Happy New Year from Japan!
We hope you had a wonderful Christmas! Our Christmas was filled with joy and we had a wonderful time with family and friends!
As we start our new year, we wanted to reflect on this past year and count all the blessings from God!
Year in Review
We left for America on January 1st. It was not easy to leave our friends in Japan and ask others to be in charge of ministries here. However, God used this opportunity in many ways and our Christian friends have stepped up to help and serve! Being in Texas was wonderful! We were reunited with family and friends once again! It was Logan’s first time to be in America so it was fun to introduce him to everyone. Luke turned three on January 6th and lots of friends came to celebrate with us! We went to Georgia to attend a conference that taught us how to raise support. It was such an encouraging conference and we learned a lot! We had a chance to see many friends which was a huge blessing!
We were so happy to be a part of our church’s Child Dedication Service. It was an honoring and humbling experience to dedicate both of our boys to the Lord in front of our church family. We are so thankful for our family and friends who help us raise our children. We also went on a camping trip with our close friends. We met these friends in Panorama which taught us and prepared us for future mission work. Most of us were singles or young married couples but the group has grown so much since then! We love these lifelong friends!
Main reason we stayed in America for three months was to raise support. We traveled to many places to meet people and talk at churches. Support raising was not an easy task but we learned so much through this process. God taught us over and over that He is faithful. We loved meeting with new and old friends and sharing what God is doing in Japan. Thanks to generous and faithful supporters, we are able to live in Japan to share His love with those who do not know Him. If you are already our supporter, THANK YOU from bottom of our heart. If you are interested in supporting, please contact us or go to the “Partner with us” page on this website. We are so thankful for God’s provision and the ways He has blessed us! It was hard to leave Texas but we were ready to come home!
We were able to come back to Japan just in time for Luke to start kindergarten. It was another answered prayer. It took Luke a while to get used to the new schedule but he made friends and loved his school. Mommy and Daddy got busy as soon as we got back to prepare for the weekly ministries. It was so good to see our friends and students again! We celebrated Easter at church and some of our friends came to church for the first time!
Logan turned ONE! He brings so much joy to our lives every day! We celebrated his special day with our friends. We also hosted a mission team from Hawaii. We loved serving with them. These Hawaiians are so good at loving on people and making everyone feel loved! They helped us with the Hawaiian Festival which was an outreach to the community around our church. We also went to the disaster area with them. Since most of the team members had been there before, it was such a great time of reunion! It was good to see everyone’s smile!
In June, we said “see you again” to the Qualls family who went back to America for a year. They helped with our weekly English Bible study and worship service. Most people who come to this ministry are non-believers so it provides many opportunities to share our faith with them. Micheal teaches the Bible study every week and preaches once a month. There are several men who are non-believers and Michael has spent one-on-one time with them throughout the year. We are thankful for those who come and look forward to meeting more new people this coming year. At the end of June, we hosted a young lady and her mom from Texas. This young lady stayed for a little over two months to help with the ministries in Sendai and Sakata. We are grateful for the ways she served and helped!
July was such a busy month filled with lots of fun! Our friend from Canada stayed with us for about two weeks and we loved spending time with her! After she left, we hosted a mission team from our home church in Arlington, Texas. Three ladies that came had been to Japan before and we were so thrilled that they came back! Their heart for Japanese people really encouraged us. We hosted a VBS at our church and also at our mission church in Sakata. So many kids and their moms came every day and they loved it! At the end of July, we hosted another team from Hawaii and served together in the disaster area.
We helped with two children’s camps in August. One in Sakata and another one was in Sendai. We love meeting children and loving on them. As you can imagine, they all come from different backgrounds. Most of the kids that came to these camps came from non-Christian homes. It was such a blessing to have an opportunity to tell them how much God loves them and cares for them. We hosted two more teams from Texas and Hawaii (can you tell we love Hawaiians and Texans?) and had special time serving with them. We were sad that Luke’s summer break ended but he was ready to have fun at school!
Our church welcomed a new pastor. We prayed for a new pastor for a while and God blessed us with a wonderful pastor. His wife is pretty special too. We have been learning so much from him and it is great to have a pastor who is mission minded! Many of you already know that one of the ministries we have at our church is a playgroup for moms and kids under three. It’s one of Yu’s favorite times of the week. Yu has become good friends of other moms and spent lots of time with them. She found out many moms are struggling with marriage and parenting. We asked the pastor to share a Bible scripture and talk about it during our snack time. We have heard so many positive comments from moms about how much they needed to hear it!
There were lots of events at Luke’s school in October. Luke had so much fun at his field day and field trip. At the end of October, we hosted the annual Fall Festival. We had help from mission teams in the past but we had to do it on our own this year. Thanks to lots of chocolates from Hawaii and help from our church members, we were able to host a fun festival for kids in our community. We shared the gospel with everyone who came. One boy told us he wants to have the Light of life (John 8:12). We pray they will always remember Jesus is the light of the world.
It was a wonderful Thanksgiving month! We spent one week in Tokyo visiting friends from Yu’s high school and college and vacationing with dear friends from Australia. We loved every single minute of our family time! Our church hosted several special events and invited people from the community. We were encouraged to see so many new people coming to church! Our sending church in Texas had missions month and we had a Skype meeting with friends in our Sunday School class. Their love and prayers meant so much to us. We ended this wonderful month by having a Thanksgiving dinner with friends here in Sendai. It was nice to have all the traditional food but more than anything, we thanked God for all the blessings He has given us throughout the year.
December came and went! Where did the time go? Although it was a busy month, we enjoyed all the festivities! In Japan, people celebrate Christmas but many people do not know (or care about) the meaning of Christmas. So we spent lots of our time sharing why we celebrate Christmas. The kids that come to our weekly English class/worship told us that they would be sharing the true meaning of Christmas with their friends at school! We also went to the temporary housing to deliver flowers and hand made Christmas cards. This Christmas was also meaningful as Luke was really interested in Christmas and Santa and we were able to spend every night talking about Baby Jesus (and Santa, too!) and how He came to the world. One of the greatest gift was one girl in our English class making a decision to be baptized. She was praying about it for a while and told us after the Christmas worship service that she wants to be baptized! What an answer to our prayers! Thank you so much for praying with us for more Japanese people to be saved!