• Mission,  Reflections

    Socially Anxious Missionaries Who Don’t Speak Japanese

    So grateful today! For various reasons, today was the first day the kids actually got to meet some other neighborhood kids. I sent them out when we saw that other kids were at the park, but it was just little boys and so the girls kept to themselves. A while later, some girls around the age of mine rode up on bikes, and Madeleine came back to the house to ask me how to say something to them in Japanese. As I got myself ready to go out and help them communicate, I prayed again for courage and blessing in these interactions. The truth is, I didn’t want to go…

  • Mission,  Reflections

    Meagerness And Abundance

    The building where the Matsudo church meets is rather old. It’s basically a repurposed house, with the downstairs set up as an assembly hall. It’s not much to look at, but it serves the church well and is a blessing to have. While there’s plenty that could use renovation, one feature I love about the grounds is a small grape vine that wraps around the front fence. It has been there ever since I first came to Matsudo, and I’m sure it was here many years before that. The branches usually produce a good amount of fresh grapes each year which you can eat, assuming the crows (or a few…

  • Partnership,  Prayer,  Updates

    Free from Quarantine!

    Tomorrow we are free from quarantine, and we give thanks for God’s grace during these last two weeks! We give thanks that our jet lag recovery was surprisingly quick. I woke up on Day 4 and knew I had gotten over the biggest hill of it. The kids truly didn’t seem affected by it at all. We give thanks that we are in a house! In His wisdom, He used our delay to take the apartment we thought was ideal from our hands, and replaced it with an actually perfect house. I can’t imagine quarantining our (reasonably normal) family of five in an apartment, no matter how ideal. The blessings…

  • General

    Welcome to the Neighborhood

    One thing you should know about Japan: They take their garbage seriously. It makes sense; given that they’re an island nation, they don’t exactly have the space to dump millions of tons of garbage into a hole and bury it. We separate our garbage into at least 8 different categories just for day-to-day trash, and then you can add in “special” categories. When we moved into our new house, the realtor gave a huge flier explaining all the different categories and on which day each is thrown away. (I’m gonna add pictures of this in the comments.) (And I promptly threw away the right trash on the right day in…

  • Reflections

    Rose-Colored Glasses as a Gift from God

    In our travels, we have often ended up in sticky situations that could easily overwhelm us and turn super negative. At those times I’m prone to quip, “Bad experiences make good memories!” Whether it’s forgetting to book a hotel for your trip to the most crowded festival in Kyoto and ending up in a roasting rented room the size of your entire bed in what is basically an old man’s house, or hustling the whole family all the way down to Immigration only to find out you forgot a passport and one of you needs to rush home and back before they close for lunch while the other entertains the…

  • Reflections

    One Of The Dumber Things I’ve Said

    I could do an entire blog series on dumb things I’ve said over the years. I’ve got my fair share of cringeworthy remarks that I regret, and while I’d like to think I’ve learned to control my words better as I’ve grown older, I’m sure there are plenty mistakes yet to come. That said, there are certain remarks which, when thinking back on them, produce not only shame but also an opportunity to mature; words that come back and hit you square between the eyes, revealing to you important truths. In 2010, my family moved to Kojima, Japan, where I worked as a vocational missionary with a full-time job as…

  • General,  Reflections,  Updates

    Life Doesn’t Always Fit Nicely Into A Box

    Over the last week, we packed our life into 26 boxes. (Okay, that’s not entirely true. We still have about 8,000 Legos, plus our clothes.) Eight days ago we got our supplies from the shipping company. Seven days ago we found out that the only time they had available to pick up our shipment before we leave is today at 8:15 a.m. Okay! I work great with a deadline, I can do that! I canceled school for the week (homeschooling perks), shipped the kids to my mother-in-law’s for eight hours every day, and called upon my inborn strength and hardiness, passed down from my ancestors who came over on the…

  • Prayer

    Nine Ways To Pray For Our Mission

    Prayer is one of the most important disciplines God’s people can engage in. Jesus prayed and fasted regularly (Luke 4:1ff, 5:16, 6:12), and taught us to be people of prayer (Matt. 5:5ff; 26:41). We are also told to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thess. 5:17) and to be “constant in prayer” (Rom. 12:12). Prayer really does matter to God, and it impacts the outcomes of events in the world. We believe this, and that is why our family has been praying frequently about our upcoming work in Japan. However, we both want and need others to be in prayer with us. We believe God listens to his people, and that even…

  • General

    Japanese Sermon Preparation

    With our move to Japan only weeks away now (Lord willing!), I (Leslie) have been doing a lot of preparation work for sermons that I will preach when we arrive. Getting to Japan is only part of the process of moving. Once we arrive, there is a lot of extra paperwork to do, plus things that need to be set up like utilities, etc., not to mention the issue of getting over jet lag. I’ve been trying to prepare a buffer of sermons so the transition will be a bit easier for everyone, and allow me to focus on helping with those tedious odds and ends that need to be…

  • Updates

    February 2020 Trip To La Grange

    With our family’s departure coming within the next month (Lord willing) our family recently took a trip to La Grange, TX, to visit our sponsoring church here in the states. Since we have been planning to leave soon, we knew this would likely be our last opportunity to visit them before beginning our mission to Japan. Our biggest desire was to spend some time in prayer with them and to receive encouragement for the work before leaving. That goal was certainly achieved! We arrived on Thursday night and then spent some time with Scott Elliott and his wife Laura that evening. We grabbed some local Mexican food together, and then…