Well, if anyone still stops by to see if there's anything new here...Hi!
I think by now it's a well UNdocumented fact that I'm not really good at this thing called blogging. Not if being consistent has anything to do with being good.
Somewhere in some format I have tons of pictures from so many different events that I would love to share. Seems every time I at long last sit down and try to update our lives and happenings on here when I try to include pictures I get almost finished and lose everything. It's so far past frustrating.
I think it's been almost two months since I was last here...
needless to say much has taken place since then.
Birthdays, anniversaries, church, school, music, sports, holiday events... LIFE!
It's been so long we've gone from the sweat and heat of summer to the snow and heaters of almost winter!
Our family in the states are busy and far as we know pretty much happy and healthy - from our parents to our grandchildren and all in between. Praise God!
John and I are both doing lots of English classes and our schedules are very different. Mine are all day time and in school settings here, there and yonder. While his are scattered all around as well, he does classes at church, community centers, others' homes, our home and many evening and night classes. In that circumstance we are very thankful for the times we have to spend together and God manages to give us a good bit.
Since our children were very young we have always tried to make time for the two of us together a priority - for the benefit of all of us. Having lived for 7 1/2 years here in Japan when most of our kids were still home with us and pretty young, that often presented a challenge. Those of you in the states where 'baby sitters' are a common and accepted thing need not to take it for granted. Japan is one of those countries - still - that doesn't really have that term in their vocabulary. Ok, got a little distracted there.
Any way, whether we're sitting in the same room doing our individual activities, side by side watching a show, sharing devotional/Bible time or going out some place together - it's such a blessing to do it together.
It's been 10 1/2 years since we brought our family back to Japan to serve as missionaries to help grow God's kingdom. In that time we've experienced all the up and downs, highs and lows, good and not-so-good of life that is common to everyone. The difference for us, the part of our lives that far too many don't have, is our belief, faith and trust in the one true God! It gives us the assurance that when we are in the midst of any experience that is beyond our understanding that we are going through it with the One who knows everything that is, was or ever will be. God's word is filled with His promises to each of us. God keeps every promise.
We never intentionally 'test' God or His word. Still there are times when we are deeply concerned by some circumstance. In those times when we doubt, wonder or question, God has repeatedly provided. At times it is exactly measured out according to the need. Others the abundance stuns us. Awesome God!
In moments when I reflect on all the times in my life that I struggled yet came through, there is one constant - God. Whether I was on my face pleading with Him or He was pushed somewhere in the far reaches of my mind hidden behind everything else, He was - is! - always with me. His love, grace and strength are what brought me to this place in my life.
He is why we are in Japan.
Those of you that know God as Lord and Savior... can you imagine going through life without Him???
Less than 1% of the Japanese population know God and have chosen Him. He told us all those years ago that we needed to come and share His word here so that the 99% would have the opportunity to choose Him. Little by little, person by person, day by day, in our every day life and activity we do our best to live so that everyone who sees us sees some bit of God. Something that they recognize as missing in their own life that they want! That 'something' being God! It breaks our hearts to know that the vast majority of those we see every day will not know eternal life with our Lord as they are now.
Sometimes we're told that we 'don't seem like most missionaries'. God knew perfectly what kind of people we are when He told us this was His plan for us. Our strengths and our weaknesses and how He can use our life experiences to reach the people here that don't know Him as Lord. I am humbled beyond measure that God would choose us to go out in this land for Him. In this walk it means everything to know without doubt that when I struggle or stumble my God is beside me to help in whatever way He knows is best.
So I want to say a special prayer of thanks for each one of you that has been a part of this journey thus far. And for those that continue on with us or join in the future. Every word of encouragement, every smile, every prayer, every offering is a special blessing and a part of why we can be here doing what we can in mission for God. Our children, grandchildren, parents, siblings, extended family and friends are walking this walk with us in ways even we can't fully comprehend. We pray unceasingly that the true joy of the Lord, the peace that only He can give overflows in every life.