OSAKA – KOREA – TOKYO

KOBE

OSAKA, JAPAN: Today I will be flying to Osaka, Japan for a conference in Kobe. I will be joining many missionaries, pastors and fellow Christians from Japan, Korea, China and other nations. We will be worshiping, praying and joining together for reconciliation and unity between nations and the church. You can read more on the website HERE. Or watch a video from last years event HERE.  Below is a map of where I will be during the conference.


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KOREA: Immediately following the conference, I will be going with a team of 3 other missionaries to South Korea! A couple of months ago, God put it on my heart to start interceding for North and South Korea. Within a few weeks there were 3 others that joined me in this weekly intercession. Now we have a total of 6 people from several countries that are meeting together to pray. Recently God put it on our hearts to take this team to Korea on a bridge building missional trip. We have 2 Americans, 1 man from the U.K. and 1 Chinese Canadian. This whole team is composed of international missionaries that I live and work with in Japan. Each of us has a heart to see reconciliation in North and South Korea and also between Korea and the nations. We want to see revival come to North Korea! Our team will be traveling all over South Korea meeting with missionaries, pastors, and families to learn more about what God is doing in Korea. We will be doing daily worship and intercession for the land and people as well. And we will be visiting the N.K. and S.K. boarder to pray. Please partner with us in prayer during these next two weeks!

JOHN 17

20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

24 “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.

25 “Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. 26 I have made you[e] known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”

If you would like to read more about the history of North Korea, South Korea and other surrounding nations, here is a great summary article: History of North Korea

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PHILIPPINES 2015

In 2011, I did my Discipleship Training School with YWAM Tokyo. This focused 5 months of missionary training included both a 3 month lecture phase and a 2 month outreach phase. During my DTS outreach I traveled to the Philippines for the first time. God did much in and through me and He started something that has had lingering fruit. In both 2012 and 2013, I was able to lead teams of DTS students back to the Philippines and got to see many lives transformed. And this last month in 2015, I co-lead a small team of 5 staff on a very special trip. Taking a small team of YWAM staff was very different and also very good. We had a lot of fun!

Over the years there has been a growing relationship between YWAM Tokyo and the wonderful staff at the YWAM Olongapo base in the Philippines. The ministry there is powerful and excellent. YWAM Olongapo focuses on the red light districts in the surrounding areas. For over 30 years they have focused on the prostitution bars near by and have recently been expanding to a large red light district in Angeles City. The base has a holistic ministry that starts at the bars and culminates with releasing transformed women into joy filled lives and successful careers.

The staff of the YWAM Olongapo base are primarily women who have left a lifestyle of prostitution and now are living a life of wholeness. They build relationship with women they meet in the red light districts, invite them to the YWAM Base and share about God’s hope, love and power. Women that come to the YWAM base get discipled for 2 years, are given food and lodging for both themselves and their children, are allowed to work at the base to cover living expenses, and are able to go to school. Each year that we go back we see women moving along this path of growth and it is both beautiful and powerful! On this most recent visit I was blessed to meet a women from 2 years ago that has now finished her discipleship program and is now working! We also met a lady from before who has finished college and now is working at a really nice restaurant and it was amazing to visit there and celebrate her.

The YWAM Olongapo base makes high quality, hand made paper. They have a huge library of colors they create and the paper is then used to make paper products by hand that are then sold in other nations through another YWAM ministry. This is the main source of income for the YWAM women who are being discipled. The team and I got to spend many hours with the disciples working along side them and hearing their stories.

Our primary focus for this trip was 2 fold. 1) Encouraging the women at the YWAM base 2) bar evangelism. We had lots of powerful prayer and encouragement times for the various staff at the base. We also had many opportunities to invest in the children and the high schoolers there. In addition to this we did 3 nights of bar evangelism. We were taken in small teams to various bars in the red light districts where we would talk with girls working there. God was able to use us to bring light, hope and love into the bars and it was really good. The vision is that as YWAM Olongapo continues to reach out to these women and build relationship over time, more and more of them will chose to leave their current lifestyle and walk into a life of wholeness fueled by the love of God.

