Oct 22, 2016
Ok, some of them are not so recent, but here are some photos from the last several months!
I attended the City to City Intensive for church planting in Singapore & Hong Kong. Some of the instructors and men who are planting churches in different cities in Asia/Pacific region.
It was such a treat to get to see our good friends Marcus & Mel and their daughter Emmy while I was in Honk Kong for the intensive. Wishing we lived closer!
Max & Momoka, who have been a part of our community in Toyosu, served us with an awesome meal. Grateful for their friendship.
A short-term team from Trinity Presbyterian Church in Norfolk, VA came to help us serve the families with kids with disabilities that we have met through Kaiyaâs school. We are praying for ways we can love and bless these kids and their families.
Annual Kids English Week. Awesome team of volunteers from the U.S. (Most of them are not Japanese!)
Emma teaching English to moms & kids during Kids English Week.
One of the ways we have tried to connect with men and develop friendships is through sports. Grace Harbor basketball team won 1st Place at a recent tournament (only 7 teams participated, though!).
As the very busy summer season drew to a close, we were able to take a week to retreat to my momâs hometown in Niigata. Very quiet, near the beach, mountains, rivers, etc. Grateful for this time to refresh ourselves.
Kids loved our time there.
Rainbow over Toyosu.
Summer festival in Toyosu. So many peopleâ¦over 11,000 people within 5-minute walking distance from our apartment (over 30,000 in Toyosu). We believe there are people God will reveal Himself to in a special way. Would you join us in praying for soft and responsive hearts and the Spiritâs empowering presence as we continue to share Jesus with them?
Grace Harbor Church Retreat 2016. I was in charge of organizing the retreat, and it was a lot of work on many peopleâs part, but it was worth it. Much laughter, good fellowship, deepening relationships. Grateful to God for His grace!
Japan Congress on Evangelism 2016. Close to 2,000 pastors/church planters/church workers gathered in Kobe for this conference that happens every 7 years. The Lord gave me a fresh vision for His work in Toyosu/Tokyo at this conference. Let Your kingdom come!
Aug 4, 2016
As Iâm sitting here eating my sandwich dinner while studying, I am suddenly craving that Mongolian beef dish from Pei Wei in Fairfax. Ah. I loved it so much. And how did I not think of going back there when we were in the states for a visit last Christmas.
Iâm sitting here thinking about rewinding time.
This morning I yelled about 98% of the morning at my one child who wouldnât stop laughing. It just wasnât in me to be kind. My heart was dealing with anger and my words and tone were hurtful. She was laughing and I was yelling. I want to go back and do it over.
So many recent things have happened that has given me similar thoughts of wanting to push a rewind button. Some things much bigger. Two young ladies we have known recently died. An accident and a suicide. A few days ago a missionary family who was planning on working with our friends in Nagoya we all killed in a tragic car accident. All five of them.
Where is the rewind button?
But while eating a few minutes ago, I read an article on conflict. I think my soul is ready to soak up any words at this point. Any words that are true. And we need truth in days like these. It said that we need to view conflict as a door to closeness. Now Iâm not thinking about conflict, but that rewind button. A door to closeness?
Yes. Being near to Christ. Our relationship with Christ, where we see more of our need and cling closer to Him. Heaven becomes sweeter as the earth continues to disappoint, taste bitter, and sin is always lingering in our hearts. My desired rewind button is an opportunity for closeness to Christ. Without it I would be becoming more self-sufficient, not seeing my need for a Savior, and probably never savoring the hope of heaven with Him.
I grieve and really just sit here in disbelief about all the recent news. I also struggle with petty things that take over my heart and my day and my joy. Big things and little. But, thanks to God, who planned for Christ to redeem us, give us hope, and close His hand around us.
Cling to Him with me? I need this today.
Aug 3, 2016
Here's a quick update on our lives in Japan. (If you're a videographer/photographer/creative storyteller and want to come to Japan and help us tell others about what the Lord is doing in Tokyo, please let us know!!)
Apr 21, 2016
Itâs been a while since we have updated this blog with some photosâ¦ This is going to be longer than usual, but here are some photos from the last several months!
This was our Christmas picture. Merry Christmas! (Belatedâ¦)
We had an opportunity to be back in the U.S. for the month of December, updating our church, spending time with family and friends. All the cousins were together for the first time in a while. Our kids loved their time with them!
