What to do when you find yourself in Japan
Nearly all of March was spent with us on the road from Northern California, Arizona, New Mexico, and finally Texas. The main focus was all about sharing God's mission for Japan and bringing people on to be a part of that. We had some great meetings with family, friends, and new faces. We gained some new supporters, ate some interesting (good!) food, and even better, gained some new stories.
We began our trip leaving from Morgan Hill, CA and made our way across the I-40 which we found takes us on a much more scenic and less busy route to my hometown of Payson in AZ. It also avoids both LA and Phoenix, and who wants to drive in LA by choice? Not I. We pulled it off in about 12 hours over the course of one day, but this leg of the trip has been done a few times now. We stopped to stay with my family for a few days while we made a few calls, had a couple meetings, did some car maintenance (Ended up being pointless, read on...), and bought more food because road snacks are important to over-all well-being and keeping Nick awake.
We left Pine and went south through Phoenix, were we made a pit-stop in east Mesa (car things again...) then out east into New Mexico. At this point, crossing the vast empty desert that is New Mexico, it felt I might pass from old-age before I saw another city/town/something with more than a tumbleweed and single gas station, but oh what little did I know. But it happened, we hit El Paso! Texas! I could feel the second wind coming on, this was our destination state, it can't be much further...
6 hours later, I could drive no more. The great plains of Texas defeated me, and nearly the cars gas tank. It had seemed that I was spoiled on seeing a gas station every 10 miles or so for much our trip, but the phrase "everything is bigger in Texas" must also apply to the distance between stations. This dawned on me as what my family refers to as the "idiot light" on the dash for one's gas level had now illuminated, effectively stamping me as the idiot. So I was hungry, car was hungry, wife was just barely keeping my sanity by playing road games, and thus we decided a more lasting stop was needed. We picked a small hotel in Fort Stockton to stay the night.
Two things happened that night. One: we got into the hotel somewhere around 1am. Second: a special thing occurs on Sunday March 12th that a person in AZ doesn't care about. Daylight Stinking Savings Time. DSST. Somehow I managed to plan us into getting a bit less sleep and putting our arrival time later and later, yeah, I am pro at logistics. We still managed to get enough sleep and finish our trip moving into Houston later that evening.
The actual time in Texas was eventful and the trip back trouble-free. My Aunt and Uncle were generous in providing us not only a place to stay, but also fed us with food that was much tastier and classier than our typical value meal road grub. We loved spending time with them and all the connections we could make, both new and old. We are hopeful to go back out (even further east next time!) to keep sharing this mission.
For those that got our more recent newsletter, some of this you might already know, but if you are curious or need a quick catch up, continue on!
This summer has been filled with events and people, of which, we are thankful for every one. We have now been in California for about 4 months now with plans to make it our "homebase" for some time longer. Though the end of summer has come and gone, and thankfully bringing in lower temperatures in it's absence, we intend to keep our energy high as we move towards the end of the year.
We are very blessed to have hit about 35% of our fundraising goal at this point (granted that number flexed a bit as we waited on a final budget from TEAM in Japan) and with many new friendships to boot! It's been a steady stream of meeting with individuals, small groups, and entire congregations where we get the privilege to share God's call on our lives and present the opportunity for others to be involved in the mission.
We want to make this time more than just about raising up support and we have recently found an incredible Japanese church in San Jose that has been very welcoming. We are currently involved in their bi-weekly Japanese classes (incredibly helpful), weekly small group, regular service, and the time of fellowship that follows immediately after that. It has been a great blessing to get to know just a few of the people there to hear some incredible testimonies and stories about Japan. We are hopeful to visit this community frequently and look for ways we can serve.
Nick has just one last semester left until the Master's degree journey comes to a close and he can finally take a short reprieve from educational pursuits. For those that don't know, he intends to pursue a Doctorates while in Japan that will enable him to not only be much better prepared for future ministry in that nation but also allow for more opportunities in places missionaries can't always go (such as the public schools).
We will keep it short, if you want to hear more, please get added to our newsletter! But for a quick recap:
- We've hit 35% of our fundraising goal
- We will be travelling over the next several weeks out in Arizona to visit family, friends, and churches
- We are still looking for a more permanent housing solution as we continue fundraising
- Currently staying with family in the Bay Area
- We have joined a more formal class for Japanese language
- Began attending a local Japanese church
- Timeline for Japan is summer of 2017 (Already less than a year!)
Please keep us in your prayers as we travel these next few weeks to meet with a church in Phoenix (our first church we attended as a married couple!) as well as Nick's home church back in Payson and that God would use us to share about His calling on us for Japan. Thank you all so much for your continued prayer and support, it is absolutely what makes this happen and keeps us going!