okaerinasai!

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“Okaerinasai!” (or Welcome Home)… These are the sweetest words to hear when one lives in Japan. I loved being greeted upon return from Budapest by friends and neighbors who said “welcome home” in Japanese. But especially hearing these words out of Owen’s lips when he came running to hug me. I really can’t believe how much I missed our kids. Olivia has definitely gotten rounder, and is now walking about 10 more steps than she was before. Annie just kept saying over and over, ” I missed you Mommy.” and I would say, “Oh, I missed you SOO much Annie!” and then she was say it again, “But I missed you Mommy!”
Some random thoughts on the Lausanne Conference:

It’s all about relationships. And it was relationships that stand out as highlights from this trip.

-The Leadership Team that I am working with is a truly amazing group of people from all parts of the globe. It is still hard to know why I am part of this austere group, but I am honored to contribute as God may use me. Our goal is to work together across the globe – mostly through email and conference calls – so as to uniquely contribute in the next 3 years to world evangelization through exploring issues and solutions of leadership development. A huge task, but as I interacted with this team I was excited about how God may work. Here is our team (minus a few members) meeting for breakfast at a Budapest McDonalds:
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–Peter T., a colleague also serving on the Leadership Development Committee, from South Africa. He shared with me about some of the work they are doing in Zimbabwe, my birth place, and I could not forget about one woman in particular he mentioned who is working alone in a valley in Zimbabwe as a nurse, every day ministering to 200 plus AIDS patients. How can we be part of the solution? (photo above, he is in the center in the blue tie-dye shirt).

–I teared up when I talked to Vonette Bright during a break and told her that she has been a contemporary model of mine for many years. She is still such a beautiful, beautiful woman, radiating Christ — still seeking to serve.

–Getting to know Grace Matthews, a remarkable woman who serves on Asian Access’ board of directors, and…
— Wendy, who will serve as my mentoree (or mentee) on my Leadership Development Committee (we are all finding a younger leader who will “shadow” our work these next three years. Wendy is committed to leadership training in Mexico, where she is headed as a missionary). PHoto below: Wendy, center, and Grace Matthews
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–Sitting in a discussion group with Ralph Winter and his wife Barbara, and hearing Ralph share his thoughts about the lack of depth in so much discipleship that is taking place around the world. Even at 80-something plus, Ralph is still doing a great deal of thinking about world evangelization and has lots to share. When our colleague Bobby asked him what advice he would give a younger missionary, he said, “you don’t start learning until you’re 70!” (Photo below: Ralph and Bobby)
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…. A woman who sat at my table at breakfast from the Caribbean– I thought she was with the conference and then discovered that she was in town for a KLM Conference– I had a chance to pray with her at the end of breakfast about her family situation….

–seeing God’s annointing on our friend and former Asian Access president, Doug Birdsall. He led the event with grace and wonderful leadership. Below is a photo of Doug publicly thanking the original leaders of Lausanne 1974.
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Here is a short video of the end of the Doxology as the Lausanne 2010 leaders were announcing the decision to hold Lausanne III in CapeTown, South Africa.

–a Scottish man who sat with my colleague Bobby and I on the way home on our connecting flight from Budapest to Amsterdam, who spent 22 years as a “tentmaker” in South Africa and led hundreds of South Africans to Christ, including whole villages. He knew very little about Lausanne, but his very life reflects its essence.

–My Egyptian roommate Nancy, who at 22 was the youngest person I met at the conference. She came to help with registration, and we greatly enjoyed our time together. We have a standing offer to visit the land of the pyramids, and would love for Nancy to come to Japan someday. She shared with me the dilemma she is facing right now about whether to allow for an arranged marriage, or to ask to be allowed to make her own choice.
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I hope in a few days to post some of the most challenging thoughts from the week.
But these are a few of the relationships that stand out from this past week. And then- best of all – to come home to my favorite hero, Eric, and the three little people in the world I most want to be with! It has been a great homecoming.

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2 thoughts on “okaerinasai!

  1. Wow Sue! It was amazing reading about your trip. It’s so easy to get caught up in day to day activities that I oftentimes forget how big and wonderful our God is and that He is working in so many lives and ministries around the world. Thanks for the beautiful reminder! See you soon!

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