If you would like to hear more about this ministry or have any questions about our trip please feel free to contact me and ask. There is so much to share!

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Matching shirts! This lady is named Virgie Bok. She is the leader of the YWAM Olongapo base and has been serving in YWAM since 1986 (the year I was born). She used to work in the red light districts until she met Jesus and is now reaching countless women with the love of God. She is one of my heroes. Please take some time to pray for her. She is amazing!

THE GLOBAL CHURCH

UPDATE: Recently my heart has been rather focused on the Church. Although I have been a Christian for most of my life, grown up in several local churches, and helped with church plants, it is only in the past couple of years that a deepening and focused love has been maturing in my heart. What is the Church? This blog post is intended to be a general update so I will not go into a long description, however, some definition may still be beneficial. I will define the Church simply as every Christian past and present (and it shall include every future believer as well). And it is with this focus that I chose to call it the Global Church.

SOME THOUGHTS: The more that I pray for the Global Church, the more I begin to long for unity. I am beginning to believe that one of the keys to revival is unity. That the Global Church can only truly walk in the fullness of her identity as a unified body. And that Christ isn’t returning to the earth for a bunch of isolated or independent Christians but one unified Bride; His church. A picture of this is laid out in 1 Corinthians 12:12-31 and the following chapter (1 Corinthians 13) also seems to be important.

MY SMALL PART: It is humbling and overwhelming to focus on the whole earth. Yet the more I pray, the more God seems to be focusing my heart on the Global Church. My prayer has recently been something like: “God may I be a participant in what you desire to do on the earth with and through your Church”. How I deeply desire to see global reconciliation, healing, unity, forgiveness, and a great coming together of Christians on the earth with Christ as the head. Maybe there will be opportunity to participate in building bridges of many kinds, this is becoming a new vision for me.

JESUS IN THE GARDEN: “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me. I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.” John 17:20-26 ESV

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TO THE NATIONS: As God as been giving me more of a heart for the Global Church, He simultaneously has been providing opportunities to work with many Christians in various organizations, churches and countries. In 2014 I had the privilege of working with local churches and missional organizations in California and Washington in the States. I also got to connect with many pastors, missionaries and leaders in South Korea, Norway, and Japan. In the first few months of 2015 God has taken me to Taiwan, South Korea, and Thailand and next month I will be returning to the Philippines for my 4th time. I am still very much based in Tokyo, Japan but it has been a wonderful joy to be able to connect with other parts of the Global Church around the world in the past two years. I would now like to share some quick updates and photos from my recent trips. Hope you enjoy!

TAIWANI had the privilege of visiting some Taiwanese missionary friends in Taiwan. A few used to attend my home church in Tokyo before moving back to Taiwan. I went with some Japanese friends from church on this short visit to encourage our wonderful friends. We enjoyed times of prayer, testimony sharing, worship and delicious food.  MORE photos here.

KOREAOn my second trip to South Korea it was so good to reconnect with people that I had met last year. I again stayed with an amazing host family (pictured above) who are missionaries in their home nation. During my stay there, I spent time with a YWAM team of Korean missionaries who were also being hosted by this amazing family. It was also really wonderful for me to meet up with my family’s last Korean home stay student who had recently returned to Seoul. The rest of my trip in Korea was filled with reconnecting with other missionary friends. And on one very special day I got to visit the boarder between North and South Korea. I have been praying a lot for these two nations recently and it was an intensely emotional and precious experience for me to see both boarders with my own eyes. MORE photos here.

THAILANDI traveled to Thailand and spent 10 days with some amazing missionaries. All are Korean but they are working in different countries. Altogether these people represented Japan, Korea, China, and Thailand. I really enjoyed spending time with these people and it brought joy to my heart to see how God was using them in so many nations! MORE photos here.

THANK YOU: I want to thank each of you for your continual prayers, messages of encouragement and financial support. Through you, God provided the airfare and expenses for these recent trips. I really believe that God is doing much and it is exciting to anticipate the things to come.

