How was ‘Merica?

It was awesome, thanks for asking! 3 weeks feels like a long time to be away from people and ministry in Japan on the one hand, but around family and friends, 3 weeks feel like nothing!

Us with Riva's family at a surprise party (6 weeks early, so definitely a surprise!) we threw for Riva's mom while we were in town.
Us with Riva’s family at a surprise party (6 weeks early, so definitely a surprise!) we threw for Riva’s mom while we were in town.
Us with Brooks' family after we all gathered to celebrate Marley's baptism.
Us with Brooks’ family after we all gathered to celebrate Marley’s baptism.

We shed a few tears yesterday as Quinn walked around the apartment calling for aunts, uncles, and grandparents to come out and play. The reality of our family’s mobile lifestyle hits us hard at times, but the painful goodbyes only highlight the depths of love and joy we experience when we’re together with you all.

The cousins celebrating "Eastmasgivingday" where we celebrate all of the holidays for the year at once so we don't miss any special family traditions while we live across the ocean.
The cousins celebrating “Eastmasgivingday” where we celebrate all of the holidays for the year at once so we don’t miss any special family traditions while we live across the ocean.

ANSWERED PRAYER: We asked you to pray for safe travels to and from the US, and God granted that. We asked you to pray for our kids on the airplanes and with jet-lag, and God granted that. We asked you to pray for spiritual rest and refreshment for us, and God gave us that, though it came in the strangest of ways for me (Brooks). The team retreat was wonderful for re-connecting with teammates relationally and coming together around the call to make Jesus famous among the next gen. But, I left feeling a little disappointed that I had so little time to just sit by myself and reflect on the last year and pray for the year ahead. It actually wasn’t until I got back to Japan and was up early because of jet-lag that I felt like I really got the time I was craving with God.

Us with our GYFM family in Mexico.
Us with our GYFM family in Mexico.

When we left for the US, our balcony view was blocked by the construction that was being done to our building, but when we returned, all the scaffolding was taken down. So yesterday, due to jet-lag, I had three uninterrupted hours to sit in the breeze, watch the storm brew, look out over the city, and pray and reflect. In the hands of God, and thanks to your prayers, unwanted jet-lag became a quiet, much-needed respite alone with God. It convinced me once again that there is nothing inconvenient in our lives which God does not use for our good his glory. Thanks for praying!

While we were in the States many people also asked about Towa’s recovery (from a previous prayer request). Here is what another missionary writes about his progress: “While playing at school, our Japanese pastor Seima’s 15-year old son Towa fractured two vertebrae in his neck, and has been unable to walk and move a majority of his body since that time. Some doctors said he would nevr walk again. He is in an excellent local rehabilitation hospital now and is making good progress such as recently being able to stand up without assistance from a helper. While this is surprisingly good news, this experience has been disruptive for their family on so many levels and the life of Grace Harbor as they have needed help. NonChristians have been watching the response by their family and it has led to some spiritual conversations with them about God and suffering. Please join us in prayer for Towa’s recovery and spiritual encouragement.

COMING UP: Area Retreat! Please keep praying for the upcoming Area Retreat for MTW families who serve in Asia. We’ll be leaving July 25th, leading a program for adolescent MKs, and returning to Japan on Aug 10. MKs need the gospel just like we do, and most of them have few adults around them who are delivering it outside of their families. They often don’t have the great youth group or Christian school experiences many kids in the States get. For those reasons, this week of fun, rest, and intentional discipleship can be a life-giving for families. Pray that God would meet each student just where they are in their walk with him, and show them just a bit more of his great love for them (Eph. 3:18). Thanks!

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