Remembering and Dreaming
HELLO AND HAPPY NEW YEARS! This is going to be an update of epic proportions. I will be taking a look back on some of the past moments from 2014 (focusing on my recent time back in Japan) and also sharing some of the things that are up and coming (including some dreams) for 2015. As this update will be rather long, feel free to pick and choose which portions to read… or if you have the time, enjoy every word! You are loved! Thanks for taking the time to hear what God has been doing and the things that I am excited about for next year.
IN 2014 I SPENT 5 MONTHS IN PASADENA CALIFORNIA: From January – May I was living with some missionary friends name Pete and Hege. During this time I was helping my friend Pete start his design company Fetter Lane Media. This was a great opportunity for me to continue practicing my design skills as well as serving several local churches and organizations. Through this position, I was able to serve a local church, a house of prayer, and an amazing high school ministry all based in California. I also had the privilege of working with some old friends from my home church in Tacoma called City Central that have been traveling the world missionally and currently are starting college outreach projects and missionary training platforms in California. One of the amazing organizations that I did a lot of design work for is called One Voice Student Missions. They are a team of missionaries from all over the world that have set their hearts on Jesus and their lives on reaching every high school with the gospel. It was a privilege and honor to work along side and build relationship with these amazing people. I miss them!
IN JUNE OF 2014 GOD BEGAN TO CALL ME BACK TO JAPAN: I decided to spend a few months back in my home state of Washington in order to be with my family as well as connect with some friends before leaving the country. During this time I did some fund raising and also started working part time at Island Lake Summer Camp. This was a great summer of working alongside some of my old and dear friends from camp, meeting up with friends on a semi-regular basis to share life stories and also begin dreaming about Japan. Looking back on these 3 months there is much fondness in my heart. It was a gift I think. I made some new friends that summer, learned more about who I am, and also began to dream bigger about Japan and a few other places.
GOD GAVE ME A WONDERFUL GIFT CALLED NORWAY: Right before leaving for Japan, I was given the opportunity to travel to Norway for free as a business trip with my friend Pete! I was overwhelmed with joy as Norway had been on my heart extensively during the later half of 2013. God provided a way for me to go and I see it as a gift from him. I stayed one week with his Norwegian wife’s family in Fredrikstad and worked with Pete on a website design. Then I flew to Ålesund to meet some old and dear friends named Ragnar and Bodil. These two are like grandparents to me and I have known them for as long as I can remember. I had not seen them for many years and it brought so much joy and life to my heart to be reunited with them in Norway. I stayed in their house by a beautiful fjord for 2 weeks, got to see lots of the surrounding areas (did a lot of fishing and mountain hiking), visited several churches and pastors, and had the time of my life. It was from Norway that I flew back to Japan. If you would like to see some of the stunning photos I was able to take during this trip you can see them on my Facebook Album HERE.
THE RETURN TO JAPAN: On November 1st, I returned to Tokyo, Japan. This was my third significant trip to Japan. The first time that I came was for a 5 month training program known as DTS, the second was when I returned as staff for a 2 year commitment and this time is… well I am still learning just exactly what it is. But it is good.
YOTSUYA INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL: I have started working one day a week as an English teacher. This has been a fantastic opportunity to love on students here in Japan from many different backgrounds. I love working at this school because most of the teachers are Christian and really are wholeheartedly loving students. The picture above is from a field trip we took students on. Teacher and student. Love these guys!
CORNERSTONE TOKYO CHURCH: I have continued serving at Cornerstone church since returning to Japan. God has given me much encouragement through this wonderful group of believers and it is a joy to grow and live life with them. There are so many ways that I have been blessed by these amazing people. The pastor’s wife gave me 4 kinds of home made soup after I had a wisdom tooth pulled just to name one example! I have been serving on worship team this year and also got to help with our Christmas and candle light service.
FRIENDS: I have been making new international and Japanese friends recently and have been enjoying a deeper developing sense of community and fellowship. Recently I have been spending time with lots of people from church, fellow teachers from Yotsuya International School, and also people from International HiBA where I was a volunteer for 3 years. I am blessed to have so many wonderful people in my life. Each person is a gift.
MORE ENGLISH TEACHING: I had the opportunity to help one of my Japanese friends with their English school for one day. The above photo was taken with some of the students I got to meet that day. I had a lot of fun and hope to help some there again sometime soon. Although my primary teaching focus will continue to be at Yotsuya International School, I am realizing that English is a huge door opener for working with and meeting many new people. Its fun to learn more about ways that God can use me.