We have some American fast food restaurants that we donât have in Japan and we missâ¦ Chipotle(!), Chick-fil-A, Potbellyâsâ¦ Boys enjoying Potbelly sandwiches.
After a long flight back and pushing all our bags through customs, we arrived home safely. It felt great to be âhomeâ again.
Annual gathering of JEMA (Japan Evangelical Missionary Association). Grateful for these men & women working tirelessly to preach Christ all over Japan.
Weekly âKids Gamesâ. Great way to connect with families in our community and bless the children by playing sports/games with them.
âEnglish Timeâ for moms and kids. Emma teaches moms & their little ones English every other week on Wednesday morning. God continues to bless this gathering by adding new people from our community! Please pray for deepening relationships with these ladies.
This is for fun. One morning I arrived at our worship service venue and noticed our welcome sign standing next to a schoolgirl with a machine gun! The downside of meeting right next to a movie theaterâ¦
By Godâs grace, Grace Harbor Church celebrated its first anniversary since starting our weekly worship service. Easter/Anniversary party after the service.
Egg drop game. Oh the joy of seeing the kids faces when the egg splattered on the tableâ¦
Easter Egg Hunt. Kaiya is happy!
J is into skateboarding these days. Trying to go down a half-pipe. Please pray for no broken bones, please!
Missional community practitioners gathering. We started getting together with other Christian workers around Tokyo who are seeking to foster a Christian community that is actively engaging in the mission to make disciples.
I canât believe itâs already been two yearsâ¦ Tamia graduated from her 2-year kindergarten.
â¦and Peter started his this year!
Getting ready for a new year of school. Japanese schools start their new year in April. Itâs a busy season for moms who have to buy all these things and write the kids names on everything!
A visiting short-term team from CA putting on the Kids English event during the schoolsâ spring break. They were fabulous!
Last but not least. We will celebrate our 12th wedding anniversary this Saturday (though I will be in Singapore attending the City to City intensive training for church planting â Please pray for Godâs protection and grace over all of us, but especially for Emma, who will have our four kids and all of their school homework to look after while Iâm gone!). Grateful beyond words for all that she is and does.
Mar 10, 2016
When Seita and I first started talking about the possibility of moving to Japan as missionaries, I had 3 large concerns. Family, medical things, and language. I also had this idea that we were going to board a ship, wave goodbye, and say a âsee you neverâ in our hearts to everything we loved. I really was unschooled in the new ways of doing overseas missions.
I sat on the beach and chatted with a good friend a little while after Seita and I had started discussing Japan. God used her to build my faith to take small steps, not life-investing leaps. Seita was about to board a plane and head to Japan for the initial investigative trip. She asked me if I had faith for Seita to go and check things out. I said yes. God had given me faith for that. I had no doubt. I started to see that each decision, each step, would need to be dependent on God providing the faith.
As we walked through the next 20 months of making decisions, support raising, and attending cross-cultural training, God proved Himself faithful. During that time, those 3 concerns I initially had started to fade. They had become more part of the background. The more faith God gave me in what He was calling me to do, the less my concerns crowded my thoughts. In His kindness, He allowed me to see my concerns and my weaknesses, in order for Him to show me His power.
Although we did not board a ship, we did board a plane 2 years ago. Seita, myself, 4 young kids, 10 bags, some toys from the Target dollar section, and a small step of faith. We knew God would provide the faith for the next step after that. And in all honesty, the faith that He has given me has got nothing to do with me. Faith is a gift. We are simply recipients of this gracious gift. But, itâs God in whom we place our faith, in whom faith points to, and who provides our faith that is truly amazing. This amazing God keeps us dependent on Him by giving us faith in small doses.
I donât know the perspective our kids hold of our new life in Japan. I suppose we all hear things we didnât know our kids ever thought about until they are adults. Yikes. Part of their story will be about moving to Japan and following Godâs call. I donât know if we speak about faith enough in front of them, but I do know they are aware of our calling. I pray that they will somehow see how steps of faith have been woven into a pathway forward â even into a foreign country. I also pray that they will know God, who has and will direct the steps He gives them grace for. Baby steps are all I pray for, because only God knows that we can handle nothing more.