 

 

Remembering and Dreaming

HELLO AND HAPPY NEW YEARS! This is going to be an update of epic proportions. I will be taking a look back on some of the past moments from 2014 (focusing on my recent time back in Japan) and also sharing some of the things that are up and coming (including some dreams) for 2015. As this update will be rather long, feel free to pick and choose which portions to read… or if you have the time, enjoy every word! You are loved! Thanks for taking the time to hear what God has been doing and the things that I am excited about for next year.

CaliforniaIN 2014 I SPENT 5 MONTHS IN PASADENA CALIFORNIA: From January – May I was living with some missionary friends name Pete and Hege. During this time I was helping my friend Pete start his design company Fetter Lane Media. This was a great opportunity for me to continue practicing my design skills as well as serving several local churches and organizations. Through this position, I was able to serve a local church, a house of prayer, and an amazing high school ministry all based in California. I also had the privilege of working with some old friends from my home church in Tacoma called City Central that have been traveling the world missionally and currently are starting college outreach projects and missionary training platforms in California. One of the amazing organizations that I did a lot of design work for is called One Voice Student Missions. They are a team of missionaries from all over the world that have set their hearts on Jesus and their lives on reaching every high school with the gospel. It was a privilege and honor to work along side and build relationship with these amazing people. I miss them!

WashingtonIN JUNE OF 2014 GOD BEGAN TO CALL ME BACK TO JAPAN: I decided to spend a few months back in my home state of Washington in order to be with my family as well as connect with some friends before leaving the country. During this time I did some fund raising and also started working part time at Island Lake Summer Camp. This was a great summer of working alongside some of my old and dear friends from camp, meeting up with friends on a semi-regular basis to share life stories and also begin dreaming about Japan. Looking back on these 3 months there is much fondness in my heart. It was a gift I think. I made some new friends that summer, learned more about who I am, and also began to dream bigger about Japan and a few other places.

NORWAYGOD GAVE ME A WONDERFUL GIFT CALLED NORWAY: Right before leaving for Japan, I was given the opportunity to travel to Norway for free as a business trip with my friend Pete! I was overwhelmed with joy as Norway had been on my heart extensively during the later half of 2013. God provided a way for me to go and I see it as a gift from him. I stayed one week with his Norwegian wife’s family in Fredrikstad and worked with Pete on a website design. Then I flew to Ålesund to meet some old and dear friends named Ragnar and Bodil. These two are like grandparents to me and I have known them for as long as I can remember. I had not seen them for many years and it brought so much joy and life to my heart to be reunited with them in Norway. I stayed in their house by a beautiful fjord for 2 weeks, got to see lots of the surrounding areas (did a lot of fishing and mountain hiking), visited several churches and pastors, and had the time of my life. It was from Norway that I flew back to Japan. If you would like to see some of the stunning photos I was able to take during this trip you can see them on my Facebook Album HERE.

JAPANTHE RETURN TO JAPAN: On November 1st, I returned to Tokyo, Japan. This was my third significant trip to Japan. The first time that I came was for a 5 month training program known as DTS, the second was when I returned as staff for a 2 year commitment and this time is… well I am still learning just exactly what it is. But it is good.

student-teacherYOTSUYA INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL: I have started working one day a week as an English teacher. This has been a fantastic opportunity to love on students here in Japan from many different backgrounds. I love working at this school because most of the teachers are Christian and really are wholeheartedly loving students. The picture above is from a field trip we took students on. Teacher and student. Love these guys!

candlelightCORNERSTONE TOKYO CHURCH: I have continued serving at Cornerstone church since returning to Japan. God has given me much encouragement through this wonderful group of believers and it is a joy to grow and live life with them. There are so many ways that I have been blessed by these amazing people. The pastor’s wife gave me 4 kinds of home made soup after I had a wisdom tooth pulled just to name one example! I have been serving on worship team this year and also got to help with our Christmas and candle light service.

