We’ve been back in Japan for a month now, and we hit the ground running. It’s been a busy time of settling back in and diving back into ministry.
Part of moving cross culturally involves a lot of little tasks, like getting cell phones. It seems so easy and yet somehow it has taken weeks to order phones, have them delivered, get SIM cards, discover that the SIM cards aren’t working, send messages back and forth between the SIM card company and us, get help from the store, and finally, 3 weeks later have working cell phones. Sheesh! This last week we had another complicated task. We had to renew Lindsey’s Japanese driver’s license because it had expired. To make a long story short, we went to 4 offices, traveled to the prefectural capital, and then spent 6 hours at the Japanese equivalent of a DMV before she finally had a new driver’s license. Add to that getting the older kids enrolled in school, meetings, purchasing supplies, and a myriad of little details, and you can see why we’ve been so busy!
The kids on the first day of international school and homeschool
On top of all of this settling in, we’ve started right back into ministry. I can’t tell you how excited we were to finally be home at the church we pastor in Tsukuba. I think both Chris and I got a little misty eyed during worship our first Sunday back. It was just so good to be home! Chris preached 2 days after we arrived and has been preaching every Sunday. Lindsey taught in Children’s church last week as well. We also spruced up the church patio, and Lindsey planted new flowers in the planters. We’ve been doing some work in our church garden that our church has continued to grow in our absence. Church attendance has also kept up in our absence. Chris is even preparing to baptize a new member, and we are considering different plans to expand our sanctuary’s capacity!
New plants for the church patio and Chris preaching at TICA
We are excited about the great things to come and are already getting the ball rolling for some new ministries. Wesley invited 4 of his classmates to attend church with him last Sunday and then hang out at our house afterwards to play video games. We are praying that these little gatherings will soon turn into a youth group. We also have a burden to reach out to moms of preschoolers, so Lindsey plans to start a playgroup ministry. She has already begun to collect toys and car seats to help make this possible. Chris is anxiously awaiting better weather (we’ve had back to back typhoons all month) so he can begin to use the BGMC telescope in outreach activities.
This is why we do what we do, we are surrounded by people without hope, people who don’t know the love and peace that is found in Jesus. Even though I have lived here before, it can still sometimes feel so overwhelming. But then there are moments like the one I had last week. I was out walking through the rice fields. I love their bright green color and the view of the mountains behind them. I saw the big fields ripe and ready to be harvested, and I thought of Japan. The harvest fields are ripe. There is a new kind of readiness that I am sensing. There are new opportunities for ministry. We have new contacts in the community, and we have a church that is ready and willing to reach out. We have some short-term missions volunteers on the way and, hopefully, more will follow. While walking through the fields ripe for harvest and thinking all these things, I felt very hopeful. I believe that God has great plans for this term here in Japan. The harvest is plentiful, and we are ready to start bringing it in!
Ripe rice field behind the church
Nonetheless, we know we could not do what we do without the many people who are praying for us and supporting us financially. It takes a team, and we are so thankful for those of you who pray, give and are coming to help! Ultimately, our ministry partners make our life in Japan possible. Thank you! Thank you for sending us home to Japan and for being a part of the harvest that is to come in Japan!