A life and ministry update:

« July & August 2021 »

Summer's End

Hello friends and family. With all that has been happening in the world this summer and the last few weeks, it feels strange to come on here and talk about our lovely summer. I would like to give an update for our summer's end, but first I will say that we have been watching and praying as many of you have, and will continue to do so. In all that we see, we know that God is still in control!

Naomi and Travis both finished their first school terms this summer. Travis did his final classes, graded his final tests, and then our family took a little getaway trip to the beach for a family time and to celebrate our 13th wedding anniversary. It was a very relaxing time. The weather predicted rain sandwiching our trip so the beach was not crowded, and we didn't get rain except when we were headed home! We played, swam and explored, and all but Daniel got burnt, oops. These Alaskan grown kids still don't know how to keep up with sunny Japan. 
We went hiking with Tim Turner in Nagano prefecture, and had a beautiful trip exploring the river valley trail with the kids.
We also celebrated Naomi's sixth birthday in August. She is growing and learning right in front of our eyes. She is so fluent in Japanese now, and we are so happy and proud that she has grown so accustomed to the language. At times she is our grammar checker, and vocabulary teacher. She is really getting the hang of reading and comprehending Japanese kids books as well. I, Becky, have to try hard to keep up with her!
Maye has also been speaking more and more in Japanese, although English is her primary language now. She easily recognizes Japanese from English, and recently she has been checking the meanings of new phrases and words that she is learning day by day. We are glad that she is making these strides as she is scheduled to begin kindergarten next spring.
Speaking of kindergartens, we have written previously that Naomi's school, Obirin, would be closing to rebuild the kindergarten and revamp their program, so we found another Christian school called Saffron for Maye to attend and had begun attending weekly play classes to get her accustomed to the school and meet teachers and friends who will be beginning school next year as well. However, we received notice from Obirin two weeks ago that they have changed their policy and will remain open even through the rebuilding/program renewal process. So now Travis and I have the burden and privilege of picking between two schools that we really like. Please be in prayer for us as we consider the options and select the school which is best suited for Maye.
Last month Daniel turned six months old. He is growing by leaps and bounds. He is very reactive to play time, and watching his sisters as they play as well. He has started rolling over, sitting up fairly well, and reaching for everything that comes close to him (dangerous to try to eat with him in your lap!). Becky and Daniel went for another check up downtown at the Red Cross hospital where Daniel was born to see how the inflammation on his kidneys is doing. His right kidney is still clear as it was last check, and the left is still inflamed, but on a scale of one to four, he is at a one (four being the most severe), instead of two as it was last month. Praise God he is still headed the right direction, and hasn't been bothered or ill from the condition in the slightest.
Tim Turner and Travis hosted a men's BBQ at the church before the recent spike in Covid case numbers. The group was small, but it was still encouraging to see men participate. Machida church is in need of men in leadership, please pray with us as we pray for this small congregation; that God would raise up Japanese men to lead. This summer we were also able to have some friend play dates to connect and encourage some family friends, and host a family whom we have been praying for the last two years will come to Christ. We have not given up, and we have seen the Mom asking some very poignant and important questions about Christianity. Growing up in the Church, it is easy to take for granted the foundation and familiarity that we have with Christianity. Please keep this family in your prayers, that God would draw them to Him.
Last month Haruka, the kids minister, organized an event for kids and adults to join a Zoom virtual walking tour in Jerusalem hosted by a Japanese tour guide currently living and working in Israel. The tour took us from the Mount of Olives into the city of Jerusalem, and included a lecture and viewing many historical spots along the way. We watched from our home with another family and played in the kiddie pool in the backyard, (hence the kids being wrapped in towels).
As some of you know, we had short term interns and mission trips planned from 2019, through 2020, along with family member planning to visit in 2020 and 2021. Our family had plans to take a trip back to Alaska to visit family, and friends who we haven't seen in three years, and have been faithfully supporting us these last six (yes six!) years. All of these plans have fallen through. As of now we still have closed borders for visitors to Japan. Those of us with established residences or visas, or Japanese nationals have to quarantine in part at a hotel and then at home for around two weeks if we travel outside of Japan and return, (although there are also some countries, not the U.S., that you cannot travel back to Japan from as of now). 

We have had U.S. family needs come up, as well as family members with medical issues, and as our desire to return for visiting and encouragement grows we feel the uncertainty of when we can visit the U.S. quite keenly. We covet your prayers that we will not worry about the future, that travel restrictions can be lifted soon, and that we will remain present here to invest in our community and ministry.
We love video calling which enables us to talk to family and friends and share our lives much more than we could by phone or email.
Dear friends, thank you for being here again to support our family and ministry. We pray that we can all take hope in Christ and not the unsteady world around us. We ask you to pray for our family that we can be obedient in whatever it is that God calls us to do with each day, and to keep our eyes on eternity to share without fear or hesitation this hope that we have through Christ.

The Kilsons
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