DREAMS FOR 2015: As I am nearing the end of this update, it is 12:16am on January 1st of 2015. Its amazing to think that it is already a new year. God has been so faithful and continued to show his great goodness to me in 2014. I am excited for this coming year and would like to share with with you a few plans as well as some dreams that are on my heart.
JAN 23-25: I will be going with my church to visit some people in Taiwan. We are taking a small team of people and hope to encourage the people we know there that used to come to Cornerstone Church before moving to Taiwan. The Church as a whole globally has been on my heart a lot recently and I am seriously excited about this small but important opportunity to encourage some amazing brothers and sisters.
FEB 2-6: I will be returning to South Korea for my second time! Korea as a whole has been on my heart a lot for most of 2014 and I am excited to return for a short visit. Some friends and I in YWAM Tokyo have been meeting weekly to pray for NK and SK and I have also been in conversation with one of my Korean friends who works in the UN. I hope to meet up with her to both share and ask questions. I will be staying with the same host family I met last time I was in Korea and I am really excited to see that family again. During my visit there will also be an entire Korean outreach missionary team staying at the house as well and I am looking forward to meeting / living with all of them. I also hope to meet up with one of my family’s most recent exchange students who is back in Seoul and also connect with some old friends.
FEB 6-14: I will be flying to Thailand for the first time and staying there for a little over a week. This trip should be a lot of fun and I am viewing it slightly as a vacation before returning again to Tokyo. However, I also will be meeting several missionaries that work in Thailand and one from China as well. God really seems to be connecting me with more and more parts of the global church and this seems to be one of the things He is focusing on for the coming year. I really desire to see unity, reconciliation and partnership in the body of Christ globally. This has been a growing passion on my heart. I have been thinking often of John 17:21 in which we see that one of the last things that Jesus talks to his father about before going to the cross is unity. His desire is for us to be one “…just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” I believe that this means that God’s desire for His church is that we would have the same level of intimacy, unity, oneness together with Him as he has with God the Father! So that people would know that Jesus was sent by God.
MAR 10-13: I will be traveling to a really beautiful part of Japan near Osaka for the 2015 YWAM Japan Staff Conference. This is a yearly conference that exists partly to fulfill a legal requirement for foreign non-profits operating in Japan but also has become a wonderful opportunity for all of the YWAM staff in Japan to unite in prayer, worship and vision sharing.
MAR 20-30: I will be returning to the Philippines for my forth year and will be leading my third outreach there. God has strongly put this on my heart and I know that I am supposed to go. The timing will be a little practically difficult as it happens to be the hottest time of the year there. However, I really believe in this trip. We will be continuing to support the YWAM base in Olongapo that works to free, disciple, train women who work in the sex industry. Never have I known an organization that so wholeheartedly loves and invests in an area covered in much darkness. This ministry has seen so many lives transformed. My heart on a personal level is to be, in whatever ways I can, a source of encouragement and refreshment for the staff at that base. Again, they are part of the global church and I love them deeply.
THIS NEXT YEAR IS GOING TO BE AMAZING: And I can’t do it without you. Thank you for all of the prayers, words of encouragement and financial support. I very much don’t feel like I am alone here in Tokyo partly because of the amazing support base that I have. And I want to again thank you for all that you have done. I was thinking about this recently and have realized that I always seem to group support into two main categories. Prayer and Financial. Because of that, I would like to try something for 2015. I am going to list out a few things that I would love financial support in for 2015. Also, I am going to create a signup form for anyone that is interested in being on intercessor for me. Below are more details.
I would like to be able to send out regular prayer requests in the form of emails. If you are interested in being one of my main intercessors then please fill out the form below. Please write a quick message and I will add you to the list. Thank you for praying!
Here are a few things that I would love financial support for in 2015. Some of the costs below are estimates and may change.
$300 for Taiwan trip
$300 for Korea trip
$500 for the YWAM Tokyo 2015 Staff Conference
$700 for the Philippines trip
If you are able to help support me financial for any of these trips you can give at this page: SUPPORT
Tags: 2014, 2015, blog, Donations, dream, E. Devin Vander Meulen II, explore, future, grow, happy new years, Intercessor, Japan, Missionary, Newsletter, North Korea, Noway, Olongapo, Osaka, Philippines, Remember, Revival, South Korea, Staff Conference, Support, Testimony, Thailand, Tokyo, travel, Update, Vision, wander, year in review, YWAM, YWAM Tokyo
"The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners... They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor. They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated; they will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations."