HIGH ON NAGASAKI
YEAR END VIDEO NEWS
WE WANT TO SAY THANK YOU
This year was AMAZING! Of course there were challenges all along the way, yet our hearts are full of excitement and expectation for all that we saw Him doing in Nagasaki, in the last six months.
We are impressed with how quickly things have been moving and that only causes us to remember that same timeless truth:
Keep your eyes on God and not on the giant!
Fabio and Elizabeth
Joshua, Dominique, Israel, Johann, Olivia, Annaliese and Serenity
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"The Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace."
So we are at the end of one more year. We hope you are doing well and enjoying the holidays!
As for us, we could not be with our family in friends back at home, but we are grateful for the brothers and sisters the Lord has given us in Japan. This year, we have so much to be thankful for and rejoice over!
It would be impossible to write about everything that happened in 2021 as it was a very eventful year for our family. You also may be busy reading many other newsletters of friends and relatives so we will (try!) to make this one simple with easy-to-read notes and a THANK YOU video at the end with some video clips of what God has been doing here. It’s so exciting to look back and see that only He could have done it and therefore, we praise Him and give Him all the glory!
This year started off as an incredibly challenging one in so many areas. We were still living in Tokyo and being sort of under a lockdown due to the highs of Covid in the area while having to take care of our baby, who had just gone under a major surgery and was taking 10 different types of drugs, several being immunosuppressants. There were some challenges of “growing pains” for some of our kids and many uncertainties about our future move to Nagasaki. Joshua was on his way to South Africa and was supposed to come back in December.
However, due to the new Covid variant, Japan imposed more restrictions and he was unable to return. He is all right! But the delay helped him to decide to take one more course, and so now he won’t come back until May. He is eager to be home and join his family again. Dominique(17) was in the States between February and June and is currently working on finishing her high school requirements while working a part-time job. Israel(15) and Johann(13) were in the public school in Machida and after we moved here as well. They are now homeschooling and have become really good friends. Olivia and Annaliese continue to go to the local school and are fully fluent in Japanese. Serenity recovered well from her surgery (October 2020) and is now down to only 2 medications. Fabio and Elizabeth are grateful for all the Lord has done this year. They celebrated their 20th anniversary last April and often say, “I love to share this crazy adventure with you and grow together”.
OUR BIG MOVE
The church in Tokyo had offered for us to stay 5 more years rent-free. We were very grateful for their love and kindness and would have loved to stay close to all the friends the Lord had given us while there. Financially, that would have been just right as we did not have a lot of extras for a rental home. Yet, we were feeling an (already familiar) restlessness inside as we prayed. So in March, the day the travel restrictions were lifted, we were on the road traveling 1200 km to Nagasaki to look for a home!
Finding a larger rental house for a big family is not an easy task in Japan, so after many discouraging visits to realtors in the area, we finally found ONE large house available. We prayed and sought counsel from some friends. The decision was made and we drove back home to start wrapping up our time in Tokyo.
STARTING ALL OVER AGAIN
After a couple of months, on May 10th, we were on the road again driving towards a new adventure, not sure what was awaiting us. We had a couple of friends in the general area but no idea of what we were going to do nor how to start anything. The exciting thing was that Nagasaki was a “blank sheet of paper” — full of opportunities! As for Nagayo, the unchurched town, anywhere we turned was a mission field! It was like a “banquet” just for ourselves, LOL.
Finally our kids were enrolled in the local schools, we were busy trying to figure out all the paperwork related to our move, looking for furniture, figuring out where the stores are, prayer walking, and asking God for direction.
WHEN HE STARTS TO MOVE…
Before we had a chance to even get to know the area or spend any time sightseeing, our kids were bringing other kids to our house. We didn’t have furniture yet, but we definitely had lots of kids running around! We met the neighbors who were very kind to us and other kids’ parents. In July we were doing our first outreach activity with moms and their kids. Meanwhile, we were being very intentional to meet people everywhere we went. Some situations could be called “awkward” but we figured, we had to start somewhere! In the past newsletters, you read great stories of meeting people but we don’t mention every single story that goes terrible. Outreach is a great way to learn how to deal with rejection and awkward situations as well, LOL!
At this point, we have learned how to go about doing events in the town of Nagayo and have the support of some local authorities for it. Meanwhile, our group is growing in the Lord, and in number. We are growing in trust and fellowship with one another, and while we continue to grow as a big family, we are also creating a culture of serving right from the start so we can put into practice the things we learn from God's Word. We really love the family of faith that God is building here in Nagasaki.
God has given us some good connections in the town and through the events, we have gained favor with the town hall people. Hopefully, that will serve as a testimony of what we do and that we are not coming with a “weird religion”. Since Nagayo is a small town, they try to protect it from “outsiders” bringing “strange things”. Their intention is good but it creates an incredible challenge to plant a church. Now we see why it’s been unchurched for centuries!
Japan is not legally closed to the Gospel. Yet, in some areas, it is incredibly difficult to do anything related to Christianity. In our target areas, for example, all facilities say very clearly on the renting document: “No religious activity allowed”. So finally, a partnering church in Nagasaki city offered for us to meet at their building. It is very small but was a possibility. We soon outgrew that place that was pretty much one meeting room of 22ft x 22ft.
At this point, we are still squeezing into our living room/ dining room and are praying for a larger facility. There have been other people interested in coming to church and we are trying to figure out how to do this.
At the moment, we are actually looking at a facility that almost seems too good to be true, as far as location, size and cost. We don’t know why! We are trying to figure out more about it and hope to have an update about it in the next newsletter.
As a curious fact, because of the “reputation factor”, even if you think of buying a facility to use as a church, the seller might not want to sell it to you if they think others might judge them for selling it to you…
The good thing is, “For with God nothing is impossible” (Lk 1:37)
Pray with us!
UPDATE ON OUR CHRISTMAS OUTREACH
After our Thanksgiving party, we decided to go for a Christmas Celebration. We were able to rent the same facility and were able to count on the partnership of a local association, who came to play some Christmas music. Since we had less than two weeks to pull this off, we thought of keeping it simple and small. Somehow, more people started showing interest and we just could not say “No”… Well, the last count was close to 110 people! We did games, music, and a “message” explaining the true meaning of Christmas. What a joy talking about Jesus openly in a public place without any restrictions! After all, it was Christmas!!!
After that, we were pretty tired…but an opportunity to go to a nursing home came up. Well…we went for it. We knew they had been restricted from visits for a long time because of Covid so now that the restriction is lifted, we could not pass the opportunity to take some joy to that place. Our team was pretty happy to have done so.
Okay… Now we need some rest.
Thank you for coming on this journey with us.
Fabio & Elizabeth
And here a reminder...
© 2022, Fabio and Elizabeth