It’s the end of May and we’re now in the home stretch for our big move to Japan on July 1st. There are now open moving boxes in our living room that are slowly being filled. Items of personal value are being boxed up and put in storage. Here are some of the highlights of the past month:
Gave a Japanese ministry seminar. One of our larger local community churches, Redwood Chapel, has adopted the Japanese as their Unreached People Group (UPG) and has committed to reaching out to them for the next decade or two. Redwood Chapel doesn’t have a lot of people with experience in Japanese ministry, so they wisely reached out to local churches like ours to ask for assistance. In May, they invited me to share about the need for Children’s ministry in Japan, and how a church like theirs might get involved. It was an encouragement to meet with them and see their heart for the Japanese.
Consulting Job Confirmation. After hitting a potential roadblock to my continued consulting work with my current company, everything came together suddenly and with unexpected blessings. In the final deal, I have been asked to work from home (instead of making an hour plus commute into the local office) and I am now considered a direct contractor, meaning there is no middleman to take a portion of my paycheck. For those wondering how this consulting work will affect my ministry schedule, it won’t. I will work at this job on average 5 hours per week. Praise God for turning a trial into a blessing yet again!
Sold my car. This was a mixed blessing, but I am so grateful to know my car is going to a responsible young man who needs a good, reliable vehicle. We ran into a hitch when I took it to get smog checked and found that one of my modifications was not, uh, street legal. Thankfully, my awesome Dad came to the rescue again and helped get the car back to stock in a couple of hours.
Purchased one-way tickets. It’s been a long time since we had to purchase one-way tickets, almost 16 years. There’s something very final about one-way tickets because you realize you aren’t coming back for a while. But the good news is we got a decent airline and the prices were not outrageous (though airline tickets in general are expensive this year; be warned). Also, the CAJ relocation allowance covered the majority of our ticket and extra baggage costs.
Sending our son to camp. Thanks to the wonders of social media, I met another “friend I have yet to meet” in our city and he told us about the International HiBA camp taking place this summer. It is held literally a few kilometers (got to get used to metric measurements) from where we stay for our Summer short term mission in Chiba and the timing aligns nearly perfectly. It also happens that our son is now the right age to attend, so he’ll get to go meet some great kids, many of them he will attend school with at CAJ. We know he’s a bit shy about making new friends, so this is answered prayer for us about him.
Meeting new friends online. We’re so fortunate to live in the age of social media (yes, I recognize the irony in that statement as well). Jayne and I have been able to connect with many people on Facebook and talk with them on Skype before we’ll ever have the chance to meet them face to face. Through these technologies, we’ve already been able to connect with a number of great people and co-workers in Japan, long before we set foot on Japanese soil. One of these connections led us to…
Choosing a home church. Yes, we were able to Skype with Kathy Oyama, who pastors the Biblical Church of Tokyo with her husband Seiji. Based on the ministry vision of this church aligning with our own and the bilingual ministry for our children (as well as Kathy being a wonderful person), we decided to make this church our home church in Japan. For those who are familiar with them, Cru missionaries Mitsu and Karen Nakamura also attend this church. This will be a great opportunity to witness and learn how a Japanese church can reach out to their community in ways that are relevant to those who live there.
So what’s coming up for us in June? Here are the biggies.
Commissioning and Send Off at San Lo. If you’d like to join us for our commissioning and send off, it will be this Sunday, June 1st, at our church, San Lorenzo Japanese Christian Church. The send off will be a pot luck after service (we are basically hijacking our monthly “Coffee Hour” for our own design 😉 ). Service starts at 10:45am.
Elementary / Middle School Graduations. Both of our children will be graduating from the respective schools on the same day this month, so it’s going to be a crazy day. It’s a bit surreal to realize both of our children will no longer be in elementary school. It’s no joke that time flies when you have children. But we are proud of the accomplishments of both of our children and the people God is molding them to become.
Crazy Packing. Make that crazy sorting, packing, and tossing. And if you need anything, you might want to inquire with us as we are not having a garage sale (I hate those things) so most stuff will either be given away to friends, sold at ridiculously low prices, or donated to a worthy organization.
Finalizing Support. I am going to make a factual statement here. We are currently undersupported. I don’t want this statement to cause any guilt or smack of solicitation. It is merely a stated fact because we get asked this question all the time and we want to answer truthfully. If you prayed about it and didn’t feel called to support us, please don’t feel like you need to pray again for clarity. But if you do want to support us, now would be a great time to set up your financial support. That’s why this is the last thing on our list; now that you’re done reading our post, please go set up your support!
Lastly, thank you for all of your prayer support over this journey. We feel the results of your petitions on our behalf in the smoothness of this whole process and the blessings that have exceeded our expectations in so many ways. Thank God for each one of you!