Saturday, March 27, 2010

Konichiwa from Okinawa!

Yes, it is now the end of March and our last blog was in September... well, life has changed drastically since September, and I think the fact that I'm blogging is a good sign... life is starting to settle down. :) So, for those of you who have waited so patiently for an update to see what next crazy adventure the Woolery family is on now, here it is...

Brian finished the coursework for his Master of Divinity degree in October and we said goodbye to the Philippines in November. We knew we were only in the Philippines for 3 1/2 years of school, but God blessed us with SO many friends and wonderful experiences, it was, of course, difficult to say goodbye. But our God is so amazing in how he is keeping us in the Asia-Pacific area, so thankfully, we're not that far away. :)

Before we left the Philippines, we were talking and praying with our church leaders about where we would go next and what we would do. To make a long story short, we flew to Okinawa, Japan, in October to be interviewed for the Senior Pastor position at Keystone Church of the Nazarene. Okinawa is unique because a LOT of American military are stationed on the island. Keystone church is made up mainly of American military with a few Japanese and other local residents. While we have always loved Japan and island life, we never in our wildest dreams thought of pastoring and/or thought of pastoring a church full of Americans ;) ... but God always exceeds our wildest dreams, and it was clear from the beginning that Okinawa was the next place for us. So, we interviewed with the church leadership team, the church voted and asked us to come, we spent the holidays in the states with family, and we've now been in Okinawa for 2 months!!!

And life couldn't be better... oh yeah, and if you haven't heard, we're expecting Baby boy #2 in June... cause we didn't have enough going on in our lives right now. :) So, we are LOVING being back on an island (even though it's WAY bigger than Guam) and living in Japan. God has helped us and guided us every step of the way... we have an awesome apartment only 5 minutes away from the church and about a 3 minute walk to the ocean, we have a car, we have work visas, we have Japanese national health insurance, the list goes on and on. We are also LOVING joining God's work at Keystone church. Keystone is a vibrant congregation with lots of lay involvement and lots of transitions... 1/3 of the congregation will change every year because of the nature of the military, so we're learning to trust God in new ways as we minister to military families and seek God's guidance about how to use Keystone to reach the people of Okinawa.

So, as we continue to settle in, our next big steps are starting formal Japanese language training, getting our Japanese driver's licenses (I'm sure there will be many funny stories about this in the future), and having another baby. :) And many dear friends have asked how Justin is doing in our new home, and I can honestly say that I've never seen him happier! He has just been thrilled to be here... it's like he also senses this is where God wants us to be. He is loving being surrounded by so many new friends his age at church, and he is quickly falling in love with island life almost as much as his parents. Of course, in a few months, he will come to the harsh realization that the world doesn't revolve around him, but we have no doubt that he is going to be a pretty cool big brother.

So, I'm feeling settled and that means more consistent blogging! We've done a very pitiful job of taking pictures of our new life here, so that's my goal for the next few weeks. Thanks ALWAYS for your prayers... they are needed every day! And remember, visitors are ALWAYS welcome! Sayonara! :)