmas program, probably the first time many of them have ever been inside a church. There was lots of talk at the beginning of my holding studies on the 1858gc book, but as week after week passed, i slowly began to realize that while the intentions were good, there was no real desire to study the words of God. There were the usual anti-biblical things being done in church which i raised my voice against, and basically i was told that this is the way it is, and i have to follow it. Well, i’ve pretty much decided to opt out. How can i join in communion when the pastor is encouraging a hindu family to take part with us?! etc.

My studies in the inspired words of God this year were mostly into how the calendar of God is set up. This subject is very important for knowing what happened in 1844, which was my focus, but on the way to there, i found out that ALL the statutes of the Lord look to still be in force today, which seems to include the feasts. hmmmm.

My resolutions for the New Year are to:
1. Study out deeply whether or not we are supposed to keep all the statutes of the Lord, including the feasts, today
2. Pray more
3. Keep my eyes and mind from impure things

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