March began with a short trip to Tokyo and Osaka! We spent a couple days in Tokyo with dear friends from seminary that we hadn't seen in 6 years. Two days was definitely not long enough, but it was such a blessing to be together again.
Then we took the bullet train (SO fun!) to Osaka for the Japan Nazarene District Assembly. It is always great to see the other pastors and families and have opportunities to practice our Japanese. This assembly was also special because our friend Anderson got ordained. We are so grateful Anderson and Jana are serving in Okinawa with us and it was so meaningful to be part of this time in their lives.
As soon as we got home, life was filled with preparation for new and fun events. The first was at Justin's school. As a follow-up to the Motheread class I facilitated last fall, the PTF hosted a 4-week Family Reading Campaign for the elementary school. We had a kick-off assembly, decorated the library, held weekly competitions to encourage families to read together, and ended with a Family Reading Night event for students and parents. It was a lot of work but I was so grateful to be given the opportunity to work with my passions (literacy, family support, even planning, etc.) at a school I love to support. Many of the moms from our Motheread class helped with all aspects of the campaign, and it was so fun to work with the teachers and provide ways for families to have meaningful and positive interaction at home. And now that we've done it once, next year will be a lot easier. ;)
The other fun event that happened during the Family Reading Campaign was something new we did for Good Friday at our church. We normally serve a dinner and have a Good Friday service. But this year we had prayer stations set up throughout the church, and people could come any time throughout the day. The prayer stations followed the crucifixion story from Luke and each station had a different topic with reflection questions and a focused prayer time. It was very meaningful and we are excited to use it again in future years.
And of course normal life has also been happening. We're thrilled the weather is getting warmer so we can spend time together at the beach and our awesome parks. School will finish the second week of June and we're very ready for summer vacation!
Thank you always for your prayers for our family. God continues to teach us every day how to love others like he does and depend on him for everything we need. We will update more soon!