friends2FRIENDS: I have been making new international and Japanese friends recently and have been enjoying a deeper developing sense of community and fellowship. Recently I have been spending time with lots of people from church, fellow teachers from Yotsuya International School, and also people from International HiBA where I was a volunteer for 3 years. I am blessed to have so many wonderful people in my life. Each person is a gift.

kidsMORE ENGLISH TEACHING: I had the opportunity to help one of my Japanese friends with their English school for one day. The above photo was taken with some of the students I got to meet that day. I had a lot of fun and hope to help some there again sometime soon. Although my primary teaching focus will continue to be at Yotsuya International School, I am realizing that English is a huge door opener for working with and meeting many new people. Its fun to learn more about ways that God can use me.

2015DREAMS FOR 2015: As I am nearing the end of this update, it is 12:16am on January 1st of 2015. Its amazing to think that it is already a new year. God has been so faithful and continued to show his great goodness to me in 2014. I am excited for this coming year and would like to share with with you a few plans as well as some dreams that are on my heart.

JAN 23-25: I will be going with my church to visit some people in Taiwan. We are taking a small team of people and hope to encourage the people we know there that used to come to Cornerstone Church before moving to Taiwan. The Church as a whole globally has been on my heart a lot recently and I am seriously excited about this small but important opportunity to encourage some amazing brothers and sisters.

FEB 2-6: I will be returning to South Korea for my second time! Korea as a whole has been on my heart a lot for most of 2014 and I am excited to return for a short visit. Some friends and I in YWAM Tokyo have been meeting weekly to pray for NK and SK and I have also been in conversation with one of my Korean friends who works in the UN. I hope to meet up with her to both share and ask questions. I will be staying with the same host family I met last time I was in Korea and I am really excited to see that family again. During my visit there will also be an entire Korean outreach missionary team staying at the house as well and I am looking forward to meeting / living with all of them. I also hope to meet up with one of my family’s most recent exchange students who is back in Seoul and also connect with some old friends.

FEB 6-14: I will be flying to Thailand for the first time and staying there for a little over a week. This trip should be a lot of fun and I am viewing it slightly as a vacation before returning again to Tokyo. However, I also will be meeting several missionaries that work in Thailand and one from China as well. God really seems to be connecting me with more and more parts of the global church and this seems to be one of the things He is focusing on for the coming year. I really desire to see unity, reconciliation and partnership in the body of Christ globally. This has been a growing passion on my heart. I have been thinking often of John 17:21 in which we see that one of the last things that Jesus talks to his father about before going to the cross is unity. His desire is for us to be one “…just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” I believe that this means that God’s desire for His church is that we would have the same level of intimacy, unity, oneness together with Him as he has with God the Father! So that people would know that Jesus was sent by God.

MAR 10-13: I will be traveling to a really beautiful part of Japan near Osaka for the 2015 YWAM Japan Staff Conference. This is a yearly conference that exists partly to fulfill a legal requirement for foreign non-profits operating in Japan but also has become a wonderful opportunity for all of the YWAM staff in Japan to unite in prayer, worship and vision sharing.

MAR 20-30: I will be returning to the Philippines for my forth year and will be leading my third outreach there. God has strongly put this on my heart and I know that I am supposed to go. The timing will be a little practically difficult as it happens to be the hottest time of the year there. However, I really believe in this trip. We will be continuing to support the YWAM base in Olongapo that works to free, disciple, train women who work in the sex industry. Never have I known an organization that so wholeheartedly loves and invests in an area covered in much darkness. This ministry has seen so many lives transformed. My heart on a personal level is to be, in whatever ways I can, a source of encouragement and refreshment for the staff at that base. Again, they are part of the global church and I love them deeply.

