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A life and ministry update:

« Fall 2021 »

Fall In Full Swing

We are coming up on another year end and it doesn't seem possible that 2022 is right around the corner! I was looking at my planner this week, and was shocked to see that we were already at the last two months; it seems I just purchased this planner for the new year! 

We are happy to say that as of October 1, and for the first time since April, Japan has lifted the State of Emergency in all areas of the country. Praise God for the low numbers of infections, and for the ability for people to be able to live more normally. We have had times of loneliness since the start of the Covid pandemic, struggling with how to engage with our community, how to fellowship with the body of Christ, and make new connections. Though we struggle, we know that God knows what we need, and His plan is the best plan. We know that hard times draw us to Him, and point out our need, and so for that we are grateful.

Family picture with Mr. and Mrs. Ishii, who have invited Travis to preach once a month at their congregation in downtown Tokyo.
We have had a busy fall. Travis specifically has been working hard; he had in October, and will continue through November, to have many more preaching and teaching opportunities than his usual. To give you an idea of his "usual", he facilitates two weekly Bible studies (both in English), he preaches monthly at three congregations, and as a side job he manages several websites on a weekly basis. Next month Tim Turner, the senior preaching minister at Machida Church of Christ will be going to the States for a brief visit, so Travis will have extra preaching and "MC" duties, along with some other extra teaching opportunities. Largely due to this sermon writing and teaching schedule, his Japanese reading and writing skills are getting better and better. 

Travis and Becky have both noticed an increase in language proficiency after these six years, but we know there is still much room for improvement. We are grateful for friends at church who are patient with us, and help us as we strive to become more and more fluent. We are so grateful for Haruka Otsuka who works on staff at Machida Church of Christ and diligently checks Travis' Japanese before he preaches his sermons. We understand why Jesus sent the disciples out in pairs! We could not maintain the outreach that we do without the partnership of ministry with the Turners, and Haruka, and the whole church congregation.    
Last month we were so blessed to have a church wide picnic since the state of emergency was lifted. We seized the opportunity to have an event, and though many families weren't able to attend because of the last minute plans, the small group of us had a beautiful day fellowshipping, enjoying the fall weather and playing at the park. 

We have been discussing Christmas service this year, and hope to be able to gather together somehow to celebrate the birth of Jesus. Please pray for us as we plan, pray for those who will attend, and pray as we strive to make Christ our main focus in all that we do as a church. 
The Kilson kids are growing and changing faster than we can blink! We delight in being their parents, even though that means we have a lot more screaming and sass in our lives than ever before. We praise God for each of the three little souls He has entrusted to us, and we strive to point them to Christ in every way that we can. Pray for us to be humble and patient parents. Pray that we would all be shaped more like Christ as we grow as a family. What an amazing and awesome task to train up tiny humans into their adulthood and independence!
Naomi coming around the bend in the relay race at her school field day.
Kindergarten schedules have begun to pick up for us. Naomi, as a third year student, has many more activities and special outings. She has continued to enjoy her school and playing with friends each day. We have not been able to connect with families and parents like we had hoped because, due to Corona, there have been no parent meetings and events that they would usually hold for parents to take part in. Last month, however, we had a small meet up at an indoor playground with some of Naomi's class friends to dress up for Halloween (recently popularized in Japan), and give out Halloween treat bags. Please pray for the connections that we made so that we will be able to continue these relationships even after Naomi finishes school next spring.   
Maye had a mini-field day event for her kindergarten play class, and they had a treat to have the older Kindergarten students come in and perform a dance for them after the competitions and games were over. 
In our last newsletter we asked for you all to pray for us as we considered which kindergarten to send Maye to, either Obirin (where Naomi attends), or Saffron where Maye has been attending play classes. We also prayed, and considered, and even made a pros and cons list, the latter of which made it clear that Saffron is the best option for Maye to attend for kindergarten next spring. We feel relieved and reassured in our decision.

Maye had a break from her pre-enrollment Saffron kindergarten play classes for the summer, but they picked up again in September. With each visit, she has grown more brave and accustomed to her school and her teachers. We are happy to announce that the application and enrollment process went smoothly and we received the official notice from the school that Maye will be enrolled for their school next spring! 
Then there's Daniel. He is our sweet, energetic and very loud little brother. He is very active now, both physically and verbally. He loves to grab anything nearby and stick it in his mouth (dangerous!). He gabbles away and giggles at his sisters antics. He rolls from tummy to back and vice versa with ease. He has begun to scoot, (mostly backwards), and he can sit on his own, but in a very dangerous, wobbly fashion. To be fair, it must be very hard for his little body to hold up his extra large noggin! He is eight months old this week, however he is now fitting into twelve month sized clothes, oy!

At the end of October, Mommy and Daniel went downtown for another scan of his kidney and we were happy to see even more improvement of his inflammation levels. The doctor only registered inflammation on the left side, which is the same as last check, but his inflammation level on the left kidney went down from 2 to a 1, on a severity scale of 1-4. We are happy for this continued progress and glad that he is so well that he won't need another scan until he turns one! 
Recently, Naomi has been interested in learning Shogi (Japanese Chess) with her Daddy. They got a smaller practice board and have been studying the moves together.
Last newsletter we wrote about the uncertainty that we feel about the resumption of travel to and from Japan. Not much has changed in our situation except for our daily deciding to leave things up to God, and not to any one else. As of now, we hope to return to the U.S. next fall, and we ask that you would join us in praying for those possible plans. 

We had desired to return specifically to Alaska this year as we haven't been back to visit in over three years, and most of our friends and supporting churches are there. We had desired to do fundraising in anticipation of our cost of living increasing with our growing kids. Though we were not able to make that trip, God has seen to our provision in abundance through your continued generosity. We are continually blown away and so grateful for how we are remembered and provided for here across the ocean. Thank you dear friends and family! We love and miss you all, and we can't wait to see you again face-to-face someday.

God's blessing to you all,

The Kilsons
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