A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing… -Ecc 3: 3 & 5
First, I want to apologize for such a long wait for this post; the blog host had some technical difficulties and it took some time to regain access… it seems that our time of both pre and post trip, has been a “time to refrain from embracing”… the blog, at least. Anyway, we had such an amazing return for Christmas and New Years (with a little unexpected extension)! We had a planned nine day trip back to the States, with a lot of objectives within that short time period. Thankfully, we were able to accomplish a majority of the major things. We were able to see Mia’s family, our church family, sort through a lot of our old things, handle our dog’s affairs, and talk about the missions work in Japan. We even got to just relax! The one major disappointment was not being able to see my mother. With several factors being involved, she was not able to fly out to meet us, and we couldn’t do the opposite in short notice. I appreciate your prayers for my mother, as I hope to have the chance to see her at least one more time.
I kind of felt that we were back for Thanksgiving, not over New Year’s, just because of the kind of time it ended-up being. One thing I am very appreciative for is the time we got to spend with our pastor and his wife. Lonnie and Delilah were incredible hosts. From meals we’ve missed, (unknowingly) looking into meeting some of our most minor “needs”, and supporting us as a family and during our struggles getting on our return flights. They made the trip a very special one. I am glad to have gotten to grow closer with them – and especially for Hannah! It was certainly “a time to build up” for us. And speaking of thanksgiving; on behalf of all of us, we want to say thank you!!!!!!! for all that everyone has done to be a support and blessing. From the too many gifts to pack (sorry Lonnie and Deliliah!), the financial gifts for Hannah, our family, and the ministry, as well as precious time we got to spend with many of you, we were truly blessed so much. I’ve been told that I’ve “thanked everyone sufficiently”, but just one more time, thank you.
So being affectionately desirous of you, 「you」 were willing to have imparted unto 「us」, not the gospel of God only, but also [your」 own souls, because ye were dear unto us. (I Thes 2:9)
It was also a good time for us to be able to personally share some of the needs here in Japan. We are extremely excited in looking forward to having more time available for family and ministry. We know that many of you have expressed interest in helping to make that a reality, and we are in the process setting-up financial accounts to keep everything contributed as accountable as possible. As we make preparations on our end, we are open to any feedback, concerns, or other input, to do everything “decently and in order”. One of the Japanese party’s in Mikuni has invited us to meeting on the 7th to discuss a new ministry that we are to work with them with. We will plan to give details after the meeting. We are back to the usual here, and in addition to the normal ministries, we had a new opportunity to give the gospel at a nearby school! While the details are in the works, it is wonderful to now be able to say “yes”, instead of “no” to some of ministry opportunities before us. I am also really looking forward to being able to say “yes” to more husband/father responsibilities. It is an area that I have been falling behind in, and I am eager to get to work in this very necessary ministry to my family.
“Better is an handful with quietness, than two handfuls with labor and vexation of spirit”. -Ecc 4:6
Some of you know some of the story regarding what became of our flight situation. It seemed like a large valley of a challenge right at the end of the mountain top. The details would literally consume all of this blog post, but here is the summary. We flew on ANA and United Airlines, both there and back. However, United made several large mistakes with both our itinerary and our dog, Pippy’s. We had to rebook our flights several different times, fly on different days, and send our dog off for a few days without us to an airport that we wouldn’t even go to. Our pastor Nate and his family took very hard and good care of Pippy for a year and a half from a sudden need, of which we are extremely grateful for their sacrifice. That work also entailed them needing to take care of
Pippy’s preparations to go to Japan: a nine month process. Paperwork work, vet visits, and other things, all to make sure there is no problem getting Pippy into Japan. And after all of that, the airline lost the paperwork, and said that they would “kill the dog” if they couldn’t find it! Japan ended-up impounding our dog. Thankfully, the USDA was able to work with us to get Pippy released, and after three attempts to fly back down to Tokyo to get her, Mia was finally able to get Pippy home with us! The journey felt so so long, but we are very thankful to have her with us; her and Hannah apparently have a lot to catch up on!
So many of you (sorry to say “so” so many times!) have been, and are a part to help make everything work in order to spread the gospel here. I’m learning that there is a lot more involved in missions work than just preaching and praying. It’s giving. It’s reaching out. It’s supporting my family. It’s loving. And it’s ministering in ways I never thought of before. Thank you for being your part, and we look forward to pressing on for the Lord this year with renewed vision and strength.