Friday, August 05, 2016

The Last Three Months Have Been a BLUR!

So, what have we been up to lately? Well, as is often the case, we have had too much going on to take the time to document it. But here are a few snapshots of our last few months, as a picture speaks a thousand words. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Season of Encouragement!

This past weekend we did a seminar about an hour from here, and we came away from it so encouraged! One reason is that even though we had never been to this church before, we had ministered to quite a few of the people over the past 2 years or so at some of this denomination's national conventions, and so we were SOOO encouraged to hear some testimonies of how the Lord has used our ministry in their lives! We don't always have the privilege of seeing fruit, so this was really encouraging. Like this lady, who was literally trembling with emotion when she came to give me a TIGHT hug! She said that the baby she was holding would not exist if it weren't for a conversation we had nearly two years ago at a convention we spoke at! 

Monday, February 29, 2016

Quick Family and Ministry Update

    So it’s summer now! At this point it may be hard for you to picture the boys going shirtless and going to the beach. But as nearly every activity “freezes” during this season, we have been able to enjoy the season, of course, but get some important work done.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

This World is Not My Home, Part EIGHT

This is Part Eight of a blog series. This post is a stand-alone announcement of our future plans, but if you like, you can click here to start reading at the beginning: Part One.

"Whenever the cloud lifted from above the Tent, the Israelites set out; wherever the cloud settled, the Israelites encamped. At the Lord's command the Israelites set out, and at his command they encamped... When the cloud remained over the tabernacle a long time, the Israelites obeyed the Lord's order and did not set out. Sometimes the cloud was over the tabernacle only a few days; at the Lord's command they would encamp, and then at his command they would set out....They obeyed the Lord's order."  Numbers 9:15-23
 Just yesterday, the Lord spoke to us so powerfully through the above passage. Dear friends, we believe that the "cloud" over Brazil is moving, and we are preparing to obey His command to move as well. We believe that the Lord has been moving circumstances and moving us along in them to come to the time of fulfilling a long-time promise of God over our lives... to return to Japan! This may come as a shock to some of you, but it has been a major focus of prayer since about the time of Annaliese's birth over a year ago. 

Saturday, December 19, 2015

This World is Not My Home, Part Seven

This is Part Seven of a blog series. You can read the previous parts by clicking below:

We returned to Brazil for our “next season” in August of 2012. And guess what? Those first years that we spent mostly in “sowing in tears” really did turn into a season of “reaping with joy”! (See Psalm 126:5-6) Not that it was without difficulties, especially being kicked out of the house we were renting right after we had renewed the lease and fixed it up! But as I always said, when we were doing well in our marriage and family life was good, we could face anything together. And this time, we had learned an important lesson about unity and we were growing. Blessed trials that force us to grow!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

This World is not My Home, Part Six


This is Part Six of a blog series. You can read the previous parts by clicking below:
Part One
Part Two
Part Three 

So for the next year, I kept struggling to stay focused on my heavenly home... a struggle that I felt like I was losing most of the time. Which made me really discouraged with myself for being so carnal. The situation we were living went from bad, to worse, to WORST as well. All of the complications I mentioned in the previous part continued, and especially the interpersonal struggles that I hinted at, became acute. All of this affected our marriage as well. And that is the worst! I have always said that as long as WE were good, we could face anything that came our way. But when WE were not good, all of life was rotten. So, basically, all of life was rotten.
(This picture is of us between a rock and a hard place. Couldn't have a better pictorial reference to our emotional state of affairs!)

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

This World is not My Home - PART FIVE


This is Part Five of a blog series. You can read the previous parts by clicking below:
Part One
Part Two
Part Three 

So, with that, the Lord filled me up with faith to take the leap (well, flight, actually) back to Brazil. This time we felt it was the point of no return, for we were officially giving up all our “rights” on the beautiful church house that we had called home for the past five and a half years. We no longer had any furniture, nor vehicle, nor job. We did have some boxes in storage, but that was the extent of our worldly goods.

This World is not My Home - PART FOUR


This is Part Four of a blog series. You can read the previous parts by clicking below:
Part One
Part Two
Part Three

So... now we were living in our dream home. We could easily and comfortably have lived in this home and raised an army of children there indefinitely, as long as the church allowed us to. However, the Lord had other plans. The truth is that, when we first left Japan for the States, He made it clear to us that we were not to put down roots in the USA, because we would not be staying. It was to be a season – a time to establish our family and be built up in the faith. For a time. And He spoke to us many times over the years that we would one day return to Japan. So all of this stayed in the back of our mind, and we tried to not “put down roots”.

This World is not My Home - PART THREE


(This is the continuation of a series of posts that you can begin by clicking HERE for PART ONE and HERE for PART TWO.)

Shortly after that, Fabio was offered a job back in the town we used to live in. This would require a move, as the base was too far away to commute. We had a Peruvian friend who was about to travel to Peru to join his wife and daughter for vacation, and he offered us his tiny apartment. He was also renting to an older lady, but he said she worked long hours and only slept there. So we agreed. Problem was, he never went to Peru, and the other lady lost her job right after our move in, so there were all five of us in a total of about 375 square feet. If our living conditions at the YWAM base had been limited, this was downright claustrophobic! And indeed, there were times I felt I certainly might not survive. It was not only a matter of space (or lack thereof), but there were a lot of other complicated dynamics involved in this situation. Just to mention one, our Peruvian friend was a “gomi” man (garbage collector), and as I mentioned you can find some pretty neat “gomi” in Japan, which our friend did regularly. He could not resist collecting it all! Since his apartment was only about big enough for a dog to live comfortably, he boxed all of his gomi treasures up, and stacked the boxes floor to ceiling, lining all the walls of what was now our bedroom (minus the “bed” - there was barely room for the three of us to sleep like sardines on the tiny bit of floor space that was left). This left no space for our suitcases, which had to then stay in the trunk of his car. For three months. So, every time I needed a change of clothes or anything else, I had to go down two flights of stairs with a baby in tow, rummage around in our suitcases in his trunk – which was not easy with a baby in my arms – to find what I needed. Frustrations abounded.

This World is not my Home - PART TWO


We mistakenly thought it would be a simple process to get his paperwork taken care of. Two months later, he called and said that I should come back to Japan with Joshua so that we could at least be together. So we did.

Now, when we left, he had also quit his job, of course, and the base where we were now staying was too far away to go back. He had spent the past few months searching for work, in vain, and the small amount of money we had hoped would help us start out in the States was now quickly running out. Our room at the base was a bit on the dingy side, not well furnished, and very small. I remember one day looking around, wishing we had this and that which would make our life so much simpler. At least a table would sure be nice... We had nothing in the way of worldly goods but some clothes in our suitcases! In my heart, I said, “Lord, if you wanted us to stay in Japan, why didn't you just leave us alone? We were perfectly happy right where we were! And now look at us! Here we are, destitute and uncomfortable. No car, no job, no nothing!”

This World is not My Home - PART ONE

 This world is not my home

This is a topic that has been percolating in my head for some time now, just to chronicle what the Lord has done and is doing in my life in this one area. I am a work in progress and still have so much to learn!

First, I rewind back to Japan, where I lived from 1998 – 2003. During that time, I married and had my first child, and at those stages, I never planned to leave Japan. I imagined us just staying our whole lives there. But God had other plans. Around 2002, we began to feel the Holy Spirit stirring us up – that we were going to be leaving. And I had a really hard time letting go.