Japanese Prayer Wall

Japanese Prayer Wall

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Passing the Torch

The time is quickly approaching when I will leave Japan.  As you can imagine, there are a lot of mixed emotions and things to do to prepare for that move.  This period of transitions really started for me last month.

In January, we welcomed 3 new people into the Kumamoto missionary community: Caroline Keenan, Laura Fentress, and Morgan Dixon.  As they participate in orientation activities, they are preparing to work in the Kumamoto Lutheran schools.  As I leave Kyushu Gakuin, Caroline will start working there.  Likewise, Laura and Morgan will start working at Luther Gakuin when Allyson Bedford and Ally Streed leave there.  During the 2 ½ months of overlapping time, I am helping the new missionaries settle in and prepare for their new jobs.    
Laura, Caroline, and Morgan
What happens when you are trying to train the person or people who will fill your position?  I want to make the transition for Caroline as smooth as possible and for her to feel comfortable as she embarks on this new challenge.  Still, there’s that little voice inside of me questioning, “Will people miss me when I’m gone?  Will they recognize just how much I did and how hard I worked?  If someone else just steps in, will it have mattered that I was here?  Will I be remembered?”

The truth is that I am part of a relay race that started more than 50 years ago.  I am in a missionary program where people usually stay for a few years, and then another person steps in to take that position.  I think of the J3 program as one person passing the Olympic torch to another and another and another.  Often we don’t even see the fruits of our labors, but each person is necessary and valuable in this process. Every person that participates is uniquely skilled and gifted for the leg of the race that they run.  Everyone is necessary for completing the race.
2013 J3s and other missionaries
2010 J3 retreat
2006 J3 retreat
2005 J3 retreat
2004 J3 retreat
 So, what relay race are you currently running?  How are you contributing to the efforts that people started before you arrived?  How are you preparing the next generation for the role they will play in that race?
Passing the torch...Give it a try.


  1. Thank you for your part in the relay. You continue to be in my prayers as you transition from J-3 and take up a different torch.

  2. Wow Christine. What you wrote, and the pictures you shared stir up a lot of feeling in me as I look back over these years.

    Julie and I started here *together* in September 2003 in Kumamoto- just before you arrived the first time. We have always been kind of on the circumference of the community, seeking to find meaningful ways to connect with or be connected to different people in the community. Several individuals have kept our spark for His mission alive in our hearts over these years, but I think our visits and chances to hang out with you have been consistently torch relighting. The cool thing is I think part of that has been because it was mutual. Hmmm..torches relighting torches - I like that better than iron sharpening iron.

    I really hope God will keep all three of us in community though we'll be far apart physically soon.

    Thanks, torchbearer!

    Chuck Waterman

    1. Chuck, I'm so glad that our legs of the race overlapped. I'm excited to see what God does in Kumamoto and in your life and Julie's life in the years ahead.

  3. you are correct - knowing who and what you believe in is very important. Come listen to the audio I made on our Creator.Read more