We arrived in Ichinomiya yesterday afternoon to overcast skies and a cool ocean breeze which felt so good after the heat of our Saitama summer days (yes, we technically live in Saitama, by way of some bizarre city borders).
We first came to Ichinomiya almost 14 years ago, with a 4 month old baby boy. It was a time when we didn’t even realize we would be involved in ministry in this town 10 years later, let alone move to Japan as full time ministry workers. I remember walking from the house across the busy highway to the beach, dipping my feet in the cool but not cold water and thinking how beautiful and peaceful this place was.
Today, standing in exactly the same place with my feet in the same water, I felt the same feelings. But the beauty and peace this town brings me is no longer just a surface feeling, but a feeling in my heart. We have so many friends here, people we love and have worked shoulder to shoulder with for the sake of the gospel.
In a few days, our California team will arrive and we will begin another year of summer ministry in this area. It will be non-stop, exhausting days, full of the joy of working hard for the Lord. But today was just another sleepy day in Ichinomiya, a meal with friends, a shopping spree at Beisha, a soft creme cone eaten hastily before it melts in the hot summer sun. God’s blessings are on this place and I, for today, have enjoyed soaking up some of that blessing before the days get a little crazy.