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A mother and daughter relationship across the world

Jane and Ellen Knuth

In 2008, like so many college graduates, Ellen Knuth was looking for a job. But unlike many grads Ellen found a job more than 6,000 miles away teaching English in Japan. All her mother could do was hope and worry from afar. 

Jane Knuth now has Ellen back home in Michigan and together they've written the new book Love Will Steer Me True: A Mother and Daughter's Conversations on Life, Love and God.

In addition to worrying about her daughter being halfway around the world, Jane had concerns for her daughter's spiritual well-being.

Jane says that only 1% of the Japanese population identifies as Christian and that Ellen was told the closest church to her was 2 hours away by train.

Ellen says she wasn't concerned about her faith. Instead, she said she feared whether she could actually do the job she was hired to do. Ellen says she felt doubt in her ability to actually teach English. Where she would say her prayers was not a pressing concern.

When asked about mistakes, Jane said her biggest mistake was always worrying about Ellen. Jane credits her husband with helping her calm down and stop worrying about Ellen. She turned to prayer and stopped expressing her worries to Ellen, something Jane says made it easier for them to talk with one another.

Ellen says one thing she wished she had known earlier was that there is no ‘perfect job’ out there for anyone. She says she is grateful she didn’t wait around for that one ‘perfect job’ to find her. Ellen says another important lesson was to be brave; to be adventurous. Little steps of bravery led to a big adventure.

There will be book signings coming up soon on Wednesday, December 3 at 7 p.m. at SS John and Paul Catholic Church, Washington Township; Saturday, December 6 from 11-4 p.m. at Kazoo Books in Kalamazoo; and Tuesday, December 9 at 5:30 p.m. at University Roadhouse, Kalamazoo. 

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