Larry and Ruth Spalink work in Tokyo, Japan, one of the world’s great mega-cities. Japan is a prosperous and modern but spiritually dark place, with less than 1% of the people knowing Jesus. Religious Japanese (there are also many atheists) worship what they themselves refer to as a plethora of “gods” with a variety of functions. Most of them practice various Shinto (Japanese indigenous religion) and Buddhist (imported from East Asia and mostly concerned with funeral rites) ceremonies that often involve offerings and prayers to the dead or to nature “gods.”
Larry is Christian Reformed World Mission‘s Japan team leader. He works with a cluster of churches, helping them enhance their worship and evangelistic programs. Additionally, he develops plans and budgets, oversees other staff members, manages finances, and does liaison and consultative work with the Japanese church. Since the March 11, 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, Larry has also become deeply engaged, in partnership with CRWM’s sister agency, World Renew, in support and recovery activities in the disaster zone north of Tokyo.
Ruth is Christian Academy in Japan’s school’s health officer and health center director. She’s also coordinator of the Support Team that works to help students succeed who struggle with learning disabilities and other special needs.
Larry told us of his mission this Sunday at Pleasant Street CRC in Whitinsville. MA. He was standing in for Derek Zeyl, pastor at Pleasant Street who is away on sabbatical with his family. There will be plenty of other speakers during the next 4 months until Pastor Derek returns to us.
Share Your World – 2016 Week 18
Who was your best friend in elementary school?
I actually don’t remember a name or face. That was 1955, over 60 years ago.
What things could people do for you on a really bad day that would really help you?
Give me a hug!
If you could make a 15 second speech to the entire world, what would you say?
Think about your neighbor instead of yourself.
Would you rather be an amazing dancer or an amazing singer?
I think I’d rather be a good singer. I’ve never been even a bad dancer.
I had a meeting last week with Catherine Thornton, facilitator for the Uxbridge Elderly Connection. During that meeting I presented Cathy with a lesson plan for a 5-6 week basic photography course to be offered at the Uxbridge Senior Center beginning May 12 at 6:30 p.m.. We tried to address the special needs of seniors in our community along with the center’s unique ability to accommodate them. The center has their dining hall that seats 50 as well as a 16 passenger shuttle bus and a van to pick up and return passengers to their home and the center.
Depending on the composition of those signed up for the initial class the course will be adjusted by Mr. Bob Mielke to include everyone, novice to expert. Mr. Mielke is a contributing photographer to National Geographic Magazine and photographic instructor.
The article below was published in the May 2016 issue of the Uxbridge Times.
I’ve been in my new housing unit for just under a month now and life is shaping up nicely. I have 90% of the furniture that I need with plans to build the last remaining piece, a custom dresser. In preparation for that project I’ve purchased basic power tools and accessories to allow me to build just about anything. I now have a Black & Decker Workmate 425 clamping table that I’ve already modified to become a woodworker’s workbench. I used that new workbench this morning to build a computer stand with pull-out shelf for my pen/touch tablet, wireless keyboard and wireless scroll mouse. Thanks to that project my iMac and all the mentioned accessories are at the perfect height for comfort during the long editing hours I regularly put in.
A custom dresser will get all my socks & underwear off the open shelves I’m presently using. It will be a basic dresser, painted, built to fit in the available space I have at the end of my bed next to my bathroom. Since I have a receptacle on that same spot I’ll add a lamp and maybe a clapper switch to turn it on when I get up to tinkle.
My new workbench folds up and tucks away on the back wall of my main entrance closet. I can get it out and have it opened up for use in less than a minute. With a 2 foot by 4 foot top it’s big enough to handle fairly large sheet goods although I need to have some custom cuts by my lumber yard in order to tote it all in my SmartCar. Life is good!
I have recently volunteered to teach a photography class at the Uxbridge Senior Center. Little did I know how little control I would have in setting up the logistics for this class. The representative for the Uxbridge Elderly Connection Inc. pretty much dictated the setup. We’re holding our first class May 12, 2016 at the Uxbridge Senior Center at 6:30 p.m.. That’s not only a tad late for seniors to be on the highway driving but it’s going to be dark or get dark before we even get into class time. Secondly, do the people who signed up for my class even own a camera? I’m not talking a cell phone here but a dedicated camera. Cell phone classes start next year.
