It’s been nearly 3 months since we arrived in Japan, 6 months since we left the tropical Amazon rainforest for the frigid polar vortex of the Midwest in January. Since October 2013, when we moved out of our house in Brazil, we have been in a constant state of flux, changing homes, languages, ministry situations and just about anything else one could imagine. We’ve said more goodbyes and hellos than we care to count.
So it’s been so nice to get settled into our new place and get used to our new lives. Ruth and I go to school each morning, a 1-hour commute done primarily on a crowded train. We leave at 7:50 and get back around 1:30 with our brains pumped full of Japanese. Some fellow missionaries are helping us out by watching Sarah each morning. The girls are enrolled in a Japanese Kindergarten and are there for over 5 hours each morning. They are amazing little troopers, because it’s all in Japanese (they don’t understand it yet) and it’s a long day. Two days a week, they eat the Japanese food for lunch — and do a pretty good job at it. They get a drawing on their hand when they eat it all, and are very proud to show it off when they get home. They just had their annual Tanabata (Summer) Festival, and the girls danced in their new ukatas (traditional Japanese dress). It was so adorable! Out of a couple hundred kids, they were the only two blondes out there! Ha!
And we certainly aren’t waiting for our Japanese to be sufficient to begin having a life in the church and community. By putting our kids in a Japanese Kindergarten, we have been able to make friendships with other parents at the school. Another couple invited us over for dinner and we had a wonderful time with them. The wife Midori speaks a little English and so we are able to communicate on a basic level. She told Ruth that all the moms want to get to know her. Then Ruth invited the moms and kids at our bus stop to our house to have a little birthday celebration for Sarah. Everyone really had a great time.
We are pretty amazed in how welcoming the Japanese are. So many are interested in meeting us, wanting to talk with us, coming over when we invite and even inviting us into their places (which apparently is not common here in Japan). We can hardly wait to be able to share the hope that we have in Jesus with them! They will never be the same, but one step at a time — for now we will work on building relationships as we build our Japanese.
Our monthly budget is also much more than it’s ever been and we could still use more support. We are also looking at buying a mini-van for this large family. If you’ve considered supporting us we would like to encourage you that it’s never too late to start! We are so thankful for each and everyone who is praying and supporting. We count on it as always. We’re so happy to be able to share with you such an encouraging start to our life here in Japan.