A life and ministry update:

« June & July 2019 »

The Calm Before the Storm

This last month was a nice calm before the storm of busyness and the oppressive heat of summer. It has been strangely cool these last few weeks. We are getting to the end of Tsuyu (梅雨), or rainy season, but in previous years, it was still relatively sticky and warm even on the rainy and cloudy days. Don't worry, all of you west of us suffering in the summer heat, our turn will come: August is almost upon us! Not only have we had a reprieve from the summer heat, but also our schedules have been a bit lighter. We had guests last month and continuing into July who shared the load with us in our church outreach efforts, and it has been refreshing!

Our first visitors were a group of four from Virginia who came as a part of the Let's Start Talking ministry. Their aim is to send teams out to teach English through reading the Bible. This is the second team that our church hosted, and we were so glad to have people come alongside us again to help us reach out to the community. We had around 20 people take part in the four week program from both the church and the community. Many of the readers had taken part the previous year, and came back again this year. We are grateful for the volunteers who took the time to come help us open doors to reach people for Christ!

We had the chance to host most of the team, (one team member had already returned to the US), for a game night at our house. So nice to have some fellowship time!  
Our next visitor arrived mid June and will be here until the end of August. Machida Church of Christ (MCC) is hosting another intern this summer. Anna is from Wisconsin (and a fellow redhead), and reached out to Tim Turner at the beginning of the year. She has been a helpful and willing team-player; she jumps in wherever she's been asked to serve. She will be helping at MCC, as well as traveling around the country to visit and serve other church congregations.
Haruka and I (plus Naomi), had a chance to take Anna to my favorite area of Yokohama for a ladies day out. God blessed us with a relatively dry day even though it was supposed to be pouring rain on us all day! We visited Chinatown, walked Yamashitakoen (the oceanside park and garden), and took a water taxi to do some shopping near Yokohama station. 
Last month, the ladies and I tackled painting the downstairs kitchen at the church. The kitchen of course gets wear and tear simply from cooking, but there was also some patching to the ceiling that needed to be matched to the rest of the walls. We had an excellent time working together, and got it all cleaned, prepped, and painted in one day. We're so pleased with the results and happy to have Anna here to work alongside and lighten our load!
Another blessing of having a lighter month was that it gave Travis time to focus on sermon writing. Beyond the messages that he writes once a month, he was also able to focus on writing his message for the nationwide church convention coming up this August. Please pray for him as he prepares to speak to many that are older and have been in ministry far longer than we have been!

I'll give a little update on our girls, our favorite area of discipleship and ministry! Maye turned one this spring and Naomi's fourth birthday is just around the corner. Everyday they are more fun to watch interact, even when they are fighting. Right now their "fighting" is comical, I know the day is coming when the comedy will end! Maye is eager to do everything that big sister is doing. She is mostly bald, but her hair and teeth are coming (VERY) slowly. She is beginning to understand language and respond to questions from Mom and Dad, like "Are you all done?", or "Can you go get a book?" She doesn't say very many words, just Dada, and Peppa (as in the cartoon pig, ha!), but I think the verbal skills will soon follow her listening comprehension. 

Naomi is our little bilingual star. She is shooting past Mom and Dad in her Japanese skill. I hear her learning to conjugate verbs, and we have had several people say that her pronunciation is natural. We were hoping to have her in Kindergarten this year to help her with language acquisition, but she is holding her own without the school environment. We are so grateful! 
July was sprinkled with many days of outreach: we attended a Mom and Baby Club with Anna at a sister church, we have had two BBQ's, one with college students, and one with our Kids English students for their last class before summer break, along with Becky's cooking classes and Travis' preaching schedule. Later this month, Travis will also attend a conference on the book of Romans at our church camp with Tim, Anna, and others from our sister churches.
As always, dear friends, we are grateful for you. We are humbled at the way God works through each one of us to reach the lost and desperate in Japan: through you by your prayers and support of our family, and through our family as we try to be His hands and feet here. After four years, it still blows me away that we are living in Japan, doing the thing we dreamed of since college. We covet your prayers as we continue our summer outreaches, look forward to the national church convention, and not least of all, begin to plan and fund raise for our trip to the Midwest this coming fall. 

Blessings to you all!

Becky and family
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