Jay and Megumi Vedoya
Ethnic backgrounds: Filipino and Japanese
Tell us what you do for:
Work: I’m a manager for HOPE Mission in Calgary. I oversee outreach efforts in Calgary, from campgrounds to afterschool programs.
Hobbies: Play guitar, running, biking, art, photography. I’m involved with children and music ministry at my church. Doing things with my kids and wife.
Name of your kids, and age:
- Lisa – 13
- Aily – 11
- Kanon – 8
- Haruna – 6
Your favorite activities with your children: Play music together. With Aily, drawing is fun. We spend time together, family time, reading the Bible, playing board games. In the summer, going out to the mountains and parks. And exploring our world. During summer we go out to the camp and do wilderness activities.
Birthplace: Winnipeg, Manitoba
When did you meet Megumi? The first time was on Christmas 1995. My brother invited her to a Christmas play. Then the second time I saw her was in a parking lot in our college. We had the same courses and went to class together. When I asked her out, she and her friends had an application form to date her. I had to apply to date her. I gave a processing fee of $15! It was fun.
First impression? When I first saw her play the piano, I was like “WOW.” She told me she doesn’t speak English well, but she’s so confident. I was just out of her league. She’s a good leader, funny, and all these things. If I could marry a woman, I’d marry her!
What attracted you to her? She’s a very beautiful woman.
How did you propose? After graduation, she went back to Japan. We had phone calls and sent letters to each other. It was a long distance relationship. Then I went to Japan and asked her dad for permission to marry her. We had to go through five elders of the church and get their approval to marry her. I was a student at the time. I was asked, “how will you survive?”. I kept telling them, “I have faith.”
I respected her family. And then her father finally gave his blessing.
Then one time, she was practicing for a performance. I left a trail of flowers for her to follow. When she found me, I played piano for her then I proposed. Her first answer was “sure.” I had to ask her the second time to make sure… She said “yes!”
After marriage, we lived in Japan for five years.
When did you get married? July 20, 2002
Three things you admire about Megumi?
Your favorite family activities? Friday family movie night! We fight over what movie to watch. We also play music together. We play for each other, learning music together.
Biggest challenge regarding multicultural marriage?
- Communication aspect of it. If you watch the Big Fat Greek wedding, it’s more like that. It took a long time to understand who we are as a couple. We’re not a Japanese family; we’re not a Filipino We are OUR family. We’re still figuring it out.
- Shedding our ideas of what a marriage should look like. We had these images of what a husband or wife should be from our cultural backgrounds. These formed expectations that caused struggles. We learned to put aside these expectations. We had to form our family identity which is rooted in faith.
Your advice to men on resolving conflict in marriage? Stay in the room, and just listen to the heart of your wife and be able to seek wisdom in responding to what her heart is saying.
Who are your biggest influences in your life and why? My parents, and my brother. My brother and I have a mutual respect for each other. We had great mentors in our life. One of them is Mr. Janzen during college. And Bob Shelton, a pastor that very influential in my life. Last but not least, Megumi is the biggest influence in my life. She’s God gift to me to help me become the biggest person in my wife.
Tell us what you do for:
Work: Grace Notes Music Academy. I founded and worked at as director and teacher. I started to teach music when I was a teenager. It wasn’t until four years ago that I got serious about my teaching. I began teaching in my house, then it grew. So we took a commercial space and now we have a music school running.
Hobbies: Cook, bake, and jog. I love looking at the mountains in the morning. Just seeing and enjoying God’s creation. I also like playing ping-pong in my house. I love all racket sports. I also like playing music with other musicians and share the joy. Teaching the kids is also a hobby.
Birthplace: Nagano, Japan
When did you arrive in Canada (if you were not born in Canada)? The first time was in 1995, for school. I came alone. I didn’t know any people. I had a strong sense of God’s calling to study music and theology. After five years I went back to Japan and served in the Ministry.
First impression of Jay? The first impression of him was goofy and funny. Nice to talk too. When we briefly met, I saw him as Nathan’s little brother. Next time I saw him on campus, I thought he was his brother Nathan. Then I got to know him. I got to see the serious side of him. We got into deep conversations of God’s forgiveness. I was looking for a man that has a deep understanding of God’s love and extend it to people in a practical way. I found that in Jay.
Three things you admire about Jay?
- His character. His integrity. He sticks to his promises and his word. He sacrifices other things to keep his integrity straight.
- His sense of humor. He has a way of words that gives light in every situation.
- His creativity, not just in arts and music, but in all that he does. His mind is always working.
Your family’s happiest moments? There’s a lot of moments. Every time we have a new baby, it’s a big celebration. One time we went hiking in Waterton couple of years ago. Our youngest was four years old at the time. We all hiked and arrived at the top of the mountain. It was beautiful. That’s the first time we pushed each other physically.
Biggest challenge regarding multicultural marriage? Understanding different expectations from each other. We develop expectations of each other that were unrealistic. We had this unspoken expectation based on our cultural upbringing. When that expectation is not met, it creates a sense of tension. We just need to talk about it.
We have to create our own family’s culture. Not Japanese, not Filipino, but us. We have to verbalize and communicate these expectations. There’s always love even if the expectations aren’t met, especially if the expectations came from our cultural backgrounds.
“Best gift we can give to our children is our marriage.” – Jay.
Your advice to women on resolving conflict in marriage? Pray, first. Know that you’re not alone in your journey. If you feel there’s a big problem taking over your life, know that someone else has already overcome that problem.
Women are more relational. But we don’t like to talk about our problems. We talk about our kids and husband’s achievements, but not always our problems. But seek help if there’s a problem. If you’re stuck in a hole and stay there, people will fall in it with you. My kids feel it when I’m not happy, and it impacts everyone. When you’re not happy, everyone suffers. So seek help.
Your advice for raising kids? Love your husband first before your children. Raise them in a way that God raises his children – His grace, guidance, discipline and protection. Love unconditionally, using all different means to communicate your love. Not just say “I love you,” but speak into their lives. When they’re desperate and vulnerable, assure them that you love them, and support them.
Who are your biggest influences in your life and why?
My parents. They spent a lot of time with me and my siblings growing up, playing sports, took us to church each week, and I learned about Bible stories from my dad. He’s an excellent storyteller. I remember him telling us the stories every night. It’s the greatest treasure to develop character.
My mom has a gift of knowing who needs what. She’s always on the look out for people who needs comfort. She always baked for people and delivered it to them just to cheer them up.
My instructor in college Dale Wheeler. I came to Canada with low self-esteem and little confidence. He taught me piano skills, but through his guidance and teaching, he helped me build my self-confidence. I was timid and quiet. Dr. Wheeler took a significant role in helping me discover who I was and helped me become who I am today.
My husband, Jay. The most stable figure in my life next to my parents. He’s gone through valleys and mountaintops with me. He still accepts me and loves me unconditionally. I can count on him. He’s my source of peace and encouragement.