After arriving in Japan in January, these last few months have flown by! We stayed in the apartment provided by YIBC for the first couple months we were here, and then in March we moved into a house about a 20 minute walk from the church. It is a 2 story Japanese style house in a nice neighborhood with a much larger than Japanese average bedrooms and kitchen, which is very nice. Our landlord is a longtime Calvary Chapel missionary in Japan, and God worked all the details out perfectly for us to be able to move into this house. After basically living out of suitcases and moving around for the 4 months, it was a wonderful day when our stuff arrived at our new place and we were finally able to start making our new home feel like it was ours!
Beth has adjusted to our Japanese style of living where her grocery shopping trips go from one large one every week or two to many small trips to local butchers and produce shops as well as more western style grocery stores. She is enjoying being able to cook again in her own kitchen, including learning how to use a smaller oven with directions written all in Japanese! She is involved in the “Family Circle” mothers of preschoolers group at church, as well as the International Bible Study on Wednesday mornings, where she is one of the facilitators.
Bradley is enjoying Japan a lot! He has always enjoyed any Japanese and Asian flavored food, so he is in his element here! He goes to nursery and the preschool “Bonus Teaching Hour” on Sundays where he somewhat participates in the lesson each week and loves being around the other little kids. Beth tries to take him out to one of the many local parks several times a week, and he loves playing with little friends that he meets at the park, swinging in swingsets, and now going on slides. He also loves going to see the “Uma” (Japanese for horse) at the horse park across from the church. He gets very excited over them, and shouts “Uma” over and over. He does the same for the “Basu” (bus), which he gets very excited about and informs us whenever there is one within his view. Of course, being Japan, the buses are pretty much around every couple of minutes so needless to say, we are well informed about local busses! Bradley loves to talk (to us anyway, not necessarily other folks), and his vocabulary is about evenly split between Japanese and English words at this point.
I have been very busy learning about the Sunday Bible Study ministry and small group ministries of YIBC, which I oversee. I have also taught a “Christian Life and Witness” discipleship class dealing with personal evangelism. I preach once a month at our mission church, Noukendai Bible Fellowship, which is a Japanese congregation, so I preach through an interpreter. I am preaching through the book of John at Noukendai, focusing on who Jesus is. We are very blessed at both YIBC and Noukendai to always have several regularly attending who are truly seeking understanding of who Christ is and why they should become a follower of Christ. Additionally, I am taking Japanese lessons each week in an attempt to learn the language of our adopted country, not to mention half of our church.
Of course I am still in the Navy Reserve and spent much of April and now May completing all of my annual requirements for the Navy. The Force Chaplain in Yokosuka was able to put me to work down there so I could complete my required drill days by filling in for some active duty Chaplains on leave, and this month, I traveled to Guam to formally check in with my assigned command as well as to Okinawa (where I am right now) to attend Chaplain’s professional development training.
Beth and I recently celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary, and it amazes me every time I consider that to think where God has taken us over the last 20 years. I never thought that I would be outside South Carolina, much less in Japan serving where God has put us. Please keep us in your prayers; while we do feel called here and enjoy living here, this is still a big change. With change comes stress, on each of us personally, as well as our marriage, and our spiritual life. Satan does not want God’s kingdom to increase and whenever we follow his call, you can be sure the enemy will seek to attack us where we are most vulnerable. Beth and I greatly appreciate all the encouraging notes and interaction we are able to have through Facebook (and even a couple visits!) with our friends around the world. My prayer is that God would continue to direct and protect our path and open doors in our ministry here in Japan.