He gives strength to the weary and increases power to the weak. (Isa 40:29)
Dear Family and Friends. Warmest greetings from Japan!
We just got past Golden Week, a favorite Japanese holiday week. However, as Emperor Akihito stepped down to give room to the next emperor, Japan is also entering a new era, called the Reiwa Era. Japan uses western calendar years, as in “2019”, but also counts the years according to the current emperor. So the nation celebrated in a big way by extending Golden Week to a ten day long holiday! Join us and others believing that this new Reiwa Era in Japan will be one of great spiritual breakthroughs in this nation!
We have been keeping so busy here that it is hard to find time to document all that is going on. For this reason, we’ll make short bullet points to make it simpler and easier to read at your own pace! Feel free to write back, ask questions and/or details or insights the Lord might give you!
- One big highlight of the past couple months was at the end of March. We traveled as a family to Nagoya for the a missionary retreat of our sending agency, JEMS. It was the first time we met many of the other JEMS missionaries, and it was a wonderful time of connecting, fellowship, mutual prayer and teaching that was uniquely designed to minister to the needs of full-time workers for the Gospel in Japan. Our whole family was so blessed. They also planned some special times for our children, and a volunteer team from California came to serve the MK’s and make the time awesome for them! This transition has not always been easy on our kids, and meeting and connecting with other third culture kids like themselves was truly life-giving for them.
- After the retreat, we were able to visit Shiga-ken for the first time in 16 years! This is the State where we met, married, and where Joshua was born. It was wonderful to reconnect with some “old” friends from the church there, as well as spend some time with Fabio’s brother and family.
- Upon returning, the new school year began in Japan! This brought many changes for our family as well. Last school year, all of the children (except Annaliese) were in the Japanese school system. As you can imagine, this was a huge challenge for them, but thankfully they all made friends and learned Japanese to a pretty good level of conversation. There is still much to learn but the most important thing is that they gained confidence in being among the Japanese, have trained their ears to “capture” the words being spoken and can now communicate without fear. That is a huge step in order for them to continue to grow in their language learning.
- Anyway, Joshua finished Japanese middle school (having been put back because of the language difficulty), but as he is finished with high school requirements by American standards, he just took the SAT last Saturday. In the meantime, he has been applying for part-time jobs as well as studying for the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (in July) and pursuing other studies of several other languages, just because he loves it.
- Dominique will graduate from Japanese middle school next year and finish her high school requirements at home. She is simultaneously working through some homeschool curriculum as well.
- Israel graduated from Japanese elementary school and plans to continue in public school through middle school graduation, in three years. He enjoyed homeschooling, but the highly structured system of the Japanese school fits his personality like a glove and he is thriving there.
- Johann and Olivia are back to being homeschooled this year, although they are still able to go to some classes at the local school. This was a huge praise report, that would have been unthinkable in Brazil or in America. We were rather concerned about approaching the school about our desire to homeschool the children this year, but the principal was so kind and understanding! After thinking about it and meeting with other teachers, he said they would keep our children on the role, and they could still participate at some classes at school to continue improving in Japanese, playing with friends, etc, while doing most of their studies in English at home. It has been a wonderful solution for this school year (although sometimes tricky to juggle)!
- In the midst of all our busyness, we lost our baby the beginning of March, 13 weeks into the pregnancy. It was a tough time but the Lord has brought restoration of peace and joy. Many of you sent personal notes of encouragement, and although we were not able at the time to respond to each one, we want you to know that they really meant a lot to us. Thank you so much for praying us through. We literally felt upheld by prayer!
- Johann’s accident. Four weeks ago, Johann fell and broke his elbow badly. It was the first time in nearly 17 years of parenting that we experienced having to call an ambulance, having a child hospitalized, and surgery. He had a couple of pins and a wire put in his arm to hold the bones back together. He is recovering great! He has been out of the cast since 9 days post-surgery, and began rehabilitation this week. Please continue to pray for full recovery!
- Friends from Brazil. About a month ago we received some guests from Brazil! Marcelo brought his son Davi (18) to visit friends and invest in time together doing a father-son trip throughout Japan. It was a blessing to also have them here for the times of mutual encouragement.
- Morita sensei. She is a lady who was asked by the school to give Dominique private Japanese lessons for two hours a week. (All of the children had this provided for them by the school!) A while ago she expressed a desire to know more about the Bible and so came to our house. From that day, she took an interest in teaching our whole family — for free! So she has been coming to our house twice per week as our family’s personal Japanese teacher, and spends a good chunk of the afternoon with each one, individually. She brings various books and prints, customized for each student. She is so dedicated and kind, and obviously loves teaching Japanese as a second language!!
- Kai. He is a young man who just finished Bible school and is back to this church. Now in the leadership team, he will be involved in many aspects of the church. As a young man he has lots of energy and ideas to reach out. Our goal is to also be of encouragement and support for him in many ways, as our plan continues to be to leave for Nagayo next year.
- US Mission Team. A team with 25 people is coming to Japan next month (June)! Time is flying and we have been working for many months in prayer, seeking direction, making contacts and seeing how the Lord has been opening doors and putting things together. Please join us in prayer for health, safety and effectiveness in shining Jesus’ love in various ways we will encounter.
We apologize for missing last month’s report but we were hit pretty hard with all that happened with the pregnancy, Johann’s accident, and all that on top of life in general. Thankfully the Lord has brought restoration, but we often encounter very difficult moments that are still related to the transition into this country. We would greatly appreciate your continued prayer for each family member.
He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.