“A future and a hope…”
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you.” Jeremiah 29:11-12
God has a plan for each of us.
A new season of ministry
Yes, this is a very famous Bible verse indeed. In the context of this verse, Jeremiah is encouraging the nation of Israel after a long season of captivity in Babylon. We do not consider Tokyo, Japan as Babylon and there was no oppressive captivity we endured. That being said, we did feel a strong sense of being held there by the Spirit until there would be a release into the next season.
After years of prayer and waiting on the Lord, after months of preparation and weeks of completing and releasing so much ministry to people we have poured into for so many years, we find ourselves in completely new territory – literally. A new place to live, a new community and new challenges to reach a community of rural ocean side living. Much of this community is either involved with the military base in some way, (somewhat like when we lived near Yokota) or some kind of farming activity.
When we say new season, it’s truly so with a new church covering that guarantees our visa, manages our support and is working closely with us in terms of accountability. We are in a completely new area of Japan and a very different setting based near a military base surrounded by sea and farming. There is some light industry here as well that takes advantage of the ocean ports afforded by the many bays and waterways.
A new environment and culture
Iwakuni, Yamaguchi is still Japan, but a very different cultural daily environment. In Tokyo, to get somewhere you take a few minutes’ walk through some city neighborhood to a nearby train station. Trains go everywhere in Tokyo. In Iwakuni you drive most everywhere for the things of daily life.
A new church
We are excited to be involved in a new Calvary Chapel fellowship and opportunities to first take a brief furlough (a couple months), the first in all of the 14 years we have been serving in Japan. We have moved into the new living space and are sorting through the MANY boxes of our possessions – one box at a time. Utility services are hooked up and facilities to cook, eat and wash are coming together.
A new climate
It’s the hottest time of year here along with the steamy humidity that marks the summers in Japan. If you have ever been to Florida in the Summer, it’s a lot like that. The first couple weeks here were pretty horrible weather-wise as we had no air conditioning. Poor Belinda actually suffered heat stroke like symptoms a couple of the days. Now we have some most welcome relief with some “aircons” (as we say it in Japanese) and a small break in the heat of the days.
A new place to live
View from the front porch of the surrounding Lotus Root plants. They are filled with frogs, bugs and animal life. This time of year, the Cicadas are in full chorus throughout the trees covering the surrounding trees. It gets so loud at night we have been sleeping with earplugs!
New neighbors to get to know
As beautiful as this area is, the people here still have mostly not heard the Gospel. People are well plugged into their daily life but are un-plugged from the things of the Spirit except for superstition and cultural religious activities. We have one neighbor who has a garden filled with idols, ghosts and little strange statues. It’s very odd indeed, but he now acknowledges us as we pass by. Hopefully a smile and an open door will follow. We don’t have a name yet, so we pray for the “Ghost Gardner”.
Under the black plastic are many koi fish!
People are friendly and seem less “closed off” than those living in Tokyo. This is a more rural area of Japan where you get to know your neighbors and are part of a greater community. It’s going to take some time, but we believe God will open the doors.
If you had time to read our last newsletter you know that we are under a new covering church – Calvary Chapel Thousand Oaks. Our relationship with CC Thousand Oaks is not really a new one as they have supported us equally from the very beginning of being sent out to Japan. CC Santa Barbara supports us prayerfully and we have a great relationship with CCSB still. CCSB has just shifted their missionary focus primarily to the American continent.
Here is the plan as we pray and work in partnership with CC Thousand Oaks. They are strongly advising us to take at least a couple months “in country” furlough and then begin working with the Calvary Chapel here in Iwakuni. They really do need the help of well-established ministry minded folks that are not likely to “PCS” (military term meaning to move on to their next assignment) in the next year. With the continual turnover of membership as far as base folks is concerned, having someone that can just plug-in and not be distracted with other commitments is very helpful. We are committed to stay the year and with the prayerful guidance of the local pastor and the missionary staff at CC Thousand Oaks, determine God’s will to either stay on longer here, go work with another ministry here in Japan, plant a new church, or… something entirely different.
A very sensitive subject
We are very sensitive about discussing finances in our newsletters, but one very important thing we need you to know is that after August, any financial support sent to CC Santa Barbara will be returned to the sender. If you are desiring to continue your financial support – we thank you so much!
Please follow this link to know how to do that.
Supporting the McBades In Japan (Support details)
Some final thoughts
We want you to know that this has been a truly emotional, kinda’ scary (but we have God’s assurance!) and yet exciting start of a new season for us. We want to be doing the work of the ministry no matter where God sends us. For this next season, that is definitely here in Iwakuni, Japan.
Please pray with us as God leads
- We made it here safely
- God’s provision for our moving needs
- Many friends who sent us off with their love
- God’s continued provision as we have not yet established tent-making work (Details)
- That we would be faithful to actually rest before moving into ministry work
- That we would be able to quickly make friends and establish good relationships with our neighbors
We are with you in prayer!
We want to hear from you! Do you have questions about this new season for us?
– You can write or even Skype with us 🙂
Are you or someone you know considering entering the mission field?
– We are available to help them with insight into missions abroad.
Would you like to have us pray from something going on in your life?
Please write us and you WILL be prayed for 🙂