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Month December 2015

Recounting God’s Goodness

As Emma mentioned in the recent post, we are going back to the US for a visit next week. It is a good opportunity for me to look back on the last several months and reflect on God’s goodness to us. Here are some pictures from the recent months. Enjoy!

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The Kids English Week. We had some visiting short-term teams that helped us tremendously! Some of the moms who came with their children have also started getting more involved in our community and attended events and Bible study.

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As a follow up to the Kids English Week, we started hosting “English Time” for moms and kids every other week. Some new moms have started coming, and we’re grateful for this opportunity to get to know them.

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Emma reading to the kids at the English Time.

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Ladies’ Bible study. Several non-Christian friends regularly attend this group. We are grateful to God for the work He is doing in the lives of our dear friends!

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One of the highlights of the last several months is the conversion of Miwa (center). She made a profession of faith in Jesus this summer, and it’s been so inspiring to see her desire to grow as a Christian. Every time she comes to our house, she borrows a new book to read that would help her grow spiritually. She is scheduled to be baptized this month at Grace Harbor Church, and we are very excited to see the grace of God in her life! We thank God for her.

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A view from the new civic center in Toyosu.

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A recent photo of our kids. It must have been a “girls only” joke.

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On the way to the Grace Harbor Church fall retreat.

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Group photo at the retreat. Great opportunity to deepen our relationships with one another, including several of the friends who are not yet Christians.

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Sunday afternoon picnic.

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Toyosu Missional Community Thanksgiving Dinner. We had some traditional Japanese dishes that people brought, and we enjoyed the mashing of different flavors!

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This fall we attended the Japan Church Planting Institute National Conference. Several hundred missionaries, pastors, church planters, and others gathered near Mt. Fuji to worship God together and to encourage one another in ministry. I was asked to lead the singing, and it was a privilege to serve.

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I was also asked to teach a seminar on “a worshiping church”.

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Grace Harbor Team photo taken at the conference. Grateful to God for each of them and their friendship, encouragement, and partnership in the gospel!

3 Day Countdown

We’re coming over on Monday! As a family, this will be our first time back to the US since we moved. It makes me realize how much Tokyo has become my home when something holds me back from writing the words “we’re coming home”, because it might feel like home, but it’s not my home. Although, there are definitely certain things that I am pretty sure I will never get used to. Singing ‘hallelujah’ in church, but pronouncing it ‘hareruya’ is one of them.

But for real, I am dying to see you all, listen and talk, overhear stranger’s conversations and understand them, see grass, and yes, eat Chipotle. The anticipation! I realize that this trip will be a month, but I still get the feeling that trying to take a swing at living real life with you for a few moments, every few years, is going to be difficult. I am looking forward to seeing how God has prepared the way for us, even when our schedule is filling up and my brain will be permanently aware of the time limit we have.

This is what the Lord has called us to. Not only the life in Japan, but the transitions too. There is grace in that too.

Part of me wants to fast-forward over another transition; however, I have been learning that the character of God is revealed in the waiting. I am always waiting for something to happen, or an event to take place, or a prayer to be answered. His character is on display for us in the moments we least expect. As we feel like our real lives are on hold or we wait in anticipation for something, we can look up and receive the gift of faith in the waiting. Our faith becomes strong when our eyes on fixed on God, not on the days ahead. I want to learn this truth as I am in anticipation for what is to come. Christ is with me today, and He wants my attention right now.

As we travel back to the states in 3 days time, please pray that our faith will grow in Christ as he shapes and leads us through our trip. Pray that we don’t only look up to God for peace in each moment of crazy, but that we look up because there is an irresistible dose of grace and strengthening of faith that God is ready to pour out on His children during the moments of our weakness.

Our faith to return to our new home after this trip is strong. We will miss the real life in Toyosu while in the states, but know that we are so blessed to be able to see family and friends again. It feels like it’s been too long. And Peter has almost spent half his life in Japan already. Seriously. Japan really, really is home for him.