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THIS NEXT YEAR IS GOING TO BE AMAZING: And I can’t do it without you. Thank you for all of the prayers, words of encouragement and financial support. I very much don’t feel like I am alone here in Tokyo partly because of the amazing support base that I have. And I want to again thank you for all that you have done. I was thinking about this recently and have realized that I always seem to group support into two main categories. Prayer and Financial. Because of that, I would like to try something for 2015. I am going to list out a few things that I would love financial support in for 2015. Also, I am going to create a signup form for anyone that is interested in being on intercessor for me. Below are more details.

I would like to be able to send out regular prayer requests in the form of emails. If you are interested in being one of my main intercessors then please fill out the form below. Please write a quick message and I will add you to the list. Thank you for praying!

Here are a few things that I would love financial support for in 2015. Some of the costs below are estimates and may change.

$300 for Taiwan trip

$300 for Korea trip

$500 for the YWAM Tokyo 2015 Staff Conference

$700 for the Philippines trip

$1,800 TOTAL

If you are able to help support me financial for any of these trips you can give at this page: SUPPORT

 

Hello November! Autumn Update

AUTUMN, WATER, AND WALKS: Recently, I went for a walk by my apartment. There is a beautiful little path that winds through a public vegetable farm and then continues through the neighborhood. As I was walking it slowly began to rain and I could see droplets of water beginning to form on fruit, leaves, and flowers. It was a delightful juxtaposition as my eyes took in bright spring like colors while my skin felt the moisture and coolness of the air. I love autumn, I love color, and I love water.

This past month, I have been thinking about water a lot. In many personal ways water is very important to me. Not only is it alluring to the senses, it also is symbolic of many things. Nearly every significant season of my life has been connected to a prayer time by a body of water.

Here are some of my favorite verses about water: “He leads me beside still waters.” Psalms 23:2, “The voice of the LORD is over the waters; the God of glory thunders, the LORD, over many waters.” Psalms 29:3, “He lays the beams of his chambers on the waters; he makes the clouds his chariot; he rides on the wings of the wind;” Psalms 104:3, ” let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.” Hebrews 10:22

UPDATE: Here are some quick snippets from this month so far.

– I have been enjoying teaching english at Yotsuya school and God has been giving me more of his heart for the students. Each week He seems to give me more love for them and I am enjoying it very much.

– I learned that my Japanese health insurance covers dental! I had a wisdom tooth coming in and my gum got infected. I was able to go to the dentist, get it checked out, and get some antibiotics for only $20. That was a huge blessing. My wisdom tooth removal is scheduled for a month from now.

– Language study is going well. It is frustrating at times but I am learning step by step.

– Things at church have been going great! Been serving on worship team again and am praying about helping with one of the men’s small groups.

– I will be going to the Philippines again early next year. This will be my fourth year in a row and I am really looking forward to what God is going to do. (Details to follow later).

PRAYER POINTS: Thank you so much for your prayers! They really do make a huge difference.

– Health: many people at the YWAM base have been hit with sickness, allergies, infections, etc. Please lift us up in prayer for healing and wholeness!

– Yotsuya: I really believe that God is wanting to do more at Yotsuya. Please pray that He continues to give me His heart for the youth and that I am able to love them well.

– Unity in the Church: Please pray that the body of Christ in Japan will be unified.

– Hope. The suicide rate in Japan has been on my heart more recently. Japan has the 7th highest suicide rate in the world. Please be interceding and praying hope over this nation. Japan needs a radical revelation of the love of God.

 

 

Japanese Kokeshi Doll

Kokeshi (こけし kokeshi?), are Japanese dolls, originally from northern Japan. They are handmade from wood, have a simple trunk and an enlarged head with a few thin, painted lines to define the face. The body has a floral design painted in red, black, and sometimes yellow, and covered with a layer of wax. One characteristic of kokeshi dolls is their lack of arms or legs. The bottom is marked with the signature of the artist. – Read More

ONE MONTH IN JAPAN

LIFE IN JAPAN: I have now been back in Tokyo for nearly one month! The time has really flown by and so much has happened that I wanted to send you another update. So without further delay, here is a recap.

