Sunday, May 08, 2016

The bags are packed...

and we're ready to go!  That's right, it's time to leave in the morning for our 3 months of home assignment speaking in the states. The last few weeks have been filled with preparations, and while it's hard to leave home for 3 months, we are overwhelmed with the amazing ways that God works and the incredible people he has put in our lives.

The boys get to finish school a few weeks before their friends, but they love their friends and teachers so much, they don't even realize that it's a cool thing to miss some school. ;)

We have also been blessed to spend the last few days with Stan and Bev Arnold, who are serving at our church while we are gone.  Stan and Bev are friends of Brian's parents, and Stan recently retired from being an Army Chaplain.  Some of our earlier plans changed last year, and in January and February of this year we were still looking for a volunteer couple to come serve in Okinawa this summer.  Brian's Mom (yay Alice!) talked to Bev about the possibility of Okinawa, and she and Stan immediately knew that this was an adventure God had for them.  It is so amazing to see how God works. All the details were quickly taken care of, and we have had so much fun getting to know the Arnolds and showing them our amazing communities in Okinawa... we even got to have sushi together for Mother's Day. :)

So, we leave in the morning, and after a few days of jet lag recovery in Texas, we'll be off to Colorado for some time with friends and family in the mountains.  Here is our schedule if you'd like to try and see us when we're speaking.  Thank you for your prayers for our church and family during this time... we can't wait to see what God does next!

Monday, May 02, 2016

My neighborhood call to prayer...

Every town in Japan has speaker systems that are in place for emergency broadcasts like tsunami warnings or other announcements... and they play music every day. :) Our town plays music at 7 am, 12 noon, and 5 pm every day.  At first, it's a little annoying, but then you get used to it.  It's funny how quickly things that are different, weird, special, or unique just become a normal part of our routine.  I love our neighborhood.  The houses are close together, but it's not too loud, it's nice for taking walks, it's very close to my favorite vegetable stand and convenience store, and our neighbors are incredibly nice.  But we don't know our neighbors very well.  Most are Japanese families, and because none of us have yards, we only see each other when we are walking to the store or if we happen to walk out the door at the same time.  I want to get to know my neighbors better.  But none of them speak English, and the conversations are pretty short when we're depending on my Japanese. ;)
So life goes on... we're busy with church responsibilities, school volunteering, Bible studies, swim lessons, meetings, etc., etc.  And before you know it, a few years have gone by, and I still don't know my neighbors very well. But I want to... and that's why I'm so thankful about the music that plays at 7 am each morning.  You see, each town plays a different song at the different times throughout the day.  Our town plays 'Greensleeves' at 7 am, or you might know it as 'What Child is This?'.  And every morning, it's my reminder to pray for my neighbors.  Because I want to get to know them more, but more importantly, I want them to know Jesus.  So I pray that God will give us opportunities to talk, and I pray that God will surround them with Christian friends who can show them His love and tell them about the life He offers in a way they can understand.  I want them to know that "This, this is Christ the King..." Our 7 am song has become like a spiritual discipline for me... a normal part of life, but a reminder to pause and pray. :)

(Please excuse the shaky video and low sound quality, but if you turn up the volume, you can hear our neighborhood morning song.)