Caused Some to Cry

It’s the second time this year that the JET Program (Japan Exchange and Teaching Program) in Toronto has asked me to be their keynote speaker for their conferences. This time was more challenging as the audience comprised of individuals who have just returned from their tenures overseas in Japan. Most who were present were there for one year but there were a few who there for two or even three years. I struggled in deciding what to speak about since I was given a carte blanche for the topic.

I wrote a preliminary speech but I wasn’t particularly thrilled with it. So finally on Friday night I sat down at the computer and stared at the monitor for the longest time. I had a number of ideas but nothing seemed to quite right. Out of no where, the words of a dear spiritual advisor during my time in Japan resonated in my mind. He would always tell me, “before beginning any work, pray to God so that he may bring it to fruition and perfection”. And so I prayed that God would provide me with just the right words that would speak into the hearts of those who would hear the speech.

I didn’t sleep Friday night as I wrote and assembled two videos for use in the keynote address.

This morning I presented the keynote address and reflecting on the speech, I realize that the words I wrote and spoke were from the heart in a way that I have never presented before. From the feedback that I received, I know that what was said moved people (some even to tears- honestly!) and incited them to take action and do something with their experience. Some of the organizers who heard me present a different keynote address earlier in the summer remarked how different this one was. They too felt moved into action and wondered what had happened over the course of several months for the speech to take on such a different feeling.

I just smiled. I never told them that the difference is that I found the love of my life… I found God.


“We love because he first loved us.” (1 John 4:19)

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