Warm greetings from Nagoya! We landed here at around 9pm on August 8th, and despite a bumpy flight and an unpleasant surprise during the arrival process, all is well. This update will be brief, but we feel it is important to get a few important prayer requests before you.
First, let me say that our family is in good spirits. Josiah and Garrett have been all smiles this week. Garrett, in particular has enjoyed the return to Japan, and we feel like we’re seeing a side of him that we’ve missed. That’s answered prayer!
For the past two Sundays, we’ve enjoyed worshipping with our friends at ANF. Hide-san and Yu-san preached solid messages each week, and there are new faces in each location. It’s been good to realize that things have continued to move ahead in our absence. This week, I expect to meet with the staff for the first time, and we’ll begin to make some plans for how best to move forward together.
As I said, we are facing a couple of big challenges as a family, and we want to ask for your prayers:
When we landed at the airport last week, we ran into a problem during the immigration process. It seems that since Gina, Josiah, and Garrett have been out of the country for more than 12 months, their long-term visas have been cancelled. I’m not sure how we missed that important rule, but ignorance of the law isn’t any better defense in Japan than in America! Thankfully, my own visa is still valid since I decided to return for Grace Week in May. Since I’m seen as the head of the household, that may become an important consideration for officials here. So, on Tuesday morning (tomorrow), we will go to the main immigration office in Nagoya to apologize for our mistake and ask them to re-issue visas for the whole family. If denied, Gina and the boys (at least) will need to return to America within the next three months to reapply for Japanese visas. Please pray for favor during our visit to immigration tomorrow!
We’re blessed to have secured a short-term rental house only a 10 minute walk from a convenient train station in town. Right now, we’re spending a lot of our time apartment shopping. From our short list, a couple of the apartments have only been open for corporate contracts, and several others have a policy against renting to foreigners. We’d appreciate your prayers for us as we continue to look for a home – both for God to lead us to the right place AND that we would trust our King through this process. It would be best if we could decide on a place this week.
Finally - Josiah and Garrett returned to school at ICAN this morning after having been away for a year. Joshua, who’s been living with his Grandparents, will also return to Lookout Mountain today for his second year at Covenant. Lord, have mercy on our boys!
Of course, there’s a lot more going on than these few requests. It’d be easy to feel overwhelmed (and maybe that’s been the case a few times since we landed)! We don’t want to fall into the trap of always looking ahead – as if we’ll get around to doing ministry after our visas and apartment are settled. We want to believe that God has us right where he wants us. We want to live with the expectation that He is using us today. So, maybe you could ask the Spirit to remind us of that, too!
Thank you for the way you partner with us to see the Grace of God proclaimed here in this dark place. Your generosity in giving, praying, and encouraging us has been a critical component of the fruit we’ve already seen – and of how God will work through us (together) this term. We’re grateful for each of you and will send a fresh update with more details and photos soon!