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CORNERSTONE TOKYO RETREAT: Immediately after arriving back in Japan, I traveled outside of the city for a weekend retreat with Cornerstone Tokyo. It was wonderful to see many of the people I love and have deeply missed from my home church in Japan.

The retreat was very encouraging and focused on what it means to walk in freedom with Christ as a Christian. This is a topic that I am very passionate about and it was a joy to be able to serve on some of the prayer teams. I loved seeing Japanese people learn more about their identity in Christ and the power of prayer/repentance. Two people got baptized and hearing their testimonies reminded me in part about why I was excited about being back in Japan. In addition to all of this, one man that came to the retreat accepted Christ for the first time!

Also, there was a fun connection to Washington state as several people came from the parent church, Cornerstone Seattle. I also learned that many of the other members of the prayer teams had gotten training from my home church in Tacoma and those unique connections were fun doors for building relationship.

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LANGUAGE STUDY: I have a stronger desire to learn Japanese than my prior times in Japan. What is exciting is that all of the staff at the YWAM Tokyo base are doing Japanese class together. We have two wonderful Japanese instructors that come and teach classes for 9 hours a week. Although I feel rather behind everyone since I was in the states for 8 months, I am having fun diving into the language and am slowly making progress. I would love prayer for language study and for my brain. 🙂

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ENGLISH CLASS: One of my Japanese friends teaches elementary kids English. She needed help this month so my friend Rachel and I got to dress up (Totoro and Olaf) and help! It was fun working with Japanese children and getting a glimpse into new aspects of life in Japan.

In addition to this I have accepted a position as a part time English teacher at a school in Yotsuya. I will be teaching 4 classes of various age groups. Please be praying that God gives me more and more of His heart for the students and that I will be able to invest in their lives and destinies. The school is run by Christians who desire to see God’s love made known. I am excited about this opportunity.

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LIVING ROOM, IKEBUKURO, AND LIFE TRACK: There are a lot of great things that are going on here in Tokyo. As a YWAM staff, I get to be a part of two weekly ministries.

Living Room – a gathering for all of our friends and people we meet. On Tuesday nights we all come together for prayer and worship. It is called the Living Room because we want people to feel at home and like family. The more we meet together and the more I see God doing in our midst, the more I see the beauty of the body of Christ. God is revealing Himself, setting people free and making us more like Him each week.

Ikebukuro – On Friday nights we all go to a park by Ikebukuro Station (a very busy and popular destination). We worship and pray in the park; focusing on God and not setting out to do direct evangelism. It may seem like an unexpected approach but the cool thing is that people keep getting drawn in by the presence of God. Already there have been several people that have come to know Christ and are being discipled. Its really great!

Life Track – Two times a week we all meet together as staff in YWAM and practice teaching on subjects from the Bible. We are selected at random and have to teach on any topic that we have studied as a community since Life Track started. Its really great because it is teaching us what it means to be continually in the Word and Holy Spirit dependent. Also its giving our staff confidence that we really can teach the word of God. I am excited to see the fruit that comes from this years down the road.

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1) REVIVAL IN JAPAN: Please pray for Revival in Japan. I believe that God is wanting to bring wide spread Revival to this nation. I believe that the time is soon. Please partner with this vision and ask God for a massive harvest of souls.

2) UNITY IN THE CHURCH: Please be interceding for the church in Japan. I believe that one of the very important things is unity. That unity is necessary for what He is wanting to do. Please pray that God would unify His body.

3) PERSONAL GROWTH: This season in Japan is very key for several aspects of my personal growth. I prayed about this for many months before returning and I strongly believe that God is doing things right now that are very personally important and keys to the future. I realize that this sounds rather vague but its difficult to summarize. Feel free to message me if you want more details. But please, please lift me up in prayer whenever God puts it on your heart. I really would love extra intercession during this time.

4) FINANCES: God is so good and has always been faithful. I have never gone without. I am so grateful for the support that people have faithfully given to me while I have been in Japan. This time I am still a few hundred dollars below the monthly support I need. Please be praying that God brings in more monthly supporters. Thank you!