Saturday, September 13, 2014

Boots on the Ground in Osaka!

"Konichiwa" from Osaka! I arrived here on Saturday, August 30 -- and it is so good to finally return to the land to which God has called me to serve after nearly two years in the States. My time in the States was refreshing, yet exhausting due to the frequent traveling and uncertainty of when God would allow me to return to Japan. But God is always good and had a plan for those two years. Now in Osaka, I am especially eager to see how God's plan will unfold here.

I am living at a "guest house," much like a hostel, but with a private room, shared kitchen, and shared bathrooms. Nearly half the residents are foreigners from all over the world. Although I am one of the oldest living here, it is a unique mission field and does provide me with immediate friends who can direct me to stores and resources in the city. I hope to find a more permanent apartment within a reasonable distance from the area where we hope to plant Genesis International College. But until then, this is an inexpensive place to live.

I ventured out on my second day to find Mustard Seed Church, a three year old bilingual
congregation. It was so good to worship in Japan, and to sing praises in Japanese, even if
it was just singing sounds that are mostly unintelligible to me right now! I will be involved
at Mustard Seed as much as possible until the GIC team is able to launch a church plant in a year or two.

There are so many things to do to settle into Osaka, including: applying to language school, getting a cell phone, finding an apartment, arranging for my things in Chiba to be shipped to Osaka. These may not sound like difficult tasks, but in Japan (especially as a foreigner) things always take much more time and effort.

Cambodia Travel
Although I have just arrived in Japan, I will be traveling to Cambodia for an MTW leadership conference the week of September 15-19. This is actually very good timing as the language school where I hope to study does not start a new session until October.

Thank You
Thank you to SO many people who have financially contributed to the ministry here in Osaka. I especially thank those of you who are regular partners -- monthly or annual -- as your generosity sustains me here in this work. I also thank everyone who is praying. Money is vital to get me here and keep me here, but prayer is what makes ministry effective. Thank you!

If you have committed to partner with me through financial support but have not yet begun to make contributions, I ask that you make arrangements to do so beginning this month. You can send checks monthly, or you can arrange for automatic monthly contributions. If you have any questions about how to do that, please let me know.

Prayer Points
  • Praise God for allowing me to return to Japan, and all the details involved in that including a three year visa that came through just before I had to depart for the airport in Chicago.
  • Praise God for safety in the air and on land.
  • Praise God for a good place to live -- temporarily -- that provides many ministry opportunities as well as a refuge from the busy city.
  • Praise God for a good church where I can worship regularly, and for the  pastor who was so willing to pick me up from the airport.
  • Pray that God will provide for a quality language school. I have applied at the YMCA school where many other Christians from the Mustard Seed Church are also studying. I will not know until October 7 whether I am accepted; classes start October 10.
  • Pray that I will be disciplined this month in reviewing my Japanese lessons from two years ago. I have forgotten so much, and need to prepare for full-time language school.
  • Pray that God will provide an appropriate apartment in His good timing and in the right location where I can host students and various guests in my home. Not only will be be difficult to find housing in a land where I cannot speak the language, but many companies are hesitant to rent to foreigners.
  • Pray that God will give me wisdom and discernment as I am the sole GIC member in Osaka, that He will provide Christian brothers to encourage and to keep me looking to God.