We have arrived in Japan! We landed at Narita airport in Tokyo on 14 January. We spent the night in a hotel in Tokyo since we were so late getting in and through customs and immigration, where all 3 of us received our residence cards. The next day we took the bus up to Yokohama station and met the Pastor and some folks from Yokohama International Baptist Church, who took us and our 10 pieces of luggage to our temporary apartment at the church.
Our new church has graciously provided an apartment at the church for us to stay in while we are getting settled in Japan, which gives us time in our search for a place to live. The folks here at YIBC were extremely gracious and hospitable even before we got here and outfitted the apartment with everything we could need to live comfortably in our new temporary home. They even went so far as to make sure there was a week or more worth of food in the refrigerator and on the shelves for us!
Our senior pastor and his wife had us over to their house for dinner on Friday night. They are truly a role model for humble and faithful ministry; and they have been here for ten years after moving here in what would be for most people, retirement years. YIBC is the solid church it is today due to Pastor Terry’s dedication and call to lead them in a decade of change and growth. We spent the weekend at our first church services and Bible study classes with our new church. This has mostly been a time of meeting people and getting to know our role and job within the body of Christ here at YIBC. My official title is Associate Pastor for discipleship and education, and involves outreach strategies to Japanese nationals, education and discipleship programs within the church and assisting our Japanese mission church at Noukendai. There is plenty of work, and we are excited to see how God will use us at our new church home!
We also got out and visited several of the places we loved to go when we lived in Japan previously, like the Isezaki Mall in Yokohama, which is a large shopping and food street a couple stops down on the train from us. Of course, for any who know us, you would expect there would be food involved, and of course there was! Bradley tried his first tempura in Japan and loved it; he’s also had fresh udon and Mister Donut, Japanese curry and he is loving all of it!
We are especially grateful before and during all of our transition for our supporting church family at Valley Baptist who helped us in so many ways! Their help, especially Pastor Gunnar and his wife Anna enabled us to get everything done on time and get on the plane. It was an encouraging as well as bittersweet time on our last Sunday at Valley, and we know that we have brothers and sisters there lifting us up in prayer faithfully. If any of you read this blog, thank you and we love you!
Please keep us in prayer as we begin our ministry here at YIBC, that God will be glorified and hearts will be turned towards Christ as we seek to follow His plan for our lives. May each of us experience the truth of Proverbs 3:5-6 as we follow hard after Christ, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”