For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the comic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places (Eph 6:12)
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As with our last email, we’d like to share some updates from our recent prayer requests and also a story from a meeting we had earlier this week. It’s fun to share this with you, because it’s great news!
Visas: Nothing new to report. We’ll tell you more as soon as we can!
Boys (Joshua in TN and Josaiah/Garett here): Everyone is off to a great start and enjoying classes and friends. Today was Joshua’s birthday (20 years old!). Josiah really likes the new teachers at ICAN, and we’re continuing to see smiles and life in Garrett!
Apartment Search:We’ve found an apartment and can move in on the same day that our short term rental ends! It’s a great place. It’s exactly half way between our two main areas of ministry. It’s on the 4th floor with a huge balcony that provides a terrific view of the city skyline and lots of open sky overhead. Pretty much exactly what we were praying for…actually, better than we were praying for.
We filled out the apartment application last Friday, and our realtor said we might hear something on Monday. Then, late on Monday evening, we received some new information. The apartment owner was worried about the fact that we were foreigners and missionaries. He said he did not understand my job description or our company here in Japan. He said he would like to meet with us personally and ask questions.
Of course, we agreed to the appointment. Yu-san came as a Japanese leader at ANF, and our friend Cathalain (from MTW) came as a missionary and representative of our current company. The owner’s property manager (Mr. W) was the first to arrive. He said the owner would not be coming today. He explained that he serves as the manager and “gatekeeper” for the property. He would make the decision based on our conversation that day, and the owner almost always takes his recommendation! Nothing like a little pressure, right?!?
Mr. W began by asking a lot of detailed questions about my job. Given our current connections with ANF, CBI, Serge, and MTW, it’s even confusing for us! I think the three of us at the meeting were nervous about how that might go.
After about 15 minutes, it seemed evident that Mr. W understood things pretty clearly. He smiled and told us he wasn’t really allowed to say it openly, but he is a Christian Leader in the German Alliance Church in Japan! He was actually happy that neither the owner, nor our realtor were able to come that day. Now, he can talk to us openly…
Mr. W, who will now be our property manager, has been a Christian for 40 years. His wife is also a Christian! As we continued to talk, we discovered so many personal connections among the three of us – especially between He, Cathalain, and Yu-san. For example:
Mr. W is friends with Asako-san’s previous pastor (Asako is Yu-san’s wife).
Mr. W is good friends with the pastor who planted a church that Cathalain’s family attended when they lived in Okazaki.
The pastor who baptized Mr. W founded a Christian retreat center that our family has used several times. That retreat center holds special memories of God’s grace for the Sink family.
I won’t list them here, but I think I could write 10 more bullets that list very personal connections between Yu-san, Cathalain, and Mr. W. At one point, Yu-san leaned over with a shocked look (I’ve seen a lot of those looks since returning). He whispered, “Jeremy, this is amazing! I think I want your partners to pray for me!” I replied, “Yu-san, they do!”
In the end, Mr. W smiled and said that he was happy to recommend that the owner rent the apartment to us. As if that wasn’t enough, Mr. W took our very expensive list of move-in expenses (which came to over $6000), and began marking things off the list! Suffice it to say that Mr. W was very generous and is saving us a significant amount of money. He sees that as a way to help the Kingdom of God move forward in Japan. He also assured us he wants to be a good landlord, and we should call him personally if we ever have a problem. He wants to be a blessing to us.
In Yu-san’s words: This is incredible…it’s amazing! More and more, we see that a spiritual battle is taking place, and God is strongly at work. We know that in one sense, that’s always the case, but this is different. We also see him doing something bigger than extending special grace to our family. He’s strengthening our partnership with you and teaching us (together) about the need to humble ourselves, ask for prayer, and power of prayer as we minister together from around the world. So many of you have said our last update was a special encouragement to your church and other Christian friends. Praise God! Thank you for praying with us and becoming partners with us in this ministry to the Japanese! And please join with us in giving thanks and praise to the one who answers prayer!
Summarizing our Big Prayer Requests:
1. We should sign the contract for the apartment in the next day or two. We’re praying that would continue smoothly.
2. The Visa issue. From our perspective, hearing from the immigration office sooner than later would be helpful.
3. For a good (available) contractor to repair our house in Asheboro. The insurance adjuster was kind and generous, but contractors are covered up right now. The first estimate was over $20K!
4. I’ve been sick with weirdo-symptoms (head and back pain) and fever for over a week. The past few days have been much better, but I’ve never had this kind of virus. Gina’s back pain had almost disappeared in the US, showed back up yesterday. So, would you add physical health to your prayer list?
Despite the long list above, we truly feel encouraged right now. God is giving us faith. You are a big part of that. Thank you for being in it with us. Your prayers are not an optional, footnote to the work here…they ARE the work!
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