Next we discussed editing software. Editing software? Cathy knew nothing about digital photography and the need to download the camera’s pictures onto a computer for postprocessing, another Greek word to her. I showed Cathy Photoshop Elements at $69.95 from Amazon.com. She’s going to her board of directors for the money for these items. There are three desktop computers, all hooked to the Internet, at the senior center. This will most assuredly help the photography/computer class for seniors before we’re done.
So you begin to see the logistical difficulty of teaching a group of people, any people, a hobby they may know nothing about in a manner where you don’t lose their attention in the first half hour they’re in the class.
What are we going to photograph in the course of this class? If we hold it at sundown, not much. We may just take turns taking pictures of each other. The bigger the class the slower this process will move along. If they’re not familiar with their cameras it could take forever. I know at least one of the students, Jack Keough, owns a top of the line Nikon D810 full frame DSLR. Is he going to get bored to death waiting for someone trying to figure out how to turn on their camera?
I think you get the idea behind this post. If I was King, as the old saying goes, I’d limit the class to 2-3 people with similar experience in photography itself and a prerequisite that the know the controls and settings of their own cameras. Ain’t gonna happen! Stay tuned for the subsequent posts on this class starting on May 12.
Since I teach photography I always like to keep around a few before and after edits just to show students what can be done in post processing with good software and the knowledge of its use. My best friend, Warren, sent me a selfie of his efforts to remodel his condo in preparation for sale. It’s a lot of work but he’s young and talented so eventually he’ll get it all done.
I wasn’t able to determine the kind of camera he used but I could immediately tell it had a wide angle lens causing the distortion in the original shot sent to me. I pulled it into Photoshop CC 2016 and was able to level the picture and correct for that distortion causing the vertical lines in the photo to collapse on themselves like a pyramid. A few other corrections and some vibration reduction applied to the original and you wind up with a better outcome.
I usually tell people I don’t volunteer for anything but reality shows me I’m actually just the opposite. There was the I’m Hooked fishing campaign in June of 2015 where I photographed city kids at Hagg Lake, OR for Will Warren. That was a 3 day event. Then there’s church and the senior center in Uxbridge where I photograph every event and distribute the photos freely to those involved. And finally just last week I photographed 107 paintings for a local artist, Jack Keough.
When I lived in Portland, OR I taught photography to students for free for as long as they wanted to learn. I photographed all the Oregon Zoo animals and grounds and gave them to the zoo for whatever they could use them for. I also gave free tours in the zoo to total strangers, enriching their experiences because of my familiarity with the zoo and animals.
I guess being a volunteer isn’t all that bad! It gives me an opportunity to play it forward, to give back to society for all the gifts God has given me. I’m about to embark on a new adventure by teaching anyone at the Uxbridge Senior Center photography. That will be different for sure. Seniors can be wild and crazy and get totally out of control at times. I know, I are one!
Share Your World – 2016 Week 17
When writing by hand do you prefer to use a pencil or pen?
I’m a pen kind of guy. I haven’t used a #2 pencil since grade school.
What’s your choice: jigsaw, word, maze or numeric puzzles?
It’s a tie between jigsaw or word puzzles. I could spend hours with a good jigsaw puzzle.
Do you prefer long hair or short hair for yourself?
I never got into the “hippy” era so I prefer a very short haircut.
List five some of your favorite blogs.
Spring can’t make up its mind if it wants to join us this year. It will be 70 and sunny one day and 42 with a cold rain hovering just above freezing the next. We’ve had frost warnings a couple of times already due to this roller coaster between Winter and Summer. We’re in for another cold rainy kind of day today.
The staff & volunteers at the Uxbridge decided to plant flowers in the boxes at the entrance to the center. I took a couple of photos of the pansies and daisies that took root. Here’s a photo of the first life since last Autumn.
p.s. – This might be as aster.