Last month, I was invited to attend the RJC Conference which was held in Southern California this year. There were many interesting seminars and talks offered, both in English and Japanese, and so many people to meet. I participated in a group exhibition and as one of four speakers (Mark Joseph, Tim Ingle, Megan Sauder, and myself) on a guest panel, the topic being "Art as Outreach", facilitated by Miya Smith. Miya is an artist as well as Japan ministry leader at Saddleback Church, and encouraged me in my work while I was living in Sendai. I felt very honored to participate in the discussion with such a passionate and seasoned group, and it touched my heart very deeply to hear from the panelists as well as those attending the conference.
After living and working in Japan for four years, I returned home to Southern California for a sabbatical starting this past December. During my time back home, the reality of reverse culture shock, as well as the relativity of how one defines “home” has been part of my contemplation and questions. Duality, longing, and belonging are explored in my prayers as I paint. Intercultural dialogue and missions lends itself to holding the the people of this world dearly, but the world itself loosely; it creates longing for eternity with Jesus:
“But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them.” Hebrews 11:16