We love baptisms and everything they mean. The decision to get baptized is a big decision for anyone — you are identifying with Christ’s burial and resurrection in a profound public statement. In Japan, it’s an even bigger statement, as only 1% of the Japanese are Christians. The social pressure to not do anything outside of the “normal” is immense, and my hat goes off to these two wonderful young people. God is truly doing an awesome work here, as after this very public and fun baptism at the beach, a number of other people from church decided to get baptized, including two people from our cell group!
I made this video with my good friend and fellow missionary John to try to capture a bit of the excitement here in Japan. At the time of this writing, it has over 350 views, which is more than our attendance! Enjoy!
The day has finally come, and on April 24, we leave for Japan! Since January 15, we’ve been busy here in the States visiting friends, family, supporters and churches. We put more than 12,000 miles on our van in the most brutal winter in recent history. This is one family of seasoned travelers! Some of our highlights include 2 family reunions: one with my side of the family in Detroit and one with Ruth’s side of the family in Orlando. We also had a great time seeing so many friends. We wish we had more time with everyone, but it is now time to do what we’ve been preparing for all along. This is it!
We leave early next Thursday morning from O’Hare for Japan, and we already have a place to live lined up. It’s a 3 bedroom house with a total of 1,000 square feet. Time to get used to squeezing everyone in! The girls will soon begin school at the beginning of May at the church’s preschool. Then on July 1st, Ruth and I go to school: language school.
One of our goals for this furlough was to raise more money for our new life in Japan, which we estimate will be nearly double the cost of Brazil. We have had several individuals add or increase support, which has been very encouraging. We’ve been able to visit a couple of new churches as well as our current supporting churches. We are so thankful for each and every supporter, and if you’d like to join us, we could still use the support. Click here to find out about supporting us.
The time has come — we are moving to Japan on April 24! But first we go to the States on January 14 for three months of visiting, support raising and a little vacation. We are looking for a place for our family of 5 to stay, preferably in the Quad Cities or Peoria area, and a vehicle big enough to move us around. If you know of anything that’s available, please drop us an email! We just sent out our newsletter about our move to Japan, including what we’ll be doing, so if you didn’t receive it already in the mail, here it is. Just click to open!
I got into the taxi after a wonderful week in Curitiba. I was there attending a conference on Evangelism with Reinhard Bonnke. He and his team have won over 75 million people for Christ, and what they had to share was nothing short of life-transforming. Leaving there, I knew I would never be the same. I started chatting with the taxi driver, telling him about the week. I began to share Christ with him as I have with so many other people. But this time was different — instead of witnessing in my own strength, fumbling for words and thinking of how to say things, I shared with a boldness and life that came from deep inside.
Twelve hours upriver from Santarém, on the clear waters of the Tapajós, is a most extraordinary place, unlike any other place I’ve ever been. Recently, fellow missionary John Eisenmann and I caught a line-boat to meet up with a team that was out starting a new work. What would ensue would be a very memorable experience.
We headed to our line boat Ana Carolina III at around 3 PM. It was set for departure on Wednesday, June 5 at 4 PM, and we had to secure our spot onboard. You claim your spot by hanging up your hammock and then promptly sitting in it, taking up as much space as possible. If you do not, you risk being crammed into a small area, hammocks hung all around you; hands, feet, and other body parts all too close for comfort. Another missionary, Pablo Fast, learned this the hard way when, on a line boat, a rather large woman hung her hammock above his and in the middle of the night it fell. Gravity took over and — well, let’s just say he had a “smashing” experience.