Tuesday, November 27, 2007

the Lord's timing is perfect

So, first let me say….What!? Jason and I were prepared to head back to the states thinking our opportunities in Japan were finished and over but on the day that we went to book our plane tickets we got a phone call from our friends, the Barton’s (they have been missionaries to Japan for about 29 years), asking us if we had already booked our ticket. “Well, no not yet but we were about to.” We answered. “Well don’t! Wait, because we may have a job opportunity for you.” replied Cheryl. You see, Bernie is a principal at an all girls Christian Japanese Jr. and Sr. High School and there was a sudden, unexpected opening at his school for two teachers to teach conversational English. We couldn’t believe it. We met with the Barton’s for dinner to discuss the details of the position and we couldn’t believe what we were hearing….everything sounded great. So, we went home and began to pray about what the Lord wanted us to do. After much prayer and thought we have decided to take the positions. We are so excited and we can’t believe how the Lord worked it all out! He is so good! We will go home for three months and we will return in mid-March because Japan’s spring semester begins in April. So, we get to go home for the holidays, spend some more quality time with friends and family and then move back to Japan. We will be moving into a much healthier situation and we are excited to see what the Lord is going to do in the next year in Japan! Please continue to pray for us as we will need to change our VISAs over to the school and cancel our current ones. It shouldn’t be too much of a problem but please pray that all goes smoothly. Also, please pray for us as we prepare to go back. We will be studying the language more intensely when we come back to the states so as to communicate more clearly with these girls about Jesus and who He is and His Kingdom.

God’s timing is so perfect and although periods of waiting were so hard I am so glad that we did wait on Him. He is faithful to always provide in whatever circumstance.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

relaxing in Kobe (south-central japan)

We have come to Kobe for the weekend with our friends, the Barton's. The Barton's have been missionaries to Japan for 29 years. This is a very impressive factor to me. I don't know if I could live in another country for that long. Their story is amazing to me. They were pastors of a church in Kobe for a long time (somewhere around 23 years or so) and then they were called to move away to Tokyo where Mr. Barton became a principal of a Christian school. When they left Kobe they had some replacement pastors but they came and left very quickly and since that time there has been one other pastor but hasn't stayed long. So, this church that they have pastored for so long is without a pastor now and the Bartons visit about once a month to this church to encourage the believers.

On this particular visit they invited us to come along to see Kobe and to experience another part of Japan. We were so thankful for this opportunity but we were unsure of what exactly to do because on the day the Bartons were leaving there was an information session in regards to the new company. The pull to want to have information and some sort of understanding was pulling at our decision to stay in Tokyo and forego the trip this time in hope that we might still be in Japan the next time they came for a visit. However, after much thinking and praying we decided to go on the trip. Although it would seem to make sense to go get some information we had been waiting for, we just didn't have a peace about staying. Thankfully, after a converstation with a co-worker who attended the meeting and after reading some news articles, we discovered we had made the best decision. Any of the information we needed we could get from the internet and from the Nova office at a later date. So, we got the information we needed and some relaxing time in Kobe.

We have felt more at peace here than we have in Japan in a long time. ummm, maybe not more at peace just more at home, more still. We attended our first church service here in Japan and although it was all in Japanese it was such a blessing. We visited Kyoto, which we have been wanting to do and this was a great time and opportunity.

I write all this to say that in this time of waiting and chaos the Lord has been so good to give us some peace and beautiful moments to see and experience him. He is so faithful and so loving and so good. In all of this he has walked with us through these days of directional blindness. He is guiding us. to Him be all praise and glory! Amen!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

NOVA update

so here's the 411 on what is going on so far with our jobs....NOVA closed on Oct. 26th, filed for court protection from creditors, and fired President Nozumo Sahashi all in the same day. We have not been to work since that time. the court appointed two lawyers to find sponsors to take over the company and if they did not find a sponsor by Nov. 5th the lawyers would begin bankruptcy procedures for Nova. Well, a sponsor has been found and will take over nova. However, the new company will only open 30 of the near 700 schools initially with a goal to open nearly 200 schools in the future. the company said they would employee any nova teachers who wished to work for them but have yet to explain how they plan to employ over 4,000 instructors in only 30 schools during the first phase of restructuring. Also, we might have to reapply for our jobs but that might just be a rumor. Updates and information come very slowly. So, we are waiting to hear more. In regards to our unpaid wages for the months of September and October, we are in the dark about this as well. However, in the midst of all of these unknowns God has been so faithful to provide for us. We have a place to sleep and enough food for a day whereas many nova teachers have been evicted from their apartment and are living on just one meal a day. the Lord has given us all we need for today and He will give us all that we need for tomorrow. We praise Him for all He has done for us. Words can't express how thankful we are that He continues to provide peace in our hearts and minds and for our physical needs. He is so Good! Please continue to pray for us if you think about us. We love you and miss you all!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

the Goodness of God

When we experience Jesus, when we experience his holy spirit, no words can quite explain the inward, personal journey that we have been traveling nor can we accurately describe all the small details and wonders that one encounters. Were we ever really meant to explain it with in such a way so that those listening or reading will fully understand? I think maybe not because if we could do that…if we could experience things through someone’s words what would be the point of the Holy Spirit? Only He can speak to those places in our heart where we need His light and truth…nothing/no one else can do that.

I have been on a difficult but beautifully sweet journey with the Lord over the past months while here in Japan. Words can not do it justice and it will sound like something you may have already heard once in a sermon somewhere or from some book you may have read or from another friends personal story but to me it (the lessons I am learning) are far more real than I have ever known them to be. Where the Lord has me walking is like a journey through the highest mountains. It is on the highest mountain peaks that you can catch a view with our eyes but never with a camera…it is impossible to capture the beauty and splendor, you need to be on that peak yourself to really understand what you have seen in pictures or heard described. The climb to the highest peaks is steep and can make the muscles and joints in your body ache and groan with ever step but the experience of the journey is one that you will not soon forget. This is where Jesus and I are…we are climbing the mountain together and I am learning some hard and wonderful lessons. These are not lessons of knowledge from books or just understanding scripture from my own reading but these are lessons that only come from the revelation and the breath of the Holy Spirit. I am learning that chaos is all around me and in me but He is always constant. I am beginning to understand the importance of waiting on him past my normal threshold of waiting time. I am learning just how faithful of a provider He is. I am learning to trust Him more deeply than I did three months ago. I am learning surrender. I am recognizing where I like to live by my own agenda because that feels safe when really what He has in store for me is a lot more fun. Who knew I had to come to Japan to learn all these things?

God is so good. Although we don’t know for sure if we still have jobs we are being provided for in every way. We have food for today and a place to sleep which is amazing because our landlord has let us continue to live here in spite of the rent not being paid for three months. This is Jesus. We have not lacked or had a want for anything in these chaotic days. He has given us peace. We have not worried and have not been afraid….we have been impatient and eager for answers but the Holy Spirit quickly reminds us to wait. So we remain in waiting, eager and ready for what the Lord desires and wants. We are eager but not impatient and the two are very different. Thank you to the body and to all the saints who have been praying for us and with us. You are an encouragement to us and a huge support system whom without this time would be much harder. Thank you for being saints, a royal priesthood and such a great cloud of witnesses.