eNews – January 17, 2011

IMG_0275We took sweet counsel together,
And walked to the house of God in the throng.
                                            Psalm 55:14

We are back from the US.  It was a very refreshing time as well as a difficult time.  It was refreshing in the sense that we enjoyed really special time with our families, both immediate and extended.  It was difficult in that I had to say goodbye to my father.  So it is with very mixed emotions that I write today.

My father was an extremely gifted and talented man. He viewed the world through the eyes of the artist.  He had the ability to create just about anything he could imagine through multiple mediums including drawing, painting, sculpting, music and theater.  One of the most precious things I learned from him was how to see things with my “mind’s eye”.  How to take a concept I imagined, into reality.  

I was able to see him a few times on this trip.  That was the Grace of God that I was able to do so. My last experience of him in the hospital was a positive one.  We joked a bit, hugged and he told me I would see him again.  That was the last time I saw him in this world.  My father prayed to receive Christ once with me long ago, but he never really wanted to talk much about that from then on.  I pray by God’s Grace that I will see him again one day.

Our time with family and friends was really wonderful.  We were able to spend Christmas with my Mom and our children, and to visit family to the North as well.  I know they will be times we will cherish for a long time to come.

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We also were able to visit our home church, in Santa Barbara.  It was so good to be able to attend the Missions Sunday there.  We got to see so many of you.  We realize how much our home church means to us as we were encouraged by you.

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Calvary Chapel Thousand Oaks also is one of our supporting churches.  We were blessed to be able to visit and touch base with our extended family there.  You know what a blessing you are to us!

We had the opportunity to do worship and speak at a Spanish Speaking church here in Santa Barbara we were introduced to through our daughter Alison.  Many of you know we were involved with Spanish ministry over the years and that we spent the last few years working with the Spanish ministry at CCSB before we were sent out to Japan.  We felt very much at home fellowshipping with them. Were blessed to join their worship team and share music in Japanese with them.

As our trip came to the final week, we spent a wonderful time of fellowship and refreshing at the Missions’ Conference in Murrieta.  Attending were over 500 missionaries. This was our second opportunity to attend this conference and it was truly awesome to be able to share with our brothers and sisters serving throughout the world. 

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CC Norco has the unique ministry called “Go”.  As many of you know, they manage our finances and taxes for us. The last night of the conference we led worship and shared with Christ’s body at CC Norco. We thank God for them as they area huge blessing to us.

Upon our return we have, as usual, hit the ground running.  It’s difficult for me as I reflect upon my father’s passing.  I have been living in denial, I think, trying to buffer my emotions, but it’s all getting very real for me now.  I ask that you pray for me, for us, as we endeavor to continue the good work God has begun in us, and here in Japan.

We have the renewed sense that this is where God wants us.  We are praying about what God wants to do this year with us in Japan.  We have been here over 5 years now and are seeking God as to what His next steps for us will be.  We ask that you partner with us in prayer as we seek God’s guidance and vision.

Prayer requests

  • Pray for us as we work through the impact of John’s Father’s passing away.
  • Pray for Julia, John’s dad’s wife, as she is going through this difficult time of missing her beloved husband.
  • Pray for new ministry focus on American military families stationed here in Japan.
  • Pray for our Japanese language skills and ministry to the Japanese in our fellowship
  • Pray against any discouragement that may try to hinder the work God wants to do.

Praises

  • We are thankful to have been able to visit our family and friends during the holidays.
  • We are thankful to have been able to visit with and say good bye to John’s dad before he passed.
  • We are thankful we were able to attend the missions conference and get refreshed and refilled for a new year on the mission field of Japan.
  • We are thankful for some new direction in ministry this year.
  • We are thankful for our church family in the U.S. and here in Japan.
  • We are grateful that God has blessed us with your prayers and support throughout the year.