Oct 12, 2013


Lately I've been spending time with people in my building! It's so interesting living in a apartment building full of a variety of people - yet truth be told we don't often see each other except for in the elevator! But obviously our family stands out, so I think we are well known in the building. There are only about 30 apartments in our building, so we have become familiar with many people and families, but usually to the extent of "the family of the 9th floor" for example.

But recently through some random (or not so) situations I have become more acquainted with many of our neighbors!

One Mom and her baby have been joining the playgroup I run, and she is very kind and generous. Recently she came over to my house with another mom friend and we enjoyed chatting while our kiddos played. She is very easy to talk to and I look forward to chatting more!

Another Mom had her kids at the same hospital I used for our son. She is really nice and recently they gave us some great toys their older kids weren't playing with anymore!

Another mom on our floor has a son the same age basically as ours! Oddly enough though, we have hardly ever gotten together. So this past week we went to a large park nearby. She even let me borrow her motor-powered bicycle. Which, by the way, was totally amazing! It a bicycle that has a motor-like device under the seat, and it is powered by you pedaling. So it works on hills and anytime you are pulling weight. They are often called "Momma-bikes", because mostly Moms with a 1-2kids in the bike seats use them. They are quite expensive (starting around $1,000!) So I was really excited to try it out. A. totally loved it!

Here is our little man in the front child seat of the bike.

Another neighbor and I have randomly run into each other at the local supermarket, and she always likes to talk to Asher.

I'm so grateful for kind people living, literally, next door. I hope we are able to grow our friendship with these great people in the future.

Sep 30, 2013

Everything is different, everything's so different!

Lately the worship band at our church has been singing the song "Now that you are near" (Link to youtube video of english version). I've really enjoyed singing this song, because the lyrics resonate on so many levels with me.

The chorus is:
And now, that you're near, 
everything is different 
everything's so different Lord

I know, I'm not the same
my life you've changed
I wanna be with you, I wanna be with you

Everything really is different.

 Recently our worship band played at a Gloria Jean's Cafe in Osaka (its similar feel to Starbucks). It was an awesome set up - a great cafe with customers going in and out, free advertising for the church, the cafe manager handed out flyers to all the customers, and people walking by the cafe often stopped to listen and check us out too. I think our volunteers handed out 100 flyers that day!

During the music at the cafe, we did this song. While I was singing it, I was brought to tears of amazement at God. Everything in my life is really different because of him. Most importantly, my life is full of hope, peace, and God's constant presence because of salvation through Jesus. But also, he has brought my family to a foreign land, we are working among one of the largest unreached people groups in the world. Everyday is full of opportunities to represent Jesus. Now, Seth and I speak a foreign language, and I thought "here I am singing about how my life is different in the middle of a city of 17 million people, in Japanese".

Jesus has changed EVERYTHING. And its for the best.

My prayer is that he changes everything in the lives of my friends here too. And not just my friends, but the millions upon millions of people in Japan who have never heard a clear explanation of the Gospel.

Will you pray that everything will be different for them too?

Sep 23, 2013

A trip down memory lane in Nagoya

We had the awesome opportunity to travel to the city Nagoya, where we previously lived this past weekend. Nagoya is where the first Mustard Seed Christian Church was planted, and we were there from the second month of that church. It's now going to be 4 years old!

When the church began it met in the most humble of beginnings- a small, dark, sports bar/ club that often had traces of the partying the previous night when we arrived Sunday morning. It was not a very "welcoming" atmosphere, but by God's grace it served its purpose for the first location for the church to gather! I remember one of Seth's tasks during set-up on Sunday mornings was to Febreeze the room to mask the smells from alcohol, cigarettes, etc.! 

This weekend was our first time seeing the newest location for the Nagoya church- it's not just a Sunday morning rental location as in times past. It's a full floor of a large building that they have to decorate, change, and use 24/7. It's beautiful! The church members put in hours of hard work to make the one large room into several useable rooms. For a church that originally had a one-room church location, they now have room for over 100 people to worship PLUS kids room, nursing room, bathrooms, small kitchen, office space, and lots of storage! I was blown away.

It has been so refreshing for me to see the church's meeting place and to hear story upon story of new people and their lives being impacted by hearing about God at MSCC.  I love that when I hear about the people at the church, I hardly know any names because there are so many new people. Of course its really encouraging to hear about those who became Christians when we were in Nagoya and hear of their growth in faith as well.

Some days I feel down about living apart from family or missing the blessings of life near friends in the States. But my heart is strengthened by the reminders of Gods work. To see that the first guy baptized at MSCC Nagoya is baptizing others now! To hear about a young Christian couple getting married in the new building. To hear about the friendships being built. To see kids learning God loves them from such a young age.  To see a space where people can gather that is friendly, safe, comfortable, with lots of room to grow.

God loves Japan, and so do I.  By his grace I have see him move in BIG ways here. I need to keep my eyes on Christ and remember his ways. He is our strength and joy!

Waking with friends- Micaiah was great at pushing the stroller!

Asher playing in the lobby of the church building!

Jan 29, 2013

Testimony #4 Tadaaki

This is Our good friend Tadaaki telling his story of becoming a Christian. A little more than a year ago Tadaaki had zero interest in becoming a Christian. Today, he playes drums in the church band every week, participates in small group, is a newlywed to a wonderful Christian from our church, and is filled with gentleness and kindness from God. Please don't miss his story!

Jan 22, 2013

Testimony #3 - Yuma

Yuma is the first friend Seth made in Osaka. His story of becoming a Christian is truly awesome. Today Yuma has a really active role in our church, and has begun leading the worship band! God is good.

Jan 18, 2013

Haze Nakai Photography

To anyone and everyone in the Osaka area, or Japan, or at least in Asia: our sweet friend is the most wonderful photographer, and I can't recommend her enough! She did not ask me to post on my blog about her business, but i just can't help myself! She speaks English and Japanese, and can take photos of your family, baby, wedding, etc. in any setting you'd like! 
Check out her website: www.hazenakai.com (she is also on facebook!)

Haze took Asher's newborn photos, and recently did some for us for Asher's 6 months!

Jan 15, 2013

Testimony Video #2 - Megumi

One year ago today, my good friend Megumi became a Christian! She was the first person to be baptized at Mustard Seed Christian Church Osaka. You don't want to miss her story: